Humanitarian Project Aims to Provide Satellite Data

June 27, 2016

Earth Imaging Journal

The German Aerospace Center (DLR) set up the EO4HumEn+ Project to better provide satellite data for humanitarian aid organizations worldwide. Of growing importance is the use of such imagery to monitor and estimate the size of refugee camps, which is very difficult for those “on the ground.” The Austrian Red Cross is a partner in the project.

“Often we do not know where and in what numbers people are living in a geographical area, because the distances are great, and access to areas of conflict is very difficult,” explained Elmar Göbl from the Austrian Red Cross.

The project will run for two years, and the first step is to determine which regions should be the first set up for satellite evaluation for humanitarian purposes.

“For aid organizations, the project is a practical form of support for their work; for the scientists, it is an opportunity to drive forward the research, to exchange information, and to learn from one another,” noted Elisabeth Schöpfer from the German Remote Sensing Data Center.


Water Stress Tool Set to ‘Go Live’

From Sensors & Systems

HUNTSVILLE, Ala., June 21, 2016—An experimental tool to give farmers, government officials, environmental groups and other stakeholders an improved estimate of how much water is available in a specific watershed is scheduled to go on line this summer.

Developed in the Earth System Science Center (ESSC) at The University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH), the Watershed Hydrologic Stress Tool (WHyST), a coupled crop/hydrology model, uses data from NOAA and NASA weather reports, crop and hydrology models, and water consumers such as city water systems and power companies to produce an accurate, near real-time snapshot of water use and the potential for drought stress in a given watershed.

Beginning this summer as a proof of concept, UAH researchers will use WHyST to report each month on water stress in the Apalachicola, Chattahoochee and Flint rivers watershed. The ACF watershed stretches from the foothills of the Smokey Mountains in north Georgia to the Gulf of Mexico, covering parts of Georgia, Alabama and Florida.

“Our long-term goal is to have tools like this across all of the basins in Alabama, so we would have better ideas about the water supply,” said Cam Handyside, an ESSC research engineer. “But to begin, we’re coupling our crop model to the hydrology model to get a dynamic snapshot of water availability in the ACF basin.”

Continue reading Water Stress Tool Set to ‘Go Live’

Making a Career in Geointelligence

From GIS Lounge

APRIL 11, 2016



The turn of the century has brought to the fore a new era of crisis situations like the global war against terror, fight against the spread of Ebola and the Syrian refugee crisis. The common thread running through these situations trending through 2015, has been the analysis of location and geographical spread. At every moment of these crises, GIS has provided the framework for a real time situational awareness and problem resolution.

In the face of global situations that call for analysis of visual imagery, application of geospatial technologies and the craft of intelligence, Geointelligence emerges as the critical link.

Today, career opportunities in Geointelligence are exploding, not just in the United States and the U.K., but the world over. So if you have an analytical bent of mind and are predisposed to everything ‘geo’, perhaps you could explore Geointelligence as a career option?

What is Geointelligence?

Geointelligence (GEOINT) is a mashup of technology, critical information and analytical rigor for a decision advantage in humanitarian response, strategic defense, security or investigative analysis..

Recognizing the special needs of crisis situations plaguing the world, the U.S. Geospatial Intelligence Foundation’s (USGIF) has become the trailblazer of Geointelligence as the profession most equipped to tackle these global problems.

Over the years, USGIF has made efforts at accreditation and support of academic programs to create standardization throughout the GEOINT community and the GEOINT profession.

What are the requirements of the GEOINT profession?

Continue reading Making a Career in Geointelligence

A Look at GIS Salaries

From GIS Lounge:
A Look at GIS Salaries


How much do those working in GIS make? In trying to figure out the financial landscape for the GIS industry, there are a few different sources available for determining what kind of salary you can expect to make as a GIS professional. The Bureau of Labor Statistics periodically updates its Occupational Outlook Handbook which contains a several sections covering geospatial professionals (more detail here).

Another way is through a salary survey. URISA puts out an extensive GIS salary survey roughly every three to four years. A smaller and more informal salary survey was conducted by GIS Lounge back in 2013.

If you are looking for more fine-grained and current GIS salary survey information, one method is via the job aggregation site, The site offers a salary search tool that allows the user to enter in a job title and geographic location to see what the average salaries are for that position based on Indeed’s database of over 50 million jobs. When you search for a position, Indeed pulls listed salary information and presents an overall average salary amount as well as a graph showing how that salary information varies over the past four years.

Leaving the location box blank returns a national average for that position. You can also enter different titles to get a comparison of job positions. So how do the different GIS job titles stack up in terms of salaries?

I entered a range of common GIS job titles (e.g. intern, technician, specialist, analyst, and developer) and left the location box empty so I could see the national averages. Indeed assigns job types based not only on the job title but also pulls from the job descriptions. There is an option to restrict the calculations purely based on the job title by checking the box beneath the job search boxes.

Overall, the average salaries follows along the rough hierarchy one expects for GIS job titles. For example, that is GIS interns make the least amount of money, followed by GIS technicians. GIS Analysts average more than the GIS specialists and both GIS programmers and developers earn more than the Analysts. Among the management level positions, GIS coordinators make the least on average, followed by GIS Managers. Finally, GIOs make on average the highest salary among all the GIS positions I searched for.

Each of the GIS job titles is hyperlinked so the user can see a current list of job listings. If the salary information is listed, this information is posted along with the rest of the metadata for that job listing.


Continue reading A Look at GIS Salaries

College Steps

Fall 2016:  College Steps is recruiting NOVA Loudoun students to serve as on-campus peer mentors for College Steps students living with social, communication or learning challenges

-Earn $9.00/hour

-Work to support your fellow NOVA Loudoun students with their academic and independent living goals on NOVA’s Loudoun campus

-Free specialized training and supervision

Online application:


The Atlas of Ocean Wealth

Please check out the Mapping Portal!

Atlas of Ocean Wealth

The Atlas of Ocean Wealth is the largest collection to date of information about the economic, social and cultural values of coastal and marine habitats from all over the world. It is a synthesis of innovative science, led by The Nature Conservancy (TNC), with many partners around the world. Through these efforts, we’ve gathered vast new datasets from both traditional and less likely sources.

The work includes more than 35 novel and critically important maps that show how nature’s value to people varies widely from place to place. They also illustrate nature’s potential. These maps show that we can accurately quantify the value of marine resources. Further, by enumerating such values, we can encourage their protection or enhancement for the benefit of people all around the world. In summary, it clearly articulates not just that we need nature, but how much we need it, and where.

Million Dollar Creep: Where Seven Figure Homes are the New Normal

Since 2012 the share of million dollar homes in the United States has increased from 1.6% to 3%, but many metros and neighborhoods have seen a much larger increase.

The million-dollar home used to be a rarity in the United States, but is now becoming commonplace in several of America’s largest housing markets. Among the 100 largest metros, San Francisco has seen the largest increase in the share of million dollar homes in the country, growing to 57.4% in 2016 from 19.6% of homes in 2012. It’s followed by two other Bay Area metros, No. 2 San Jose and No. 3 Oakland. But the phenomenon is not limited to the SF Bay Area: metros in Southern California, Hawaii, and the Northeast have also seen noticeable gains, having nearly doubled the share of million dollar homes in just four years.


Housing Markets With the Biggest Increase in Million Dollar Homes
Rank U.S. Metro % of $1 million+ Homes in Metro, May 2012 % of $1 million+ Homes in Metro, May 2016 Percentage Point Change
Click here to download the data for the 100 biggest metros.
1 San Francisco, CA 19.6% 57.4% +37.8
2 San Jose, CA 17.4% 46.3% +28.9
3 Oakland, CA 5.2% 19.7% +14.5
4 Orange County, CA 7.1% 16.1% +8.9
5 Los Angeles, CA 8.0% 16.3% +8.3
6 Honolulu, HI 8.1% 15.4% +7.3
7 San Diego, CA 5.4% 10.7% +5.2
8 New York, NY 7.0% 12.0% +4.9
9 Ventura County, CA 4.3% 9.0% +4.6
10 Seattle, WA 2.5% 7.0% +4.5


We also wanted to find out where million dollar homes have spread the most within these regions, so we calculated the value for every home in each region’s neighborhoods between May 2012 and May 2016. We define a million-dollar home as any home – regardless of whether it’s listed for sale or not – with a value of $1 million or more. Here is the breakdown of neighborhoods experiencing the largest increase within each region.

– See more at:


A Software Tool for Rapid Flood Inundation Mapping


A software tool for rapid flood inundation mapping

Open-File Report 2016-1038

Prepared in cooperation with the U.S. Agency for International Development, Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance (USAID/OFDA)
James Verdin, Kristine Verdin, Melissa Mathis, Tamuka Magadzire, Eric Kabuchanga, Mark Woodbury, and Hussein Gadain
DOI: 10.3133/ofr20161038



The GIS Flood Tool (GFT) was developed by the U.S. Geological Survey with support from the U.S. Agency for International Development’s Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance to provide a means for production of reconnaissance-level flood inundation mapping for data-sparse and resource-limited areas of the world. The GFT has also attracted interest as a tool for rapid assessment flood inundation mapping for the Flood Inundation Mapping Program of the U.S. Geological Survey. The GFT can fill an important gap for communities that lack flood inundation mapping by providing a first-estimate of inundation zones, pending availability of resources to complete an engineering study. The tool can also help identify priority areas for application of scarce flood inundation mapping resources. The technical basis of the GFT is an application of the Manning equation for steady flow in an open channel, operating on specially processed digital elevation data. The GFT is implemented as a software extension in ArcGIS. Output maps from the GFT were validated at 11 sites with inundation maps produced previously by the Flood Inundation Mapping Program using standard one-dimensional hydraulic modeling techniques. In 80 percent of the cases, the GFT inundation patterns matched 75 percent or more of the one-dimensional hydraulic model inundation patterns. Lower rates of pattern agreement were seen at sites with low relief and subtle surface water divides. Although the GFT is simple to use, it should be applied with the oversight or review of a qualified hydraulic engineer who understands the simplifying assumptions of the approach.

Suggested Citation

Verdin, James; Verdin, Kristine; Mathis, Melissa; Magadzire, Tamuka; Kabuchanga, Eric; Woodbury, Mark; and Gadain, Hussein, 2016, A software tool for rapid flood inundation mapping: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2016–1038, 26 p.,

ISSN: 2331-1258 (online)

Table of Contents

  • Acknowledgments
  • Abstract
  • Introduction
  • Background
  • GIS Flood Tool Concepts
  • Software Tools
  • Elevation Data
  • Software Validation
  • Applications of the GIS Flood Tool Software
  • Technical Considerations
  • Summary and Conclusions
  • References Cited