The Advantages of Incorporating Historical Geographic Information Systems (H-GIS) into Modern Coastal Management Planning

Journal of Map & Geography LibrariesJournal of Map & Geography Libraries: Advances in Geospatial Information, Collections & Archives, 10:157–172, Published Online 23 July 2014

By Michael Reid

“As the terrestrial and marine effects of climate change continue to intensify, the value of natural habitats as a form of protection against a variety of ecological issues is becoming clear. Coastal wetlands, for example, provide protection against incoming storm surges and extreme weather, serve to improve water quality through the sequestration of various pollutants, and offer serious potential as a new source of biofuel. Unfortunately, many of the areas that have been affected by coastal habitat loss still suffer from the same problems that caused those ecosystems to change in the first place. Cities continue to release effluence into estuaries; hydrological engineering projects continue to redirect waterways that change flow and sediment patterns; and increasing populations in coastal areas all assert significant pressures on intertidal ecosystems. This ongoing changing of the landscape-and the length of time that anthropogenic factors have been influencing these habitats-has made modern-day environmental planning and management important yet complicated pursuits. As a result, planners and managers must constantly look for new tools to better understand their environment. Incorporating historically derived environmental data into geographic information systems (GIS) can enhance the quality of ecological models, which subsequently offers environmental planners and managers with a more robust understanding of the ecosystems encompassed within their project areas.”

Data Collection and Mapping – Principles, Processes, and Application in Marine Spatial Planning

mpMarine Policy, Volume 50, Part A, December 2014, Pages 27–33

By Rachel J. Shucksmith and Christina Kelly

“Highlights:

  • The importance of data collection and collation to marine spatial planning.
  • A systematic step wise process for data collection and collation.
  • Understanding potential applications and limitations of mapping.
  • Problems with mapping and resource implications.

“Marine spatial planning (MSP) is increasingly being used as a mechanism to manage the marine environment. Human activities can impact biophysical ecosystem features, reducing resilience and potentially impacting ecosystem services, which can affect the environmental, socio-economic and cultural benefits derived by coastal communities. Central to MSP is the collection and collation of baseline data on biophysical ecosystem features and ecosystem services to inform decision making and target management measures.

Steps in data collection and evaluation.

Steps in data collection and evaluation.

“The data collection process should be a structured, transparent process to ensure adequate data and metadata collation to enable it to be effectively used in MSP. This data should be subject to stakeholder consultation, producing quality assured information and mapping. The resources required to undertake data collection should not be underestimated. Recognition should be given to the limits of knowledge of the marine environment and its complexity. Planners and developers should exercise caution when using and interpreting the results of mapping outputs.”

Regional Marine Spatial Planning – The Data Collection and Mapping Process

mpMarine Policy, Volume 50, Part A, December 2014, Pages 1–9

Rachel Shucksmith, Lorraine Gray, Christina Kelly, and Jacqueline F. Tweddle

“Highlights:

  • Regional marine spatial planning in practice.
  • Incorporating socio-economic, environmental and cultural data into decision making.
  • Benefits of local scrutiny and stakeholder engagement.
  • Use of data to guide decision makers and developers in the development process.
  • Using spatial data without zoning.

“Marine spatial planning (MSP) is increasingly being recognised as an important tool in the sustainable management of marine ecosystems. In preparation for the development of MSP across Scotland, the Scottish Government, via Marine Scotland, first piloted regional marine planning in 2006, through the Scottish Sustainable Marine Environment Initiative (SSMEI). The overarching aim of SSMEI was to develop and test the effectiveness of differing management approaches to deliver sustainable development in Scotland׳s coastal and marine environment. The Shetland Islands׳ Marine Spatial Plan (SMSP) was first developed under the SSMEI programme, and in 2014 the Shetland Islands Council is intending to adopt the fourth edition of the SMSP on a statutory basis as Supplementary Guidance to its Local Development Plan.

Example of mapped environmental feature within the Shetland Islands' Marine Spatial Plan (NAFC Marine Centre,2013).

Example of mapped environmental feature within the Shetland Islands’ Marine Spatial Plan (NAFC Marine Centre,2013).

“Using Geographic Information Systems (GISs) the SMSP has incorporated spatial data on existing marine and coastal environmental, socio-economic and cultural features and activities into the decision making process, and is an example of place based management. This has required collecting and collating 127 data sets from a range of data sources, and has utilised local stakeholders to verify evidence. This process has required significant resources by a dedicated marine spatial planning team, as well as by local stakeholders. The data within the SMSP has also been used to develop spatially-specific policies to guide the future development of Shetland׳s coastal and marine environment. It has been used by a range of users including developers and decision makers in planning and assessing areas for development, allowing potential conflicts to be avoided or mitigated early in the development process.”

Call for Presentations: Special GIScience Research Sessions at the 2015 Esri User Conference

Esri logoSpecial GIScience Research Sessions
Esri User Conference
20-24 July 2015
San Diego, California USA

Esri invites you to present a peer-reviewed paper in a series of special joint GIScience Research Sessions for the 2015 Esri International Users Conference and Educational User Conference. Papers in this special track must focus on cutting-edge research in GIScience. Full papers will be included in a special issue of Transactions in GIS to be distributed at the 2015 Esri International User and Education User Conferences. Abstracts (≤ 500 words) must be submitted to Dr. John Wilson, University of Southern California, by 15 November 2014.

The Transactions in GIS editorial team will review abstracts based on their GIScience content and select nine abstracts to become full papers. Notice of acceptance will occur by o1 December 2014. Full papers (maximum 6,000 words plus figures, tables, and references in appropriate format for publication) must be submitted to Dr. Wilson for independent review by 09 January 2015. Reviewed papers will be returned to authors by 13 February 2015 and final manuscripts must be returned by 06 March 2015, to be included in the special issue of Transactions in GIS.

For questions or additional guidelines on this special GIScience Research Track, contact Michael Gould at mgould@esri.com.

Abstracts should be submitted via e-mail with a subject line “Esri GIScience Abstract, <Authors Last Name>” no later than 15 November 2014 to Dr. John Wilson at jpwilson@usc.edu.

Young GIS Practitioners Encouraged to Apply to URISA Vanguard Cabinet

URISAURISA is pleased to announce the availability of the 2015 Vanguard Cabinet application. The Vanguard Cabinet (VC) is a URISA initiative which debuted in 2011 to engage young GIS practitioners (35 and under), increase their numbers in the organization, and better understand the concerns facing these future leaders of the GIS community.  The Cabinet’s mission is to collaborate with URISA’s Board of Directors and Committees in creating and promoting programs and policies of benefit to young professionals. Comprised entirely of passionate young members selected from different geospatial disciplines, the Cabinet aims to position URISA as the center of opportunities for creative young professionals who are committed to improving URISA and the geospatial profession via innovation, collaboration, networking, and professional development.

Clare Brown, GISP, advisor to the Vanguard Cabinet, notes, “Young professionals are not only increasing in number within URISA, but they are also leading and initiating important programs. From student outreach to  professional practice development, the VC is making its mark and being noticed. I encourage all young GIS professionals to learn more about the Vanguard Cabinet and apply to become a part of this great group of future leaders.”

Visit the Vanguard Cabinet web page for the 2015 application form (due by November 30) and additional information. Catch up with current and former Vanguard Cabinet members during GIS-Pro 2014 in New Orleans, September 8-11. There will be ample opportunity to learn more about the VC’s activities during the conference.

[Source: URISA press release]

Spatial Accuracy of Climate Networks: A Case Study in Nebraska

C1 PAGE.inddJournal of Applied Meteorology and Climatology, Volume 53, Issue 8, August 2014

By Andrea J. Coop, Kenneth G. Hubbard, Martha D. Shulski, Jinsheng You, and 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 esriaustralia.com.au/ozri.

[Source: Esri Australia press release]