Michael Peterson

     

Writings

Animated Atlas of Air Traffic
(2005)
Landscapes come in many shapes and sizes. There are tropical valleys and windswept desert plains. There are landscapes formed by methods of farming. Urban landscapes develop as a result of human patterns of habitation. Another landscape forms in the sky as thousands of aircraft are carefully choreographed by ground control to ferry passengers from one place to another. It is this landscape of constantly moving air traffic that is the subject of this atlas. This is a DVD product that includes animations of flights over North America.  The animations are time-lapses that show flights over a 24-hour period.  The display times can be varied between 30 and 90 seconds.   The included pamphlet explains the animations and provides additional information about the North American air traffic control system.

Maps and the Internet
Elsevier Press (2003)
Many see the Internet as a revolution for cartography . Previously tied to the medium of paper and expensive large-format color print technology, maps had a limited distribution and use. The Internet made it possible to not only distribute maps to a much larger audience but also to incorporate interaction and animation in the display. Maps have also become timelier with some maps of traffic and weather being updated every few minutes. In addition, it is now possible to access maps from servers throughout the world. Finally, the Internet has made historic maps available for viewing to the public that were previously only available in map libraries with limited access. Everyone who has lived through this dramatic change in information delivery will have memories of early experiences with the technology. My first experience with the World Wide Web came in early 1994 when a colleague demonstrated a program called Mosaic , an early web browser distributed by the National Center for Supercomputer Application (NCSA). He brought up a site for a museum but it took a long time to download the pictures. He turned around and started working at his desk while I continued to wait for the page to display. It was eventually finished but I walked away thinking that this will never work. I changed my mind, and four years later I was demonstrating Netscape, a successor to Mosaic, to a group of ninth graders in the computer laboratory of a local high school. I directed the students to a scanned map available through the Web that was relatively legible but did not include any interactive elements. As soon as the map was on the screen of everyone's computer, the students began to click on it to make it “do something.” Of course, all of their clicking was in vain. It was a static map, like those on paper, and it didn't do anything. As I stood in the middle of the room listening to the clicking around me, I wondered what this medium meant for this new generation of map users.

The Online Method to World Regional Geography
Kendall-Hunt (2003)
This book is an introduction to world regional geography through the World Wide Web. Rather than presenting information in the form of a textbook, the book describes how to use the web to search, assemble, and present information about regions of the world. The purpose is to learn how to use the Web to find information and present this information to others in the form of webpages.

Omaha Urban Atlas 2002
The map depicts violent crime in Omaha, Nebraska, and is one of many maps available in the Omaha Urban Atlas 2002. Violent crime involves the use of force and includes both assaults and robberies. This map depicts these crimes for the year 2000 by location. Robberies occur along the major arterial roads
where stores are located. The sharpest divide in the city occurs along 50th Street, between Pacific and Blondo. Few of these crimes were committed on the western side of 50th but the occurrence
is much higher on the eastern side of this divide. Large parts of western Omaha, especially west of 144th, have no occurrence of assaults or robberies.

The Automated Display of Maps and Images from the Web
In the Fall of 1998, I was looking at an old Macintosh computer that was no longer being used. It was ten years old and was limited by having only 8 MB of memory, a 40 MB hard drive and a slow processor. It could not even run a web browser like Netscape. The computer had a nice color monitor and it seemed to me that it could still serve a useful purpose. It occurred to me that a program could be written to download weather maps from the web and display them on the computer as a continuous loop. This could be done so the computer would run continuously, downloading updated maps at specified intervals. Such a program should only take a couple of weeks to write, I thought, and, once written, the computer would display updated weather maps forever. It would be a great way to use old computers.

I should have known better. It's not that the concept was flawed or that the idea was unworkable. I simply underestimated the amount of time it would take to write the program that would run continuously and respond to every possible error condition that might arise, particularly when downloading files from the web. Hundreds of hours and almost two years later, the program was finally finished. It turned out to be not one program but a series of programs executed by a main script at specific times. It was accomplished with software components that were either free, shareware, or had only a small cost. This book describes the procedure that was used. In the intervening time, a total of six computers have been assembled that now make up The Weather Map Display system. It represents a major attraction and stopping point for students and faculty who pass the display cases near the main office of the Department of Geography / Geology at the University of Nebraska at Omaha. The system has been in continuous operation since 1999. Two of the computers date to 1992, the others are from 1993 and 1995.

Multimedia Cartography
Springer (1999)
Multimedia cartography is based on the compelling notion that combining maps with other media (text, pictures, video, etc.) will lead to more realistic representations of the world. This notion is in contrast to the deeply ingrained idea in cartography that abstraction is the ultimate goal, and that, to some extent, the more abstract the map, the better it works as a functional representation of reality. Indeed, what is the purpose of cartography if it is not to make abstractions of the world that are more useful than looking at reality itself?

Interactive and Animated Cartography
Prentice Hall (1995)
A medium is the carrier of information. It is used to transmit knowledge and ideas between people. Each medium has a certain potential for communication. Maps, as depictions of the world, represent the way we communicate about the world around us. For centuries maps have been constructed on the medium of paper. The computer has been used for many years to assist the cartographer in making maps on paper. Now the computer is being used directly for the display of maps. For cartography the computer medium presents the potential of interaction and animation.


In Brief

Animated Atlas of Air Traffic
A fascinating collection of air traffic animations.

Maps and the Internet
"With this splendid volume comes a further direction for us to follow." ~ IMCOS, Spring 2004

The Online Method to World Regional Geography
Integrating the Web in a college-level world regional geography course.

Interactive and Animated Cartography
"Peterson argues persuasively that in the future mapping will integrate GIS, remote sensing, and computer graphic techniques with multimedia software and Internet information capabilities.." ~ Cartography & Geographic Information Systems

Omaha Urban Atlas 2002
From the location of theaters to the landscape of Omaha politics, this colorful atlas presents an informative snapshot of the city of Omaha, Nebraska.

The Automated Display of Maps and Images from the Web
A system is described that displays and updates weather maps for public display.

Multimedia Cartography
The explosive development of interactive multimedia products on CD-ROM and the Internet, via the WWW, has generated immense interest in this field.

Interactive and Animated Cartography
This book explores an innovative technology that can free mapping from the expediency of static images and afford through, fully engaging cartographic treatments of geography, history, and earth science. ~ Mark Monmonier