Week 14 Blog Post_Stang

In week 14, we we’re to analyze the Giovanni Maria Cassini’s Terrestrial/celestial globes with my person favorite, google earth. Cassini, who is considered to be one of the last fine Italian globe makes at the end of the 18th century, created 2 globes and 12 terrestrial/celestial globe gores. He also outlines rules for constructing his globes and gores in his personal atlas. My first though on his work is that who though to try and map the constellations and heavens on a globe?? The concept is so cool. I love that on the website you can view the video that shows you the terrestrial globe rotating with the celestial one as the back drop.

I sat and watched for a few minutes and it feels as if you’re viewing the earth and heavens from outer space. Just looking at Cassini’s maps, the maps seems to be accurately made (they look similar to modern maps that I’ve seen). Also, the picture of all of the gores laid flat into a rectangle make the continents look fatter than I’m used to seeing them.

I think that the a purpose of both maps is to show people what the earth and it’s landforms look and their location relative to one another. Both maps are effective in doing this because they both illustrate a certain perspective. The Cassini maps illustrate Cassini’s perspective while google earth illustrates the perspective of whoever is making decisions creating google maps (probably tons of people). I think that the idea that there’s no single map of the world is important. Thinking of the world as a social concept allows you to understand that the map of the world that you think of in your head can be very different from the map of the world that someone else pictures. Google earth is an incredible scientific achievement. I remember going on google earth as a kidding and searching for my house (just did it again for old times sake). The sheer amount of data within that map is outrageous. One thing that google earth shows that Cassini’s maps don’t include clouds/atmosphere. Google earth has the advantage in this regard because it’s online and can be manipulated by a user to find what they want to see. I think the overall purpose of google maps is to allow people to search for things, evaluate what they look like, and make conclusions based off what they have observed. I think that people have a tendency to go on google earth and conclude that what they see represents the earth perfectly because of how scientifically advanced it is/looks. I like how the Finding Our Place In the World article asserts that google earth is not the final destination for mapping the earth. It’s amazing to think that something better and more advanced is sure to come sometime down the road.

Week 4 Blog Post_Stang

For week 4 we’re sent to a website where you could dink around with many of William Smith’s Maps of England. It is claimed in Simon Winchester’s “The Map That Changed the World” that William Smith’s map of 1815 is the first true geological map of anywhere in the world. For being the first of it’s kind, it seems to be extremely well done. The title of the map explains that the map aims to show the delineation of Stata of England, Wales, and Part of Scotland. If this was the purpose of Smith’s map, he certainly accomplished this. Just looking at the map it is quite easy to see the difference between rock layers and where they begin and end.


I was surprised by how important this map was to other people. It’s very cool that this map was originally used by people to create great fortunes for themselves through coal, iron, and oil. When you zoom in on the map, you begin to notice how incredibly detailed it is. A definite silence of the map is people, villages, and other things of that nature. This makes sense because it is a geological map is supposed to highlight geological features, of course. I wonder if Smith ever imagined that his map would be as influential as it turned out to be. This website with Smith’s maps is cool because you can easily compare layers and even stack them on top of one another. The site allowed you to pick two layers and switch between them using a slide bar as well. I did this with Smith’s 1815 and 1828 maps. The 1828 and 1815 maps have a borders and look like they could be easily framed and thrown up in a home. Each map map shows just about the same things but I’m under the impression that the 1818 map is more detailed. It’s certainly more colorful than the 1828 map on the site.

One thing that I noticed is if you slide the bar across slowly, some rock formations seem to move just a little bit. My final takeaway from Smith’s work is that it must have been extremely difficult to make this map alone. The amount of studying and work the he must have put into the maps must be inconceivable.

Stage 6 – Anderson


Review of Disasters and insurance – History of Omaha

  1. Strengths of the presentation/maps
    1. Provided a great bookend of the presentation, beginning with the original development of Omaha’s downtown and how early investments were hard to come by, as well as the outline of the presentation and key questions to keep in mind.
      1. It was effective to have the relevant key questions appear on most of the slides and have the map/pictures/data reveal the answer.
    2. Pictures were definitely helpful for a project like this since I would assume most of the floods covered the same region since water always flows in the same direction. The map of flooding in Omaha was enough to show the areas most vulnerable to the floods then illustrate the possible effects floods.
    3. Great explanation of why people did not originally have flood insurance, the consequences of this, then why the government needed to intervene to provide flood insurance.
  2. Weaknesses, things that could have been done differently, constructive criticism.
    1. I think detailing the public works (dam construction, levees, man-made land) would have been beneficial to show how the government tried to prevent floods resulting from storms.
      1. When they highlighted the map that showed the downtown/metro Omaha was ~60 feet higher than the river bank, I was hoping the group would explain if that was natural or manmade.
    2. Hail explanation and comparisons were effective, but I think the map could have been better presented, or even a picture of what hail could damage in a crop field.
    3. When viewing the Sanborn map, I would have expected similar materials to be used in buildings built in similar time periods, which would create a stratified pattern to map. Instead, it looks like a random assortment of materials, like a quilt. Any specific reason? Did the government mandate buildings close to each other be built out of different materials?

Stage 6 (Ponzi)

During your presentation, I made note of the variety of historical photographs, maps, and fliers you used in our story map. This made the presentation of your information very interesting and strengthened your argument.

The first page of your story map, the title and overview of your argument, was extremely effective in that it gave your audience necessary background information and oriented their focus to the connections between streetcars and segregation.

Placing a map of the streetcar lines within the first informational page of your story map was a great way to start your presentation. The text included on this first page was very informative, concise, and well written, but I do not agree with the way you presented the streetcar lines for 1889 and 1926. I would have preferred to view these two maps as side-by-side static images. When I used the slider bar, it was hard for me to compare the same area at the two different times, though I understand other people might prefer the slider bar method.

Your third slide presenting Dundee was an awesome case study showing how streetcars allowed white flight and segregation, but I did not completely understand the coloring of the maps. I like that you have three different years and that they are all static images, but I don’t understand how you explained the meaning of the colors. I see light red, dark red and black on the maps, but you only identify red as being the neighborhood while black represents developed lots. What is the dark red?

The covenants section of the story map is an extremely important part of the story of redlining. I like the historical flier you used as a visual, but I think this part of your argument would have been greatly strengthened had you provided a map depicting racial demographics and how certain neighborhoods were composed of all one race. Additionally, this would have supported your page titled “Omaha”. You show that there was peripheral growth, but you don’t show whether the peripheral growth truly was dominated by whites.

In the final section of your story map, you discuss one of the effects of white flight—lead pollution. When you presented this section during class, it felt like a different presentation. There was not a good flow between the two topics of streetcars and lead. During the lead portion of your presentation, it was hard to understand why half of the story map was dedicated to lead. I realize now, after I have gone back and reread your story map, that you wanted to provide your audience with an example of how redlining has affected people, but perhaps fewer slides could have been dedicated to this.

Overall, I believe your choice in using a story map to present your argument was a good choice. This format allowed me to follow your argument and the story of streetcars, suburbanization and segregation easily and I enjoyed reading all of your supporting text. Nice work!

Review: Redlining in Omaha: An American Nightmare (Reuter)

Handling perhaps the most broad topic/research question of all groups in the class, this group was burdened with a unique challenge. While ultimately, all groups had to narrow down their project focus from relatively broad initial themes, this trio faced the largest challenge on this front. Despite this hurdle, I think they did a good job of conveying an important and relevant story without trying to display too much information or tell too large of a narrative. Limiting their maps to housing prices, loans, and population demographics, while minimizing distractions, I thought made their maps easy to interpret and quite intuitive. However, the project did have some drawbacks.

Dealing with the map content first, I realize that the group was unable to find a way to get the “zero” house data points to not display. This is quite unfortunate, as it hindered the argument they were trying to emphasize, by making it appear that houses over/under certain price ranges were present in areas they actually were not. While taking this approach did allow them to show two different data sets on one map, which was a nice feature, I would have rather seen them go about displaying the data in a different way that would be less misleading, even if this meant the data sets had to be separated into two different maps. In addition to this map issue, I also thought that the basemap they were using was too small scale for the project area of focus. The idea was to focus on redlining on Omaha, yet many of their loan maps encompassed all of Douglas County. I realize that they probably had to pull all this data from the census bureau at one time, but if they had cut down the amount of information after the fact it would have provided a more detailed picture of the project focus area.

A final area of criticism I have revolves around their textual and cartographic displays of loan data. While the information they presented is great, I feel it is lacking necessary context. Displaying the total number of loans is a logical approach, but without loan application numbers, or loan default data (as Ryan mentioned in class) it is hard to classify the data and use it to draw any meaningful conclusions. I would have liked to see this supplementary data either presented on the maps, or at least referenced in the textual portion of the presentation. However, this information is lacking, effectively weakening the group’s argument. Providing at least textual quotes to support some of their claims such as “longer term FHA loans were a negative influence on home ownership” would have gone a long way to strengthening the group’s argument.

Stage 5 – Meehan, Sundt, Zhang

Here’s the link to our map! http://www.arcgis.com/apps/MapJournal/index.html?appid=0d06649bf5ac4c5992d049cb0923f1be

If that doesn’t work for some reason, try this one: http://www.arcgis.com/home/item.html?id=0d06649bf5ac4c5992d049cb0923f1be


Week 9 Blog_Stang

Both of week 9’s maps depict a natural disaster in their own ways. I think that Suave’s Crevasse appears to have a focus on what happened and what the consequences of the event are. For instance, it clearly shows that a levee break was responsible for the disbursement of water to certain areas. The map did a good job of showing these things to me, but it left me wondering certain things. I’m specifically curious about the other potential variables that may have played a role in the levee break. Also, I would like to know what came after the damage. We’re certain areas able to recover faster than others? How long did it take to sort this all out? What I can conclude from me having these questions is that the purpose of the map is surely not to tell a story with information because it probably couldn’t have done a worse job of that. It thinks that the overall purpose shows the viewer information about the extent of the damage itself. Without the additional text provided by Colten, it would be extremely hard to know anything about the facts leading up to the breach and any subsequent effects other than the flooding clearly shown on the map.



The second map was way more visually appealing to me. This may be because of the artist nature of it. In the map you can see that a flood has occurred and people dealing with it. One difference between the maps is that the first map focused almost entirely on the environment, while the second map shows how human life was affected by the disaster. An example of this is that you can see buildings sinking in flood water and individuals helplessly looking on.  I really love the second map because you can close your eyes and see yourself there because of the way the landscape is presented. I think that the purpose pf the second map is paint a mental image of a disaster rather than just showing a dull overview of where flood water settled after a flood.

Meehan, Sundt, Zhang – Stage 4

Insurance and Disasters
First, Coleman wrote an introduction for flood insurance and hail insurance.by using the historical information we collected from Stage 3 resources. In the first part, we will also mention our focus on Douglas County and introduce the basic data for the long history of community emergencies and natural disasters.
⁃Second, Kaylee has complied the natural disasters distribution in Omaha from 1950 to 2010 (the latest version we can find). She found the hail data set for the time range. The problem is the data contains more than 330,000 data points, so even Nebraska has more than 30,000 data. We still cannot successfully embed it into the ArcGis (the file is too large), but she is able to open that in QGIS such as below. She cannot change the expression of the data, so it is not that clear. We did the ArcGis Story Map as a format to present, so it is another problem for her to upload this data to ArcGis.
⁃Third, I complied census and GIS data from NHGIS website from 1950 to 2010 showing the demographical changes in Black and White as well as Asian. Then we would like to compare this map to the hail damage loss data and try to seek two or three stand out zip codes. My map of the data can be found under My Stories in ArcGIS: http://storymaps.arcgis.com/en/my-stories/
⁃Then, we will use the zip code to different insurance company website and get an estimated quote on disaster insurance. By using the data we found, we could make statement that whether insurance and disasters are related to demographics or not. (We are still struggling to get the hail and census data on the same map. Our map showing an introduction text and one slice of census data can be found here: http://www.arcgis.com/home/item.html?id=0d06649bf5ac4c5992d049cb0923f1be