Scientists Spotlight Top Conservation Themes for Satellite Technology

wcsScientists from the WCS (Wildlife Conservation Society), NASA, and other organizations have partnered to focus global attention on the contribution of satellites to biodiversity conservation in a recently released study entitled “Ten Ways Remote Sensing Can Contribute to Conservation,” featured in the latest edition of the scientific journal Conservation Biology.

Addressing global questions requires global datasets that are enabled by satellite remote sensing; this paper highlights the way in which continuous observations of the Earth’s surface and atmosphere can advance our understanding of how and why the Earth is changing and inform actions that can be taken to halt the degradation of planet’s natural systems.

The findings of the paper will inform discussions on improving protected area management that are underway at the IUCN World Parks Congress, an event held every 10 years by the global conservation community.

Established in many cases to conserve wildlife and the ecosystems they inhabit, protected areas still fall short of protecting species and their ecological needs. In many instances, protected areas such as Nouabalé-Ndoki National Park in The Republic of Congo do not cover the full range of species such as elephants. Remote sensing can be used to gather information needed for managing landscapes beyond protected area networks.

“Remote sensing data from orbiting satellites have been used to measure, understand, and predict environmental changes since the 1970s, but technology that subsequently became available can now be applied much more widely on a whole range of conservation issues,” said WCS Conservation Support scientist Dr. Robert Rose, the lead author of the study. “To that end, we sought out the top thought leaders in conservation and the remote sensing community to identify the best conservation applications of these data.”

“Collaborations such as these that strengthen ties between disparate research communities will create new opportunities to advance conservation,” said co-author Dr Allison Leidner of NASA’s Earth Science Division. “For example, it will help remote sensing scientists tailor their research to meet the needs of field-based researchers and conservation practitioners.”

With funding from NASA to lead the study, Rose and his co-authors brought together 32 thought leaders from both the conservation and remote-sensing communities. The participants interviewed more than 100 experts in both fields and generated 360 questions, which were then whittled down to the Top 10 conservation examples on how remote sensing can be used, including:

    • Species distribution and abundances
    • Species movements and life stages
    • Ecosystem processes
    • Climate change
    • Rapid response
    • Protected areas
    • Ecosystem services
    • Conservation effectiveness
    • Agricultural/aquiculture expansion and changes in land use/cover
    • Degradation and disturbance regimes

With this study, the authors hope to jumpstart a new collaborative initiative that provides guidance to space agencies and other partners on how future Earth observation satellite missions can contribute to advancing wildlife protection and protected area management. Toward that end, the authors initiated the Conservation Remote Sensing Network, which currently has 350 members from around the world, all of whom are interested in applying remote-sensing data to a broad array of conservation challenges.

“A vital part of this new network, which will foster communications and build opportunities between the conservation and remote sensing communities and help develop new remote sensing capabilities, will be to generate interest from both the public and private sector to invest in the use of orbiting Earth observatories to help conserve the planet’s remaining biodiversity,” added Dr. David Wilkie of WCS’s Conservation Support Program.

The authors of the study are: Robert A. Rose of the Wildlife Conservation Society; Dirck Byler of the US Fish and Wildlife Service; J. Ron Eastman of Clark University; Erica Fleishman of the University of California; Gary Geller of NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory; Scott Goetz of the Woods Hole Research Institute; Liane Guild of NASA Ames Research Center; Healy Hamilton of NatureServe; Matt Hanson of the University of Maryland; Rachel Headley of the Earth Resources Observation and Science Center; Jennifer Hewson of Conservation International; Ned Horning the American Museum of Natural History; Beth A. Kaplin of Antioch University New England; Nadine Laporte of the Woods Hole Research Center; Allison Leidner of the NASA Earth Science Division and Universities Space Research Association; Peter Leimgruber of the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute; Jeffrey Morisette of the US Geological Survey; John Musinsky of the National Ecological Observatory Network; Lilian Pintea of the Jane Goodall Institute; Ana Prados of the University of Maryland; Volker C. Radeloff of the University of Wisconsin-Madison; Mary Rowen of the US Agency for International Development; Sassan Saatchi of NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory; Steve Schill of The Nature Conservancy; Karyn Tabor of Conservation International; Woody Turner of the NASA Earth Science Division; Anthony Vodacek of the Rochester Institute of Technology; James Vogelmann of the US Geological Survey; Martin Wegmann of the University of Wuerzburg; David Wilkie of the Wildlife Conservation Society; and Cara Wilson of the Environmental Research Division, NOAA/NMFS/SWFSC.

CONTACTS:
John Delaney: (1-718-220-3275; jdelaney@wcs.org)
Stephen Sautner: (1-718-220-3682; ssautner@wcs.org)

[ Source: Wildlife Conservation Society press release]

OGC Seeks Public Comment on the Earth Observation Metadata Profile of the OGC Observations & Measurements Standard

OGC_newThe membership of the Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC®) seeks public comment on the candidate Earth Observation Metadata Profile of the OGC Observations and Measurements (O&M) Standard.

The Earth Observation (EO) Metadata profile of Observations and Measurements is intended to provide a standard schema for encoding Earth Observation product metadata to support the description and cataloguing of products acquired by sensors aboard EO satellites.

EO products are differentiated by parameters such as the date of acquisition and the image footprint as well as characteristics pertaining to the type of sensor, the type of platform, the applied processing chain, and more. This candidate standard identifies the metadata elements that enable the robust description of general EO products and defines specialisations for specific thematic classes of EO products, such as optical, radar, atmospheric, altimetry, limb-looking and systematic/synthesized EO products. In addition, this document describes the mechanism used to extend these thematic schemas for specific EO missions.

Version 1.0 of the EO Metadata profile of O&M is an OGC Implementation Standard that was adopted in 2012. Since then the standard has been implemented by the EO ground segments of a number of EO missions. During these implementations, a number of improvements and corrections have been identified. The proposed version 1.1 addresses these corrections and improvements.

The documents for the candidate OGC Earth Observation Metadata profile of Observations & Measurements Standard are available for review and comment at (http://www.opengeospatial.org/standards/requests/127).

The OGC is an international consortium of more than 495 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. OGC Standards empower technology developers to make geospatial information and services accessible and useful with any application that needs to be geospatially enabled. Visit the OGC website at http://www.opengeospatial.org.

[Source: OGC press release]

URISA’s GIS Management Institute Invites Participation in 2014 Organizational GIS Survey

URISAURISA’s GIS Management Institute (GMI) is inviting GIS Managers everywhere to participate in the “2014 State of Organizational GIS Survey”. Your participation will help develop an understanding of how GIS operations are organized, staffed, funded, and resourced with key technology and data. Those GIS Managers who complete the survey will receive a copy of the executive report.

The goals of the survey are to:

  • Enable GIS managers and organizations that utilize GIS to gain understanding and insights into how Organizational GIS is implemented and operated, both within their organization and in other organizations today.
  • Provide new, comparable, metrics and information from survey results to the wider community of GIS managers, educators, students, contractors and consultants in order to identify strengths and opportunities for improving cost-effective utilization of geospatial technology within their organizations.
  • Present the results of the survey via an annual ‘State of Organizational GIS Report.’
  • Provide a survey that is comprehensive, detailed, and global.

To participate, proceed to the GMI Metric Survey (http://gmi.urisa.org/) and register an account for your organization. Once you receive login credentials, you will be directed back to complete the survey. The survey will take approximately one hour and must be completed by a manager who is knowledgeable about their organization and GIS operation. The survey will be available until December 31, 2014.

URISA’s GIS Management Institute® was developed in order to support those who deploy, operate, and manage GIS organizations enhance their personal competency and improve the effectiveness and return on investment from geospatial technology expenditures.

For more information, visit: http://www.urisa.org/main/gis-management-institute/

[Source: URISA press release]

OGC Seeks Comment on New Working Group Focused on Representing Time Series Spatial Observation Data

OGC_Logo_Border_Blue_3DThe OGC seeks comment on the charter for a new OGC Standards Working Group (SWG) being formed to develop an OGC standard – TimeSeriesML 1.0 – for the representation of time series observations data. This work is motivated by requirements in hydrology and meteorology, but the standard will be designed to be useful in any application that involves periodic sampling of spatially referenced data. Time scales could range from the geologic time scales of climate to the nanosecond time scales of radiofrequency spectrum. It is intended that the proposed TimeSeriesML 1.0 standard will be implemented as an application schema of the Geography Markup Language version 3.3 and make use of “OMXML,” the OGC XML implementation of the OGC and ISO Observations and Measurements (O&M) conceptual model (OGC Observations and Measurements v2.0 also published as ISO/DIS 19156).

This SWG will develop a TimeSeriesML 1.0 candidate standard submission, coordinate a public comment period, and process any comments received during this period. The final deliverable of the SWG will be a version of the candidate standard for consideration by the OGC membership for approval as an OGC standard.

The draft charter for the OGC TimeSeriesML Standards Working Group is available at https://portal.opengeospatial.org/files/60856. Send comments on the charter to charter-requests [at] opengeospatial.org.

The 30 day public comment period ends 20 November 2014. After the ad hoc group seeking to form the new SWG has addressed comments received in response to this Request for Comments (RFC) the draft charter will be submitted to the OGC Technical Committee and Planning Committee for their review and likely approval.

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The OGC® is an international consortium of more than 495 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 http://www.opengeospatial.org.

[Source: OGC press release]

Canine visceral leishmaniasis in an Urban Setting of Southeastern Brazil: An Ecological Study involving Spatial Analysis

pvParasites & Vectors 2014, 7:485, Published online 20 October 2014

By Rafael G Teixeira-Neto, Eduardo S Silva, Renata A Nascimento, Cláudia L Oliveira, Vinícius S Belo, Letícia C Pinheiro, and Célia MF Gontijo

Background
The physical characteristics of the environment influence the composition, distribution and behavior of the vectors and mammalian hosts involved in the transmission of visceral leishmaniasis (VL), thereby affecting the epidemiology of the disease. In Brazil, urbanization of human VL is a recent phenomenon and represents an issue of particular concern to local health authorities. The present study aimed to establish the degree of spatial dependency between canine and human VL in the municipality of Divinópolis, Minas Gerais, Brazil, and to identify priority risk areas in which stricter control measures should be implemented.

Methods
The selected canine population comprised 3,652 dogs distributed within 11 strata and 1,247 urban blocks. Serum samples were collected between March 2013 and February 2014. Serodiagnosis of dogs was performed using the enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay and the indirect fluorescent-antibody test. The blocks sampled for canine VL and the addresses of the 16 confirmed cases of human VL notified in Divinópolis during the period 2007?2013 were georeferenced. Spatial analysis of the data was performed using Kernel density estimation, Ripley’s bivariate K-function and directional distribution methods.

canine

Results
The overall prevalence of seropositive animals was 4.63% (range 3.95 – 5.31) (n =169) and varied in different strata between 0.9 (range 0.0 – 1.91) and 8.73% (range 5.65 – 11.81). A positive spatial dependency was detected between human and canine VL in which the occurrence of human cases of the disease tended to concentrate in locations that were close to areas with a higher incidence of canine VL. The priority risk area could be clearly distinguished from Kernel density estimation and standard deviational ellipse plots in which the human VL ellipse was totally enclosed within the canine VL ellipse.

Conclusions
The results presented herein will enable the Municipal Health Office of Divinópolis to devise a more effective management plan for human VL in which specific strategies would be applied to areas presenting different levels of risk. This spatial evaluation of leishmaniasis model could be applied in other urban areas of Brazil”

OGC Hires Dr. Ingo Simonis to Lead Geomatic Sciences Initiatives

OGC master logoThe Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC®) announces that it has appointed Dr. Ingo Simonis to the position of Director, Interoperability Programs and Science. As Director, Interoperability Programs and Science, Simonis, who is based in Germany, will work with OGC members to plan, manage, and develop architectures for OGC interoperability initiatives such as testbeds, pilots, and interoperability experiments. He has a long history of working in the OGC process as a member, and he brings those years of experience to this role.

Since 2000, Ingo Simonis has been a principal developer of OGC’s Sensor Web Enablement initiative. He has authored four OGC standards and been a member of the OGC Interoperability Projects Team. He has served as lead architect for an OGC testbed thread. He has also served as lead architect for the GEOSS (Group on Earth Observation System of Systems) Application Integration Pilot activities, which are administered by the OGC on behalf of the GEO organization.

He has led a broad range of international research and development projects and research groups. He co-founded the international open source initiative 52°North and was the 52°North-Sensor Web community lead. In 2009, he founded with Martin Klopfer (Technical Director OGC Europe), the International Geospatial publications Institute, iGSI, which provided leadership of the Sensors ANYwhere (SANY) FP7 project.

While pursuing all of these activities, Ingo Simonis has also had a distinguished academic career in the fields of ecology and geoinformatics. Most recently he has worked at South Africa’s Council for Scientific and Industrial Research and will continue to lecture at Carinthia University. His recent research has focused on the integration and analysis of complex data structures in the context of large-scale sensor networks.

In 2010, he received the OGC Kenneth D. Gardels award for the extraordinary contribution he has made throughout all phases of the design, development and market acceptance of the OGC Sensor Web Enablement (SWE) standards.

The OGC® is an international geospatial standards consortium of more than 495 companies, government agencies, research organizations, and universities participating in a consensus process to develop publicly available standards. OGC standards support interoperable solutions that “geo-enable” the Web, wireless and location-based services, and mainstream IT. Visit the OGC website at http://www.opengeospatial.org/.

[Source: OGC press release]