Global news with a spatial perspective: Interesting, current supplemental materials for geography teachers and students.
Curated by Seth Dixon
Typhoon Haiyan was enormous and hit a 400-mile swath on the Philippines. The Philippines is a single country, but it is composed of over 7,000 islands; hundreds of islands are in need of relief aid, if not more. The islands are in an archipelago which naturally fragments the land mass and isolates the residents making transportation, utilities and communications logistically difficult even in the best of times. If the first few days after the typhoon, supply chains were cut off and many desperate people looted the sparse food resources available. The necessities to sustain life—food, water, shelter, medication and basic sanitation—are the all major concerns in the aftermath of the typhoon.
While the police are saying that order is being restored, the effects of flooding pollute water resources and increase the spread of infectious diseases because of the poor sanitation. The Philippines is gripping for an impending medical crisis from the spread of diseases in addition to the medical trauma that people suffered during the actual typhoon. Richard Brennen of the World Health Organization (WHO) believes that these geographic difficulties make the relief efforts in the Philippines more difficult than the 2010 relief efforts to help Haiti after the massive earthquake.
View interactive before and after images showing the devastation Typhoon Haiyan has caused in Tacloban City, Philippines.
While the casualty counts may have been lowered, that does not lessen the devastation.
Volunteers across the world are building the digital infrastructure for the organization's Typhoon Haiyan relief efforts
Want to see geographic knowledge and geospatial skills in action? Crowd-sourced mapping is increasingly an important resource during an emergency. Poorer places are often not as well mapped out by the commercial cartographic organizations and these are oftentimes the places that are hardest hit by natural disasters. Relief agencies depend on mapping platforms to handle the logistics of administering aid and assessing the extent of the damage and rely on these crowd-sourced data sets. Can you join in and help?
"A year after Superstorm Sandy stranded many New Yorkers without power for days, a federal judge has ruled that New York City's emergency plans violate the Americans with Disabilities Act. Those shortcomings, the judge found, leave almost 900,000 residents in danger, and many say the ruling could have implications for local governments across the country."
I have many more questions than answers after listening to this podcast. Presumably, most governmental agencies during emergencies are seeking to assist the greatest number of people with limited time and resources; would this court ruling change that mandate? How will this impact urban planning in the future? Just how much can plans in times of emergency account for assisting the disabled? Do you think the City of New York was negligent?
The news from the Philippines, where it's feared that last week’s powerful Typhoon Haiyan killed more than 10,000 people, isn’t getting better as hundreds of thousands of people struggle to survive and authorities struggle to get help to them.
"Its absolute bedlam right now," says Richard Gordon, head of the Philippine Red Cross. “There's an awful lot of casualties, a lot of people dead all over the place, a lot of destruction.”
According to the BBC, a huge international relief effort is underway, but rescue workers have struggled to reach some towns and villages cut off since the storm.
BOULDER, Colo. -- National Guard helicopters were able to survey parts of Highway 34 along the Big Thompson River Saturday. Here are some images of the destruction along the roadway.
This photo gallery would be stunningly gorgeous if it weren't horrifically terrifying. When the landscape changes this dramatically in a short time span, watch out. See another photo gallery here, but this gallery from the Boston Globe, shows a more humanistic side of the story.
"Two things that helped make this rainfall historic are breadth and duration. Colorado can get much higher rainfall rates for brief periods and over small areas."
Our thoughts are with our colleagues and friends in Colorado as they are dealing with the impact of this historic weather event. The geographic factors that contributed to this flooding are explained in this article from the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR). Some are calling this a millennial flood, as it is well past the 100-year stage of flooding. You may view the areas impacted on an ESRI storymap. and in this NASA imagery.
"170 Years of the World’s Hurricane Tracks on One Dark and Stormy Map."
"Flooding caused by some of the Philippines' heaviest rains on record submerged more than half the capital Tuesday, turning roads into rivers and trapping tens of thousands of people in homes and shelters. The government suspended all work except rescues and disaster response for a second day."
On July 18, 2013, a fierce wildfire threatened Palm Springs, California.
Rising waters spilled onto flood plains and into cities across Germany. Central Europe has endured its worst flooding since medieval times.
If you having been following the news lately, central European countries such as Germany and Poland are experiencing major flooding right now. Compare this image above to one where the Elbe isn't flooding and you'll quickly be able to visualize extent of the flooding.
This interactive feature includes before and after satellite imagery of Moore, Oklahoma. With the remarkably desvasting tornado that hit this week, this is an user-friendly way to compare before and after images by using the swipe function.
Explore the Bing map, or Google map of Moore, Okla. More on the Oklahoma tornado:
Also, see this is a nice interactive map feature that shows all of the deadly tornadoes in the U.S. since 1950.
Latest weather radar images from the National Weather Service
With all the tornado warnings, damage and concern, this map shows the spatial configuration of the danger zone. This is the link for the interactive weather map that is continuously updated by NOAA. Here is the high resolution, static version. This fantastic wind map is also worth looking at whenever there are tornadoes or hurricanes.
News 8 chief photojournalist Kevyn Fowler captured a road collapsing in Freeport, Maine during a storm.
The forces of erosion are usually slow and gradual, wearing away at landforms over the course of years. This video show the quick and dynamic factor that erosion can be...this is easily the most compelling 3-minute video about a single patch of road that I've ever seen.
A 150-yard-long chunk of State Highway 89 collapsed about 5 a.m. roughly 25 miles south of Page
Just a reminder that the Earth beneath our feet (and roads and buildings) are a part of a dynamic system that changes.
We are only beginning to see the applications of smart phones to improve peoples lives. In this TED talk, Paul Conneally explores some of the possibilities (citizen mapping, crowd-sourced disaster recovery, etc.) that is just sitting in the palm of our collective hands.
Today's 100-year storm surge could be tomorrow's high tide.
This set of maps and articles help to explain why sea level rise is such an issue for many major metropolitan areas. In coastal cities with substantial economic development, much of the current coastal areas where once underwater until landfill projects filled in the bay. During storm surges (or if and when sea levels rise) these will be the first places to flood.
|Suggested by Mónica Aza Estébanez|
Movie showing ground motion of four earthquakes propagating across a high density seismic array in Long Beach, California. Data was recorded by NodalSeismic,...
Seismic activity is to be expected in the Los Angeles region as the major hazard threat in the area. This area has a great number of sensors which now allows us to visualize seismic waves better than ever before. This video show 4 earthquakes (starting at 0:45, 2:20, 6:00, and 8:35). For more information on the science behind this clip, read the adptly named blog, The Trembling Earth.
Coastal and low-lying areas that would be permanently flooded in three levels of higher seas.
This interactive feature is designed to answer a simple, yet profound set of questions. What areas (in over 20 cities around the U.S.) would be under water if the ocean levels rose 5 feet? 12 feet? 25 feet? The following set of maps show "coastal and low-lying areas that would be permanently flooded without engineered protection."
This project investigates the coastal impacts of hurricanes and extreme storms.
Here is some more post-Sandy geo-spatial imagery. LIDAR (think sonar and radar but with light and lasers) is Light Detection And Ranging that can produce some amazing data.
|Suggested by Patrice H.|
One of the nation’s most influential groups of engineers said it presented detailed warnings that a devastating storm surge in the region was all but inevitable and proposed ways to prepare.
MH: Hey, you know what? A bunch of engineers accurately predicted the kinds of damage the East Coast would face from a strong storm surge. Maybe we should give that science stuff a little consideration in our future plans in designing our cities.
TED Talks As Vicki Arroyo says, it's time to prepare our homes and cities for our changing climate, with its increased risk of flooding, drought and uncertainty.
Our major cities are suceptible to environmental catastrophes for a whole host of reasons. Cities depend on a smooth of goods, money and services provided by infrastructure that we take for granted and assume will always work 24/7. Presented in the video are some ideas about how we should rethink our cities with a different ecological paradigm to protect our cities more in the future.