- The February 2016 technology snippet will continue the theme started last month on random and cool advancements to clean my back log of topics a bit.Here is a way to reduce global carbon dioxide level with a plastic-like sponge. The world’s largest rooftop farm is (or perhaps was?) in Chicago! Here is the first hybrid airplane which can use up to 30% less fuel. This is a new idea to generate power from waves. A Dutch company uses plants to power hot spots, LED lighting and more. Your typing pattern and stroke is unique, it could be used to power your next green keyboard as well as offer an extra layer of security. Our society generate lots of waste heat, this material could harvest some of it. Is the yarn in your Ford F-150 made from recycled plastic?
I would love a lightning fast computer made with optical computer chips or even by nanolasers. In the future, we might all be using carbon nanotube lights bulbs that are 100 times more efficient than LEDs. I could think of more than one friend who would love clothing heated with ultra-efficient nanowires. Our waterways are clogged with algae, maybe we should harvest the algae for biofuel and fertilizers. Is a wireless household charger just around the corner?
This idea would be perfect for the developing world and those off the grid as it uses sunlight to clean wastewater and generate electricity; or how about this gold catalyst which will also clean water and generate hydrogen gas. This nickel foam electrode can also split water into hydrogen gas. Here is a way to use nature to generate power at the freshwater-saltwater interface. Who knew that a simple AAA battery could split water into oxygen and hydrogen gas? And could we store milk in the developing world with low-cost pulsed electric fields?
- This month was a double gut punch for the climate-change deniers out there as the NOAA global climate report for December 2015 confirms it as the hottest month ever and accordingly the hottest December ever in 136 years of records. But wait folks, that’s not it – the 2015 annual NOAA global climate report also confirms that 2015 was by far the hottest year on record! The December departure from average exceeded 1 degree Celsius for the first time in record keeping as well. Check out the facts for yourself – this is an important topic we all need to be aware of.
- On February 10, 1863, Alanson Crane invented the fire extinguisher, and in honor of this momentous occasion (J) my Google search of the month was, “GIS and fire.” If you comb through the many hits you get, you might find this paper on forest fire risk mapping by Claudia Cáceres of Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota. In this study, Cáceres uses a variety of layers, including land cover type, elevation and distance to roads, to assess fire risk in a traditional weighted overlay approach.
- For this month’s review of city GIS websites, we stay on the East Coast traveling from Philadelphia to Rhode Island’s largest town, Providence. The landing page for the Providence GIS department definitely leaves a lot to be desired but it does have links to multiple resources. From this page, you can access a collection of PDF plat maps and then a collection of themed PDF maps. There are also some slick looking web maps you can access on general information, 2010 census data and city council zones, however with Google Chrome I did not have much success making the maps work. You are able to email the GIS team with custom data requests using the form here.
Brock Adam McCarty