Spatial Accuracy of Climate Networks: A Case Study in Nebraska

By David B. Marx

“Climate data are increasingly scrutinized for accuracy because of the need for reliable input for climate-related decision making and assessments of climate change. Over the last 30 years, vast improvements to U.S. instrumentation, data collection, and station siting have created more accurate data. This study explores the spatial accuracy of daily maximum and minimum air temperature data in Nebraska networks, including the U.S. Historical Climatology Network (HCN), the Automated Weather Data Network (AWDN), and the more recent U.S. Climate Reference Network (CRN). The spatial structure of temperature variations at the earth’s surface is compared for timeframes 2005-09 for CRN and AWDN and 1985-2005 for AWDN and HCN. Individual root-mean-square errors between candidate station and surrounding stations were calculated and used to determine the spatial accuracy of the networks. This study demonstrated that in the 5-yr analysis CRN and AWDN were of high spatial accuracy. For the 21-yr analysis the AWDN proved to have higher spatial accuracy (smaller errors) than the HCN for both maximum and minimum air temperature and for all months. In addition, accuracy was generally higher in summer months and the subhumid area had higher accuracy than did the semiarid area. The findings of this study can be used for Nebraska as an estimate of the uncertainty associated with using a weather station’s data at a decision point some distance from the station.”

Smart Mapping to Turn Sci-fi into Reality

esriaustralia-logoSmart mapping technology will play a vital role in moving Australia’s environmental monitoring into the realms of science fiction, according to one of the world’s leading micro-sensing technology experts.

CSIRO science leader Dr Paulo de Souza said the field of environmental monitoring is on the cusp of an evolution which promises to open up a new level of understanding of the world around us.

Dr de Souza’s research group is developing sub-millimetre sensors which are fitted to bees in order to track their movements and reactions to changing environmental conditions.

However, he said the key to fully understanding the vast quantities of data collected via the bees lay in the use of Geographic Information System (GIS) technology.

GIS – or smart mapping technology – is used to map and analyse data and reveal insights not apparent when looking at information in a spreadsheet.

“Scientists are currently working with radio frequency technology like UHF and harmonic radars that are suitable for large animals and insects,” Dr de Souza said.

“These systems require large infrastructure and can’t respond to the demand of monitoring a swarm of smaller insects.

“What we’re creating with this micro-sensor technology is high frequency data tracked in real-time, in a small space.

“The density of the data is one million times higher than what we’ve previously worked with, so we can generate far more accurate insights into the environment around us.

“Imagine thousands of sensors flying in the atmosphere, providing an amazing amount of data and bringing us unprecedented coverage of the environment – this is what we are creating.

“In the future, this means we will be able to use GIS technology map this information in a meaningful way so we can understand the data.”

Dr de Souza will discuss how developments in micro-sensing technology are set to drive change in environmental monitoring at the Asia-Pacific’s largest geospatial conference – Ozri 2014, hosted by GIS industry giants Esri Australia – in Adelaide this October.

He said his monitoring project could see insects become the next generation of sniffer dogs, mine canaries, weather vanes and even extra-terrestrial explorers.

“Many insects have an acute sense of smell used to find mates, locate food, avoid predators, and gather in groups,” Dr de Souza said.

“By mapping and understanding their behaviours we can harness these natural attributes and sensitivities to detect chemicals of interest or weather changes.

“In the future it may also be possible to have them as part of space exploration, helping to calibrate instruments and gather temperature and atmospheric data from asteroids, moons and even planets.”

Ozri Technical Director John Hasthorpe said GIS technology was already widely used by Australian national security agencies.

“This new application of GIS technology would enable analysts to visualise information collected using insect micro-sensors,” Mr Hasthorpe said.

“Scientists can then map the variations in insect behaviour – individually and as a group – and from these maps more complex analysis can be performed to reveal additional information, such as whether particular bomb-making chemicals are present.”

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

The event will be held at the Adelaide Oval, from 1 to 3 October 2014.

Registration is now open at

[Source: Esri Australia press release]

The OGC Seeks Comments on Candidate OGC Web Processing Service 2.0 Standard

OGC_Logo_Border_Blue_3DThe Open Geospatial Consortium (OGCⓇ) membership seeks public comment on the candidate OGC Web Processing Service (WPS) Version 2.0 Interface Standard.

In many cases geospatial or location data, including data from sensors, must be processed before the information can be used effectively. The OGC Web Processing Service (WPS) Interface Standard provides a standard interface that simplifies the task of making simple or complex computational processing services accessible via web services. Such services include well-known processes found in spatial extract, transform, and load (ETL) software and GIS software as well as specialized processes such as coordinate transformation and spatial and temporal modeling and simulation. Moreover, the WPS standard supports both immediate processing for computational tasks that take little time and asynchronous processing for more complex and time consuming tasks. While the OGC WPS standard was designed with spatial processing in mind, it can also be used to readily insert non-spatial processing tasks into a web services environment.

This WPS 2.0 candidate standard is a revision of WPS 1.0 (published in 2007). It incorporates change requests that have been submitted since the release of WPS 1.0 and provides improved support for process cataloguing and retrieval. Downloads and additional details are available at

The 30 day public comment period for the candidate OGC Web Processing Service (WPS) Version 2.0 Interface Standard ends 25 September 2014 . After the OGC’s WPS Standards Working Group has addressed comments received in response to this Request for Comments (RFC) the draft document will be submitted to the OGC Technical Committee and Planning Committee for their review and possible approval as an adopted OGC Standard.

The OGC® is an international consortium of more than 475 companies, government agencies, research organizations, and universities participating in a consensus process to develop publicly available geospatial standards. OGC standards support interoperable solutions that “geo-enable” the Web, wireless and location-based services, and mainstream IT. Visit the OGC website at

[Source: OGC press release]

Scientists Map Risk of Premature Menopause after Cancer Treatment

icrWomen treated for the cancer Hodgkin lymphoma will be able to better understand their risks of future infertility after researchers estimated their risk of premature menopause with different treatments.

The findings, set out in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, are based on the experience of more than 2,000 young women in England and Wales treated for the cancer over a period of more than 40 years.

Previous research has suggested that women with Hodgkin lymphoma who receive certain types of chemotherapy or radiotherapy are at increased risk of going through the menopause early – but there was insufficient information to provide patients with detailed advice.

But the new study, led by scientists at The Institute of Cancer Research, London, provides precise estimates of risk for women depending on which treatment types and doses they received and at what age – allowing doctors to give them detailed advice about their risks of future infertility.

The research was largely funded by Breakthrough Breast Cancer and involved researchers from across the UK at more than 50 universities and hospitals.

The research team followed-up 2,127 women who had been treated for Hodgkin lymphoma in England and Wales between 1960 and 2004, and who had been aged under 36 at the time. All had received treatment with chest radiotherapy, sometimes alongside other treatments.

Some 605 of the women in the study underwent non-surgical menopause before the age of 40. This was a large enough number for the researchers to estimate accurate risks of menopause at different ages, depending on the mixture and doses of treatments they received and the age they received them.

The researchers produced a risk table which could help improve the advice that clinicians are able to give to women who have undergone treatment for the disease. Several of the treatments caused a sharp increase in premature menopause risk.

For example, a woman who had received six or more cycles of a standard chemotherapy regimen in her late 20s, but without receiving radiotherapy to the pelvic area, had a chance of around 18 per cent of undergoing menopause by the age of 30, or 58 per cent by age 40.

Overall, risk of premature menopause was more than 20-fold raised after ovarian radiotherapy, and also after some specific chemotherapy regimens. Risk of menopause by age 40 was 81 per cent after receiving ovarian radiotherapy at an overall dose of 5 or more Grays, and up to 75 per cent after chemotherapy, depending on the type, although only one per cent after receiving a chemotherapy regimen called ABVD.

Study leader Professor Anthony Swerdlow, Professor of Epidemiology at The Institute of Cancer Research, London, said:

“Hodgkin lymphoma often affects younger women, and although fortunately most survive the disease, treatments including certain types of chemotherapy and pelvic radiotherapy can lead to premature menopause.

“We hope our study will help women to understand better, in consultation with their doctors, their risks of future infertility following treatment for this malignancy. By looking in a much larger group of women than previous studies of this type, we were able to produce age and treatment specific risk estimates that we hope will be of practical use to individual women. I’m extremely grateful to the patients and doctors who made it possible for us to produce this information.”

[Source: Institute of Cancer Research press release]

An Exploratory Spatial Analysis of Geographical Inequalities of Birth Intervals among Young Women in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC): A Cross-sectional Study

BMCPCBMC Pregnancy and Childbirth, 14:271, Published Online 13 August 2014

By Tobias F Chirwa, Jocelyn N Mantempa, Felly K Lukumu, Joseph D Kandala, and Ngianga-Bakwin Kandala

The length of time between two successive live births (birth interval), is associated with child survival in the developing world. Short birth intervals (<24 months) contribute to infant and child mortality risks. Contraceptive use contributes to a reduction in short birth intervals, but evidence is lacking in the DRC. We aimed to investigate the proportion of short birth intervals at the provincial level among young women in the DRC.

Data from the Demographic and Health Survey undertaken in the DRC in 2007 were analyzed. Logistic regression and Bayesian geo-additive models were used to explain provincial inequalities in short birth intervals among women of reproductive age and young women. Posterior odds ratio (OR) and 95% credible region (CR) were estimated via Markov chain Monte Carlo (MCMC) techniques. Posterior spatial effects and the associated posterior probability maps were produced at the provincial-level to highlight provinces with a significant higher risk of short birth interval.

The overall proportion of short birth intervals among all women of reproductive age (15-49 years) and young women (15-24 years) were 30.2% and 38.7% respectively. In multivariate Bayesian geo-additive regression analyses, among the whole sample of women, living in rural areas [OR = 1.07, 95% CR: (0.97, 1.17)], exclusive breastfeeding [1.08 (1.00, 1.17)] and women with primary education [1.06 (1.00, 1.16)], were consistently associated with a higher risk of short birth intervals. For the young women, none of the factors considered were associated with the risk of short birth interval except a marginal effect from the lack of education. There was a spatial variation in the proportion of women reporting short birth intervals and among all women of reproductive age across provinces, with Nord-Kivu [1.12 (1.02, 1.24)], Sud Kivu [1.17 (1.05, 1.29)] and Kasai Occidental [1.18 (1.06, 1.32)] reporting a higher risk of short birth intervals. For young women, the higher risk provinces were Nord-Kivu [1.22 (1.00, 1.54)] and Sud Kivu [1.34 (1.14, 1.63)].

Results show a clear East-south gradient; specifically, Kasai Occidental, Sud-Kivu and Nord Kivu wer e significantly associated with a higher likelihood of short birth intervals, while Kinshasa, Bas Congo and Bandundu provinces were associated with a lower risk of short birth int ervals.

Results show a clear East-south gradient; specifically, Kasai Occidental, Sud-Kivu and Nord Kivu were significantly associated with a higher likelihood of short birth intervals, while
Kinshasa, Bas Congo and Bandundu provinces were associated with a lower risk of short birth intervals.

This study suggests distinct geographic patterns in the proportion of short birth intervals among Congolese women, as well as the potential role of demographic and geographic location factors driving the ongoing higher youth fertility, higher childhood and maternal mortality in the DRC. “

OGC Announces Big Data Domain Working Group

OGC_Logo_Border_Blue_3DAt the recent OGC meetings in Geneva, members of the OGC formed an OGC Big Data Domain Working Group. This OGC domain group provides an open forum for discussions and standards recommendations for Big Data interoperability, access, and analytics related to geospatial information. To this end, the open forum will encourage collaborative development among participants representing many organizations and communities, and will ensure appropriate liaisons to other relevant working groups inside and outside OGC.

The group will consolidate findings on a public wiki to inform both the OGC membership and the greater public and allow for feedback during the editing phase and after. A report will be submitted to the OGC membership for publication as an OGC Best Practice paper.

Because location-based and geospatial data applications are major contributors to the Big Data deluge, the OGC is positioned to provide guidance on the use of OGC standards in managing such data. Further, with the advent of increased machine-machine communication, interoperability is gaining even more importance. OGC, therefore, is establishing a position addressing Big Data issues, including – but not limited to – science, implementation, market value, and societal effects.

The initial membership of the BigData WG will consist of the following members and individuals with extensive education and experience in Big Data issues:

  •  Peter Baumann, Jacobs University (co-chair)
  •  John Herring, Oracle (co-chair)
  •  Juergen Seib, Deutscher Wetterdienst
  •  Stan Tillman, Intergraph
  •  Marie-Francoise Voidrot, Meteo France
  •  Jeff de la Beaujardiere, NOAA
  •  Bruce Gritton, US Navy MetOc
  •  Chuck Heazel, WISC (co-chair)
  •  Mike McCann, MBARI
  •  Pedro Goncalves, Terradue
  •  Don Sullivan, NASA
  •  Ed Parsons, Google
  •  Robert Gibb, Landcare Research New Zealand
  •  Jean Brodeur, Geoconnections, NRCAN
  •  Jinsongdi Yu, Fuzhou University
  •  Arnaud Cauchy, Airbus Defence & Space

These members encourage others inside and outside the OGC to participate in discussions and in preparation of a final report.

[Source: OGC press release]

URISA Exemplary Systems in Government Award Recipients Announced

URISAURISA Is pleased to announce the recipients of 2014 Exemplary Systems in Government (ESIG) Awards. Since 1980, URISA’s ESIG Awards have recognized extraordinary achievements in the use of geospatial information technology that have improved the delivery and quality of government services. The award competition is open to all public agencies at the federal, state/provincial, regional and local levels. Applications were submitted within Enterprise and Single Process System categories.

ENTERPRISE SYSTEM CATEGORY – Systems in this category are outstanding and working examples of using information systems technology in a multi-department environment as part of an integrated process. These systems exemplify effective use of technology yielding widespread improvements in the process(es) and/or service(s) involved and/or cost savings to the organization.

The 2014 Enterprise System Category Winner is “New Hampshire Mosaic Parcel Map” submitted by Stephan Hamilton, Director, Municipal & Property Division, of the New Hampshire Department of Revenue Administration and David Salzer, Director of Projects and Patrick Santoso, Director of Operations at the Technology Transfer Center, University of New Hampshire.

Summary: The New Hampshire Mosaic Parcel Map system is a state of the art integration of parcel boundaries, attributes from the Assessor’s Computer Aided Mass Appraisal (CAMA) systems, feeds from Register of Deeds, Real Estate Transfer tax and forms and 2014 Municipal budget and appropriations data.  The system is based on a successful feasibility study integrating parcel boundaries and attributes form Assessor CAMA systems from 18 municipalities. The system is integral to the operations of taxing jurisdictions, the Department of Revenue, many state agencies, municipalities and regional planning commissions.  User testimonials mention that time savings and efficiencies have been significant and deadlines are being met with up to a 25% reduction in staff.  Considering the scope of this system, the needs it addresses and its very successful implementation, the New Hampshire Mosaic Atlas is the 2014 Enterprise ESIG Award winner.

Distinguished Systems recognized in the Enterprise System Category include:

  • RECOVER: Rehabilitation Capability Convergence of Ecosystem Recovery Project
    Submitted by:  Keith T. Weber, GISP, GIS Director, Idaho State University
  • Building an Enterprise GIS for the Newest City in Georgia
    Submitted by: Mike Edelson, Senior GIS Analyst, City of Brookhaven, Georgia

SINGLE PROCESS SYSTEM CATEGORY – Systems in this category are outstanding and working examples of applying information system technology to automate a specific SINGLE process or operation involving one department or sub-unit of an agency. The system application results in extended and/or improved government services that are more efficient and/or save money.

The 2014 Single System Category Winner is “NCHHSTP Atlas”, submitted by Kim Elmore,  Co-Lead of the NCHHSTP Atlas, National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD and TB Prevention.

Summary: In support of the initiative and motivated by the need to bring together data on a variety of diseases traced by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD and TB Prevention (NCHHSTP) Atlas was developed.  The primary key to the success of the NCHHSTP Atlas is the ability of a user to interactively access data sets that in the past could only be accessed one at a time through individual web sites, in one location, creating maps, charts and tables.  The system provides a very robust set of queries and views of data made available on the internet for public use with an eye to providing cost effective disease surveillance and intervention.  Considering the size of this project and how many users it has benefited, the NCHHSTP Altas is the 2014 Single Process ESIG Award winner.

Distinguished Systems recognized in the Single Process System Category include:

  • MapGeo
    Submitted by: Sara Siskavich, GISP, GIS Manager, Nashua Regional Planning Commission
  • Sidewalk Maintenance and Repair Tracking Application
    Submitted by: Ian Dunn, Software Specialist, City of Perrysburg, Ohio
  • Data Extraction Tool
    Submitted by: Wilfred Batke, Mapping Technologist, City of Richmond, British Columbia
  • ZoneSJ Map Viewer
    Submitted by: Yves Leger, M.Sc., GISP, GIS Manager, City of Saint John, New Brunswick
  • CropScape
    Submitted by: Zhengwei Yang, Ph.D., IT Specialist, United States Department of Agriculture and Weiguo Han, PhD, Research Assistant Professor, Center for Spatial Information Science and Systems, George Mason University

The accomplishments will be recognized during the Awards Ceremony at GIS-Pro 2014: URISA’s 52nd Annual Conference in New Orleans, September 8-11. The winning systems in each category will be discussed in a featured hour-long session during the conference and most of the other systems will be presented during the luncheon presentation session, allowing attendees ample time to learn more. In addition, each system will be highlighted in an upcoming URISA webinar series. . To review the winning submissions for this year’s ESIG Awards, visit For details about GIS-Pro 2014, visit

[Source: URISA press release]