Posted on January 7th, 2014

Apollo News Snippets – January 2014

  • There is always something to talk about in the world of solar so for January, I turn my attention to recent advancements in this technology:Here is an idea to improve the efficient of organic solar cells with a nanostructure mesh of plastic and metal; and these scientists improved solar panels by creating a textured surface similar to wrinkles in a leaf.

    One way to increase the efficiency of solar panels is to convert more of the energy spectrum in sunlight, such as this idea to use super-tuned quantum dots; or another idea to use an ultra-thin film of metal and semiconductors.

    Cost is always a barrier to the adoption of a new technology so this idea creates lower priced, higher efficiency dye-sensitized solar cells; and from the department of bizarre, can pop music increase the efficiency of solar cells?

    Japanese architects have found new places to use solar panels in building design; and how about tiny solar cells to cover unusual surfaces?

mmartcr1A map showing US metropolitan areas color coded by local unemployment as above or below the national average. (Map Source: US BLS)
  • A lesson that geography teaches us is that scale matters. This is true in nearly any economic measure, for instance unemployment. And as our population continues to migrate towards major urban centers, this map produced by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (US BLS) might be interesting to a few of you out there.
  • Sometimes I am shocked by the breadth of research you can find on the web. Take for example this search, “GIS and ice rinks.” Yes, you do get hits and this one is an extensive research project on the feasibility of a winter meeting area in Williamstown, Massachusetts. GIS played a role in this research by helping to locate the best site for the new temporary ice rink which is the central attraction of the proposed Winter Commons.
  • From the state with my alma mater (the U of Illinois), we travel a short distance by car to Indianapolis, Indiana for a review of this metropolitan’s online GIS resources. Keeping our string of quality web resources alive, Indy offers an online viewer with a suite of mapping tools such as layer controls, print and parcel search. One item that is missing is a way to access the actual shapefiles which perhaps could be achieved by emailing the GIS staff listed on the site.

Brock Adam McCarty
Map Wizard
(720) 470-7988

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