HIV and Hepatitis C Mortality in Massachusetts, 2002–2011: Spatial Cluster and Trend Analysis of HIV and HCV Using Multiple Cause of Death

PLOS One, Published Online 11 December 2014

By David J. Meyers, Maria Elena Hood, and Thomas J. Stopka

Background
Infectious diseases, while associated with a much smaller proportion of deaths than they were 50 years ago, still play a significant role in mortality across the state of Massachusetts. Most analysis of infectious disease mortality in the state only take into account the underlying cause of death, rather than contributing causes of death, which may not capture the full extent of mortality trends for infectious diseases such as HIV and the Hepatitis C virus (HCV).

Methods
In this study we sought to evaluate current trends in infectious disease mortality across the state using a multiple cause of death methodology. We performed a mortality trend analysis, identified spatial clusters of disease using a 5-step geoprocessing approach and examined spatial-temporal clustering trends in infectious disease mortality in Massachusetts from 2002–2011, with a focus on HIV/AIDS and HCV.

HCV Mortality rates by census tract, 2002–2011. Crude Mortality Rates were calculated based on the 2010 census population estimates at the census tract level for all-causes of HCV. Rates were classified by quintile. Shapefiles were provided by MassGIS, death data were provided by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, and population estimates were provided by the US Census Bureau. NAD 1983 Massachusetts State Plain was used for projection. Maps created in ArcGIS 10.2.

HCV Mortality rates by census tract, 2002–2011. Crude Mortality Rates were calculated based on the 2010 census population estimates at the census tract level for all-causes of HCV. Rates were classified by quintile. Shapefiles were provided by MassGIS, death data were provided by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, and population estimates were provided by the US Census Bureau. NAD 1983 Massachusetts State Plain was used for projection. Maps created in ArcGIS 10.2.

Results
Significant clusters of high infectious disease mortality in space and time throughout the state were detected through both spatial and space time cluster analysis. The most significant clusters occurred in Springfield, Worcester, South Boston, the Merrimack Valley, and New Bedford with other smaller clusters detected across the state. Multiple cause of death mortality rates were much higher than underlying cause mortality alone, and significant disparities existed across race and age groups.

Conclusions
We found that our multi-method analyses, which focused on contributing causes of death, were more robust than analyses that focused on underlying cause of death alone. Our results may be used to inform public health resource allocation for infectious disease prevention and treatment programs, provide novel insight into the current state of infectious disease mortality throughout the state, and benefited from approaches that may more accurately document mortality trends.”

Two New Maps that Could Change the World

Maps have long been used by people to help navigate and understand our world. Early maps guided early humans to basic necessities such as food and water.

Today, the world is changing rapidly, and it’s difficult for traditional maps to keep up with the pace of that change. To help us keep pace with our evolving planet, we need something better. We need new, more comprehensive maps.

Esri has developed two new maps—the most detailed population map in the world and the most detailed ecological land unit map in the world—to help address the challenges we face and make our world a better place.


A New Map of World Population

Esri has compiled a human geography database of demographics and statistics about all countries in the world and has mapped this data using a new, innovative methodology.

Advances in technology are changing the type, quantity, quality, and timeliness of information available. The ideal human geography database would include uniform social and demographic information about all human populations on the globe. It would include population, household, housing unit, business, and economic information that would allow determination of societal characteristics at any scale from macro to micro.

pop-new-york_600

Esri has developed the most detailed population map in the world.

Esri’s new world population map takes advantage of this new information to track and estimate populations to support better decision making. This new model of world population will allow comparative studies and accurate depiction of statistics to ad hoc areas. Population is modeled from imagery, road networks, and populated place locations to create an urbanization likelihood score.

“The global model is currently complete for approximately 130 countries, allowing for detailed reporting that will show the demographics for any desired geography such as a watershed, drive-time area, or an area affected by a disaster,” said Earl Nordstrand, Data Product Manager, Esri. “Additionally, the likelihood surface has been used to create a global population map by obtaining the latest census population data for the remaining areas of the world.”


A New Map of World Ecology

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and Esri recently announced the publication of the most detailed global ecological land units (ELUs) map in the world.

“The Global ELUs map portrays a systematic division and classification of the biosphere using ecological and physiographic land surface features,” notes Roger Sayre, Ph.D., Senior Scientist for Ecosystems, USGS.

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Esri and USGS have developed the most detailed global ecological land units (ELUs) map in the world.

This exciting new global content provides a science platform for better understanding and accounting of the world’s resources.  Scientists, land managers, conservationists, developers and the public will use this map to improve regional, national and global resource management, planning and decision making.

“The ELUs provide an accounting framework to assess ecosystem services, such as carbon storage, soil formation, as well as risks such as, environmental degradation,” said Randy Vaughan, Manager of Content Engineering, Esri.  “The ELUs also lend themselves to the study of ecological diversity, rarity and evolutionary isolation.  For example we can identify whether the most diverse landscapes in terms of proximity to the most unique ELUs are protected. Understanding diversity can point the way to conservation and preservation planning.”

While ELUs do not definitively characterize ecosystems at multiple scales, they do provide information and pointers to the ecological patterns of the globe.  “They will be useful for constructing research agendas and for understanding global processes such as climate change,” added Sayre. “For example, the data will be important to the study of environmental change.  The automated approach to the objective classification of ELUs means that the mapping can be updated as better or more current input layers become available.”


Working Together

Separately, these two maps are important, and can be used in a variety of ways to address important local, regional, and global issues. Used together, these two new maps can give us an even better picture of the links between the human and natural components of our evolving world. “Population density and distributions are important indicator of both the demands and impacts on landscape,” said Vaughan.  “As such, population data can be used as another parameter to infer and understand the environmental processes expressed in the ecological land units.”

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How can you get access to the Global ELUs map?

  1. Introductory Story Map to the ecological land units: esriurl.com/elu
  2. Explore the online application: esriurl.com/EcoTapestry
  3. Learn more about ecological land units: www.aag.org/global_ecosystems
  4. Get started using this content in ArcGIS: ArcGIS Online Landscape Layers Group

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]