• Spatial Happenings

    September 2014
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Smart map steers drivers to roads less travelled (Australia)


Sep 17, 2014 – South Australian motorists are turning to a cutting-edge mapping website that’s helping them avoid traffic congestion and plan quicker, more efficient road trips.

The interactive Traffic SA mobile site – which highlights traffic accidents, road closures and major events across metro and country areas – is attracting up to 1,500 unique daily visitors.

Developed by the SA Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure (DPTI) using software from geospatial giant Esri Australia – the mobile site uses smart mapping technology to analyse data from incident reports and bluetooth sensors throughout the road network.

DPTI Spatial Information Analyst Nick Weinmann said the traffic feeds are updated every 30 seconds, allowing motorists to adjust their trips at the last second.

“Motorists can use their mobile devices to check the website right before they leave home to see how roadworks, accidents or even music festivals could affect their journey,” Mr Weinmann said.

“Incidents are highlighted via clickable icons and pop-up windows with information such as the length of expected delay and approximate travel time.

“Roads experiencing congestion are highlighted in real time from measurements of actual traffic flow.

“Congested roads are symbolised with yellow, orange and red colour codes that illustrate the extent of congestion as incidents are reported, attended to and cleared.”

Mr Weinmann said a key advantage of the Traffic SA mobile site over other mapping applications is that it utilises officially sourced data, rather than relying on crowd-sourced information.

The site can be viewed on PCs, smartphones and tablets and can also link to GPS features on mobile devices to display a user’s location.

Mr Weinmann will discuss the site’s success at Asia-Pacific’s largest geospatial event, Ozri 2014, in Adelaide this October.

Hosted by Esri Australia, Ozri 2014 will bring together more than 500 geospatial industry professionals to share technology applications, innovations and advancements.

Esri Australia Business Development Manager David Trengove said future developments could see the mobile site linked directly to a vehicle’s navigational system.

“This would allow a motorist’s smart device to search ahead to see if there are road works or traffic snarls and then suggest an alternative, less congested route,” Mr Trengove said.

“GPS is an amazing technology and with the addition of smart mapping will completely change the way we travel.”

The Traffic SA mobile site can be viewed at: http://www.traffic.sa.gov.au

Posted in GIS News and Information, Remote Sensing, Thoughts on Geospatial | Leave a comment

GIS-powered Vector Mosquito Data Management System to Enhance Public Health


Sep 17, 2014 – In warm and humid subtropical areas like Southeast Asia, prevention and cure of vector mosquito is a key mission for epidemic and diseases control authorities. To achieve the goal, officers need to establish a system, which should be easy-to-use but also capable to load large data and display it in an understandable way.

The authority in Taiwan built the Vector Mosquito Data Management System, based on SuperGIS Server 3 and SuperGIS Server Spatial Statistical Analyst to present time-space analyses on maps. The system integrates regional field survey, instant data reporting and other massive relevant references, like real-time rainfall data from Central Weather Bureau.

To predict potential infectious route, officers perform buffer analysis, import rainfall data, and overlay them on road maps to see if there are any specific region needs to take actions right away. Also, the system can list the cases with population information like names, gender, age, and the occurrence date of certain epidemic, etc., so that they can well follow up and control each case, and trace it on the map for effective health management.

The working procedure and solution are as the following:

1. Adopting SuperGIS Server as the Core System.

2. Providing Intuitive and Simple Interface and Workflow.

3. Querying and Analyzing Data with Time, Space and Relevant Conditions.

4. Integrating Meteorological Data with Map Service.

5. Plotting Relation Graphs According to Time-Space Relevance of Each Infected Case.

The epidemic control authority utilizes GIS technologies to visualize diverse data providing officers with mass useful information. As the growth of vector mosquito and infection of diseases are highly related with space, the application of GIS can assist officers to predict and make better decision in advance.

Learn more about the case


Get trial of SuperGIS Server 3.2


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Getting Out of Harm’s Way: Evacuation from Tsunamis


MENLO PARK, Calif., Sep 17, 2014 — Scientists at the U.S. Geological Survey have developed a new mapping tool, the Pedestrian Evacuation Analyst, for use by researchers and emergency managers to estimate how long it would take for someone to travel on foot out of a tsunami-hazard zone. The GIS software extension, released this week, allows the user to create maps showing travel times out of hazard zones and to determine the number of people that may or may not have enough time to evacuate. The maps take into account the elevation changes and the different types of land cover that a person would encounter along the way.

Maps of travel time can be used by emergency managers and community planners to identify where to focus evacuation training and tsunami education. The tool can also be used to examine the potential benefits of vertical evacuation structures, which are buildings or berms designed to provide a local high ground in low-lying areas of the hazard zone.

The Pedestrian Evacuation Analyst software can assist communities with tsunami planning by answering questions such as:

  • How long could it take for people to evacuate out of tsunami-hazard zones?
  • Will people have enough time to evacuate before the first tsunami waves arrive?
  • If people don’t have enough time to evacuate, then where could vertical-evacuation refuges provide high ground?
  • How do you compare the benefits of multiple sites for potential vertical-evacuation refuges?

“The tool can be used to provide valuable decision support for tsunami evacuation planning and vertical evacuation siting, which is just in the beginning stages in the U.S. Pacific Northwest,” said Jeanne Jones, USGS geographer who led the development of the software tool.  The tool has enabled USGS researchers to better understand various aspects of community vulnerability to tsunamis, including community comparisons based on evacuation times,vertical-evacuation decision supportthe impact of post-tsunami recovery decisions, and the evacuation challenges posed by different types of tsunami threats.

The software tool can be downloaded online, and the complete users guide, “The pedestrian evacuation analyst—Geographic information systems software for modeling hazard evacuation potential” is also available online.

A graph comparing pedestrian<br />
                              evacuation time estimate for Ocean Shores<br />
                              and Aberdeen, WA
A graph comparing pedestrian evacuation time estimate for Ocean Shores and Aberdeen, WA. ( high resolution image)


Landcover map (left) and pedestrian                              evacuation time estimate map (right) Ocean                              Shores, WA.
Landcover map (left) and pedestrian evacuation time estimate map (right)
Ocean Shores, WA. ( high resolution image)

Contact Information: 
Email Contact
Phone: 650-329-4006

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Internships (Washington DC)

PLEASE CONTACT PROF. STERN IF YOU APPLY (ECSTERN@NVCC.EDU).  This will get your application special attention.


2 GIS Internships 

Fall 2014

Boneyard Studios, a tiny house community in Washington DC

 GIS Research Intern

 Project: Geographic analysis for siting of a new tiny house community

Project detail: Looking for a GIS student interested in urban development and real estate to map and research parcels in the city suitable for a new tiny house community project.   Given a set of criteria, student will develop a process to select suitable properties through mapping the DC government’s alley inventory database, researching other potential properties through websites and imagery, and researching code and zoning related to properties that meet the stated criteria. May require some biking around the city to explore vacant properties.

Expected duration: 2 months.  Small stipend is available.

Start date: As soon as possible

More information about Boneyard Studios: www.boneyardstudios.com

If interested, please email lee@boneyardstudios.com or call 206-920-9651

GIS/Cartography Intern

Project: Tiny house story map for Boneyard Studios website

Project Detail: Recreate a dataset of tiny house projects around the country and develop a storymap or dynamic map application with project owner details, photos, links to websites, and other information related to each tiny house.  Dataset is a few hundred projects.  Will require reaching out to some project owners to get updated information and pulling information from their project websites.

Expected duration: 2-3 months.  

Start date: anytime before the end of October

More information about Boneyard Studios: www.boneyardstudios.com

If interested, please email lee@boneyardstudios.com or call 206-920-9651

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Internships and Jobs at U.S. AID

(Thanks for the leads, Prof. Stern!)

Please check the following URLs:


Geographic Information Specialist

Location: Washington, DC
Job Code: 601
# of openings: 1

Position Summary:

The Office of Transition Initiatives (OTI) supports U.S. foreign policy objectives by helping local partners advance peace and democracy. OTI provides fast, flexible, short-term assistance targeted at key political transition and stabilization needs.  Strategically designed for each unique situation, OTI has laid the foundation for long-term development by promoting reconciliation, jumpstarting local economies, supporting emerging independent media, and fostering peace and democracy through innovative programming.  In countries transitioning from authoritarianism to democracy, from violence to peace, or following a fragile peace, OTI’s programs serve as catalysts for positive political change.

Macfadden is seeking a Geographic Information Specialist to support the Office of Transition Initiative (USAID/DCHA/OTI) in Washington, DC.  The Geographic Information Specialist is required to:

  • Provide geospatial services to USAID in support of program management, analysis, planning, and advocacy as a member of the Geographic Information Unit (GIU).
  • Communicate the geographic operating picture of USAID’s international development work through the acquisition, production, and provision of geo-spatial data and cartography.
  • Explain and train staff on the uses of maps and geospatial tools.
  • Collaborate closely with USAID client and with peers in U.S Government agencies, the humanitarian community, academic, and private sectors


The above link will let you search openings via geographic area.

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Scholarships go unawarded every year!!!

New for 2015:  the DigitalGlobe Foundation Award for the Application of High-Resolution Digital Satellite Imagery will make available one new collection of imagery in addition to the archive imagery previously available.  Applicants may apply for one new collection from any of DigitalGlobe’s five satellites (IKONOS, QuickBird, GeoEye-1, WorldView-1, and WorldView-2), not exceeding 500 square kilometres. Grant of a new collection may not compete with areas experiencing high demand for satellite resources or with DigitalGlobe Regional Affiliates (Contact the DigitalGlobe Foundation for details). This is limited to one new collection that will be granted within one calendar year, conditioned upon satellite availability and a strong application.
The following award grants have been increased for the 2015 awards year:
The Robert N. Colwell Memorial Fellowship is now valued at $6,500
The Paul R. Wolf Memorial Scholarship is now valued at $4,000
The Francis H. Moffitt Memorial Scholarship is now valued at $6,500
And The Outstanding Technical Achievement Award is now valued at $5,500
For information and to apply, see: http://www.asprs.org/ASPRS-Awards-and-Scholarships/Awards-Scholarships-Overview.html

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Student Volunteer Application Now OPEN for the Pecora 19 (Denver, CO Nov 17-19)

CALLING ALL STUDENT MEMBERS — Application Deadline:  October 3, 2014
Would you like to attend the fall symposium and pay NO registration fee?  The Student Volunteer Application Now OPEN for the Pecora 19 Symposium in conjunction with the Joint Symposium of ISPRS Technical Commission I and IAG Commission 4 in Denver, Colorado!
The Volunteer Coordinator is looking for Student Volunteers to help from Monday, November 17 thru Thursday, November 20, 2014.  In exchange for the opportunity to attend all the symposium events, such as the General and Technical Sessions, visit the Exhibit Hall, and enjoy the Exhibitor’s Reception, two complimentary lunches served in the exhibit hall and limitless networking and job search opportunities. Student Volunteers will be required to work at least 8 hours during the conference.  
This is a great opportunity to learn more about the geospatial field, meet some of the top names in the industry, and explore job possibilities; you are encouraged to bring your resumé as a special area will be set aside for resumé postings.  In addition, the ASPRS Student Advisory Council has organized some great events and informal evenings out for students during the conference.   (Note: volunteers are responsible for all other expenses including travel, accommodations and meals.)
If you are interested in volunteering with us, fill out the electronic application here and submit!https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1IBmnefiBSeW7TGUpbu9Q9sy2b2Yl0eF4Cxf3vp_pJWc/viewform
Apply to attend the Pecora 19 Symposium in conjunction with the Joint Symposium of ISPRS Technical Commission I and IAG Commission 4 for FREE as a Student Volunteer!
Also, see the description of Volunteer Tasks and visit the Volunteer webpage here:http://pecora.asprs.org/volunteer_information.php.  All applications must be submitted electronically.

Posted in Conferences and Seminars, Education, Networking, Remote Sensing | Leave a comment

Hurricane-Proof Drones Are the Storm Chasers of Tomorrow

By April Reese | September 8, 2014 12:11 pm

When Hurricane Katrina bore down on New Orleans in August of 2005, federal officials couldn’t predict how it would behave with any real certainty until two days before landfall. Next time, their fortune-telling is likely to be far more accurate, thanks to a new type of hurricane-proof data-gathering drone now in development.

Current hurricane-hunting planes gather data on winds, pressure, precipitation and temperature, but they can’t fly below about 5,000 feet because of extreme turbulence. Dropsondes, small cylindrical sensors that can be dropped from a plane, only provide a few minutes’ worth of data before falling into the ocean.

A new unmanned aerial vehicle, however, will go where no machine has gone before: the poorly understood, low-lying guts of a storm.

Storm Suveillance

The UAV, dubbed the Coyote, is a winged, 7-pound drone designed to be dropped from a plane and then slowly descend all the way through the core of a storm. Originally developed by the Navy for military surveillance, the hurricane-sensing version of the Coyote employs various sensors and a GPS device to transmit real-time data to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Hurricane Research Division. These data will allow scientists to better understand how storms intensify — and also to provide more accurate predictions about the storm’s path.

“They’re filling some critical gaps in our knowledge,” said meteorologist Sharan Majumdar, especially since a hurricane’s structure can change within hours. “Our hope is to be able to make better predictions about the impacts of hurricanes.” A hurricane’s structure changes hour by hour, he added. (See below for video of how the Coyote works.)

NASA researchers are also testing another type of drone that gleans data from above and around a storm. The Hurricane and Severe Storm Sentinel, or HS3, project uses two unmanned Global Hawks, which look like small planes, to investigate how hurricanes form. That project is in the final year of a three-year trial.


Life-Saving Drones

The data collected by the new drones can help local officials prepare for hurricanes farther in advance, when they’re still a ways offshore. If today’s hurricane prediction technology had been around when Katrina began gaining steam, Majumdar said, “there likely would have been better data on the strength of Katrina, and there likely would have been considerably less loss of life.” Katrina killed at least 1,800 people and flattened large swaths of New Orleans.

With climate change experts warning of stronger hurricanes to come, the need for such potentially life-saving tools is only becoming more urgent.

There’s just one paradoxical problem in perfecting the new technology: Hurricane season has been uneventful this year. While that’s good news for communities in storm-prone regions like the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic coast, it means hurricane researchers will probably have to wait until next year to put the Coyote to a real-world test.

Posted in Climate Change, GIS News and Information, Remote Sensing, Thoughts on Geospatial | Leave a comment

UCSF, Google Earth Engine Making Maps to Predict Malaria – See more at: https://www.sensorsandsystems.com/news/top-stories/environment/34834-ucsf-google-earth-engine-making-maps-to-predict-malaria

Written by UCSF Published: 10 September 2014

UC San Francisco (UCSF) is working to create an online platform that health workers around the world can use to predict where malaria is likely to be transmitted using data on Google Earth Engine. The goal is to enable resource poor countries to wage more targeted and effective campaigns against the mosquito-borne disease, which kills 600,000 people a year, most of them children.

Faced with a multitude of public health needs, countries often make the mistake of cutting their malaria efforts just when they are close to eliminating the disease, said Hugh Sturrock, PhD, MSc, an assistant professor of epidemiology and biostatistics and a researcher in the Global Health Group, which is a part of UCSF’s Global Health Sciences.

“This can have disastrous consequences, since malaria can quickly rebound, putting years of expensive control efforts to waste,” he said. “But with these maps, health workers will know exactly where to target their scarce resources. That way, they can keep fighting the disease until it’s eliminated within their borders.”

Google Earth Engine brings together the world’s satellite imagery — trillions of scientific measurements dating back almost 40 years — and makes it available online with tools for scientists, independent researchers and nations to mine this massive warehouse of data to detect changes, map trends and quantify differences on the Earth’s surface.

With the malaria prediction platform, local health workers will be able to upload their own data on where and when malaria cases have been occurring and combine it with real-time satellite data on weather and other environmental conditions within Earth Engine to pinpoint where new cases are most likely to occur. That way, they can spray insecticide, distribute bed nets or give antimalarial drugs just to the people who still need them, instead of blanketing the entire country.

By looking at the relationship between disease occurrence and factors such as rainfall, vegetation and the presence of water in the environment, the maps will also help health workers and scientists study what drives malaria transmission. Google Earth Outreach, which helps nonprofits use Google’s mapping technology, is giving UCSF $100,000 to develop the new platform.

The new tool will be piloted in Swaziland, a country in southern Africa that has limited malaria to a few small pockets across the country through the malaria elimination program it launched in 2008 with help from the Global Health Group. Plans are to make the tool available to health workers in other countries working with the Global Health Group’s Malaria Elimination Initiative. The tool could also be adapted to predict other infectious diseases.

Google Earth Engine came out of efforts begun nearly a decade ago by Google computer scientist Rebecca Moore to use data from Google Earth to protect the redwood forest near her home from logging. Since then, scientists have used Earth Engine to measure deforestation, urban development and the retreat of glaciers.

Moore, who heads Google Earth Engine and Google Earth Outreach, said it was a natural progression for Earth Engine to go from “saving trees to saving lives.”

- See more at: https://www.sensorsandsystems.com/news/top-stories/environment/34834-ucsf-google-earth-engine-making-maps-to-predict-malaria.html#sthash.ATD1BUVx.dpuf

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Study Maps 15 Years of Carbon Dioxide Emissions on Earth – See more at: https://www.sensorsandsystems.com/news/top-stories/environment/34855-study-maps-15-years-of-carbon-dioxide-emissions-on-earth

Written by Arizona State University Published: 13 September 2014- See more at: https://www.sensorsandsystems.com/news/top-stories/environment/34855-study-maps-15-years-of-carbon-dioxide-emissions-on-earth.html#sthash.GEaBgLiB.dpuf

World leaders face multiple barriers in their efforts to reach agreement on greenhouse gas emission policies. And, according to Arizona State University researchers, without globally consistent, independent emissions assessments, climate agreements will remain burdened by errors, self-reporting and the inability to verify emissions progress.

Emissions MapAnnual FFDAS fossil fuel CO2 emissions anomalies for two years on either side of the Global Financial Crisis.

- See more at: https://www.sensorsandsystems.com/news/top-stories/environment/34855-study-maps-15-years-of-carbon-dioxide-emissions-on-earth.html#sthash.GEaBgLiB.dpuf



Posted in Climate Change, Geography, GIS News and Information | Leave a comment