NSCC’s Centre of Geographic Sciences (COGS) can map just about anything. It’s just one of the Centre’s areas of expertise. So when Dave MacLean, faculty at COGS for the last 13 years, started plotting the tweets from Canadian Astronaut Chris Hadfield, the centre’s reach went from international to out of this world.
The map shows photos Commander Hadfield has taken all over the planet while he and his crew orbit the Earth 16 times a day. They cover most of the expedition so far and new photo locations get added daily. Tweets about this map were co-ordinated between NSCC and Space.
The Canadian astronaut, currently living in space aboard the International Space Station as Flight Engineer on Expedition 34, has garnered half a million followers as he gives a snapshot of his spatial views each day. He will serve as Commander for Expedition 35.
“In the Geographic Information Systems(GIS) program at COGS our students and faculty will map just about anything,” says MacLean, “but extending our reach into Space is pretty amazing.”
The GIS faculty member was able to connect with the astronaut’s son who wanted to ensure the map reached his father’s followers on Twitter. On March 11, the map link was Tweeted from Space.
“The students and I have had a real learning experience by following Commander Hadfield’s adventures,” adds MacLean. “He has really reached out to the nation, singing with The Barenaked Ladies, chatting with students through amateur radio. He’s brought his adventures with NASA down to Earth, thanks to this creative approach to communicating his work and showing us all a little bit more about how special this planet is.”
MacLean says, “To his efforts, we get to add state-of-the-art mapping capabilities that students will use in their jobs. We won’t finish plotting his tweets and pictures until his journey ends, and won’t soon forget using our work to connect to another universe.”