America Town and the Okinawa Controversy


America Town: Building the Outposts of Empire is an excellent and unique analysis of the phenomenon of development of US Military facilities overseas. The eighth chapter of the book offers a detailed study of the differences in urban development in Okinawa, Japan between the residential areas of Kadena Air Base and the neighborhoods surrounding the base in Okinawa City. A fascinating comparison of the differences and similarities of values and priorities between the two communities is presented.

It would interesting if Mark L. Gillem, the author, would delve more deeply in not only the differences between US and Japanese attitudes towards residential development, but also between public and private-sector attitudes towards the needs and desires of those meant to live and work in such projects.

All in all, America Town is an enlightening book which I recommend. Thanks are due to the Penn State library for making it so easily accessible.

(comparative diagram from America Town: Building the Outposts of Empire, Mark L. Gillem, 2007)

My Quagmire, Their Vision

I’ve lost any enthusiasm or momentum that I might have had in the beginning of the GeoDesign course that I am currently taking. If the purpose of the course was to discourage me about working to understand and propose changes to a place that I am passionate about, then it has succeeded brilliantly. As much as I want to complain, though, I owe it to myself and the people of Okinawa to learn and uncover as much as I can about such a vital almost 5 kilometer square area.

One good thing that has come out of my research has been the discovery of the Okinawa Prefectural Government’s vision for the the future of the land currently occupied by MCAS Futenma. It is called 普天間飛行場跡地 未来予想図 or “Schematic Plan for the Future of the Decommissioned Futenma Air Station”. The best thing that could happen would be if the greatest number of people could become familiarized with the plan and that an informed discussion upon its merits and shortcomings would take place.

Although translations of the website and notation is only in one language at this time, the illustrations tell a significant part of the story of how many Okinawans are envisioning their future. Hopefully translations will be forthcoming.

[For a 3D CG video of the scheme, click here]


El Factor Demarest and the Strategic Use of Mapping for Neo-Colonialism

This fascinating almost hour-long documentary chronicles a recent effort by the US Army and the University of Kansas to surreptitiously obscure the true motives of a cartographic survey of lands controlled by indigenous peoples of the Oaxaca region in Southern Mexico. While the documentary tells only one side of the story, there are certainly some events, statements, facts and activities that members of the University as well as the US Army should answer for.

[Originally in Spanish with English subtitles]

Esriジャパン 2016 Storymap

I have been wanting to use the Esri “Storymap” tool for a while now; the opportunity to do so finally presented itself to me last month.

What is a Storymap, you ask? A Storymap is a brilliant merging of narrative and cartography that can tie your memories to places, making for more lasting and rich recollections. Storymaps can be used for personal diaries, research, commerce, journalism and more.


To access the storymap of my recent visit to Tokyo and the 12th Annual GIS Community Forum sponsored by Esri Japan (Esriジャパン) click the link


Map projection clock

I recently visited the campus of Osaka University’s School of Foreign Studies and saw this clock on the quad. The map on the face appears to be a stereographic projection centered on a point in the Western Pacific Ocean …

map projection clock

The 50/50 Map of America’s Economy


You’ve surely heard the mantra of the 99% vs the 1%. How about something a little more balanced; say 50% vs 50%?

from ‘mapporn’ reddit community

Hello world (or at least the PSU part of it for now)!

Hi, I’m an American living in Japan who’s pursuing studies in Geo Design through Penn State’s World Campus. I like chatting about design, geospatial technology, culture, innebandy and dub reggae. Yokoso!

GPS with Accuracy to the Centimeter? Japan is Planning for It.


Image via UN Office of Outer Space Affairs

The NEC Corporation, based in Tokyo, which has interests in IT, computing and defense industries is partnering with Mitsubishi to develop a native GPS system for the Japanese islands. Motivated by a desire to attain geospatial self-reliance, the initiative also seeks to develop precedent-setting accuracy in the industry.

More here

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