Magnetic Declination Used by Reed Wablers During Migration

While locating one’s latitudinal location is not a problem, determining one’s longitudinal location could be quite difficult. It took scientists a long period of time to accurately identify a person’s location. People who navigate the seas used to have difficulties finding their location. Explorers later on devised the use of time keeping to solve this dilemma.

Birds however seem to have learned way ahead of us. They journey long distances yearly and always gets to their destinations accurately. How do they do that? Do they know the map? Have you ever wondered how birds find their way when migrating from one place to another?

Previous studies have suggested that birds and other creatures uses the Earth’s magnetic field as a way to traverse. But these studies have not really determined how exactly it works. Scientists have been trying to discover the mechanisms.

Recently, experts have just found out that migratory birds use the geomagnetic map on their journey. They have the ability to detect the difference in location of the true north pole and the geomagnetic north. These birds use this ability to approximate their position hence helping them orient themselves to their destinations.

A recent experiment was conducted by Richard Holland and Dmitri Kishkiniev of Bangor on mature Reed warblers on their yearly migration from Russia to Africa. During this study, the researches captured mature and immature Reed warblers temporarily in specialized cages and studied their reactions under controlled magnetic fields. They found out through this experiment that a slight change on the magnetic field can elicit substantial reactions on the birds.

Furthermore, the same change did not have similar effects on immature birds. They did not adjust properly to the changes in the magnetic signal. Rather they were confused indicating that this innate reaction is learnt by the mature birds through years of experience.

This innate sense, combined with other factors such as the physical environment and wind direction helps the birds migrate to faraway places.

There are still a lot of questions that are left unanswered about how these migratory birds and other animals learn to explore around. They also still have to find out whether or not other birds and animals also use the same sense. But these findings are very important in understanding their migratory characteristics.

And maybe in the future, we might find this information useful in human navigation. We may probably try to consider using this magnetic fields in aerial, nautical, and terrestrial transport systems and even in simple daily activities, such as navigating through a new place in an while riding streetstrider elliptical bike.

The useful ideas could be countless and hundreds of studies has to be done but with the rate that science is on nowadays, it is not an impossibility.

Advisory Board of the Geo for All Initiative

We are pleased to announce the Advisory Board of the Geo for All Initiative:

  • Professor Georg Gartner (ICA President co-chair)
  • Jeff McKenna (OSGeo President co-chair)
  • Professor Josef Strobl
  • Professor Marguerite Madden
  • Professor Mike Jackson
  • Sven Schade
  • Gavin Fleming
  • Sergio Acosta y Lara
  • Dr Chris Pettit
  • Professor Venkatesh Raghavan
  • Geoff Zeiss
  • Jeroen Ticheler
  • Phillip Davis
  • Arnulf Christl
  • Professor Maria Brovelli
  • Dr Rafael Moreno

The ICA-OSGeo Lab network is a joint initiative of the Open Source Geospatial Foundation (OSGeo) and the International Cartographic Association (ICA). The ICA and OSGeo Presidents will be the co-chairs and permanent members of the Advisory Board. Others will have a 3 year term starting date of the Advisory Board being constituted (1 Dec 2013). The Advisory Board has brought together an excellent range of expertise (academia, government, industry) and geographical distribution (we have nearly all continents covered). Also it brought together members from other key communities ISPRS, AGILE, INSPIRE, UNIGIS etc which will make sure is it a fully inclusive global initiative. The Advisory Board will meet once every six months by telemeeting and AB members will keep an eye on the developments and provide strategic advice to the initiative through various forums.

While there has been tremendous growth in geospatial technology over the last few decades, the number of universities offering courses in geospatial science has not kept pace. Free and open geographic information (GI) software helps make geospatial education available to students from economically poor backgrounds worldwide (removing the need for high cost proprietary GI software). Our key aim is to make it possible for students in developing and poor countries to be also able to get geospatial education. This initiative will bring more opportunities for geospatial education worldwide. Over 50 Open Source Geospatial Labs have already been established in universities around the world as part of this initiative in just two year’s time, and we will be establishing over 100 research labs worldwide by September 2014.

We will have over 500 labs established worldwide in the next five years making us the biggest geospatial education and research network on the planet and we now have a good team of experts to guide us for the future. Welcome to all members of the Advisory Board and we are looking forward to their advice and ideas for expanding this education initiative globally!

We thank all of you for your strong support for this education initiative and it is very happy for us that our initiative has now grown rapidly from very humble beginnings and is helping to widen the benefits of geospatial education opportunities to thousands of students worldwide.
Suchith Anand

Call for Participation

Third International Joint Workshop on Ubiquitous, Pervasive and Internet Mapping (UPIMap2008), Shepherdstown, West Virginia, USA September 10 – 11, 2008 (immediately following AutoCarto2008)

The ICA Commissions on Ubiquitous Mapping and Maps and the Internet announce a workshop in USA, at the beginning of September 2008. The workshop is sponsored by the Commission on Ubiquitous Mapping, the Commission on Maps and the Internet. The ICA Commissions were formed in 2003 and 1999 respectively in response to the rapid growth in the use of electronic networks to make and distribute maps and spatial data, and the rapid diffusion of new mobile devices. The purpose of the workshop is to bring together international specialists in the field of Mobile Mapping, Location Based Services and Internet Mapping, and to disseminate information to a broader audience on new developments and major areas of research.

We had experience of ubiquitous mapping environment at UPIMap2004 in Tokyo; visit of the Tokyo metropolitan traffic control center and the VICS (Vehicles Information Control System) center for car navigation system, on site demonstration of commercial human and car navigation systems using cellular phone and in car system respectively. At UPIMap2006 in Seoul, we had similar experience. It will be a good chance to have another experience in USA especially where world famous systems, such as Google Earth and iPhone, were created and in use. We will be able to discuss about questions of globalization and localization of UPIMap in the context of different culture and environment for systems. We will have on site demonstrations of different application systems using the vast terrain of the National Conservation Training Center (NCTC). More details of the workshop will be available from the Web <>.

Important Dates
June 20, 2008 – Abstracts Due (300-500 words)
July 10, 2008 – Notification of Acceptance
August 10, 2008 – Working Papers due for Paper Sessions
September 10 – 11, 2008 – Workshop in Shepherdstown

[Full Version of Call for Papers (PDF, A4 Size)]

Takashi MORITA
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
Hosei University
2-33, Ichigaya-Tamachi, Shinjyuku-ku,