Archive for the ‘environment’ Category

Avatar 3D, an ancient phenomenon on Vancouver Island.

July 28, 2010 1 comment

See the world we come from: there’s no green there. They’ve killed their mother, and they’re going to do the same thing here. ~ Jake Sully (Avatar, 2009).   

The environmental commentary on our civilization from the blockbuster movie ‘Avatar’ is hard to ignore. The lush forests and natural wonders of Pandora are are not altogether different from those of our planet that remain following massive changes to the landscape from human intervention. In an attempt to associate the awe-inspiring scenery of Pandora to our world, the Ancient Forest Alliance (AFA) organization based in British Columbia has named an old growth forest in Vancouver Island ‘Avatar Grove.’

Dubbed one of the 'gnarliest' Old Growth trees in Avatar Grove. Photo credit: TJ Watt.

Avatar Grove has been approved for logging, prompting a campaign from local groups including AFA and VIC FAN (Vancouver Island Community Forest Action Network). So far the campaign has entailed walks to the location fo the public and media, a protest in downtown Vancouver,  and a photography contest on facebook calling for pictures of the biggest stumps in the area.

VIC FAN has launched a  Wild Coast Mapping Project to map the southwest coast of Vancouver Island from Sooke to Port Renfrew. Data has been collected from observations and local knowledge of students and Island residents making the project a community mapping exercise. VIC FAN’s next community event is a ‘Wild-Coast campout and eco-survey’ that will take place from July 31st to August 2nd. The organization hopes engage community volunteers to document ecologically-sensitive karst in Avatar Grove that would provide a compelling case for the province to protect it from logging.



To learn more about VIC FAN’s Wild Coast Mapping Project and how you can get involved, click here.

Sana Razvi, Planning Intern, VERTICES, LLC.

The Tale that the River Told.

July 26, 2010 Leave a comment

‘The River’s Tale’ is a poem written by Rudyard Kipling almost a century ago in colonial India. Kipling believed that should a River be granted the ability to speak, it would tell a story of its travels, similar to the one in his poem. Although no River has been granted such an ability,  people have taken it upon themselves to tell its story and guide others to explore its path. The Mississippi River is a prime example. 

The Mississippi River Trail consists of 3,000 miles of bikeways (both on-road and off-road) and pedestrian pathways that follow the Mississippi River from its headwaters in Itasca, Minnesota to the Gulf of Mexico. The Mappler® community mapping tool  was utilized to create accessible interactive maps of the Trail. What began as a test project to map 3 urban areas (Twin Cities, St.Louis, and New Orleans) unfolded as an extensive project to map the enitre corridor.  Trail users can now access maps on mobile devices to guide their course along the river and read about sites of interest with a single click.

To view the interactive maps of the Mississippi River Trail and learn more about the project, click here.

Sana Razvi, Planning Intern, VERTICES, LLC.

Mapping Towns as We Know Them…

March 24, 2009 Leave a comment

Residents of Cowichan County, Canada got together to last month to map what they perceived to be important assets of their community.  Such things as historic landmarks, cycling trails, and even environmental sites that are being neglected were mapped.  The event allowed the citizens of Cowichan County to learn more about their environment and where they live, where their food comes from, and where their children and their children’s children may grow up.  The event turned into more of a social gathering rather than a social experiment which helped increase the number of residents that came to the event.  

For more information about the Cowichan County effort, click here

Mapping and Development…

March 10, 2009 Leave a comment

The county government of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania has decided to invest in the mapping of the Allegheny River Trail.  A 32-mile stretch of land that encompasses 18 municipalities will be able to reap the benefits of the map by haing the interactive map detail the individualized ownership of the trail, various economic opportunities along the trail, and identifying the trail land characteristics.  The map itself will also connect with other interactive maps that have already been constructed regarding other parks and trails in the area.  The mapping of the trail and the adjacent communities will provide a level of information never before seen or difficult to obtain that will allow development in these areas to be much more accessible.

To read more about the Allegheny County efforts, click here

Kenneth E. Liwag; Rutgers University Planning Intern; VERTICES, LLC.

Mapping the Amazon…

February 12, 2009 Leave a comment

Efforts have begun to map the soya plantations that exist in the Amazon to record the amount of land that is disappearing from the deforestation of the Amazon.  Greenpeace has teamed up with some local Brazilian organizations to map soya plantations, tribal habitats, and where former tribal habitats used to exist.  This project will help provide a case to stop the deforestation of the Amazon and hopefully provide the land to these indigenous people that was taken from under them due to the harvesting of the valuable raw materials located in the Amazon.

To read more about this effort, click here

Kenneth E. Liwag, Rutgers University Planning Intern, VERTICES, LLC.

Mapping During Environmental Disasters…

February 10, 2009 Leave a comment


Wildfires have ravaged much of Southern Australia and keeping residents and fire fighters up-to-date on the latest information can prove to be a difficult task.  However thanks to the digital age, this task has been easier to accomplish.  With the help of Google Maps, many people have now been providing valuable information on the spread of these wildfires and suggesting which areas are safe to find refuge in and which areas should be looking in evacuating soon.  Mapping has always been used as a tool for education and  now it is saving lives…

For more information, click here

Kenneth E. Liwag, Rutgers University Planning Intern, VERTICES, LLC.