Learner-Shaped Technology

June 19, 2008

Keeping Score

Filed under: baseball,data visualization,general — Mike W @ 11:40 pm

I remember my uncle Paul and dad teaching me to keep score as a kid. Somewhere I still have a score card from a Reds game I attended with my dad. Pete Rose was deep into his pursuit of Joe DiMaggio’s hitting streak and kept that streak alive that night. Tonight I passed along the tradition to my daughters who seemed to enjoy it, as long as we switched each inning. As you can see, the Greenville Drive turned up the heat late in the game for a great comeback. This seems like a classic example of information visualization in action.  You can see the offensive flow of the game (for the home team, anyway) pretty quickly.  Yes, Field of Dreams is one of my favorite movies. Same with Bull Durham.


April 5, 2008

Concept Map Software Demo – CmapTools

Filed under: concept maps,data visualization,demo,general,science,technology — Mike W @ 8:56 am

CMapTools is concept map software which is available free for educational use. I created a quick demo of some of the main features. I especially like the support for mulitmedia objects.

super hero small

Oops! See this 60 sec correction / tip for saving space in your concept map.

Of course, there are many academic uses, but the above superhero example is kind of a fun intro (see more detailed, finished super hero map here). For example, the Science Education Resource Center (SERC) at Carleton College has some great information on using concept mapping in the geosciences.

April 11, 2007

Brief Furman Tour in Google Earth from Geocoded photos

Filed under: data visualization,general,google earth,mapping,technology — Mike W @ 3:46 pm

Man, Furman campus is beautiful in the spring. I’ve been experimenting with a handheld device (ipaq 6900 series) that EES professor Suresh Muthukrishnan has been using in class. It has built-in GPS, so I went out and snapped a few pictures this morning. It was great to have an excuse to walk around campus in the cool air. The latitude and longitude are geocoded into the picture when the GPS is on, so I wanted to see how easy it would be to create a google earth file (kml or kmz) to show a virtual tour of where I’d been. It looks like Google Earth Pro can rip the geocoding information from the picture and create the file, but I can’t spring for the pro version yet.

Instead I used a program called RoboGeo to create the kml file. It looks like the program is very useful if you don’t have a GPS built into your camera as well. It did a good job creating a path from a series of photos. Check out the tour in Google Earth.


In the ‘Places’ window of Google Earth you have to open the ‘routes’ folder and click ‘path’. You can see that it just connects the dots and shows me swimming or boating out to the bell tower 🙂

The trial version throws an error into the latitude and longitude value, so I had to override those manually. That’s why the images are attached where the object is rather than where I was standing when I took the picture. The full version will geocode from the photographer’s location with no kml editing necessary.

I think you’ll also see why I did poorly in photography class.

January 11, 2007

Google Earth and Running

Filed under: data visualization,general,google earth,mapping,running,technology — Mike W @ 10:04 am

mapmyrun.com is a really cool website for runners. It allows you to map your run using Google Maps / Google Pedometer technology, determine distance , share your route with others, and save the route with your profile. You can also put in your time, height, weight, etc.., and it will calculate your pace and calories burned.

If you’re running with a GPS unit, you can upload the data to mapmyrun, and it will automagically map your route. I don’t run with a GPS, so I haven’t tested it yet, but that would save some time.

Another nice feature is that the site will automatically create a kmz file, so if you have Google Earth and open this file, your route is mapped in Google Earth. Here’s my route from Furman to the North Greenville YMCA in mapmyrun and the kmz file for Google Earth.

And to think, I used to get in my car and use the odometer to gauge a route. How early 2000! 😉 Now if they could only add a feature that would map the location of ankle biting little dogs, and it would be perfect!

December 29, 2006

Great Google Earth Feature – Time Animation

On the Google Earth Blog, Frank Taylor lists the top ten Google Earth time animations for 2006. Time animations were added in Google Earth 4 and are a great way to view data that changes over time, for example animal and human cases of avian flu (Declan Butler’s blog). Authors simply add a time span element to data in kml files, like so, and Google Earth renders a time slider bar in the user interface.

<TimeSpan id=”ID”>
<begin>begin date here </begin>
<end>end date here</end>

The time slider is highlighted in a screen shot of the avian flu map below.

google earth

There are some Google Earth software limitations that were apparent when viewing Hurricane Katrina data. I wished I could have incremented the “animation” in hours rather than days. There are some great suggestions for improvement on Stefan Geens’ Ogle Earth Blog, so I won’t rehash them here. This functionality is a great addition to GE!

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