Presentations and other posts relating to mapping

Tuesday, October 4, 2011: 6:00 PM - 9:00 PM


Whether checking in with FourSquare, finding the nearest Starbucks or reporting on violent events witnessed in Kenya, location-based services are becoming more common, more useful and more creative.  The Pew Internet and American Life Project reports that 28% of American adults are using location-based services.

At our next Net Tuesday we’ll demonstrate and discuss these sorts of services, why they’re important, and how they may be helpful to you. 

We’ll begin gathering at 6:00 PM on Tuesday, October 4, at the Friends Center, 1501 Cherry Street.  We’ll also be streaming the event live over the Internet (see and supporting a Twitter backchannel (via hashtag #phlnet2) to welcome participation from those NOT based at our location.

Who should participate in this event?

  • Nonprofits and social activists can learn about and discuss opportunities for how this fast-growing feature of modern life might be used to engage their supporters and advance their causes.
  • Techies can learn about and share current tools for creating compelling, effective services.
  • All of us can discuss where location-based services are going and how they can enhance our lives.

We’ll have a highly interactive discussion with some local experts who are heavily involved in location-based services, including:

  • Robert Cheetham, President of Azavea, which specializes in geographic data, geospatial analysis and the web.  Robert will talk about Augmented Reality: seeing the city with location-based digital overlays.  He’ll present an overview of the development of an NEH-funded prototype for an augmented reality application that used photographs from  What works, what doesn’t work and where the technology is going.
  • Rachel Weeden, Solution Engineering Manager at Esri, which “is built on the philosophy that a geographic approach to problem solving ensures better communication and collaboration”.  Rachel will describe ArcGIS Online, an open data platform for maps and geographic information that allows geographic data to be delivered as simple, useful maps. It includes free applications that require little to no training and are great for non-GIS users. ArcGIS Online can be used within an organization, or to share information with a larger community and the public.
  • Cliff Stevens, founder of Lokadot, a brand new mobile application that serendipitously streams crowd-sourced audio files based on your location.  Cliff will talk about the trends for people using their mobile devices for listening to audio/music and video, what are organizations doing, and what location-based mobile solutions are they using, to engage with their constituencies so as to leverage these trends and new-found capabilities.
  • Gloria Bell is Principal of Red Stapler Consulting, and an active force behind numerous local social media groups and events (including the Social Media Club and the upcoming SocialMediaPlus web 2.0 business summit (for which Philly Net Squared members can get a 15% discount).   Gloria will discuss FourSquare, the hyper-popular service for checking in your whereabouts, and how it can be used effectively by nonprofits.

So, come and join the discussion, learn about some exciting new social applications and technologies, and consider new ways that location-based services may be able to help you achieve your own objectives.

Sponsored By: 
  • American Friends Service Committee
  • Chevy Volt
Tuesday, March 2, 2010: 6:00 PM - 9:00 PM

This month’s Net Tuesday will be on “crisis response” and social media.

Recent crises — whether caused by nature (like Haiti or Katrina) or by humans (like the London subway bombings or PA budget cuts for arts and culture) — have been met by a new type of response virtually unavailable just a decade ago. Social tools, including Facebook and Twitter, GIS/mapping applications, mobile technology, image and video sharing services and others, have been used in ways that are creative, widely participative and, often, surprisingly effective.

The March Net Tuesday will be about this phenomenon and how it might be relevant to you, today. We’ll have an interactive discussion and workshop, not only about how some of these sorts of tools have been used in past crises, but about the sorts of social structures (e.g., CrisisCamps) that are emerging to build community and prepare proactively for the next crisis.

Who should attend?

  • People working in agencies or non-profits who want to gain some background and context for how they might utilize social tools when a crisis suddenly appears.
  • Techies who want to be prepared to utilize their skills and capabilities for the next disaster.
  • Activists, social change agents and “plain, old citizens” who want to learn more about how the “crowd” can be effectively used in crisis situations.

Our evening will be highlighted by a panel of people with important experience and perspectives on both reactive and proactive crisis response with social tools, including (alphabetically):

George Heake is Director of Operations at Temple University’s Center for Preparedness, Education and Practice (CPREP), as well as Emergency Management Coordinator & Information Technology Accessibility Coordinator for Temple’s Institute on Disabilities. He has been involved with social applications for emergency response, with a focus on the special needs community, around which he organized a specialized crisis camp event in October.

Josh Marcus is a software engineer at Avencia, Inc., where he is the lead developer on DecisionTree, a set of innovative web-based geographic decision-making tools that enable business owners, citizen or government agencies to weigh multiple geographic factors and generate a map that highlights optimal locations for their activities. He has spent the last decade applying his software engineering, system architecture, and management experience to building sophisticated, scalable web-based applications to solve social and organizational problems for governmental organizations and non-profits using innovative technology solutions. Under Avencia’s policy to allow time off for natural disasters, Josh worked with the International Network of Crisis Mappers and a volunteer effort to develop technical tools to track missing persons in Haiti and develop data integration standards between systems for crisis responders.

Walter Svekla is a geographer with ImageCat, Inc., where he’s a member of a team of engineers, scientists and programmers that are developing tools for natural hazard loss estimation and risk reduction, including the Virtual Disaster Viewer. In response to the earthquake in Haiti, ImageCat along with the World Bank initiated a remote rapid damage assessment for Port au Prince and the surrounding area. Given the severity and extent of damage to the built environment, a call for volunteers was put out through the Earthquake Engineering and Research Institute for experts to apply their knowledge and conduct damage assessment utilizing pre- and post-event very high resolution satellite imagery in Google Earth. The novelty here is not so much the application of satellite imagery for remote damage assessment, but rather the ease and speed at which a network of over 500 volunteers spanning 23 countries was mobilized in response and how certain resources and platforms made that possible.

Lisl Zach is an assistant professor at Drexel University’s College of Information Science and Technology. Dr. Zach was on the faculty of Louisiana State University at the time of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita and was instrumental in coordinating communication efforts among the Louisiana and southern Mississippi special libraries community following those disasters. She serves as chair of the Special Libraries Association’s Emergency Preparedness and Recovery Council and is a member of the disaster and emergency preparedness task force of Drexel University’s Engineering Cities Initiative. She is currently working on a project with Drexel University’s 11th Street Family Health Center to examine the use of information and communications technology (ICT) as a means of accessing health information among the population being served by the Center and is collaborating with IST doctoral student Thomas Heverin, who will join her to describe a project to investigate the role of microblogging in crisis communication.

Light food and refreshments will be available. And, if you’re driving, one of the better deals is the Autopark on Arch Street between 15th and 16th, entrance down ramp.

Image: US Geological Services

Tuesday, November 3, 2009: 6:00 PM - 9:00 PM
An example of crisis mapping, from

This event will be about mapping and geographic information systems (GIS) for non-profit and social change organizations. Facilitated by Jeremy Hefner from Avencia, it will include panelists and practical how-to guidelines.

What you’ll learn by attending:

How can you present your message geographically?

Matthew Fisher of Night Kitchen Interactive will share the upcoming resource which is working to “illuminate the history and culture of Philadelphia’s unique neighborhoods” through an interactive map of personal stories connected to specific locations.

How can you engage the public and crowd-source the collection of data?

Katie Edwards of Clean Air Council will share the tools used to create, a site for the public to report idling vehicles around the city and collectively work to reduce air pollution.

How can freely available Census data help you accomplish your mission?

Laura Blackstone of the US Census Bureau will share how to access the census data, what sort of information is available, and how you can incorporate it into your work.

How can GIS inform policy and directly engage the public in the political process?

Tamara Manik-Perlman of Avencia will discuss a joint project with Committee of 70 to study the gerrymandering of legislative districts and present it to the public in an easy to use website.

….and perhaps one more thing (as Jeremy does his Steve Jobs impersonation)

RSVP via the Meetup page; tweet your followers, facebook your peeps, and pencil the date on your calendar because we’re getting our GIS on.

In advance of this event, from Oct. 28 to Nov. 3, New Tactics in Human Rights is hosting an online dialogue on this very subject:

New Tactics is pleased to feature ‘Geo-Mapping for Human Rights,’ as the topic of our October featured online dialogue. Join New Tactics, our co-moderator, Christian Kreutz, and our featured resource practitioners from October 28 – November 3, 2009 in a conversation about the ways in which geographical mapping has been used to share critical information, promote transparency and engage communities.

With the growing use of satellite imagery and easy-to-use technology, geographical maps are being used more often by human rights organizations. These maps can help an organization map crises, places of heritage, visualize data, monitor the impact of conflict, uncover critical evidence, and more! The goal of this dialogue will be to take the stories shared by practitioners with experience using these tools and tactics and draw out lessons to enable other organizations to strategically apply these resources.

Sponsored By: 
  • Zivtech
Tuesday, April 7, 2009: 6:00 PM - 9:00 PM

For our next Net Tuesday on April 7, we are privileged to have Robert Cheetham present on mapping and geographic information systems for nonprofits.

From Google Earth to GeoRSS, maps and geography services are changing the way we interpret our world and engage with communities. The presentation will explore how geographic information systems (GIS) technology is being used to enhance the missions, meet the challenges, and answer the questions faced by non-profit organizations.

Sponsored By: 
  • NPower Pennsylvania
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