Geospatial Media

Geospatial on the Big (and Little) Screen

This entry is part 21 of 22 in the series Pangaea

I get excited anytime I see the tools and technology of the geospatial profession in the media. Positive media exposure to the general public of all things geospatial can be a powerful tool to help build awareness for the profession. Additionally, it helps “build the brand” for the next generation, getting them interested in the possibility of a career in the profession.

Let’s start with the small screen. One of my favorite shows is “Expedition Unknown” on the Travel Channel. Host Josh Gates is affable, charming, and oh-so-funny and holds a degree in archeology and travels the globe in search of history’s mysteries. As but one example, “Treasure Hunting with Geospatial Technology” showed how IR-equipped UAS are being used in the search for the legendary lost treasure of Paul Kruger in South Africa. Gates routinely sings the praises of lidar in his archeological expeditions.

Another show I just tuned into on the Science Channel is “Secrets of the Underground.” Hosted by biologist Rob Nelson, the show uses lidar (I’ve seen Leica and Faro 3D scanners in the show), ground penetrating radar, and all types of 3D imaging, including UAS-derived photogrammetry, to uncover subterranean mysteries and serves as a showcase for geospatial technologies.

Now for the big screen. While I don’t see any good examples of major motion pictures showing geospatial technology, “The Lost City of Z” opens next week. This true story details the exploits of British explorer Col. Percival Fawcett, who disappeared while searching for a mysterious city in the Amazon in the 1920s. Fawcett is the code word “Z” in lieu of “El Dorado” for reasons of security. Geospatial? Well not exactly, but it definitely captures the spirit of adventure, discovery, and exploration, arguably the driving forces behind our profession. Pre-release reviews seem very favorable. I can’t wait!

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