Follow that Star (Stalking Jason Mraz with ArcGIS online)

Have you ever tried stalking someone using an interactive map? This time, everyone could be a cartographer of their own stalker’s map. Yes! ESRI will give you the chance to follow that favorite artist of yours and even the activities of your hidden love one using ArcGIS online. Are you ready to start that amazing map right now? Chill and just take a look on these not so difficult steps in making your own maps.

First go to: http://www.arcgis.com/home/webmap/viewer.html. You can also register an ESRI global account for you to save online maps that you would generate in the said website.

Upon registering, you can start on making your own maps. First thing to do is to choose a basemap (depending on the map you want to produce). Here is a screen shot on how to choose a base map. Just click on the choice map and it will load on the right screen of the page.

Now we can create an editable layer where we can put the data we want to show on our basemap. A screen that looks like the picture below should appear. You can put on the name of your map and some notes regarding the map.  After creating the layer, you may start adding features.This is the part that you locate the places by representing it as a point on the map or a polygon if your representing a big scope on the map.

Contents of the feature box depend on the type of layer you choose. After clicking on the symbol you will be using, place it on the basemap and a textbox similar below would appear. You can input the details regarding the description of the feature. You may also add images by pasting the image URL on the box provided for this part.

In our map, we’ve chosen to use the pushpins to locate each place he went. We’ve also included the date and venue of the concert, and a photo taken during that concert.

Repeat this process until you map all the features needed for your map. Below is the sample output after doing these processes. This is a map of Jason Mraz’s concerts in the year 2011. If you hover your cursor to a pushpin, you will be able to see the details of the concert, given that you’re still on the online ArcGIS Map Viewer.

Written by Angelipio Artates and Don Dilidili

Workshop Galore :)

by Mikko Tamura

Last meeting, February 20,2012, was a definitely a different experience for us as a class. We were expecting that the whole day would be focused on plate making and discussions, but it was just a part of totally different experience. Our professors, Ma’am Ony and Sir Emman, planned out a different approach for that week’s meeting in which we could better grasp the concepts we have learned and apply them in different workshop activities.

The day started out with finalizing and editing our map portfolios. Next, Ma’am Ony gave us an activity in digital cartography, wherein we need to learn how to use the back wash effect, Swiss effect, and hill shade in order to present a different aspect in mapping. We were to make a map of our respective regions, presenting the capital cities with the previous effects included in the map. It was not an easy task for we were typically not used to the new effects though it was worth it for we have added a new skill in designing and presenting valuable and significant data.

Our professor then asked us to stop what we were doing to give way to a presentation provided by Mr. David Jonathan Garcia, one of our mentors from the Geography Department. He mainly talked about tips on how to make our maps better. He also delved on the perspectives in making maps, tackling how important it is for the cartographer to know the purpose of making the map and for whom the map is for. At the end of the discussion he gave us some pretty good advice on lay-out, visual hierarchy, use of font, and many more that will indeed help and prepare us in making better maps. In fact, we were still talking about the things Sir DJ said during our lunch break.

Later that day, Ma’am Ony asked us to step out of class and head to the 2nd Floor Lobby of Palma Hall. We did not expect the following things to happen. Our professors planned out work shop activities for us where in we could better understand and apply the concepts in making maps. With the help of Ms. Car Zabala (who recently finished BS Geography), we completed 3 activities wherein we could practice and stimulate our skills in organizing our thoughts.

In the first activity, we were grouped by pair.  Then we were given seven coins and 5 minutes in which we have to present our randomly drawn concept. We were to only use the materials given and present our concept in its most creative way. The concepts given were things that are also important in cartography like logic, passion, emotion, and hierarchy.  It was very challenging for we have to work in pairs and some words were typically hard to present with the limited materials. We have learned in this activity how to cooperate and form a consensus in pairs. In addition, we understood how map making is similar to what we have done. The art of map making becomes challenging because we would have to present things in with limited space on the paper at the same time it should convey perfectly what we want to present to our readers.

The second part of the workshop was an individual activity. Basically the mechanics were to draw something using the letters of the word “PEACE” wherein the concept is imbibed in the drawing. We were given 20 minutes in order to come up with a portrait and later explain our designs.

The third activity was also individually done. This time we were given a blank paper with 9 equally sized circles in it. The challenge was to draw anything we want that are all connected, and were to draw only inside the 9 circles. This activity was quite easier as compared to the second one for we were not limited with the use of concepts and representations. This in fact gave us an idea that the challenge was not only to logically connect things and link concepts but also reminds us of the reality that in making maps we are also given the task of presenting which element is more important and how are we able to present things with limited space.

The day was very tiring but nonetheless productive. Our class has learned so much that meeting about map making. After the activity, we were driven with the inspiration of gaining new understanding about cartography. Indeed, learning is not bounded by the four corners of the classroom. Learning can be more encouraging when the students are exposed to different environments once in a while.

A Root of Knowledge for the Novice’s Indulgence

Who would have thought that in the center of a very busy business district lies a very quiet and peaceful place that sheds  knowledge rooted from the early years of our civilization. Indeed, The Filipinas Heritage Library is one of the biggest centers for research and education in the country. As such it is an integral resource base that supports the educational needs of Filipinos, strategically located at the heart of Makati where public access is guaranteed.

Old books are rare in most of the libraries here in the country. Only limited of their kind, like Filipinas Heritage Library, offer this rare storage of knowledge, and when it comes to maps, it is also a challenge for cartographers to find relics of old maps of the country. Luckily we have Filipinas Heritage which still keeps this remnant of Spanish-made maps of the Philippines.

Our class visited the Library last January 14 to document select maps from its collection. The experience was  great, aside from the fact that it was our first time in the library, and that it was also our first time as geography majors and student of cartography to encounter old maps and examine their designs and layout. If architect students have Ilocos for observing design principles as applied in structures, we might consider Filipinas library as a place for people with interest in the composition of old maps for research and study purposes.

Aside from the wonderful experience, the environment also gave us warm accommodation, welcoming us and making us comfortable in doing our tasks. The place is cozy enough for us to relax and at the same time  think carefully and critically about the old maps we chose.

Though of course, items for the collection are limited, still hopes for us are high that the library, in years from now, will expand its collection and will soon accommodate not only old maps, but relevant and useful maps created by Filipinos.

New place and new motivational experiences, and hope for better things like Filipinas Heritage Library. May this one of a kind experience with the root of knowledge linger and eventually bear a good fruit for us, future cartographers of the country.

-Alip Artates

Aside

A Metropolitan Trip

Our trip to the Metropolitan museum was very unique in the sense that it gave us very valuable information with regards to design principles while at the same time catering a very pleasant atmosphere. Our goal for the trip was to enhance our design perspective and at the same time develop a sense of appreciation for the exhibits on display.

We started our tour of the museum with a photo exhibit which showcased the works of different Spanish photographers. The subjects of the photos ranged from still life to everyday moments and were portrayed in either black and white or color. The way that these photos were shown served as a testament to the power that comes when an individual truly masters his art. The pictures, which were all ordinary and everyday moments, projected a spectrum of emotions that even with words will prove to be very hard to describe. It was amazing to see these photographs because they were captured in very ordinary ways and yet oozed a very extraordinary charisma. Ultimately, it’s very nice to know that even the most mundane and ordinary experiences can be immortalized given the right medium, the right moment, and the capacity to act when these events come together.

The second part of our metropolitan museum trip consisted of looking at Hispanic maps and paintings about the province of Ilocos. In essence, most of the maps and paintings were very political, not only because they were commissioned by the government during the time, but also because the influences of the most powerful families during the day even manifested in maps. For example, when high ranking officials knew a certain family, they included the residential address of this particular family in the maps. Something which may seem very unlikely and very biased when critiqued by using modern map making standards. Also, and in my mind more importantly, a series of paintings that were commissioned by the Spanish government were geared towards dominance and imperialism by portraying Filipino rebels being decapitated. Something which may seem very morbid regardless of conventional beliefs and yet it was employed for the purpose of controlling the Filipino people by sending them a message that anyone who stood up against the Spanish is certain to face imminent death. I was horrified at the content of these images since it gave a detailed picture of the miserable plight of Filipinos back then. And yet I found it truly amazing because technically those maps and those paintings showed us very little, but nonetheless it gave us a clear picture of how things were going back then, and it did so with a sense of power and awe.

Our last stop for our metropolitan trip focused on pre Hispanic Filipino artifacts. Most of which consisted of gold. The mere sight of those artifacts is sure to squeeze respect and reverence from anyone who has the capability to use their eyes. Textbooks about Filipinos back then stated that they were almost naked, and for the parts that they were covering instead of using cloth they used gold. That should give anyone a good idea of just how rich the Philippines is when it comes to natural resources. Another thing that is worth mentioning about these golden artifacts is the way in which they were created. The craftsmanship involved with the creation of those artifacts is nothing short of adept. For anyone to create materials with such intricate patterns of almost impossible shapes considering that the technology back then was definitely not that advanced is sure to make any audience amazed. I can boldly say that even if those patterns and designs were not cast in gold, the mere fact that that they were created with such mastery is enough for them to be declared as national treasures.

As our metropolitan trip ended, everyone in our class left with a very light and happy humor. The whole experience was very nostalgic in many ways since it brought us back to our elementary school days wherein we had to fall in line and then stare blankly at paintings and artifacts which held no meaning to our juvenile and shallow minds. Only this time there were no lines and instead of juvenile minds and blank stares, there were only open eyes and hearts full of appreciation.

-Erlan T. Mendoza

A Metropolitan Trip