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R.N.I No - UPENG/2010/34153 Registration no: UP/GBD-136/2011-13 YOUR GEOSPATIAL INDUSTRY MAGAZINE
www.geospatialworld.net OCTOBER 2012 VOL 03 ISSUE 03 ISSN 2277 - 3134
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ARTICLES Climate change:
Breaking new ground Diego Cruz
Coastal resource mapping:
What lies beneath Tim Battista, Kevin O'Brien
An eye on tomorrow Jesse Goodman
Marrying GIS with cultural psychology
F Paolo Di Giacomo, T V Di Giacomo, J. Cross, P. Bondonno
Union Minister for HRD, Communications and IT, India
M P Narayanan
PUBLICATIONS TEAM Managing Editor Business Editor Editor - Latin America (Honorary) Sr. Associate Editor (Honorary) Executive Editor Product Manager Assistant Editors
Prof. Arup Dasgupta Bob M. Samborski Tania Maria Sausen Dr. Hrishikesh Samant Bhanu Rekha Shivani Lal Deepali Roy, Aditi Bhan, Vaibhav Arora, Anand Kashyap
DESIGN TEAM Sr. Creative Designer
CIRCULATION TEAM Circulation Manager
Vijay Kumar Singh
Setting sights on conservation G-tech to the rescue
Geospatial Artha Summit:
Asia Geospatial Forum:
Geo-info: Then and now G-tech for better governance
D ISCLAIMER Geospatial World does not necessarily subscribe to the views expressed in the publication. All views expressed in this issue are those of the contributors. Geospatial World is not responsible for any loss to anyone due to the information provided.
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Chair, Department of Geoinformatics, University of Salzburg, Austria
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Abbas Rajabifard President, GSDI Association
Greg Bentley CEO, Bentley Systems
Juergen Dold President, Hexagon Geosystems
Preetha Pulusani Chief Strategy Officer, Rolta Group
Aida Opoku Mensah Director - ICT Division UN Economic Commission for Africa
Prof Ian Dowman First Vice President ISPRS
Kamal K Singh Chairman and CEO Rolta Group
Shailesh Nayak Secretary Ministry of Earth Sciences Government of India
Bryn Fosburgh Vice President Trimble
Jack Dangermond President, Esri
Mark Reichardt President and CEO Open Geospatial Consortium, Inc.
Vanessa Lawrence CB Director General and CEO, Ordnance Survey, UK
Derek Clarke Chief Director-Survey and Mapping & National Geospatial Information Department of Rural Development & Land Reform, South Africa
Josef Strobl Director, Centre for Geoinformatics, University of Salzburg, Austria
Matthew M O'Connell President and CEO GeoEye
Geospatial World I October 2012
The future is not a given n an editorial in February 2009, I had quoted Ian McHarg, Professor of Landscape Architecture at the University of Pennsylvania as saying, "The most important issue of the 21st century will be the condition of the global environment." The industrial revolution and the following decades were man's attempt to subjugate nature and bend it to its will. Big dams, big factories, big farms and big usage of non-renewable resources were the highlights of these centuries. The 20th century saw many other thinkers voicing concern about the depredations of anthropocentric man. Buckminister Fuller said, "Nature is trying very hard to make us succeed, but nature does not depend on us." He then added the ominous words "We are not the only experiment," perhaps echoing Arthur Clarke's thesis in the Space Odyssey trilogy.
Three years and nine months on, I find myself going back to these quotes. At that time the world was in recession but it was hoped that this would enable the geospatial world to consolidate its position as a provider of key information for efficient developmental planning. Things have not changed for the better. The world is still in recession and what is worse, the geospatial market is feeling the pinch. However, the silver lining is the recognition by politicians during Rio+20 of the importance of geospatial systems in realising an inclusive sustainable world. That future is however, not a given. It requires that geospatial systems must work to realise their true value in a complex world. Sustainable development requires the balancing of economic, social and human development, while facilitating ecosystem conservation, regeneration and restoration. This will require a convergence of technologies and integrated applications. While such convergence is well established in some areas, it needs to be leveraged to include interoperability with other standards and systems which deal with economic, social and demographic data. The recently held Geospatial Artha Summit highlighted these views.
Prof. Arup Dasgupta Managing Editor firstname.lastname@example.org
Another aspect of geospatial systems is that they tend to be insular. Meteorology and oceanography are poor second cousins to land-based studies. However, our environment includes land, oceans and atmosphere which work in unison. Geospatial systems need to cater to all three environments in a seamless manner. While the atmosphere is reasonably well understood, the oceans remain a mystery. Here too, we over-harvest the ocean environment for food and pollute it with toxic waste without trying to understand the delicate balance of various factors that makes the ocean environment stable. It is time we remember what Mahatma Gandhi said, "Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed."
Geospatial World I October 2012
Joint space agency for Africa African communications and IT ministers considered a proposal for creation of a joint space agency for the continent, at a conference. The agency, to be called AfriSpace, would enable "cooperation among African states in space research and technology and their space applications," said a working document issued for the conference. AfriSpace would implement a long-term African space policy, recommend "space objectives" to member states and coordinate orbital slots and other space resources, the document said.
N IG E R IA
'Pass NGDI Bill' The Nigerian Institution of Surveyors (NIS) has urged the National Assembly to pass the National Geospatial
Data Infrastructure (NGDI) Bill. NIS said the Bill would facilitate mapping of the country. The Institution said that up-to -date geospatial information in GIS environment should be made available to facilitate quick location of disasters. It also noted that comprehensive maps could be used as a tool for environmental impact studies.
Monitoring elections using GIS In a bid to ensure free and fair voting in March 2013, Kenya's Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) has fast-tracked the integration of GIS and other modern technologies. IECB officials revealed that GIS had been prioritised to monitor voting, locate polling stations and disseminate results. "GIS holds a lot of promise and can be effectively utilised in redrawing boundaries alongside civic education and voter registration. This technology will be critical in determining polling locations and delivering election results in real time on interactive maps," said
Thomas Letangule, Commissioner, IEBC.
Oil exploration map released The Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development has released an oil exploration draft map. The map provides details of lands targeted for the construction of an oil refinery in Buseruka Sub-county in Hoima dis-
Oil exploration site in Bulisa district
trict. Bashir Hangi, the refinery projectâ€™s communications officer said that they want to correct spelling errors and under-or over-valuation of properties. This will facilitate in smooth construction of oil refinery in the region.
Addis Ababa Declaration on GIS adopted
Image courtesy: UNECA
The African preparatory meeting on the Global Geospatial Information Management (GGIM) adopted the Addis Ababa Declaration on Geospatial Information Management in Africa. The meeting recommended that African countries, the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) and the African Union Commission should finalise and implement the African Action Plan on Geospatial Information Management. ECA will continue to coordinate the global participation of African countries in GGIM through the African Regional SDI.
Geospatial World I October 2012
I N DON ESIA
Partnership explored for disaster mitigation The National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) is exploring a partnership with Google on geospatial information and disaster management. The BNPB said Google programme manager Meryl Stone recently visited the BNPB office in Jakarta with her team to discuss the partnership. Google is planning to disseminate data from BNPB to the international audience through Google Crisis Response, which integrates several tools like Google Public Alert, Google Crisis Maps and Google Person Finder. "Google will display the latest maps of areas affected by earthquakes from the BNPB and will publish them on Google Public Alerts and Google Crisis Map," BNPB said.
CH I NA
Two more Beidou satellites launched In order to expand its indigenous global navigation network, China launched two more satellites into space. The 14th and 15th satellites for the Beidou system were launched from Xichang Satellite Launch Center in southwest Sichuan province, by a Long March-3B carrier rocket. "The system has been used in transportation, weather forecasting, marine fisheries, forestry, telecommunica-
Philippines has started 3D mapping of the country under the Nationwide Operational Assessment of Hazards (NOAH) project. Canada has funded LiDAR equipment worth PHP (Philippine peso) 200 million for the project. Dr Enrico Paringit, scientist, NOAH project, said that the data from LiDAR survey could be used for early flood warning, infrastructure development
Geospatial World I October 2012
In a move to affirm its sovereignty over the disputed Diaoyu Islands, Chinaâ€™s State Oceanic Administration (SOA) released geographic coordinates of the Island and some of its affiliated islets. The SOA announced details about the exact longitude and latitude of Diaoyu Island and 70 of its affili-
ated islets. It published location maps, three-dimensional effect graphs and sketch maps for the Diaoyu Islands. The announcement aims to help the public understand the information concerning Diaoyu Island and its affiliated islets, the SOA said.
PH I LI PPI N ES
3D mapping for hazard management
Coordinates of disputed islands released
Image courtesy: SOA
and disaster management. With the help of bathymetric data, the underwater land surfaces, corals, water hazards, etc. can now be mapped in 3D, he added.
Image Courtesy: Beidou
tions, hydrological monitoring and mapping," a spokesman for the China Satellite Navigation Office said.
Agreement on ocean data exchange The National Satellite Ocean Application Service (NSOAS) of Chinaâ€™s State Oceanic Administration (SOA) signed
an agreement with European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites (EUMETSAT) on the exchange of oceanographic satellite data. Under the agreement, EUMETSAT will provide data from Advanced Scatterometer (ASCAT) instruments flying on the Metop satellites as well as from the Jason-2 and Jason-3 ocean topography missions. In return, NSOAS/SOA will provide data from the HY-1 and HY-2 satellites, adding
Chinese altimeter, radiometer and scatterometer data to EUMETSAT's portfolio of third-party data.
Maritime satellite network to be upgraded China plans to launch eight satellites to provide ocean and land data before 2020. "The planned satellite launches, including four satellites observing the colour of the sea, two observing ocean currents and two maritime radar satellites, have been approved by the National Development and Reform Commission," said Jiang Xingwei, director of the National Satellite Ocean Application Service (NSOAS). The new satellites will greatly improve China's ability to observe and supervise the marine environment, Jiang added.
Second high level forum on GGIM in Feb 2013 The UN-GGIM secretariat, in collaboration with the Ministry of Municipality and Urban Planning and Qatar Statistics Authority, Government of Qatar, will host the second high level
forum on Global Geospatial Information Management (GGIM) in Doha from February 4-6, 2013 at the Qatar National Convention Centre. The Forum provides an opportunity to the Member States and stakeholders from the geospatial information community to share and learn from each other to support local, regional and global sustainable development initiatives.
in remote areas. We are planning to install it soon," said Jayant Dasgupta, general manager, Air Traffic Control (ATC), Mumbai.
Centralised emergency network soon The Bureau of Police Research and Development (BPR&D), under the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA)
I N DIA
Satellite-based landing system by AAI Aircrafts coming to Mumbai will soon be able to use a satellite-based navigation aid for landing. The Airports Authority of India (AAI) is planning to introduce a satellite-based landing procedure across the country in a phased manner. Currently, aircraft land with the help of a ground-based navigation system, instrument landing system (ILS). According to airport officials, the new satellite-based landing procedure, required navigation performance (RNP), will be a strong backup in case ILS develops a snag. "It will also assist the aircraft while landing
Image courtesy: Daily Mail
will soon launch 'Dial 100-policing anytime, anywhere', a centralised emergency management system. The central idea of the project is to provide a single number - 100 as the emergency hotline for the entire country and for all exigencies. The project will be merged with the Crime and Criminal Tracking Net-
ISRO launches 100th mission
This launch is hailed as the first all-commercial launch by ISRO. Speaking to Geospatial World, Devi Prasad Karnik, spokesperson, ISRO said, "Apart from revenue generation, this launch has enabled ISRO to build up its credibility among foreign customers. With this launch, ISRO has strengthened its position as a sought-after commercial launcher."
Geospatial World I October 2012
Image courtesy: ISRO
The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) made history with the launch of its 100th indigenous mission. The space agency's Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) successfully launched two foreign satellites, SPOT 6, a French remote sensing satellite and PROITERES of Japan.
work and Systems (CCTNS), which entitles fitting all mobile patrol vehicles and PCR vans with GIS.
GISAT to monitor borders A grant of INR 50 crore has been sanctioned for developing the country's geo-imaging satellite or GISAT. The 1,000-kg satellite will be put in space by a PSLV rocket. GISAT will provide images of the areas of interest on near real time basis. It will also keep a watch over the country's sensitive borders. GISAT will be fixed in a geo-stationary orbit. It is a multi-spectral, multi-resolution satellite with a 60-metre swath. It will provide images every five minutes, unlike other remote-sensing satellites which view a particular area for barely ten minutes and do not visit the same place
Digital land survey project to be completed by 2013 Two projects on digitisation of land records and documents will be completed in 54 districts by June next year, said Rezaul Karim Hira, Land Minister. The projects are 'Implementation of Land Survey, Preparation and Preservation of Records under Digital System (1st Phase)' and 'Computerisation of existing Mouza Maps and Khatians'. To realise 'Digital Bangladesh', the government took a raft of measures to modernise the land management system to ensure accurate ownership of lands, the minister added.
SR I LAN KA
Agreement for disaster management In an effort to mitigate the effects of disasters, the Survey Department of Sri Lanka and the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) has signed an agreement for digital data dissemination. The agreement allows humanitarian organisations to freely use government geographic data for disaster management. Mahesh Fernando, Surveyor General, Sri Lanka Survey Department, said that this agreement "will assist in addressing information gaps in disaster management by improving how disaster related information is analysed, as well facilitate better decision making."
Geospatial World I October 2012
dated carbon market intelligence and an automated monitoring, verification and reporting (MRV) system.
Agreement on mineral mapping
3D laser mapping by BGS The British Geological Survey (BGS) will map volcanoes, glaciers and other natural phenomena around the world using laser scanner. The data collected by the laser scanner will be used to create photorealistic flythroughs, 3D height models and highly accurate area and volume calculations. The data captured will be used to create highly detailed 3D models like digital elevation models (DEMs), virtual outcrop models (VOMs), cross sections, soil erosion maps and change models.
3D altitude testing system at Glasgow The UK's air navigation services provider, NATS, has developed a system harnessing NASA satellite data to create what it describes as "the world's most accurate model for testing unsafe altitudes." The safetynet system has been on trial at Glas-
Image courtesy: NATS
gow Airport (GLA) for six months, where the NASA satellite data provides a three-dimensional map of the terrain around the airport. The 3D system allows air traffic controllers to test flight paths on an even higher level of precision, ensuring that aircrafts maintain a minimum safe distance from the ground.
DMCii provides carbon storage information British satellite imaging company DMC International Imaging Ltd (DMCii), in collaboration with the Technology Strategy Board, launched a project to provide more accurate and reliable information about land carbon storage and how it changes over time. By building on established carbon modelling and satellite remote sensing techniques, this initiative will provide scientifically vali-
The British Geological Survey (BGS) will assist the Geological Survey of India (GSI) in implementing its airborne geophysical programme, according to a deal announced by Britain's Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg. BGS International, a BGS subsidiary, would execute the airborne geophysical survey project that include setting technical specifications; the appointment of contractors with required technical capabilities; and analysis of the country's entire onshore and offshore territories, to determine reserves of existing mineral resources and enable the discovery of new ones.
SPOT 6 transmits first earth imagery Just three days after its launch, France's SPOT 6 satellite transmitted its first earth imagery. SPOT 6 trans-
Global lake surveillance system soon A consortium of six universities led by the University of Stirling received GBP 2.5 million grant from the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) for GloboLakes project. Through this project, researchers aim to develop world's first satellite-based global lake surveillance system. The new system is expected to expand knowledge on how the ecological structure and function of lakes can be damaged by external changes such as the influx of certain nutrients, increased sediment and climate change.
Image courtesy: BBC
Geospatial World I October 2012
ESA funds situational awareness system
Image courtesy: Astrium
mitted images of the Bora Bora island of French Polynesia. The first images present a varied landscape, highlighting SPOT 6's potential for applications like urban and natural resource mapping or agricultural and environmental monitoring. Astrium built SPOT 6 was launched by a PSLV launcher from the Satish Dhawan Space Center in India.
The European Space Agency (ESA) has funded the situational awareness system (SAS) for SOS children's villages. The project aims to establish a satellite-based system, allowing timely access to geospatial information. The system provides operational information to support SOS children's villages in their site development, controlling and management as well as to assist fundraising activities and to increase resource efficiency. A GIS approach will allow further analysis, derivation and provision of sector specific information products.
'Universal access' to satellite data The International Charter 'Space and Major Disasters' that makes timely
satellite data available to rescue authorities is now offering 'universal access' to the data for emergency response purposes. Founded by the ESA and the French and Canadian space agencies, the Charter is an international collaboration between the owners and operators of earth observation missions. It provides rapid access to satellite data to help disaster management authorities in the event of a natural or man-made catastrophe.
Space safety radar to track debris The European Space Agency (ESA) will boost industrial expertise in the continent by developing a new radar as part of the Agency's Space Situational Awareness programme. The radar will test future debris monitoring techniques, helping European
Geospatial World I April 2012
five years. Therefore, by 2017 Belarus will need another satellite.
CZ ECH R E PU B LIC
Image courtesy: ESA
satellite operators avoid space hazards and increase safety in earth orbit. ESA and France's ONERA have signed a EUR 4 million contract that will see the French organisation and five industrial partners in France, Spain and Switzerland design a test surveillance radar and develop a demonstrator model.
B E LAR US
Second RS satellite by 2017 Belarus may launch a new remote sensing satellite for earth observation by 2017, announced Alexander Tuzikov, Director General of the United Informatics Institute of the National Academy of Sciences of Belarus. He further said that the working lifespan of the first satellite that has been successfully put into orbit this year is
Funding ensured for Galileo till 2020 Industry Committee Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) approved a new legislation to ensure that Europe's two satellite navigation systems, Galileo, the European GPS system, and the EGNOS programmes for improving GPS signal quality, can be funded and operated from 2014 to 2020. The European Commission has earmarked EUR 7.9 billion to complete the EU's satellite navigation infrastructure over the seven-year period.
Satellite flood data service launched PERILS, a Zurich-based company which provides industry-wide European catastrophe insurance data, in collaboration with the European Space Agency (ESA) launched an initiative which aims to provide satellitebased flood footprints during and after major floods. The project will
enable industry participants to download flood footprints from PERILS website. These footprints can then be used for rapid flood impact assessments and will facilitate the understanding of insured flood risk and ultimately help to broaden the range of flood insurance solutions.
B E LG I U M
Digital seabed map of European waters In a bid to tap the potential of oceans and seas that surround Europe, the European Commission (EC) is proposing to create a digital seabed map of the European waters by 2020 by collecting all existing data into one coherent database accessible to everyone. The new seamless multi-resolution digital seabed map of European waters will be of the highest resolution possible, covering topography, habitats and ecosystems. It will be accompanied by access to timely observations and information of physical and biological state of the water column, by associated data on the impact of human activities and by oceanographic forecasts.
G E R MANY
Improved indoor navigation via NAVVIS
Image courtesy: TUM
Researchers at Technische Universität München (TUM) have developed a visual technology, NAVVIS (Navigation based on visual information), which uses 3D images to point the user’s position. NAVVIS relies on a special location recognition system and is suitable for places beyond the reach of satellite navigation. When the application is started, the system loads the available visual data packets and the user takes a photo of their surroundings. The programme then compares it with the database images and reveals the user's position.
Geospatial World I October 2012
Telcos to roll out location alerts Vodafone has partnered with Telstra for a location-based emergency system, which will alert customers to nearby natural disasters no matter where they are in the continent. Under the agreement, an SMS warn-
determine how much water vapour is in the atmosphere. Melbourne's RMIT University will use numerical weather prediction models and atmospheric re-analysis products to provide the data required to calculate water vapour content from GPS observations. By including water vapour in climate models, scientists will be able to better predict the impact of global warming on Australia.
Terralink International launched LiDAR-based 3D mapping project. Terralink will use StreetCam3D technology for mapping. Srreetcam3D features a high-density LiDAR scanner and high-resolution 360-degree cameras mounted on a four-wheel drive utility
N EW Z EALAN D
3D technology to mitigate floods
ing will be sent directly to Vodafone customers on their mobile phones if they're in a region hit by fires or flood. Telstra will roll out the location-based text messages from this November, with Vodafone aiming to have the system operational by November 2013. Vodafone said the system would allow SMS alerts to be delivered to international and domestic tourists visiting an area that is under threat from an emergency.
Esri unveiled its 3D mapping technology, CityEngine, here, which could help in mitigating floods. CityEngine, developed by Esri, generates sophisticated 'real world' views and simulations of current and future cities to show the impacts of development, and economic, environmental and demographic changes. "Using 3D analysis tools, users can create sophisticated scenario models that take terrain, elevation and 3D features such as buildings into account. By adding further data, such as historical information about flood events and weather patterns, we can determine where areas are capable of flooding and develop in line with that knowledge," said Len Olyott, 3D GIS expert, Esri Australia.
GPS for accurate climate model
'Digital consents can save NZD 1.5 bn'
Researchers hope to create a more accurate climate model using GPS signals. The researchers will tap into an unused part of the GPS signal, which is often discarded as 'noise', to
The building industry has proposed for a national online system for consents. The online consenting application will require consistent digital representation of buildings and their
Geospatial World I October 2012
3D street mapping project underway
vehicle. According to Mike Donald, MD, Terralink, high-resolution imagery along with LiDAR data would provide a "near perfect model" of the street environment that engineers could use to undertake almost any analysis without leaving their office. "Our plan is to capture the full 126,000 kilometres of roads. We will start off with the major cities; Wellington, Auckland, Christchurch and Dunedin.
location. It will combine building information modelling (BIM), GIS and consenting. Digitising building consents could save NZD 1.5 bn a year, said Simon Lloyd-Evans, CIO of the Building and Housing group at the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment. "This represents a predicted 10 percent increase in the productivity of the construction sector, that's one per cent of the GDP," he added.
B USI N ESS
â€˜70 mn family locator services users by 2016â€™
GeoEye inks image dissemination deal
According to a new research report from Berg Insight, the number of active users of family locator services in Europe and North America is forecasted to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 34 per cent. The active users are predicted to reach 70 million in 2016.Family locator services is the largest segment for people monitoring and safety solutions based on either GPSenabled smartphones or dedicated cellular/GPS location devices.
GeoEye has announced an agreement with Fugro for online imagery dissemination through Fugro World, Fugro's global portal for delivery of data and solutions. GeoEye's EyeQ platform will be integrated with Fugro World to support online access to satellite imagery. "In addition to serving Fugro World's existing customers, this agreement will also allow GeoEye to welcome new EyeQ and imagery end-users in new markets and regions," said Paolo Colombi, VP, International Sales, Fugro.
MDA to provide satellite data to NGA
US DOJ seeks detail of DigitalGlobe merger
MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates Limited (MDA) has signed a multimillion dollar contract to provide satellite information to the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA). As per the agreement, MDA will provide the National Ice Center with information from its RADARSAT-
The US Department of Justice (DOJ) has requested DigitalGlobe to provide more information about the GeoEye merger deal. Their request extends the waiting period under certain antitrust laws that prohibit the deal from closing until the information is provided by the company, or until the
federal government lifts the waiting period. DigitalGlobe said it will promptly respond to the request and will continue working cooperatively with the Department of Justice.
M ISCE LLAN EOUS
Geospatial intelligence app store The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) has invited application developers and engineers to come and learn about the new GEOINT app store that is being developed. Responsible for gathering and
Image courtesy: geek.com
2 satellite for creating ice charts, supporting environmental monitoring and improving the safety of maritime navigation.
analysing all of the geospatial intelligence for the US military and intelligence communities, GEOINT is looking to leverage modern mobile devices by offering secure applica-
Digital map search tool unveiled
Image courtesy: UC
A digital map-search tool, Landscape Explorer (LandEx), has been unveiled by University of Cincinnati Professor Tomasz Stepinski. LandEx is a GeoWebbased tool for exploration of patterns in raster maps. Stepinski describes LandEx as a new, content-based geographic map search tool. LandEx uses National Land Cover Dataset 2006, a very large map derived from Landsat multispectral images, to enable example-based queries for localities across the US having patterns of land cover similar to user-selected reference. For example, if a user selects a specific area within the US, LandEx will identify all areas in the US with similar patterns of land-cover.
Geospatial World I October 2012
tions that can be rapidly deployed to operating units in the field. The new GEOINT app system will deploy crucial intelligence that could help a unit avoid a firefight altogether.
to better protect our satellites and understand how space weather affects communications and technology on earth," said John Grunsfeld, associate administrator for NASA's Science Mission Directorate.
Google's new 'planet spanning' database Image courtesy: Wired
Google recently published a paper, describing its storage and computation system that spans all its data centres. The database, named Spanner, is based-on TrueTime API. TrueTime uses GPS antennas and atomic clocks to get Google's entire network running in lock step. According to Google, it is the first database that can quickly store and retrieve information across a worldwide network of data centres while keeping that information 'consistent', meaning all users see the same collection of information at all times.
Geospatial World I October 2012
NASA mission to protect GPS satellites NASA launched a twin-spacecraft mission, Radiation Belt Storm Probes (RBSP), to explore the earth's radiation belts. Results from this mission would enable designers and operators to mitigate the impact of solar storms able to knock out satellites, including those used for GPS navigation and communication. "The information collected from these probes will benefit the public by allowing us
OGC forms land info working group The Open Geospatial Consortium has (OGC) formed a new OGC Land Information Domain Working Group (Land Info DWG) to address CAD, Land Information System (LIS) and GIS interoperability challenges facing industry domains concerned with the built environment. The goals of the Land Info DWG are to find the best approach for incorporating the LandXML schema into the OGC's standards base and to explore ways to incorporate land-related information into OGC standards.
Urban flooding mapped using T-LiDAR Scientists at the US Geological Survey (USGS) developed a new capability 'terrestrial LiDAR' or 'T-LiDAR' to map urban flooding caused by Hurricane Isaac. According to the USGS' press statement, in a four-to-five minute scan, portable laser instruments collect millions of topographic data points in a full 360-degree view to quickly produce highly accurate topographic information and can map areas up to two-thirds of a mile away. The information gathered from this pilot project will be used by USGS to develop 3D models of streets and structures, including the levels floodwaters reached to form an interactive 3D flood inundation map.
Smartphones detect objects on battlefield University of Missouri (MU) researchers developed new software using smartphones' GPS and imaging abilities that determine the exact location of distant objects as well as
Image Coutesy: engadget
monitor the speed and direction of moving objects. The software could eventually allow smartphone-armed soldiers to target the location of their enemies. On the non-military front, the software could be used by everyone, including golfers judging distance to the green.
CH I LE
Partnership for LIS in Latin America Thomson Reuters and Informatica El Corte Ingles (IECI) formed a strategic partnership to implement cadastral mapping and land information management systems in Latin America. The two companies will deliver automated land administration solutions that enable governments to manage
property rights efficiently, equitably and with transparency. Thomson Reuters will implement systems for registering property titles and ownership rights based on its GRM (government revenue management) software. IECI will provide implementation services for GRM including the integration of technologies necessary for successful deployment of land information systems.
DOM I N ICA
Geospatial database community soon In a bid to form a geospatial database community, Dominica introduced GeoNode platform for management and publication of geospatial data. The new system will allow national ministries and agencies to populate, catalogue, view and share data on a central depository. Dr. Kenneth Darroux , Minister for Physical Planning welcomed the initiative saying that GIS databases already established on the island have lacked management and information sharing. Darroux hopes that this new Geonode platform will address that concern.
Sound map of South America unveiled A collaborative platform, audiomapa.org, dedicated to the soundscape of South America has been unveiled by Fernando M. Godoy, Director, Tsonami Sound Art Festival. Audiomapa is an online map of environmental records, accounting auditory heritage or aesthetic qualities and sound from different geographies. Anyone can upload records or soundscapes in audiomapa, whether urban, natural, cultural, mechanical or others. The audios use free licenses and are available for all noncommercial creative use.
Geospatial World I October 2012
Creating your own map from maps published by other users is just one of many ways to take advantage of the rich collection of data and resources ArcGIS Online makes available to you. SM
Welcome to the new frontier in geographic information systems.
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should be housed in one national agency
Kapil Sibal calls for free flow of data; integration with IT industry to provide holistic solutions
he geospatial industry in India has done fairly well over the years. Its expansion and growth has been quite steady. Way back in 2005, India revised the map policy and set up the National Spatial Data Infrastructure â€” two initiatives that helped the geospatial industry grow. This in turn helped businesses and the government, and the common man. But there has been a paradigm shift since then. Technology is advancing at such an enormous pace that geospatial industry can no longer exist on its own; it needs to integrate into the mainstream of information technology (IT). And I think this industry needs to be addressed in that context as the real challenge is
The real challenge is to integrate geospatial information with the general flow of information on the Internet. We must connect geospatial data with economic activities in order to find solutions for the people.
to integrate geospatial information with the general flow of information on the Net. We must connect geospatial data with economic activities to find solutions for the people.
Integration into mainstream The Indian government is using geospatial technology in projects such as the Restructured Accelerated Power Development and Reforms Programme, the Agricultural Resources Information System, the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission and the National Land Record Modernisation Programme. The technology has given a fillip to urban planning and development of sustainable cities, power systems, land records, spatial-based agriculture and forest information. In non-traditional areas too, geospatial technology is now pervading all segments of consumer devices and services and across verticals of public and private sector businesses. Permeation of location-based social media has also increased public awareness and helped unveil
new geospatial application opportunities. This information now is vital in car navigation systems, wireless networking, mobile computing, automobile tracking systems, location-based services, transportation planning, engineering, environment modelling and analysis, telecommunications, farming and public health. And it is important is because there is no human activity that takes place on Planet Earth without reference to a particular point on the planet. Geospatial information, riding on the shoulders of general IT information, can help decision-making to be far more efficient and conducive for economic growth.
National agency to integrate geospatial data The Indian government is setting up four regional data centres to house all available data and application technologies that will be provided to the industry and to the public at large. If you integrate geospatial information into the cloud computing set-up, the end solutions will be fully integrated ones. If an MSME
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wants a particular solution, it can access the data centre. This centre may in turn be connected to the cloud, or the MSME may be directed to the cloud. In urban planning, 3D representation of the data along with integrated data processes is of mmense help. This is true of transportation and agriculture. The farmer then can figure out what he should and shouldn't do. This data, made available on a mobile phone, will be an empowering tool, helping him in timely decision making and contributing to economic growth. The problem, of course, is that many of the agencies in India have data but they are not integrated with each other. For example, the Survey of India is housed in the Ministry of Science and Technology. All remote sensing data is housed in the Department of Space while the geological data with Geological Survey of India comes under the Ministry of Mines. But in the absence of an integrated institution to collect, manage, disseminate, analyse and create applications with the data, geospatial data is not being optimally utilised by central and state departments or by the private industry. I think it's the right time to create an agency in India which houses [and manages] this data. This agency must absorb the data that departments put in the public domain.
Free flow of data However, this is a problem of mindset elsewhere in the world too â€” every person believes that the data he/she generates is his/her exclusive property. Governments and people must understand that as far as geospatial data is concerned, they may have some copyright over the data for having created it, but data essentially comes from Mother Earth. And Mother Earth doesn't have any exclusive stamp of possession which any entity or person can claim anywhere in the world. So, basic essential data which emerges from the Planet Earth must be available free of cost across the board. This is one thing that needs to be agreed upon if we want to make use of data in a substantial way. You can build on it to claim possessory rights, but basic data should be freely available. I have always believed that government departments which collect data
should use the data not just for themselves but put it in public domain so that they too can use it. If a government department has data of location of schools, it must share it with the private sector, which can in turn help the government in providing solutions for larger social and economic benefits. Another thing troubling me over the years is the fact that we do not have maps for planning. The maps we have are at 1:50,000 and 1:25,000 scales. But for urban planning, you need maps at 1:2,000 scale. The Ministry of Information and Technology recently decided not to wait for the Survey of India to map things on
KAPIL SIBAL Union Minister for Human Resource Development, Communication and IT, Government of India
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the ground. We decided to India needs to think and take what is at present availplan for 20 years ahead, projable through satellites and ect our manpower requirecreate maps at 1:10,000 and ments for the future, see 1:2000 scales. You may have a where our technology will go, level of inaccuracy of about a how cloud computing, metre or even less, but for geospatial sector, the IT secmacro planning, these are tor, mobile technologies, and nothing compared to the data other technologies will conthat is available. We can then verge. If you have a road map wait for the Survey of India to for the next 20 years, you may make them more accurate as even come to a conclusion Kapil Sibal addressing the Geospatial Artha Summit in New Delhi the years go by. that what you need is not a I only talked about education worker skilled in geospatial technolthe kind of activity that will help the and what we are doing in the IT ogy but a multi-skilled individual. private sector grow at the rate of 25Ministry. But geospatial data has 30% in the geospatial space. This is Get a holistic approach enormous use in every sector of a sector which can create enormous The geospatial industry needs to the economy. I cannot think of a jobs for the country. look at things a little more holistisingle sector where this data will Skill deficit and cally. It is okay to provide solutions not be useful. And yet within the curriculum revision based on geospatial technology, but Government of India, we have not We have a population desperate for that is a micro solution. What you been able to decide so far as to jobs and I am sure geospatial indusneed is a macro vision and solutions what is the level and kind of data, try today does not have enough have to be at both ends. To create a and to what extent we can distribute skilled resources. We have been framework in which geospatial techand make it available to the public. working with the industry to intronology has an integral part, you The government is currently in duce some courses in this field. But, need to be multi-disciplinary in your the reform mode and we hope to get what we need to do is integrate approach and a platform that is some decisions for the geospatial some of the institutions to ensure multi-disciplinary. sector as well. There is a group of that the skill requirements of the And your competitiveness will ministers (GoM) which is looking at industry are generated through depend on how much holistic soluvarious issues that geospatial them. We can sit together with the tions you provide to the economy. industry faces and I happen to be a human resource development And in providing holistic solutions, member of that GoM. industry and prepare courses of geospatial technology is one part, Reforms need not be only legstudy and make sure that those syland a very integral part. islative ones; it is not just about getlabi are tailor-made for the sector. I am neither an expert in this ting bills passed in Parliament. We Otherwise we will not be able to crearea nor a scientist, but as a policycan do many things outside the Parate the right course for the kid who maker I believe this is the kind of liament which will actually generate moves out of the college to get a job. vision the industry and the governThe University of Hyderabad will ment should have. At the end, it is We need to integrate some of soon house a special centre of the ordinary consumer who has to the institutions to ensure that excellence for which Rs 25 crore has be empowered and benefited. If that the skill requirements of the been sanctioned. But again, Rs 25is not done, there is no point in geospattial industry are generated through them. We must prepare 30 crore in one university will not having these technologies. courses of study and make sure produce the numbers the industry (Based on the speech delivered at that those syllabi are tailor-made needs. It should be done on a much Geospatial Artha Summit, in New Delhi in for the sector. September 2012) larger scale.
Geospatial World I October 2012
Courtesy: Eye on Earth
A map depicting the heat wave risk of European cities. The share of green (vegetated) and blue (water) areas within cities (2006) can influence the urban heat island effect
An eye on tomorrow EU agency joins environment information dots to create interactive online network for industry, green community and citizens alike
recent map showing the vulnerability of European cities to heat waves owing to climate change received over 125,000 visitors in the first 24 hours of hitting the Net. This is just one example of the communicative power of mapping complex issues. The interactive heat wave vulnerability map was published by Eye on Earth, an initiative by the European Environment Agency (EEA). It was crunched from a few maps from a recent report, Urban Adaptation to Climate Change in Europe, and allowed the general public to explore climate change projections up to 2100, showing the increase in number of "tropical nights and hot days" (occasions when the nights provide no relief to killer heat in the daytime) among others. A powerful aspect of the map was that it allowed users to explore projections for their city, while other layers yielded even more relevant information â€” for example, the amount of open space
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and population density in each city, factors that can significantly influence the urban heat island effect. Eye on Earth is an EEA network and community for sharing and discovering environmental information online. Ever since its inception in 1994, the EEA has been gathering huge volumes of environmental data â€” industrial emissions, water quality, air quality, forest cover, and so on. In 2011, it initiated Eye on Earth, the result of a public-private partnership, bringing together expertise from industry leaders such as Esri and Micrsosoft with public organisations like itself. This new cloud computing-based network of vast volumes of information from organisations around the world promotes the principles of public data access and citizen science. Eye on Earth users can easily explore maps and map-based apps made by others, contribute content and create their own maps and apps, translating complex
The Eye on Earth website
scientific data into accessible, interactive and visual online representations. Moreover, the Eye on Earth provides organisations with a secure central location for managing their geospatial environmental content. This innovative tool gives access to data based on Geographic Information Systems (GIS). It operates with functionalities provided by Esri's ArcGIS Online for handling a wide range of data for working with maps and geographic information (within an organisation, across a community, and on the Web). Hence, the ArcGIS Online backbone offers the users a complete online GIS for using maps and geographic information to collect, organise, manage, analyse, communicate and distribute data.
Why Eye on Earth? What makes Eye on Earth stand out from the crowd of information providers? "Eye on Earth is a collection of various components linked together to connect the dots of environmental information sharing," says Chris Steenmans, Head of Programme, EEA. "It offers a common platform for official as well as crowdsourced data, strives to add Near
Real Time as well as historical data, and scalability from information in your local environment to synoptic information at regional and even global level on different environmental topics. We need to have a common access point to relevant and reliable information to better understand what is happening in our environment, and be able to make informed decisions," he adds. To connect the dots, we need to work together across public, private and civil society. The EEA is an agency of the European Union. With a task to provide sound, independent information on the environment, its task of communicating to the public and policymakers means that it often considers innovative and effective ways to get the message across. Connecting the dots also means linking the vast supply of environmental data with those who can use it. National environmental authorities in the EU have legal obligations to report their environmental data and information to EU bodies such as the EEA. In turn, the EEA uses the information to assess whether the policies are working or not. In tandem with this supply of information, there is a also a continuous demand. For example, public authorities at all levels need to know what is happening in their area and use the information to prepare for emergencies such as floods or to manage accidents such as toxic or oil spills. At least 80% of all the environmental data and information that the EEA uses has a spatial dimension, so most of it can be compared and explored using mapping technology. Furthermore, environmental information can empower citizens, so they can effectively influence public policy or make decisions that touch the environment. Businesses also use environmental information, for example, to track their environmental footprints, predict future supplies of resources, or as an incentive to develop innovative commercial solutions for environmental problems. "Scientists, governments, universities and citizen groups can now contribute data and map-based visualizations into this network. The portfolio of content is still small, but growing rapidly, and includes daily ocean temperature forecasts, agricultural areas in Europe, USA land cover, and more. More than anything, this information helps set the baseline for the planet, in a very public, accessible way," notes MSDN blogger Shoshe in her recent post. Eye on Earth provides a single point of entry to global
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environmental data. It offers improved accessibility and a front-end to represent the data to serve all stakeholders (including data providers and information consumers such as decision makers and the general public). By encouraging data-sharing between different sectors, organisations and communities, and intelligent representation of the information, Eye on Earth provides a knowledge base for sustainable development.
Why on Earth is sharing everything? The motto for Eye on Earth is that 'sharing is everything', because only by sharing relevant information, we can expand and improve our common understanding about the state of and need for actions to improve the environmental situation. This outlook has been shaped by international agenda issues. The key international political milestones that frame the sharing of environmental information trace their roots back to the Rio Declaration, a short document produced at the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED), informally known as the Earth Summit. The Rio Declaration comprised 27 principles intended to guide future sustainable development around the world. Besides inking the term sustainable development, Principle 10 is pivotal for Eye on Earth's objectives, as it draws a close link between access to information and public participation. The Aarhus Convention follows the priorities of Principle 10 in the form of a multilateral environmental agreement through which the opportunities for citizens to access environmental information are increased and transparent, and a reliable regulatory procedure is secured. The agreement was signed by many countries and adopted into a EU legislation. To strengthen global information sharing, the Eye on Earth Summit was held in December, 2010 in Abu Dhabi. At the end of the four-day summit, a declaration, aiming
Eye on Earth provides a single point of entry to environmental data. It offers improved accessibilitty and a front-end to serve all stakeholders. By encouraging data-sharing between different sectors, organisations and communities, it provides a base for sustainable development
Geospatial World I October 2012
The web application of the heat wave map
for greater access to open and shared environmental and societal data for enhanced decision making, was signed. It brought together the global leadership of the environmental information movement, a group dedicated to bringing the benefits of better information to people and decision-makers around the world. Many global and national organisations committed to contributing large volumes of environmental data to the Eye on Earth network (such as the EEA, UNEP and USEPA). A follow-up summit in 2014, again in Abu Dhabi, will take stock of the progress. The declaration fed into the recent global UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in June 2012. There were great steps forward for the global political will to share information on advancing sustainable development. Indeed, the Outcome Document explicitly referenced the Eye on Earth network. Here, world leaders see eye to eye about information sharing being a cornerstone in building the 'The Future We Want', as the Outcome Document was called. The Rio+20 proceedings will undoubtedly have an influence on the road ahead for Eye on Earth. Now that the main framework of information sharing has been commonly agreed, the Eye on Earth network continues to grow and put sharing environmental information into action. Jesse Goodman Project Officer for Eye on Earth European Environment Agency email@example.com
â€œOcean is an integral
part of the earth's life support system
What are the mandate and activities of the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission? The Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) is a commission of UNESCO. At the same time, it also has a certain level of programme autonomy. It is mandated by the UN to address various aspects of ocean science, including capacity building and technology transfer. It is a commission of government representatives from coastal states, although membership is not restricted to such states. These representatives constitute the Assembly which is the governing body and decides on the activities of the commission which are executed by the secretariat. IOC is the only UN Commission dedicated exclusively to oceans and where decisions are taken for the entire ocean community.
not only from the affected countries but also from other countries which wanted to assist. There was an urgent need for an intergovernmental organisation to coordinate various activities linked to the tsunami and they looked up to the IOC for it. The IOC, therefore, took up the responsibility and the mandate to coordinate all the activities related to the Indian Ocean tsunami warnings. The outcome was that the Indian Ocean Tsunami Warning System, coordinated by the IOC, became officially operational in October 2011 with alerts being sent from three locations - Australia, Indonesia and India.
Is there any information exchange mechanism between these three countries? There is an information exchange mechanism but it is not only
IOC is leading a global effort to establish tsunami warning systems. Can you tell us more?
Dr. Mitrasen Bhikajee
The tsunami warning system is one of our flagship programmes. After the 2004 tsunami in the Indian Ocean, there was a lot of concern
Director and Deputy Executive Secretary, Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission, UNESCO
Geospatial World I October 2012
between the three countries; it is at a global level. It is also one of the mandates of IOC to promote data exchange. Countries have their own territorial waters and exclusive economic zones and they collect their own oceanographic data like sea level, ocean currents, sea surface temperature etc. But this information remains within the country unless there is a bilateral agreement with another country on information sharing, and even then the exchange remains limited. One of the mandates of IOC, therefore, is to bring together all the countries to share oceanographic data instead of each one having to sign a bilateral agreement. Our International Oceanographic Data Exchange (IODprogramme, based in Oostende in Belgium, ensures that countries contribute information and data freely, both in real time and in delayed mode so that they become available, through our websites, to scientists around the world.
How is IOC using geospatial technology for ocean observation? IOC runs a programme called the Global Ocean Observing System which is an intensive user of geospatial technology. Participating countries use data captured by sensors on board satellites to obtain information of sea surface temperature, ocean colour and altimetry.
One of the major effects of climate change is on oceans and marine ecosystems. How is clihange affecting the oceans mate ch and how is the change in oceans affecting climate? Oceans make up two-thirds of the
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planet and despite the fact that rallied a number of countries to oceans have different names, they sensitise them on the issue. all are connected. Whatever happens in one part of the world affects How far has IOC been successful in making the the rest of the members world also. The actually take most classic The final Rio +20 outcome some action? example is the document, tittled The IOC participated melting of the Future We Want, listed in a number of polar caps. We 19 paragraphs concerning events at know that this the e ocean and several Rio+20. IOC melting will proposals from a blueprint prepared a result in created by IOC. blueprint on the increase in the ocean in collabsea level which oration with Food and Agriculture will affect all the coastal states but Organization, International Maritime will especially endanger small Organization and the United Nations islands and developing states. Development Programme wherein The other factor affecting the we have put forth what we believe ocean is the activities causing clithe ocean community should promate change, for example, the pose. This has been distributed to increasing level of carbon dioxide in all our member states and at Rio+20 the atmosphere. The worst part of also. This initiative had quite an this problem is that its effects are impact because in the final outcome not visible at present. The carbon document of Rio +20, titled "The dioxide in the atmosphere should Future We Want", nineteen parahave been a lot higher but it is not graphs concerning the ocean and so because the ocean is absorbing it several of the proposals from the and a lot of carbon dioxide is getting blueprint were included. dissolved in the ocean. As a result, the ocean is becoming more acidic. Marine organisms with calcium carOne way of sensitising member states is at the policy level. bonate-based skeletons, like coral Another is by developing capaciand oysters, are becoming more ties. Are there any initiatives by fragile.
IOC in this direction, like training? Are there any mechanisms through which IOC is making its members aware of these issues? Yes. We have programmes running on these issues. We are also trying to raise these issues at a much higher level. During the last Rio+10 Conference, the ocean was not given much importance. During the recent Rio+20 Conference however, IOC
Yes, this is one of our major programmes. Capacity building is directly my responsibility at IOC. Each of our programmes, whether on tsunami or ocean science, have inbuilt capacity building programmes. IOC also runs courses on data management from its office in Oostende in Belgium. Right now, we are trying to get a larger audi-
The Tsunami warning system of IOC
ence for our live online courses. In addition, we run such activities from our sub-commissions in Colombia, Thailand and Kenya. One of UNESCO's priorities is Africa, so the office in Kenya is going to be extremely important for us. Short term workshops work well but the problem is that when the people who follow these workshops retire or change jobs, the knowledge is lost. So we are thinking more in terms of training for formal qualifications so that the qualified people can further increase capacity in their country. This creates a self perpetuating system in each country. Once these people are trained, there will be a lesser need for foreign experts.
Is IOC providing any kind of funding to sustain such systems? We have several small funding programmes. One such programme is Participation Programme where the member nations have a free hand in deciding what they want to do irre-
spective of the mandate of IOC. They submit a project which is then funded by us and the countries manage the project on their own along with the local population. If required, we send in experts to supervise the project. We have another initiative called UNITWIN. We invite universities to develop UNESCO chairs. UNESCO provides a limited amount of funds, depending on needs to the chair for the activities that he or she would like to organise, including workshops, meetings and so on. In addition, since December 2011, UNESCO has been accredited by the Climate Change Adaptation Fund as the multi-lateral implementing entity. As a result, funds can be made available for running regional programmes on climate change adaptation in certain regions.
In your view, what is the foremost challenge for climate change in terms of oceans? What can be e in terms of sensitisation? done
There are two main concerns. One is the rise in sea level. This can cause major disruption and coastal infrastructure engineering problems especially in small countries with significant part of their coastal lands close to sea level. The sea level problem can also lead to what can be called "climate change refugees" where people may have to leave their homeland in case it is inundated over time. As a consequence of this, languages and cultures may also disappear. Sceptics might say that the rise in sea level is cyclic and has always been like that. I believe that even if it has been cyclic, there is more at stake now than at any other time, given the infrastructure development on the coasts. Ports, infrastructure, factories and coastal towns - all are at stake. The other issue is acidification, though we need more conclusive studies on this issue. The importance of the oceans needs to be highlighted from the school level in all countries, so that people from very young age get accustomed to the fact that they have to take care of the oceans. The difference between land and sea is that one can see resources and damages on land whereas in oceans one can only see the surface and not what is at the bottom. Management therefore becomes much more difficult. So there is a need for more sensitisation and education on the ocean so that people take better care of it. The ocean is an integral and essential part of the earth's life support system and should be treated as such.
Geospatial World I October 2012
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Setting sights on conservation A GIS-based website allows visitors to learn more about threatened and endangered species
he International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) estimates that more than 40 percent of all living species are at the risk of soon becoming extinct. In fact, during the past decade, the IUCN declared the following 10 animal species extinct: the golden toad from Costa Rica, Yangtze River dolphin from China, Hawaiian crow, Pyrenean ibex from Spain, Spix's macaw from Brazil (81 survive in captivity), Liverpool pigeon from Tahiti, West African black rhinoceros, black-faced honeycreeper from Hawaii, alaotra grebe from Madagascar, and Holdridge's toad from Costa Rica.
For its studies and in an effort to slow down this alarming rate, the IUCN uses GIS to show the whereabouts of animals in the wild using an intuitive web map service.
The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species is the most comprehensive information source about the conservation status of wild species. To understand geographically the challenges facing individual species, IUCN launched its map browser (maps.iucnredlist.org).This interactive map service is built on Esri's ArcGIS for Server. It allows visitors to easily explore the globe as they examine the abundance of scientific data available on these threatened and endangered species and see their ranges on a map. The link to the species' observation page shows the site visitor the locations where Pantheraleo has been most recently reported and photos of the lion taken at these locations. A tool quickly identifies the limits of the lion's distribution range. Users can analyse habitat by overlay-
ing the provided basemap of a species range with protected range data layers. In 2011, the entire Red List database contained assessments for almost 65,000 species. Of these, about 30,000 species records included a geologic reference and could be accessed through the map interface. Although the IUCN Red List database is quite large and complex, the online mapping portal displays results and maps quickly. The portal also draws source data from iNaturalist, Encyclopedia of Life, Global Biodiversity Information Facility, ARKive, and World Database on Protected Areas from the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) World Conservation Monitoring Centre. Red List brings together these six different databases effortlessly and seamlessly in a
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Challenges of growth
Challenges met Working with a developer, Katariya
Geospatial World I October 2012
The IUCN Red List map shows lion habitat and protected areas
a web delivery that provides access to the entire catalogue of species ranges without sacrificing data display quality. Red List also leverages web services in open standards from several sources to provide a seamless web map that includes species observations (photos), range data and protected area intersections. The entire system is hosted with Amazon Web Services on Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2). This hosting option enables IUCN to rapidly get its applications online. IUCN is planning to upgrade to ArcGIS 10.1 for Server and is excited about its new features, especially the faster map rendering engines and the dynamic map. With a global audience relying more on the IUCN Red List for this critical data, the mapping tool is proving to be a very powerful device for conservation. Barbara Shields, Esri Writer
Before 2006, IUCN relied on its partners, Conservation International and NatureServe, to provide GIS services. But its scientists were working on a number of projects that required different types of analysis, so they built their own GIS capacity. The project began with a grant from the Society for Conservation GIS, the non-profit organisation that supports the use of GIS and science for the conservation of natural resources and cultural heritage. New GIS products and licenses were added every year because more people wanted to use the tool. Soon, there were plans for a threatened species map viewer for the public. IUCN's first attempt was to build an automated map application in Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) that served static map JPEG files. Unfortunately, the system had trouble managing the large database. Generating and managing maps was extremely difficult, and it was obvious that this was not a sustainable solution. GIS manager Vineet Katariya explored options for creating dynamic online environments. He learned about the capabilities of ArcGIS 10 for Server and some interesting mapping applications. "We just couldn't keep publishing static maps. This technology had the functionality we wanted out of the box."
Children in the foothills of Drakensberg mountains in South Africa who still live in traditional rondavels on family homesteads. Credit: Todd G. Smith, CCAPS Program.
Breaking new ground Many of the real challenges of the 21st century aren't always in traditional state-to-state interactions, but are transnational in nature and require new ways of dealing with. With climate change devastating African communities through droughts, floods and other disasters, researchers have developed an online mapping tool that analyses how climate and other forces interact to threaten populations
he online mapping tool has been developed by the Climate Change and African Political Stability (CCAPS) programme to integrate its various lines of climate, conflict and aid research. The CCAPS programme was piloted by the Robert S. Strauss Center for International Security and Law at The University of Texas at Austin in 2009 after receiving a USD 7.6 million fiveyear grant from the Minerva Initiative with the Department of Defense. Their current mapping tool is based on
a prototype they developed to assess conflict patterns in Africa with the help of researchers at the Texas Advanced Computing Center (TACC). CCAPS comprises nine research teams focusing on various aspects of climate change, their relationship to different types of conflict, the government structures that exist to mitigate them and the effectiveness of international aid in intervening. The mapping tool is a key part of the programme to produce new research that could sup-
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ns ls ds. m.
port policy making and the work of practitioners and governments in Africa.
Climate simulations The initial prototype of the mapping tool used the ArcGIS platform's geographic information systems to project data onto maps. Working with its partner Development Gateway, CCAPS expanded the system to incorporate conflict, vulnerability, governance and aid research data. Later this year the maps will also incorporate data on future climate vulnerability, derived from regional climate model simulations designed by Edward Vizy and Kerry Cook, both members of the CCAPS team from the Jackson School of Geosciences at The University of Texas at Austin. Vizy and Cook ran three, 20-year nested simulations of the African continent's climate at the regional scales of 90 and 30 kilometers, using a derivation of the Weather Research and Forecasting Model of the National Center for Atmospheric Research. One was a control simulation representative of the years 1989-2008 and the others represented the climate as it may exist in 2041-2060 and 2081-2100. The researchers ran regional future simulations by adjusting the control simulation's parameters to match expected warmer conditions with increased greenhouse gas forcing derived from atmosphere-ocean global climate models. Each simulation took two months to complete on TACC's Ranger supercomputer. Africa is particularly vulnerable to the effects of climate change due to its reliance on rain-fed agriculture and the inability of many of its governments to help communities in times of need. "Africa is a region of increasing importance for U.S. national security. On the positive side, it is a place with a growing population, growing economic strengths and growing resource importance; on the negative side, people are worried about non-state actors, weak states and humanitarian disasters," says Francis J. Gavin, professor of international affairs and director of the Strauss Center.
Data sources The vulnerability mapping programme within CCAPS is led by Joshua Busby, assistant professor at the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs. To determine the vul-
Geospatial World I October 2012
The composite picture highlights areas of chronic insecurity where the four sources of vulnerability coalesce. Image courtesy Joshua Busby et al.
nerability of a given location based on changing climate conditions, Busby and his team looked at four different sources: the degree of physical exposure to climate hazards; population size; household or community resilience and the quality of governance or presence of political violence. The first source records the different types of climate hazards which could occur in the area, including droughts, floods, wildfires, storms and coastal inundation. However, their presence alone is not enough to qualify a region as vulnerable. The second source - population size - determines the number of people who will be impacted by these climate hazards. More people create more demand for resources, potentially making the entire population more vulnerable. The third source looks at how resilient a community is to adverse effects, analysing the quality of their education and health, as well as whether they have easy access to food, water and health care. "If exposure is really bad, it may exceed the capacity of local communities to protect themselves," Busby said, "and then it comes down to whether or not the governments are going to be willing or able to help them." The final source accounts for the effectiveness of a given government, the amount of accountability present, how integrated it is with the international community, how politically stable it is and
process of ground truthing their maps by visiting local officials and experts in several African countries, such as Kenya and South Africa. "The experience of talking with local experts was tremendously gratifying," Busby says. "They gave us the confidence that the things we are doing in a computer lab setting in Austin do pick up on some of the ground-level expert opinions." Busby and his team complemented their maps with local perspectives on the kind of impact climate was already having, leading to new insights that could help perfect the model. Some of the countries most vulnerable to cliClimate security vulnerability in Somalia is the greatest in and around the capital of Mogadishu mate change include Somalia, Sierra and the far north. Image courtesy: Joshua Busby et al. Leone, Guinea and Sudan. Having this whether there is any political violence present. Busby information allows local policymakers to develop security and his team created composite maps by combining the strategies for the future, such as early warning systems four equal weight sources of vulnerability and dividing against floods and investments in drought-resistant agriregional scores into five rankings going from the 20 culture. per cent with lowest vulnerability to the 20 per cent with "What this project has showed us is that many of the highest. the real challenges of the 21st century aren't always in The researchers gathered data from a variety of traditional state-to-state interactions, but are transnaplaces, including the historic models of physical exposure tional in nature and require new ways of dealing with," from the United Nations Environment Programme says Gavin. (UNEP), population estimates from LandScan, as well as Diego Cruz household surveys and governance assessments from Science and Technology Writer Texas Advanced Computing Center the World Bank's World Development and Worldwide The University of Texas at Austin, United States Governance Indicators. After completing the first version firstname.lastname@example.org of their model, Busby and his team carried out the
A shortage of adequate housing and the large influx of migrants often lead to large informal settle ements that lack in water, sanitation, electricity or government services like Enkanini outside of Caape Town, South Africa. Image courtesy: Todd G. Smith, CCAPS Program.
Geospatial World I October 2012
COASTAL RESOURCE MAPPING
What lies beneath A collaborative project in the US will provide geospatial data for informed decision making to meet human and energy needs while protecting coastal and estuarine environments
Image courtesy: University of Connecticut, Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection, National Undersea Research Center, and Long Island Sound Resource Center
ong Island Sound is the drainage basin for New York City and much of New England, a region that is home to nearly nine million people. Long Island Sound region is vital to the economy, security, culture and ecology of the United States, but sustaining its coastal resources necessitates a balance between growing and often competing uses and activities. A new collaborative effort by state, federal and academic partners is helping managers and officials strike that balance by integrating various seafloor mapping technologies, sciences and capabilities. When finished, the data will present the most comprehensive picture of the Sound, improve understanding of the area's underwater environ-
ment and provide mapping tools critical to ocean and environmental planning. Evaluating proposed development activities, such as telecommunication cables, gas pipelines and other large-scale infrastructure, and ensuring effective coastal planning requires the availability of marine informational products to help inform the decision-making process. While informative geospatial products (e.g., aerial photography, terrain/elevation models, environmental GIS data layers, etc.,) for terrestrial environments are generally available, this is lacking or inadequate for marine environments. Even where data of sufficient temporal and spatial scale is available, the thematic focus tends to be
Geospatial World I October 2012
too narrow to support alternatives. In response, the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, the US Environmental Protection Agency, the New York Department of Environmental Conservation, and the Connecticut and New York Sea Grant programmes are guiding efforts to develop improved benthic data products for Long Island Sound. While sufficient funding is not available to map the entire Sound, regional stakeholders were able to prioritise areas to identify locations of greatest need. These priority focus areas represent the convergence of several factors, including ecological value, multiple uses and potential for further development. A pilot area was chosen from the focus areas to serve as an operational testbed. The mapping is being implemented by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) National Centers for Coastal and Ocean Science (NCCOS), NOAA's Office of Coast Survey (OCS) and academic consortiums led by the University of Connecticut (UConn) and Columbia University's Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory (LDEO). This partnership exemplifies NOAA's commitment to integrated ocean and coastal mapping â€” "map once, use many times." The philosophy emphasises coordination with state and regional partners, reducing redundancies, improving efficiencies, developing common standards and stimulating innovation and technological development. "Ocean floors are amazingly dynamic and we have to chart those changes to provide precise and accurate navigational data for today's maritime economy," explained Cmdr. Lawrence Krepp, commanding officer of the NOAA Ship Thomas Jefferson. "Our data are used to update NOAA's nautical charts, but as is the case in the Long Island Sound project, the hydrographic information also supports a number of non-navigation uses, ranging from benefits to fisheries management to support of regional ocean planning efforts like this."
Benthic habitats and ecological processes Benthic habitat maps provide information about the extent and composition of marine resources. Understanding benthic habitat structure and ecological characteristics are critical to their management and conservation. Current benthic maps for Long Island Sound primarily depict geological attributes and are based on data largely collected before 1990. For new maps, the data will
Geospatial World I October 2012
be integrated using a habitat classification scheme designed specially for Long Island Sound to produce new benthic habitat and ecological mapping products.
Acoustic intensity and seafloor topography To provide meaningful information about the distribution and composition of seafloor habitats, backscatter-derived images (also known as acoustic intensity products) depicting the composition, roughness, and texture of the seafloor are required. These data, when combined with additional products that provide depth and topographic relief, are the foundation for building tools that address benthic habitats and other environmental conditions. Portions of the pilot area were previously mapped by the OCS but were based on data collected in 2001 and 2003. There are significant portions that remain unmapped. To address this, scientists will reprocess existing acoustic data with contemporary software and methodologies. Survey vessels will provide new data from multi-beam echo sounders (MBES), vertical beam echo sounders (VBES), and side scan sonar (SSS) for unmapped areas.
Sediment texture and grain size distribution Mud, sand and gravel-dominated areas provide very different habitats, so sediment grain size composition and texture are essential components for habitat classification. While existing geologic data products for the Sound can be re-used, researchers need additional sediment grain size information to support the detailed habitat classification. They will use acoustic backscatter information gathered by survey vessels to determine where new samples are needed and then collect them.
Sedimentary environments The stability and suitability of different habitats for vari-
The project will deliver raw data and interpretive geospatial products such as shapefiles, rasteriised imagery and digital maps in convenient GeoPDF formats. The team will utilise a central data mana agement system for storage and transfer of information
Data to support marine spatial planning The types of products to be produced for Long Island Sound have a myriad of applications to assist in marine spatial planning. These issues range from site-specific regulatory and permitting assessments of development proposals, to broader long-term monitoring of ecological conditions within the Sound. For instance, these data will help answer specific questions needed for environmental analyses including: • Which ecologically significant areas in the Sound should remain untouched? A spatial depiction of ranking factor information compiled from regional stakeholders used to identify priority mapping regions within Long Island Sound.
ous species depend on processes such as erosion, deposition and transportation of sediment. Mapping these sedimentary environments is not only important for understanding habitats, but also helps planners anticipate the potential for change. Sedimentary environment maps exist, but are based on data of limited resolution and accuracy. Reviews found that new, high-resolution acoustic products were needed for accurate interpretations. Additionally, data on what lies below the sea-floor surface is needed; this will help in, for example, differentiating true sandy bottoms from thin layers of sand simply resting on bedrock.
Physical and chemical environments Lastly, the project will create products depicting temperature, salinity, dissolved oxygen and bottom stress. These are central elements of habitat classification and are critical in predicting and monitoring the impact of management decisions and marine resource conservation. A fair amount of information is available, but the project's gap analysis indicated there were no geospatial products that describe the physical-chemical environment near the seafloor. The project will therefore deploy bottom sensors for salinity, temperature and dissolved oxygen and will measure bed stress, turbidity and re-suspension rates. They will also collect common oceanographic data while mapping surveys are being conducted.
• Are current ecological sampling strategies appropriate for monitoring biological health?
• Which biological communities are most heavily impacted by human stressors and where are they at maximum risk? • Are current resource management strategies effective in maintaining a healthy Long Island Sound ecosystem? • What are the areas that could support infrastructure siting and why?
The project will deliver raw data and interpretive geospatial products such as shapefiles, rasterised imagery and digital maps in convenient GeoPDF formats. The project team will utilise a central data management system provided by the LDEO and UConn to facilitate storage and transfer of information during the project. As data sets are finalised, they will be made available to the public through the data system as well as to appropriate repositories such as the US National Geophysical Data Center. Frank Nitsche, a geophysicist at LDEO says, "The wealth of the new seafloor data that we collect during this project will provide a scientific basis for management of the seafloor ecosystem and provide an excellent basis for future research." Tim Battista NOAA National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science, United States
email@example.com Kevin O'Brien Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, United States, firstname.lastname@example.org
Geospatial World I October 2012
G-tech to the rescue Two instances highlight the use of geospatial technology in biodiversity assessment and conservation
iodiversity conservation is one of the pressing concerns for environment. Biodiversity has been lost mainly because of habitat loss and fragmentation, over harvesting, introduced species, chemical pollution, global climatic changes and agricultural and forest industries. Geospatial technology, such as GIS, remote sensing, and GPS, is expected to contribute to the field of biodiversity conservation.
PRIORITY HABITAT AREAS The first case study identifies priority habitat areas of the Asiatic black bears in Japan by applying the species' distribution model or the process of using computer algorithms to generate predictive maps of species distributions". Figure 1 shows a conceptual diagram on species distribution model. A raster dataset regarding environment, which has potential influence to target species, was prepared by mobilising geospatial technology. A predictive distributional map was produced using information on species such as presence data or absence data. In this case study, after applying MaxEnt model, which was one of the species' distribution models, it was concluded that the total black bear population of the Fuji-Tanzawa
Figure 2: Conceptual diagram of the ARGOS satellite tracking system of Oriental Honey Buzzard and HACHIKUMA Project
region was "endangered."
SPECIES MONITORING The second case study is real-time monitoring of Oriental Honey Buzzard, which is a species of hawks. The Hachikuma Project, an open-to-the-public project of bird migration, is currently under operation (http://hachi.sfc. keio.ac.jp/). Bird migration attracts great interest of many people in Japan and other parts of the world. While it was difficult to track the migration of birds in the past, satellite tracking has been recently established and tracking the migration of large-size and medium-size birds has become possible for an almost real time use. Satellite tracking is done through the ARGOS system, which enables collecting tracking data remotely by utilising the satellites of the NOAA and the METOP-A. Figure 2 illustrates the conceptual diagram of a mechanism of ARGOS system and this project. Tomoko Doko
Figure 1: Conceptual diagram of a case study of Asiatic black bear's distributional prediction by MaxEnt
Laboratory of Ecology, Research, Institute of Environment and Information Sciences, Yokohama National University, Japan Research Fellow of the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science, Japan email@example.com
Geospatial World I October 2012
Marrying GIS with cultural psychology From their combined experience and perspective, a psychologist, an urban planner and a GIS expert describe setting up urban and regional designs for GIS projects and the cultural-psychological approach to achieve a common multi-thematic and multi-cultural model
hat is common between a safety campaign launched by Italy’s Viterbo Province and the Coastal GIS portal of the country’s Lazio Region to monitor erosion along the coastline and the Aniene River Linear Park project to safeguard the water corridor and set up a water-sensitive urban design? The three projects are classic examples of urban and regional planning riding on GIS technology and cultural psychology to overcome present drawbacks and crises to improve communication and awareness at all levels. The Aniene River Linear Park, for instance, analyses the different human needs that resulted in the complex relations at the base of the formation of urban settlements near the riverine areas to discern the multiplicity of the components, and of the multidisciplinary approach of the stakeholder involved in its development.
troubled in the world? The answer lies in GIS portals, which, in addition to spatial and environmental data, can also take into consideration psychological aspects of the people. There are different occasions to launch new web portals: from planning to road safety, and from coastal monitoring to utilities management. The technical personnel in charge of the new infrastructure usually get together using the best information technologies — equipped with the most recent standards — in order to achieve a real interchange of structured information among the various stakeholders. However, what cannot be purchased is the ability to overcome the cultural differences and the diverse background of the people involved.
HOW SUCH A PORTAL HELPS?
CULTURAL PSYCHOLOGY AS A TOOL
The main objective of a GIS portal and related information system that lies at its base is to support the planning
Psychology and GIS can go together in telling us how people perceive and represent spaces around them and how they use perceptual information to guide their movements in those spaces. We live in difficult times. The fast-changing global landscape and culture are likely to make people vulnerable and anxious as they attempt to cope with the increasing level of uncertainties. The surest way to allay such fear is to apply modern technology, minimise waste, make each job more efficient through new skills. But how do we go about that? How do we locate people, bring them together, teach them new skills, and make them understand they are not the only ones
Webportal of the Mediterranean Regions, an Interreg EU project
Geospatial World I October 2012
Aniene River Linear Park: A study in spatial-psychological relationship aterways are privileged contexts for urban and environmental regeneration policies everywhere in the world. Those policies provide for the creation or strengthening of new urban public spaces, regional and urban parks connected to soil conservation and water-sensitive designs. With the tools of cultural psychology, the Aniene River Valley Development Project seeks to define a new grid of understanding, using the idea that an awareness of various cultural needs, should to be incorporated into the planner's vision.
Aniene is Tiber river's last major tributary before Rome that contributes with a flow rate of 31% to the waters passing through the ancient city. The aim of the project is environmental rehabilitation of the riverine green corridor, which is achieved by combining soil conservation measures with enhancement of the places the river crosses. The multidisciplinary approach reflects the great demand for spatial, ecological and cultural enrichment in order to encourage the use of river resources and create the relationship between protection and fruition. The goal is to realise a riverside park along the Aniene, allowing
The motto of the project: take care, re-establish, let interact the widespread environmental regeneration and reconnecting territorial breakdowns such as the space left over after planning that can be used by several stakeholders with varying needs and expectations. The goal is to enhance the common element â€” the river. In this way the river axis of the linear park becomes the spine of the project and is able to bring a better quality of life to the riverine communities. The project functions by searching for territorial sustainable development â€” the approach is geared to preserve quality and quantity of the local ancient heritage and natural resources, without compromising the ability of future
phases, engineering knowledge, the management and the decision-support models with the related fields. To achieve this, there is a need to overcome existing difficulties in exchanging territorial information among various administrators and stakeholders. The GIS portal is a system of structured geospatial information organised according to various themes of interest, each based on a different technical sphere, collaborating together to form a new unified set of knowledge. It can also provide proposed models and tools for data integration, interpretation and decision support. The system is composed of a geographic database of intelligent geographic features (points, lines, areas) linked to applications based on relational database that not only characterises and qualifies the information associated with the basic elements, but provides a working tool with model and quarry reports ready to use for different applications. A rich raster dataset is placed under the vector data. The website is now ready for anyone to gather data
generations to endure the same development. The landscape is the result of complex phenomena, and the planning process requires a multidisciplinary approach involving a team of specialists from different disciplines such as sociology, architecture, urban design, biology, economics, politics and hydraulic engineering to achieve an integrated solution. The team group developed by different experts to understand the potential of each type of landscape is the best solution to balance various needs and unveil, safeguard, enhance and boost better environmental sustainability and human well being.
out of a single office and form a new set of information. The GIS portal gives access to maps of detailed cartography. The main mapping frame provides a diversified geographic database ranging from different visualisation scales to a variety of themes. The services and the applications are also diversified according to target users. A person can remain within the GIS portal as a viewing platform, or gain from such new innovative techniques new knowledge to develop additional skills. In a new emerging economic situation, this approach provides tools for an individual to develop a powerful expertise, thus reducing financial resources and achieving better goals for himself and for the community. To set up GIS portals, there is a need for collaboration to overcome different cultural and expertise barriers as well as the fragmentation of various technical languages. However, understanding the multiple perspective approach means overcoming the anxiety of the changes â€” of language, perspectives, technology, communication
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and in the organisational chart. This results in a vehicle for greater trust, gaining from the richness of varied approaches.
COMMUNITY ADVANCEMENT Once the urban development planning process begins, the activity of creating the related geographic information system to systematise the knowledge is underway. This phase is then analysed with the tools derived from cultural psychology. This way, one can develop an awareness of many of the complex aspects involved in the GIS project and gather the means for overcoming cultural barriers normally encountered in dealing with professionals with varied backgrounds. Simply put, relational database is analysed against geographical data based on a more quantitative analysis approach versus a more spatial relation analysis of geographic elements. As in psychology, different models are analysed and setting up a GIS system that involves the use of various models is reviewed through the eyes of a psychologist in order to have different cultural groups interacting together. Even the presentation of the visual interface is important. Once the portal is set up, the private sector can act on themes such as tourism and recreation, to be implemented on the informational layers such as base maps and existing or planned land use, and create new commercial activities.
WAY FORWARD Today one can’t just go on the old way — the old way is
The urban plan of Viterbo Township
gone and paper maps are history. It is being replaced by a new way of working and thinking which requires combining the efforts of people with different expertise and new skill sets. And nobody knows what this new data set and new system will lead us to tomorrow. The old system produced knowledge that made an individual professional master in his field; now we are getting to a network approach in which any individual needs the network of contacts and the support of others. The individual is still important and essential if he can pool in the information, develop and maintain his skill of multiple perspectives and incorporate the views of others for a more complex and comprehensive understanding of data. With the tools of cultural psychology, it is possible to go a step forward; not only the system benefits from multiple perspectives of different problems, but the approach becomes more humane and multidisciplinary in both the making and use. We have to reinvent ourselves. As President Barack Obama says, “Do not take the crisis as a drawback; take the crisis as an opportunity”. F. Paolo Di Giacomo Manager, Alpha Consult srl firstname.lastname@example.org Tullia Valeria Di Giacomo Research Assistant, University "Sapienza" Rome, Italy, email@example.com Jerry Cross Professor, Diablo Valley College, Pleasant Hill, California firstname.lastname@example.org
The prototype of Lazio Region's Web GIS System for
Pauline Bondonno Health Educator, Community Health Education
Institute, Berkeley, California
Geospatial World I October 2012
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Traversing the road less travelled
Prof. Josef Strobl Chair, Department of Geoinformatics University of Salzburg, Austria
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CAREER CHOICES I was not overly inclined towards academia once I finished high school. With my mountaineering background, I volunteered for the Austrian Army - I was not too interested in the armed forces, but in Austria, military meant mountains and I wanted to make a career out of that. However, after a short while I realised that it was not my calling. I was very happy to go back to academics and attend university. But the question was, what discipline to pursue? My orientation towards mountaineering and navigation led me towards maps and cartography. To study cartography, there were two avenues at that time - going through the Technical university with a surveying and cadastral focus, or as part of geography. In geography, one had to study general geography for two years and then specialise in areas like planning or cartography. I opted for the geography route and I had the privilege of several excellent teachers in geography, motivating me to major in this field.
ing to make it clear that I considered cartography to be a 'communication science'. I finished my Masters in Geography analysing statistical relationships between climate factors and agricultural yields which gave me some skills in multivariate statistics. For my PhD, I combined my interest in mountain climbing with the opportunity to assist with determining glacier mass balances. This meant digging into the snow pack, measuring density and water equivalent - a great excuse for spending time in the mountains and even getting (some) pay for it. I did my doctorate on the energy balance part of glacier mass balances.
INTRODUCTION TO GIS I completed by PhD in 1984 and started looking for an academic position, preferably in a smaller town since I am not a big city person. In 1985, I was hired at the University of Salzburg. The job description was wonderful - taking care of 'everything that has to do with computers in our geography department'. One very early European installation of ArcGIS was at Berchtesgaden National Park, close to Salzburg. A friend, who worked for the National Park, suggested that I should teach GIS and do research with what was back then called ArcInfo. From the university point of view, it was completely unfeasible to pay for an ArcInfo licence. Then there was an announcement for PC ArcInfo and we ended up with one of the first licences, simply because we could not afford 'the real thing'.
At that time, there were not many career options after studying geography other than teaching in high schools. But I didn't plan to be a teacher, because I was driven by an emerging interest in digital technologies in spatial research. Offered a place on the cartography programme, I discovered that a lot of manual drafting and scribing was required. While I agreed that one should learn first learn to apply basic concepts before doing quality digital work, it was clear to me that there was limited future potential in doing maps like they were done at that time. I was tryIn the mountains during PhD field work
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ESTABLISHING UNIGIS In addition to our residential students, we had several requests for assistance from professionals across the domains of spatial sciences. This demand from professionals ultimately led to the founding of the UNIGIS distance learning programme. A small community of people who happened to work with extremely
s a child, I moved around a lot with my family. Losing my parents early in life involuntarily ht me into a leadership position. As a brough teenager, I took to mountaineering in a big way for a sense off freedom rather than any objective achievement. It was here that I got exposed to the geospatial elements as I acquired map reading and navigation skills.
development and operational costs.
EVOLVING GEOSPATIAL CONFERENCES Our 20-plus years of history includes UNIGIS, GIS community building through conferences and a couple of other things. The AGIT and GI_Forum symposia were originally inspired by software users’ conferences. In contrast, we wanted to have an academic conference. In 1989, we held the first 'Applied Geographic Information Technologies' (AGIT) conference. Without this being the original intention, it turned into an annual platform for exchange between academia, public administration and the GIS industry.
With the ‘Doctor honoris cause’ degree received from the University of West Hungary
innovative Canadian software product called SPANS (Spatial ANalysis System) - including Jim Petch, Ian Heywood and Sarah Cornelius in Manchester and Henk Scholten in Amsterdam - shared the insight and motivation to develop a postgraduate certificate and degree programme for in-service professionals, to be delivered by distance learning. We realised that what people on the job actually needed was a combination of GIS knowledge with formal qualifications. There were no such degrees yet. We suggested to our institutions to collaborate and address the industry need for academic qualifications which were not available in standard study programmes. Distance learning turned out to be an area that has to keep reinventing itself - technology supports novel approaches to online teaching and learning. This year we are celebrating 20 years of UNIGIS programmes, a remarkable achievement in such a dynamic field. A unique characteristic was that UNIGIS was not a spin-off from any project and did not receive any external funding. Luckily, the University of Salzburg back then allowed such an unorthodox programme to launch and then flourish, while many of our peer institutions worldwide were suffocating endeavours to address the different needs of the professional education market with red tape and 'we-have-not-done-this-before' arguments. Twenty years ago, the term 'business model' was not widely used at universities. UNIGIS had to establish its business model, because it was self-funded from fees, covering all
With our growing network of partners and contacts, AGIT added an international, English language face under the 'GeoInformatics Forum' - 'GI_Forum' brand. It has now established academic reputation as an interface between science and practice, research and applications. These initiatives show that a personal history rarely ever is strictly individual. Without a stable and growing team of motivated and challenging co-workers, all of these initiatives could not have been sustained in the long run and successfully institutionalised.
BEING A TEACHER I always have considered myself a teacher first and then an academic researcher. I get personal satisfaction from being a teacher, from working and interacting with students and young researchers. This is what I identify myself with, perhaps more than with the research papers I have published. I might have had a few good ideas, but it is mostly my students and peers who have taken these forward. Being a teacher offers a unique opportunity of being a multiplier. If people do not share what they are learning, one's own learning will ultimately stop. And being driven by insatiable curiosity is the stimulant in academia. People should follow their own calling. Some succeed by locking themselves up in a cabinet and win science prizes - of course it is a matter of personality. I am more of a socially communicating person. I am lucky that I had the choice and opportunity to do a little more as a teacher. A few years ago, I was elected as a full member of the Austrian Academy of Sciences. I took it as an honour
Geospatial World I October 2012
because people who have their main credentials in education do not frequently get elected there. Interestingly, one negative amidst all this was that I was 'accused' of being too entrepreneurial. While my activities with the Centre for Geoinformatics are entirely as an academic university department, this observation revealed to me that the outside perception was different. In that sense, may be I am very entrepreneurial of making new things happen! This however does not require a commercial entity; it could be done within university structures.
INDUSTRY RELATIONS We have always had excellent support from the geospatial industry and I am saying this because the industry by and large recognises the critical significance of education, qualifications and individual competence and capacities. I believe that talking about 'geospatial industry' is a voluntary self-limitation which is not a good idea. I prefer to work across, or without sectoral industry and technology definitions for the simple reason that potentials for leveraging spatial knowledge and competences are reaching across traditional sectors. Mobile data communications, DBMS, visualisation etc. are all critically important for GIS without being considered core actors in a 'geospatial industry'.
EDUCATIONAL PRINCIPLES "Spatial" could be an educational principle, not a discipline. While I strongly feel associated with geography and identify myself as a geographer, what I am arguing for is the strength of the discipline and what we have to offer to the society. We are now leading a European network called Digital Earth. It is essentially teachers' continuing education across subjects. Academic disciplines should not be organised like boxes. Boxes are limiting, even though they may be helpful in getting started and building a conceptual framework. This is why the most recent evolutionary step of Z_GIS from a 'centre' to a full academic department resulted in the creation of what is called an Interfaculty Department of Geoinformatics at the University of Salzburg.
At a teacher training workshop organised by Z_GIS at the Prince of Songkla University, Thailand
continue learning, which essentially means continuing to generate novel concepts and approaches. I hope to proceed in the vocation of teaching because it is the most effective mechanism at our disposal. But the important thing is how we handle it. For example, while mentoringbased teaching is limited by the time available, it is also very valuable. "I increasingly observe geographic information science emancipating itself from geography and that sometimes leads to raised eyebrows within my home discipline."
FAMILY AND PERSONAL INTERESTS I am married and have three children. One of my children is an IT professional while another one is into financial management. My daughter is studying environmental systems science which is geography in disguise - maybe geography like it should be. I am keen on exploring the potential of new technologies - which are increasingly not dominated by hardware. As an example, let's just look at positioning and navigation: GNSS has been around for a long time, only now it is moving towards being a ubiquitous technology, supporting citizens' everyday lives. I had the chance to get involved in IT when it was not a part of geography. I just took the advantage of combining IT with 'spatial'.
FUTURE PLANS I am known for coming up with new ideas every now and then. While I am happy with the position I am in, I want to
Geospatial World I October 2012
I still go for hikes sometimes, but they are very short ones!
CONFERENCE REPOR T: GEOSPATIAL ARTHA SUMMIT
cator, the world's first scientific mapmaker whose 500th anniversary was commemorated with this event. As the world today puts geospatial data to work to make the world more efficient, productive, safer and cleaner, it was Mercator's printed maps that are among the earliest instances of making geospatial information accessible. Mercator's legacy, observed Large, was to have spurred the utility and value of geospatial information.
eospatial Media & Communications organised Geospatial Artha Summit in New Delhi, India on September 24, 2012. The occasion was to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the world's first map maker Gerardus Mercator, 50th anniversary of GIS that was first established in 1962 by Prof. Roger Tomlinson in Canada as a tool for natural resource management and land management in Canada, and the 15th anniversary of Geospatial Media & Communications. As the Sanskrit term "artha" refers to purpose, value, wealth and economy, the Summit explored these dimensions in the context of geospatial industry.
Integration with mainstream IT Kapil Sibal, Minister, the Indian Min-
ister for Human Resource Development and Communications and Information Technology, observed the geospatial industry had done fairly well over the years, with steady expansion and growth. But since technology had advanced at such a fast pace, geospatial industry today needs to integrate into mainstream information technology. It needs to take a holistic approach for future growth. Calling geosptial sector crucial for all aspects of the economy today, Sibal also called for free flow of data for public benefit and empowerment.
Economic value proposition Suresh Prabhu, Indian Parliamentar-
The beginnings Peter Large , Vice President Channel Development of US geospatial giant Trimble traced the relevance of the pioneering efforts of Gerardus Mer-
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ian and Former Union Minister touched upon the economy of the country and obversed that the problem of Indian economy lay in the fact that agriculture engaged two-third of the country's population but contributed to only 16 per cent of the GDP. The challenge is the uplift of this segment of the population. It was here that geospatial technology can play a crucial role, he said. Dr. Shailesh Nayak, Secretary, Department of Earth Sciences, showcased the economic value of oceans and the need for discovery, understanding and application of knowledge regarding oceans. MV Kotwal, Director and President (Heavy Engineering), Larsen & Toubro Ltd, said geospatial technology was being applied at L&T in applications like property and boundary, government/environment clearance, flora mapping, topography visualisation, shoreline monitoring programme, and property information system. CP Baid, Deputy MD, Monnet Ispat Energy Ltd, India discussed geospatial technology as an
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enabler in natural resources with least adverse ecological impact. Dr. NP Gupta, Chairman and Managing Director, DESEIN Private Limited, India discussed the relevance of geospatial technology in the energy sector. Informing that the planned additional capacity in the 12th Five Year Plan is 75,785 MW, Gupta said geospatial technology could be beneficial in guiding and clearing projects, as well as in transmission and distribution. Ola Rollen, President and Chief Executive Officer, Hexagon Group, observed that it was one thing to create maps but the main issue was to make something meaningful out of it so that it could contribute to the society moving into the 21st century. He stressed that combining geospatial technology with real time information created new systems that helped to understand complex situations, resulting in huge economic benefits.
GLOBALISATION OF GEOSPATIAL INDUSTRY Dr. BVR Mohan Reddy, Chairman and Managing Director, Infotech Enterprises India, traced the globalisation of the geospatial industry over the last 20 years, providing a first-generation entrepreneur's perspective on how Indian GIS compa-
nies contributed to globalisation of the geospatial industry.
3D CADASTRE Kees De Zeeuw, Director, Kadastre International, The Netherlands observed that buildings on any given piece of land were not always straightforward â€” there could be layered buildings, complex buildings, above buildings, and under buildings. The answer to better registration and visualisation was 3D cadastre.
TECHNOLOGY TRENDS Google's Chief Technology Advocate Michael Jones highlighted the increasing involvement of non-professional, common people in creation of maps and the evolution of technology from being secretive to where everyone was involved, and where there was flooding of information. Dr. Kumar Navulur, Director, Next Generation Products, DigitalGlobe, USA said the industry needed to offer better quality, higher accuracy, complete coverage, fresher imagery, easier access, and should be economical.
CONFERENCE REPORT: ASIA GEOSPATIAL FORUM
G-tech for better governance
eld for the first time in Viet-
tary General of the Vietnam Association of Geodesy, Cartography and Remote Sensing urged the delegates and stakeholder communities to collaborate for a win-win situation. In his guest address, Prof Dang Vu Minh, President, Vietnam Union of Science and Technology Associations informed that the country has experienced rapid economic development in the last 20 years but there are several challenges it is still working on.
Mainstreaming geospatial information for national development
nam, the 11th Asia Geospatial Forum, jointly organised by Geospatial Media & Communications and the Vietnam Association of Geodesy, Cartography and Remote Sensing, brought together stakeholders from over 30 countries to deliberate upon the geospatial developments in the region and exchange of knowledge, with the theme "Enabling GeoGovernance".
Nguyen Van Duc, Vice Minister, Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, Vietnam said the world in general and Vietnam in particular is facing severe effects of climate change and economic recession. To address the demand from government agencies in pursuing their national objectives, Vietnam is actively working on building its own capabilities in space science and geospatial technology. Trinh Anh Co, Secre-
Tracing the evolution of SDI concept and benefits of SDIs in enabling egovernance, Hoang Lam Son,Deputy Director, Dept of IT, Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, said that the national coordinates have been constructed based on national geodetic reference system, VN-2000. According to Hoang, the first version of geographic data stan-
dards, cadastral data standards and land registration standards are completed, approved and are already in use. However, information service standards are yet to be approved. Underscoring the significance of geospatial technology in national development, Matt Delano, Business Area Director, Cadastral Solutions, Trimble, said that several industries like energy, oil and gas, mining, telecom, infrastructure, transportation, water, agriculture, local governments and business enterprises, which are key to sustainable socio economic development, depend on geospatial information. Winson Wang from Intergraph said governments are under tremendous pressure to ensure infrastructure is safe for the public, to increase transparency in decision making, to improve public services and offer services at lower costs. Atty Ernesto d Adobo, Undersecretary for Staff Bureaus, Department
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of Environment and Natural Resources, Philippines highlighted the department's initiatives in land administration. According to Ernesto, even though Philippines has a history of using land titling system, there are several challenges on the ground.
Strengthening technology capacity for geo-governance Prof Duong Ngoc Hai, Vice President, Vietnam Academy for Science and Technology (VAST), said that along with satellite launching programme, the country has also developed the national research programme on space science and technology. Kapil Choudhery, Director, Spatial Decisions exhorted that geospatial industry should go beyond the ordinary and routine to provide solutions, draw upon multi-sectoral, multi-domain expertise, create synergy and competition so that the industry moves up the value chain. Discussing the rationale of developing a smartphone app for mountain-climbing accident rescue in national parks in South Korea, Yeong-Deok of Korea National Park Service said that there had been a dramatic increase in the number of park visitors in South Korea recently, simultaneously increasing the mountain-climbing accidents. The Korea
National Park Service has created a geodatabase of the trekking trials, accident-prone spots and a host of other layers. Lim Ser Chin, Regional Sales Director, DigitalGlobe, Singapore, said that imagery is seen as the basic building block for geo-governance and said imagery can address several geo-governance needs like topographic mapping, elevation models, land cover, cadastral/parcel mapping etc.
For the first time, the Asia Geospatial Forum presented exchange forums that aimed to provide a dialogue platform among stakeholders and facilitate exchange of knowledge and experience in the region. The full day Forum "Land Administration for Economic Development" featured twelve speakers representing land authorities in Asia and the leading technology providers in cadastral solutions. The Exchange Forum "Engaging SMEs in National Development" was conducted entirely in panel discussion format. The first panel, "Value Proposition of SMEs in National Development" discussed the approach taken by SMEs in securing national projects, the challenges faced, their synergy with multinational companies that they represented and role of government in Asia Geospatial Excellence Awards providing more Category Winner opportunities for SMEs' survival Disaster management Atomic Energy Council, Taiwan on the ground. Emergency services Telekom Malaysia Berhad The panel on Archaeological application PT McElhanney, Indonesia "Relevance of Surveying and mapping Survey Department, Brunei, Darussalam SMEs in New Mobile-based application Korea National Park Service Geospatial BusiMalaysian Centre for Geospatial Data ness Order" Natural resource management Infrastructure
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highlighted the impact of economic recession to SMEs and the mergers and acquisitions trend among principal technology companies that affect their distributor/reseller network.
Seminars and special session Asia Geospatial Forum presented four seminars on the major topics in geospatial activities in Asia Pacific forest management, utilities and transportation, disaster management and public safety and a special topic of interest in Vietnam, Mekong River - Integrated River Basin Management.
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