Investigating Glacial Landforms with Google Earth

“Investigating Glacial Landforms with Google Earth”  is a beta version of an assignment used in my totally online and hybrid introductory physical geography courses.

Investigation Glacial Landforms with Google Earth

Purpose: To apply a basic understanding of glacial process, and analytical tools for landform identification.

Learning Outcomes

At the conclusion of the exercise you should be able to:

  • Identify typical alpine and continental glacial landforms from aerial photographs and topographic maps.
  • Explain the origin of typical of glacial landforms through the use of analytical tools.

See: Investigating Glacial Landforms with Google Earth. Assignment submission forms are included. Comments appreaciated.

Published in: on January 8, 2011 at 5:04 pm  Comments (1)  
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2010 in review

The stats helper monkeys at mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads Wow.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

About 3 million people visit the Taj Mahal every year. This blog was viewed about 37,000 times in 2010. If it were the Taj Mahal, it would take about 5 days for that many people to see it.

In 2010, there were 5 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 34 posts. There were 3 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 135kb.

The busiest day of the year was January 14th with 662 views. The most popular post that day was Google Earth Before and After images of Haiti Quake.

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were,,,, and

Some visitors came searching, mostly for google earth online, rss icon, earth online, online google earth, and google earth on line.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.


Google Earth Before and After images of Haiti Quake January 2010


USGS Multimedia Gallery RSS Feeds December 2009


Live Hurricane Hunter Missions in Google Earth July 2008
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Physical Geography Podcast January 2009
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Keeping track of the 2009 hurricane season with Google Earth June 2009

Published in: on January 4, 2011 at 7:49 pm  Leave a Comment  

The Geoscience Channel

I’ve created a new blog called the Geoscience Channel devoted to sharing geoscience-related videos every Tuesday and Thursday. Find it at The Geoscience Channel on WordPress.

Published in: on December 13, 2010 at 9:56 pm  Leave a Comment  
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National Geographic Google Earth Grants Map

The National Geographic Society is well known for the research they have sponsored over the last 120 years. Over 9,000 grants to increase awareness and share geographic knowledge have been award by the Society. You can explore the grant projects with Google Earth. Clicking on a place mark pops up a description of the project. The Google Earth overlay presents the breadth of the Society’s work is visually striking way. A link on each project description gives you the opportunity to support the NGS.

For more see: National Geographic Google Earth Grants Map

Published in: on December 13, 2010 at 6:00 am  Leave a Comment  
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USGS WaterAlert System

Cape May, N.J. gage station. Courtesy USGS.

The WaterAlert system from the USGS is  useful new feature for professionals and public alike. Users can receive an e-mail or text message (hourly or daily) when selected parameters collected at USGS station exceed user-defined thresholds. Real-time data from the USGS gages is sent at various intervals, generally once every 1 to four hours to USGS offices. Notifications are based on the site dependent intervals for the data of interest.

Four data types can be subscribed and alerts sent for the following parameters depending on station:

Surface water: Discharge and Gage Height

Groundwater: Water Level, Below LSD (ft)

Water Quality: Temperature

Total Precipitation: 1, 2, 4, 6, 12, 24 hours

For each data type, the following threshold conditions can be set:

Threshold conditions:

  • Greater than
  • Less than
  • Outside a range
  • Inside a range
Published in: on May 19, 2010 at 12:42 pm  Leave a Comment  
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The National Map from the USGS

The United States Geological Survey National Geospatial Program “provides leadership for USGS geospatial coordination, production and service activities.” The National Map is one of several initiatives administered by the program . The National Map puts orthoimagery (aerial photographs), elevation, geographic names, hydrography, boundaries, transportation, structures, and land cover at the fingertips of users through its web viewer. The National Map is transitioning to a new method for delivering its products, making it ever more useful for professionals, teachers, students, and the general public. The new National Map Beta Viewer and Download platform recently made its debut. In addition to better product access, the new viewer lets you preview and download all National Map data and new US TOPO maps from one site. It will be interoperable with map viewers such as Google Maps, Bing!Maps, Google Earth using WMS, KML or ArcGIS. The viewer provides GIS tools to identify features, perform measurements and reverse geocode. For more information about features Introduction Letter Beta Information Sheet User Help/Support (QuickStart, FAQs, Contact Us). Useful tools like area measurement is provided free of charge, unlike the free version of Google Earth. The video below illustrates some of these features.

I encourage you to check out the new National Map beta viewer.

Published in: on February 5, 2010 at 5:27 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Google Earth Before and After images of Haiti Quake

Originally posted on The Physical Environment blog

The folks at Google LatLong blog have created a Google Earth layer with the most recent images of the devastation in Haiti. Below are before-and-after screenshots of the Presidential Palace and an area of Port-au-Prince:

Haiti Before and After Images

Image source: Google LatLong blog

Go to the Google LatLong blog for more information and the Google Earth layer.

Published in: on January 14, 2010 at 3:27 pm  Comments (1)  
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USGS Multimedia Gallery RSS Feeds

RSS feeds are a way for content providers to send web site updates to users. Users can subscribe via a newsreader or, as I do, add them to a personal web portal page like iGoogle. The user’s feed reader is updated with the latest information as new material is added by the content provider. The USGS uses a variety of social media and RSS to push out late-breaking news, research notes,  and a host of other information. Their Multimedia Gallery ( feeds are particularly useful for teachers looking for materials to use in their courses. The gallery RSS feed alerts subscribers to new media as its added to their collections. Collections currently include:

DOI Recovery
Natural Hazards
Climate Change
USGS Museum
Natural and Man-made Structures
Native American and Tribal Activities
USGS Libraries
Employees at Work
USGS Wallpapers
Biologic and Environmental Contamination

Most items in the gallery are in the public domain.

Published in: on December 6, 2009 at 3:39 pm  Comments (1)  

Keeping track of the 2009 hurricane season with Google Earth

hurrican2The folks at Google Earth are at it again. Like last year, they have created a folder under “Weather” that lets you track the progress of the current hurricane season. Included in this folder you’ll find updated storm tracks courtesy of the National Hurricane Center. The current position, predicted track, storm overview, NHS storm advisory, reference information, and a near real-time news gadget are also provided.

Source of this post and image: Google LatLong.

The Physical Environment link: Hurricanes

Published in: on June 25, 2009 at 12:05 pm  Comments (1)  

Tweeting Geoscience

twitter_logoTwitter has become a phenomenon in the Web 2.0 universe. As many know, Twitter is a social messaging and microblogging site for staying connected to people in near-real time. Users send “tweets”, text-formatted posts of 140 characters in length to “followers”. Followers subscribe to these Twitter feeds, getting regular updates on their computers and smart phones. Twitter had been dominated by tech savvy Gen-Xers, Millennials, celebrities and well-known politicians like President Obama. The social networking site has experienced an explosion of subscribers using the service for a variety of different purposes.

Those in the geoscience community have found Twitter a useful way to keep other informed.  Earth science – related professional and governmental organizations are using Twitter to keep the public informed of late breaking developments related to their missions. For example, NOAA’s OceanExplorer ( ) uses Twitter to broadcast updates to its site, announce new programs, highlight articles in which NOAA projects are discussed. In academia, professors can “tweet” when they are in their offices and accessible to colleagues and students.

Below is a list of Twitterers related to geoscience and what they are tweeting.

Type of Tweets: Program announcements, news, answers to USGS Frequently Asked Questions.

USGS News:
Type of Tweets: News from the USGS

USGS Earthquake:
Type of Tweets: recent earthquake activity

NASA Earth Observatory:
Type of Tweets: Imagery added to their site, site updates, new articles

Type of Tweets: News articles

Science Dailybot:
Type of Tweets: News fed from ScienceDaily, a premier online new source.

AEG Arizona:
Type of Tweets: News links, conference announcements

The GIS Forum:
Type of Tweets: GIS in the new, workshop announcements, data resources, applications

Type of Tweets: Geology job postings

Published in: on April 28, 2009 at 7:14 pm  Leave a Comment