Wildfires Scorch San Diego

UNITED STATES Nine wildfires are burning across San Diego County, as record dry conditions, warm temperatures, and gusty winds contribute to an early start to the Golden State’s fire season. (National Geographic News) Use our resources to make your own fire map. Discussion Ideas Take a look at the fire map above, provided by California Fire News (CFN). Compare it with this nice map from … Continue reading Wildfires Scorch San Diego

Google Science Fair Winners

SCIENCE The Taming of the Flu, banana-peel plastics, an app to improve emergency vehicles’ response time, and a world without batteries. Watch Google Science Fair winners explain their projects and encourage others to explore the possibilities of science. (Google Science Fair) Use our resources to see where science can take your career. And the winners are . . . . The Taming of the Flu … Continue reading Google Science Fair Winners

San Diego Opens City Office . . in Tijuana

WORLD San Diego Opens City Office . . in Tijuana Opening a satellite city office in a far-flung neighborhood is not unusual in sprawling cities like San Diego, California. But one thing sets apart Mayor Bob Filner’s newest outpost: It is in another country. “Dos ciudades, pero una region—we are two cities, but one region,” Filner said. Discussion Ideas: The new San Diego city office … Continue reading San Diego Opens City Office . . in Tijuana

Esri International User Conference: A Geographer’s Place to Be

Last week, I flew to San Diego to promote Geography Awareness Week at Esri’s International User Conference, the largest gathering of geographic information systems (GIS) users in the world. On a shuttle from the airport, a man in the back talking on his cell phone mentioned ArcGIS, and my ears pricked up. What a coincidence, I thought. I turned around and asked if he was going to the ESRI conference, and he looked at me like I had asked if we were on planet Earth. “Yeah…” he replied, hesitantly. I clearly had no idea what I was getting into. 
The conference started on Monday, and the streets, hotels and restaurants of San Diego were packed with folks from all over the world, proudly wearing their ID badges all day and into the night. The Convention Center where it was held is home to the renowned San Diego Comic-Con International, where more than 125,000 pop art fans, some dressed up as their favorite comic superheroes, had gathered just a couple of weeks before. Although Comic-Con is famous for the animated sub-culture it garners, I cannot imagine a crowd more enthusiastic than my GIS compatriots.
15,000 users – all self-identified “Geogeeks” – came together not only to learn about what’s new in the geographic information systems world, but also to boast of their geographic prowess. Such talents may be scoffed elsewhere, but here, they are revered. During one conference session, attendees were discussing preferred map projections and datums so heatedly that I would have laughed, had I not been just as excited as they. Despite the abundance of geographic knowledge present, I admittedly spent half of my time helping lost users figure out the map of the conference center. 
The other half was spent educating my fellow geogeeks about Geography Awareness Week. This group of GIS professionals can appreciate that data means nothing without solid geographic understanding, which is exactly what GAWeek is all about. As Jack Dangermond said during the conference, “geography is the platform on which GIS is exercised; GIS is simply a tool for better geographic understanding.” Mr. Dangermond, as you may know, is the President and CEO of Esri, and a rock star amongst the GIS community – a fact I was unaware of when I greeted him one day with a goofy smile on my face.  

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Gregg Verutes- Not a Typical Mother’s Day Present

Gregg, an intern with National Geographic Maps, was raised on Long Island but has since spent time living
in Ithaca, NY, San Diego, CA and Washington, DC.  His hobbies range
from outdoor sports like surfing, sailing, camping and soccer to indoor
fun with music, cooking and art.

image_verutes_1.JPGI was born a New Yorker and as such, the sight of palm trees translates in my mind as rest, relaxation, and vacation.   Moving to San Diego, a coastal paradise, it took some convincing that this was the norm.  After two years of living in the Pacific Beach neighborhood, an MTV spring break Mecca, I switched gears by relocating just one mile away. Up the mesa and overlooking the beaches rests Bay Park, a small community consisting of predominately the 65+ demographic.  The tallest building in our neighborhood was a Geriatric high-rise just walking distance to the Hometown Buffet, which boasted the cheapest early bird special for miles.  Not knowing what to expect of our new location, my roommate and I began exploring the area.  

We would walk along the ridge of the canyon and spot our neighborhood’s endless supply of citrus.  Many of the trees were neglected, either through lack of watering or the fruits being left to ripen and fall to the ground.  Instead of being confronted by college students screaming out car windows, we could now stroll peacefully and converse with residents of our laid back community.  It was a glorified retirement at the ripe old age of 26.  

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