- From batteries in March, we turn our attention to advancements in biofuel technology this month.First, we have several ideas for better biofuels that are produced by fungus and bacteria. This research suggest waste plant matter can be converted by a combination of fungus and bacteria species into high-powered hydrocarbons. While this idea uses a bacteria found in our stomachs, Escherichia coli (or E. coli), to produce propane. The bacteria, Caldicellulosiruptor bescii, may be able to breakdown switchgrass into a biofuel without pretreatment.
Now here are three ideas for alternate sources of biomass for conversion to biofuel. Swedish researchers have installed a system in Spain to convert olive mash into energy. An oil-rich variety of tobacco is being grown in Africa with the hopes of biofuels which might power airplanes. And this cold-resistant strain of sugar which also has a higher oil content is meant for fields producing biofuels here in the USA.
- The NOAA climate report is out for February 2015 and the warming trend continues. February 2015 was the second warmest over the land in this month behind that of 2002. And when take together with the rest of the winter months, it represents the warmest winter on record in the Northern Hemisphere. To read more about from the NOAA February 2015 climate report, click here.
- It’s April and while April Fools’ Day has just past, this is still a fun Google search, “GIS and April Fool’s Day.” When you run this search, you might find out about the prank Google ran in 2014 where they embedded more than 150 Pokémon in Google Maps for iOS and Android. Who knows what Google did for their 2015 prank as we had to write this article in March, but whatever it was, it will be hard to beat the 2014 edition for us spatial nerds!
- From the desert southwest, we travel to the northeast of the USA for a review of New Hampshire’s biggest city’s GIS – can you guess what that biggest city is?! Well I couldn’t without the help of the Interwebs, it is Manchester. And for a city with only ~100,000 residents, their GIS website (or web map is a better way to put it) is rather robust. Once you sign into the online web map, you will find a wide variety of data layers to turn on and off, the ability to export PDF maps of your view and even tax ID information and photos of every parcel in the city. The only oversight I see (which is common for city GIS sites we have reviewed) is the ability to download shapefiles and raster GIS files. But still, overall, nice work Manchester! And sorry I did not know you were the biggest city in NH!
Brock Adam McCarty