TRB’s SHRP 2 Tuesdays Webinar: SHRP 2 Developing and Testing a National Geospatial System that Integrates Ecological Tools and Data Sets (Eco-Plan) (C40A and C40B)

Thanks, Barbara!

As part of the SHRP 2 Tuesdays Webinar Series, TRB will conduct a webinar on May 27, 2014, from 2:00pm to 3:30pm ET that will summarize SHRP 2 Projects C40A and C40B: SHRP 2 Developing and Testing a National Geospatial System that Integrates Ecological Tools and Data Sets (Eco-Plan). There is no fee to attend this webinar or other webinars in the SHRP 2 Series; however, participants must register in advance.  A certificate for 1.5 Professional Development Hours (PDH) will be provided to attendees who register and attend the webinar as an individual.  This webinar is pending approval by the American Institute of Certified Planners for 1.5 Certification Maintenance Credits.

Project C40A produced a national-level integrated, geospatial ecological screening tool for early transportation planning to inform the environmental review process. With these advances, agreement on priority areas for preservation or conservation can be reached early in the process of planning new highway capacity. Data-based decisions can not only speed project delivery, but deliver projects that best balance community and environmental needs.

Webinar Presenters
Stephen Ziegler, ICF International
Shari Schaftlein, Federal Highway Administration (FHWA)

Moderated by: Stephen J. Andrle, Transportation Research Board

Webinar Outline
PART 1: Brief overview of the SHRP 2 mission, objectives of the Capacity focus area, and related SHRP 2 research
PART 2: Presentation on the Eco-Plan web tool
PART 3: FHWA’s perspective on C40A and C40B
PART 4: Question and answer session

GEOINT Takes Center Stage in National Security: A Recap of the GEOINT Symposium 2013*

from  21 Apr 2014  by Joe Francica, Wes Stroh


Last week in Tampa, Florida, the United States Geospatial Intelligence Foundation (USGIF) convened the postponed 2013 GEOINT Symposium. The event drew close to 5000 attendees and over 270 exhibitors. Directions Magazine offers a recap of the event through numerous reports.

Below, please find our reports from the GEOINT 2013* Symposium in Tampa, Florida and visit our Channel on Remote Sensing and GEOINTRead more here.


The Lost Art of Critical Map Reading

Thanks, Matt!  from  By Mike Foster  27 Mar 2014

Obviously. (via Business Insider)
Obviously. (via Business Insider)

In a world of budding novice mapmakers and shares, likes and retweets, we have never seen maps and graphics appear, circulate and educate as much as they do right now. Maps are an engaging way to visualize data and gain knowledge.  

Geovisualization, cartography and analysis are not only relevant, but highly visible to the mainstream, and it is great for the field. The New York Times and Washington Post, among many, lead the way with excellent, high quality and reputable maps and graphics. We’ve all seen the forty maps that change your view of the world.

There is, however, another side to this, that of the mapmaker, specialist or blogger who catches or creates a map, and on a whim of “This is cool!” and knowing that he or she has a listening audience, relays the map into the Internet universe. This map-sharer may have little regard for the validity or interpretation of the map and its data, or how it should be framed to the greater public. What could be called “bad maps” are not new, but they now exist on a widely accessible mainstream level, and are fueled by Twitter retweets and Facebook shares.  Click to read more.

Google Earth Engine Brings Big Data to Environmental Activism  By Eliza Strickland Posted 

A new forest-mapping tool relies on unprecedented data crunching

Photo: David Mantel/Getty Images Watching the Woods: A new mapping tool uses satellite imagery to keep an eye on the world’s forests from above.
Photo: David Mantel/Getty Images
Watching the Woods: A new mapping tool uses satellite imagery to keep an eye on the world’s forests from above.

When a tree falls in the forest these days, it doesn’t just make a sound—it causes a computer program to generate an alert that’s sent out to activists, researchers, and environmental policymakers around the planet. An online tool to map deforestation is applying big-data processing techniques to massive troves of satellite imagery, and in the process it is making possible a new kind of environmental activism.

The tool, Global Forest Watch, was launched by the World Resources Institute in February to provide monitoring of deforestation around the world. Users can explore the global map to see trends since the year 2000 and can zoom in to examine forest clearing at a resolution of 30 meters. The tropical zones of the map are refreshed every 16 days, frequent enough to track deforestation hot spots in places like Indonesia and Brazil. Users can also sign up for alerts, which are generated when the system detects signs of illegal logging or slash-and-burn agriculture in the tropics.  Click to continue reading. 


Canada’s Spatial Community Develops a New Pan-Canadian Geomatics Strategy  by Jeff Thurston, 22 Apr 2014

Do we need a similar effort in the U.S.?   MK

Most Canadians know what a map is. They understand what surveyors do. They’ve seen satellite images on television and many of them have a GPS app on their mobile phone. Quite a few of them know what geography is about and have read or heard about robotics, unmanned aerial vehicles, laser scanners and 3D / 4D.

All of these either create or represent spatial – location data and information – and in Canada that is called ‘geomatics’. Other countries use different terms sometimes.

And while Canadians may understand bits and pieces of the geospatial puzzle, quite a few of them will have little or no understanding about the extent of spatial data use in their daily lives. Architects, engineers, utilities, military, transportation, aviation, marine and offshore in addition to many disciplines create, manage, process and visualize spatial information.

The country has had considerable success over the years in the geomatics field. It has pioneered technologies, developed world-class geotechnology that is used every day around the globe. And it has contributed toward standards, openness and, particularly, landscape-based advances that involve land management studies.  Click to read more. 

NASA Satellite Images Aid Great Barrier Reef Protection – See more at:

from  24 Apr 2014

James Cook University researchers are using images from NASA satellites to help protect the Great Barrier Reef from polluted land run-off. Researchers have developed a new technique that analyses the images to assess coastal water quality from space.

Many important habitats in the Great Barrier Reef such as coral reefs and seagrass are in decline and one important driver of this decline is poor water quality.

Heavy rains and cyclones during the wet season scour mud and pollutants, such as fertilisers and pesticides, from land. The resulting river flood plumes are the main way polluted water travels to the Great Barrier Reef.

Researchers from TropWATER at James Cook University, who regularly monitor the duration and impacts of flood plumes in the Great Barrier Reef, have proved that publicly available satellite imagery can be effectively used to map the extent, nutrient content and muddiness of flood plumes.

Traditional methods of monitoring flood plumes require scientists to use submerged data loggers, or boats and helicopters to gather water samples.

These methods are expensive, labour intensive, and cannot be collected everywhere.

Dr Caroline Petus from TropWATER at James Cook University is the lead author of two studies that use the new technique.

Read more. 

Ball Aerospace Moving Ahead on TEMPO & GEMS Air Quality Sensors – See more at:

from  Apr 23, 2014

Two powerful Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. air quality sensors are on their way to providing future environmental monitoring to support the quality of life on Earth.

Ball is building nearly identical geostationary ultraviolet visible spectrometers: the Tropospheric Emissions: Monitoring of Pollution (TEMPO) instrument for NASA Earth Venture, and the Geostationary Environment Monitoring Spectrometer (GEMS), being jointly developed by Ball and the Korea Aerospace Research Institute (KARI), South Korea.  Both instruments will complete critical design in 2015 and be delivered in 2017.

“The simultaneous build of the TEMPO and GEMS spectrometers is allowing us to capture multiple design and affordability efficiencies between the two instruments,” said Rob Strain, Ball Aerospace president. “Both instruments are similar from a technical basis, and the duplicate build allows recurring and non-recurring cost savings in design, procurement and hardware manufacturing for both customers.”

TEMPO will, for the first time, make accurate observations of atmospheric pollution with high spatial and temporal resolution over North America, from Mexico City to the Canadian tar/oil sands, and from the Atlantic to the Pacific. TEMPO will provide hourly daylight measurements of ozone, nitrogen dioxide, sulfur dioxide, formaldehyde, glyoxal and other pollutants to create a revolutionary dataset that provides understanding and improves air quality (AQ) and climate forcing.

TEMPO is the first NASA Earth Venture Instrument mission and will be the first UV-visible air quality spectrometer in geostationary orbit. The spectrometer’s two-axis scan mirror will use valuable heritage from other highly successful Ball programs. TEMPO will share a ride on a yet unidentified commercial satellite as a hosted payload to an orbit about 22,000 miles above Earth’s equator.

The GEMS spectrometer is designed to monitor trans-boundary pollution events for the Korean peninsula and Asia-Pacific region. The spectrometer provides high spatial and high temporal resolution measurements of ozone and its precursors. Hourly measurements by GEMS will improve early warnings for potentially dangerous pollution events and monitor long-term climate change. GEMS is manifested on KARI’s GEO-KOMPSAT-2B geostationary satellite for a 2018 launch.

The GEMS instrument is the Asian element of a global air quality monitoring constellation of geostationary satellites that includes the TEMPO spectrometer.

Click to read more. 

More evidence that scale is the name of the game in cloud computing  by   APR. 25, 2014 – 12:17 PM PDT

Resistance to cloud computing might not be futile, but it’s at least beginning to look foolish — especially as services from the top providers such as Amazon Web Services keep getting cheaper while their performance gets better. It’s also looking like smaller-scale or “enterprise” cloud platforms will have to promise some serious differentiation in order to justify their higher costs.

To highlight this trend, here’s a chart from publishing analytics startup graphing its IT spending from inception until early 2014.  Click to read more. 

New York City Likely to See More Flooding in the Not-Too-Distant Future  APR 25, 2014 5:37PM ET / NATIONAL DANIELLE WIENER-BRONNER

New York City is at least twenty times more likely to see flooding during extreme weather events than it was in the 18th century, according to a new study, of changing environmental conditions. That means that fallout from storms like Hurricane Sandy, which cost the U.S. $65 billion in damages, could happen more often.

CBS explains that the researchers, Stefan Talke, Philip Orton and David Jay examined tide gauges dating back to 1844 to determine the trend of rising sea swells. Talke described the process as similar to looking at a time-lapse photo of the city in the following video:   Click to continue