Foursquare helps researchers rethink the concept of neighborhood | Geographer: Spring is starting earlier | Google pictures reveal extent of Hurricane Irene damage

April 26, 2012
AAG SmartBrief
News for geographers

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Foursquare helps researchers rethink the concept of neighborhood
Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University are using Foursquare's check-in data to develop "social proximity" maps of New York, San Francisco and Pittsburgh neighborhoods. The maps offer a finer resolution than typical neighborhood definitions, grouping people by location but also by activities and other social data. "It's a really interesting way to see a snapshot of the structure of the city," researcher Justin Cranshaw says. MIT Technology Review online (4/18)
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Geographer: Spring is starting earlier
An image taken by NASA's Aqua satellite in early April shows the greening of spring. Spring has been coming earlier and earlier over the past few decades, according to Mark D. Schwartz, a geographer at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Still, this year, spring has started especially early, Schwartz said. WTVR-TV (Richmond, Va.) (4/19)
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Northwestern University School of Professional Studies
The Master of Arts in Public Policy and Administration degree is designed for future leaders who are motivated to shape meaningful policy that delivers positive impact. Be prepared to affect change through education policy. Courses offered fully online or in the evening on Northwestern's campus. Learn more.

Research, Education and Global Change
Water everywhere in new Africa map
Scientists have analyzed below-ground water resources across Africa and have discovered aquifers that could provide for many of the estimated 300 million living without safe drinking water. Huge stores of groundwater in aquifers were found especially in Libya, Algeria and Chad. The researchers caution that because these desert aquifers are no longer being replenished from rainfall, they could be quickly depleted if tapped too rapidly. BBC (4/20)
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South Korea, Japan argue over name of body of water
Japan and South Korea are involved in a dispute over what to call the body of water that separates the two countries. Japan prefers calling it the "Sea of Japan," while South Korea prefers the name "East Sea." The disagreement was expected to be a topic of conversation at a meeting of the International Hydrographic Organization this week. The Wall Street Journal (tiered subscription model) (4/22)
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Want to Be a Better Salesperson? Build Relationships
Today's knowledge-hungry consumers often know as much about a product as the people trying to sell it. So what's your sales edge? Learning to build stronger relationships with your clients. Read the featured article.

Technology and ApplicationsSponsored By
10 key facts about GIS certification
Five organizations, including the Association of American Geographers, lend their authority to the GIS Certification Institute to administer the GIS Professional certification, writes Sheila Wilson, GISP and executive director of the GIS Certification Institute. States including California, Montana and New Jersey have backed the certification, which is held by more than 5,000 people, Wilson writes. Directions Magazine (4/23)
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Scalability means GIS utility success for S.C. county
Scalability was the key concept when the Joint Municipal Water and Sewer Commission of Lexington County, S.C., began mapping its utilities six years ago. The project started with the sewer system, where survey-grade GPS technology was used to create a geo-database. From there, officials expanded and fully integrated the system to make it a one-stop shop for workers. A mobile Web-based application connects workers with the office and makes sure they have constant access to the latest data. CE News (4/2012)
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Complex Compliance Regulations Raise the Stakes for Organizations
Wage and hour lawsuits are steadily rising thanks to increasingly complex compliance regulations. Insulate your organization from FLSA issues and reduce costs with automated workforce management solutions.
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Association News
AAG offers grants to improve careers in geography training
The AAG, through the Enhancing Departments and Graduate Education (EDGE) project funded by NSF, announces a grant program to support outreach, professional training and related activities aimed at improving awareness of and preparation for business, government and nonprofit careers in geography. Approximately 24 awards of $500 are available and will be granted on a competitive basis to support activities that address one or more of the priority areas of the AAG's EDGE project. Learn more.
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AAG's MyCOE Rio+20 welcomes entries for sustainability showcase
MyCOE Rio+20 is accepting innovative, community-based projects created by students that address sustainable development challenges using geography, mapping or GIS. Entries will be made available for public viewing, and select projects will be showcased during the Rio+20 United Nations Conference for Sustainable Development in June 2012 and will receive special recognition and prizes. Learn more at
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One person with a belief is equal to a force of 99 who have only interests."
-- John Stuart Mill,
British philosopher and political economist
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