The Invention of GIS

first_imgCharles WaldheimChair, Department of Landscape ArchitectureJohn E. Irving Professor of Landscape Architecture, Graduate School of DesignThe intellectual implications of geographic information systems (GIS) are enormous, and their practical applications are now in worldwide use.Since its origins in the 1960s, GIS has enabled designers, planners, developers, public agencies, and communities to make better decisions about the shape of urbanization and its impact. GIS improves design and planning by using geographically referenced data on subjects ranging from the economy to ecology and beyond.GIS was an innovation that emerged from the Laboratory for Computer Graphics at the Harvard Graduate School of Design (GSD). The “Lab” was founded by Harvard College and GSD graduate Howard Fisher in 1965 with a grant from the Ford Foundation. The grant was intended to explore the role of computer graphics in solving the social, spatial, and urban problems of the American city. A primary goal of this work was to aggregate ecological, sociological, and demographic data and to spatialize that data through computer mapping.Much of the early intellectual energy of the Lab went into computer mapping and modeling tools such as SYMAP and other applications that aided the development of GIS. In 1968, William Warntz, professor of theoretical geography, became director of the Lab and extended its work into spatial analysis.Two contributors to the early research and development of GIS played particularly significant roles. Carl Steinitz, professor emeritus of Landscape Architecture, focused on environmental analysis and theoretical frameworks for planning. In 1967, he led a design studio with GSD graduate candidates that used SYMAP to analyze and map urbanization in relation to natural systems in the Delmarva Peninsula. The early work was a major breakthrough in the development of what would become GIS. Over the intervening half century, Steinitz emerged as the most significant voice of his generation on the theory and practice of landscape planning.Jack Dangermond, M.L.A. ’69, joined the Lab in 1967 and aided in developing SYMAP. At the time, Harvard had one supercomputer, and Dangermond had to assemble unwieldy stacks of punch cards for processing. Finding processing times faster at night, Dangermond succeeded in printing his first computer map after a month of night work. He later founded the prominent company ESRI to make these tools broadly available for public and private clients.ESRI remains among the most important venues for the development of tools and techniques for the geographic analysis of design and planning decisions.last_img read more

Saint Mary’s students rebuild together

first_imgPhoto courtesy of Christin Kloski Saint Mary’s students participate in Rebuilding Together, rehabing housing and working in the South Bend community.me and skills, volunteers not only make a difference in the home itself, but they also learn how to collaborate with others and give of themselves in the process.”First-years Katie Long and Liz Mason said participating in this project allowed them to connect to members of the community and provided them the chance to give back for the support Saint Mary’s has from the neighboring areas.“The community here is so supportive and interested in what Saint Mary’s does,” Long said. “I think we need to show our thanks for everything they do for us.”“I think it is important to volunteer and take time out of your week to give back to your community,” Mason said. “Working hard with our fellow students on these homes for Rebuilding Together lets us do that.”First-year Emma Green said she recognizes the difference they can make through volunteer work in the community and why it is important to participate.“I feel like we live in a bubble here at school,” she said. “I want to experience what it’s like in the community we live in.”According to a college press release, Saint Mary’s has been participating in this program for ten years now, and will continue to offer participation to the students annually.Tags: OCSE, Office of Civic and Social Engagement, Rebuilding Together, St. Joseph County A group of Saint Mary’s students gathered Saturday to rehabilitate homes in South Bend as part of National Rebuilding Month, a month-long call to service. The Office of Civic and Social Engagement (OCSE) hosted the community outreach event to clean up and beautify homes in the local community.According to a college press release, the Saint Joseph chapter of Rebuilding Together began in 1989 and each year focuses on a different area of the county. More than 75 Saint Mary’s students were stationed at four houses in the Olive Street and Lincoln Way West neighborhoods to complete tasks such as painting, cleaning, raking and planting at a home. The primary recipients of these home improvements are those who might not be able to physically or financially provide these changes on their own.Erika Buhring, director of the OCSE, said in the press release, “Rebuilding Together is a wonderful opportunity for volunteers to make an immediate change in the lives of community members. By donating tlast_img read more

An American tradition

first_imgBy Stephanie SchupskaUniversity of GeorgiaGreen beer isn’t Irish. Neither is corned beef and cabbage. But along with green rivers and green clothes, they define an American Saint Patrick’s Day.Across the ocean on March 17, many Irish will probably fill their pots with the customary lamb and potatoes.“People in Ireland don’t see anything we eat as traditional Irish food,” said Connie Crawley, a University of Georgia Cooperative Extension health and nutrition specialist.“Their ideas are typical lamb dishes. It’s really what we’ve kind of developed in this country to be Irish foods. Originally, lamb was probably more expensive in this country, so we switched to beef.”Crawley traces her roots back to Ireland. Like her ancestors, she said, many Irish immigrants were very poor when they first came to America. And that might be when corned beef came into play.“It was probably used because it was one of the least expensive meats,” she said. “It probably wasn’t as flavorful a piece of meat, and that’s why it was seasoned, to make it more tender and more tasty.”While all beef has some saturated fat and cholesterol, Crawley said, corned beef’s biggest downfall is its sodium content. Just 3 ounces of cooked corned beef brisket has 964 milligrams of sodium, slightly less than half of what a person should eat daily.For those measuring, a 3-ounce serving is the size of a deck of cards. Most people eat a slab of corned beef two to three times that size.“It’s something that’s a special-occasion food,” Crawley said of corned beef.Potatoes are probably the most Irish part of any American St. Patrick’s Day dish. Many Irish originally came to the U.S. to escape starvation due to the potato famine.“Potatoes were a very big part of their diet at that point, and they still are,” Crawley said. “That’s probably why potatoes are so popular in this country.”Americans can enjoy a St. Patrick’s Day fare of corned beef, cabbage and potatoes with a little less guilt and with relatively little hassle. Crawley suggests balancing that sodium-loaded meal by eating foods lower in sodium the rest of the day.Also, add the cabbage and unpeeled potatoes in the last 10-20 minutes of cooking so that “they’re barely cooked instead of cooked to death,” she said.Find corned beef that’s as lean as possible, or cook it on March 16 and skim off the fat before reheating it on St. Patrick’s Day. Crawley first heard of green beer in the 1970s in Cleveland, Ohio. “I think the Irish would probably be horrified,” she said. “It’s probably a marketing tool for bars.”Instead of indulging in dyed beer, she said, “there are good Irish beers available. And maybe if you buy a better beer, you won’t drink as much.”A serving of alcohol is a 12-ounce beer, 4 to 5 ounces of wine or 1 to 1.5 ounces of hard liquor. Men should drink two or fewer servings a day. Women should drink one or less due to a direct relation between excess alcohol and breast cancer.“Beer has a lot of calories and not much else,” Crawley said. “Moderate intake may have some health benefits. But, again, the risk of abuse is so much there that people who don’t drink shouldn’t start.”As for what the Irish may be serving on St. Patrick’s Day, “I went to an Irish pub in Amsterdam, and what they served was shepherd’s pie [a casserole-type dish with layers of ground beef or lamb, carrots and green peas, topped with mashed potatoes],” she said. Traditional dishes also include lamb stew with potatoes and carrots. But that may be changing a bit.“Until the 1990s, people were leaving Ireland to work in other countries,” Crawley said. “Now, people are moving back.”As the Irish economy booms, she said, restaurants there are leading a renaissance with novel, innovative cuisine.(Stephanie Schupska is a news editor with the University ofGeorgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.)last_img read more