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2014 CalGIS Conference in Monterey to Feature High-Profile Speakers

March 26, 2014

URISAEach year the four URISA chapters in California, along with the California Geographic Information Association, come together to present the California GIS Conference. This year, the conference will celebrate the milestone 20th annual event in Monterey, California, April 14-16, 2014.

The conference will kick off on Monday with preconference courses and meetings and then feature a full day (Tuesday) of important general sessions and keynote addresses:

  • Mike Migurski, of Code for America, will deliver the opening keynote address discussing “GIS: Leaders from Within”. He’ll discuss Code for America’s work with hundreds of local city, county, and state governments, They have found that GIS departments and data are the unsung heroes of civic hacking and open data. Location data is first out of the gate with government data releases, and beautiful maps and visualizations are the poster children of accessible public data. What are the technologies that got us here, and what future skills and methods will help support the central role that GIS data plays in the civic tech ecosystem?
  • Dylan Lorimer, product development manager for Enterprise Earth and Maps at Google, will discuss “The Changing Nature of Geo” during the mid-morning keynote.
  • Just before a hosted lunch, a powerhouse panel discussion will focus on “The Future of GIS/Geospatial in California: Technology, Collaboration, Innovation”. Panelists will include:
  1. Scott Gregory – State of California GIO Alex Barth – Developer, Open Data Expert – Mapbox
  2. Dylan Lorimer – Google
  3. Jeff Johnson – Boundless
  4. Chris Thomas – Esri
  5. Mark Greninger – County of Los Angeles GIO

The Tuesday afternoon line-up will feature a town hall session on “Geospatial Education, Career Development and Mentoring, where the conference will discuss some critical issues facing the development of the human element critical to GIS success with a goal of generating actionable tasks that can be used to support human resources across the state. A brief look-back at 20 year history of CalGIS conferences will precede Lightning Talks, always entertaining!

Wednesday’s education will feature twelve breakout sessions on a wide range of topics from the environment and modeling to data sharing and Federal programs. The conference will conclude with a powerhouse closing session featuring Eric Gundersen of MapBox, who will discuss open source solutions followed by the closing keynote speaker, Jack Dangermond, President of Esri, dicussing “GIS Technology Trends”.

Always an important part of the conference is the opportunity to visit with exhibitors and sponsors and network with the California GIS community during a number of conference events.

In addition, Esri, gold conference sponsor, is hosting a GeoDev MeetUp on Sunday evening and a Story Map Competition on Monday.

Review the entire conference program online at and register by April 11 in order to save $25.
[Source: URISA  press release]

Pacific Northwest Geodesign Forum: Geodesign for a Sustainable World

March 26, 2014

UniversityofWashingtonSeattle07 May 2014
8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
University of Washington, Seattle, HUB Lyceum
Registration Information

The Pacific Northwest Geodesign Forum brings together faculty, staff, students, and community partners using geospatial information technologies to create, evaluate, and monitor sustainable solutions to complex problems. Many complex problems involve a mix of social, economic, and ecological considerations that require collaborative efforts to address the challenges at hand. Methods for arriving at sustainable solutions to problems are emerging in the form of geodesign frameworks and concepts implemented using geospatial information tools. The goal of the Forum is to provide participants with a level of understanding about geodesign frameworks and concepts plus geospatial information tools that can implement them for addressing sustainable solutions to complex human-natural-built community problems at varying spatial-temporal scales. Geodesign enables us to change our world through design. Forum discussions include Community-University partnering opportunities for exploring solutions to complex problems.

7:45 a.m. to 8:15 a.m. Registration and Light Refreshments
8:15 a.m. to 8:20 a.m. Welcome, Introductions, Program Overview
8:20 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. Who is in attendance? Sectors-Areas-Attendees Participating
8:30 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. Why Geodesign? Its Character and Benefits with Q & A
9:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. Challenges for the Geodesign Community
10:00 a.m. to 10:15 a.m. Break
10:15 a.m. to 10:45 a.m. A Tour of Geodesign Tools with Q&A
10:45 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. Quick Cases Using Geodesign Tools
12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m. Buffet Lunch with Discussions
1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. Discussion Groups: PNW Geodesign Community of Practice
2:00 p.m. to 3:15 p.m. Report out from CoP discussion groups (3-5 minutes each)
3:15 p.m. to 3:45 p.m. Next Steps Synthesis for PNW Geodesign Forum
3:45 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. Informal networking as we vacate the Lyceum venue – out by 4PM

New UCGIS Fellows Announced

March 17, 2014

UCGISUCGIS will be awarding Fellow status to three individuals who have contributed significantly to the advancement of geographic information science education and research.  At its upcoming May 2014 Symposium in Pasadena, California, UCGIS will honor Mr. Scott Morehouse, Dr. Hanan Samet, and Dr. John Wilson.

The lead software architect at Esri, Scott Morehouse has had a profound effect on the field of GIScience by having applied his deep knowledge of information systems to the development of Esri software for more than 25 years. Hanan Samet, of the University of Maryland’s Computer Science Department and its Institute of Advanced Computer Studies, is an internationally eminent scholar in the theory and development of spatial data structures. Lastly, Dr. John Wilson, Director of the Spatial Sciences Institute at the University of Southern California, is recognized for both his early research in terrain representation and analysis as well as his leadership at envisioning new directions for GIScience education and research in the 21st century.

The UCGIS Fellows Program was created in 2010 to celebrate the extraordinary record of achievements of individuals in a variety of spatial disciplines and communities of practice that use spatial information. These new Fellows were selected by a review committee comprised of the current UCGIS Fellows and members of the UCGIS Executive Committee.

For more information, please visit or contact Diana Sinton, Executive Director (

[Source: UCGIS Announcement]

Spatio-temporal Analysis of Abundances of Three Malaria Vector Species in Southern Benin using Zero-truncated Models

March 13, 2014

pnvParasites & Vectors 2014, 7:103 , Published Online 12 March 2014

By Nicolas Moiroux, Armel Djènontin, Abdul S Bio-Bangana, Fabrice Chandre, Vincent Corbel, and Hélène Guis


A better understanding of the ecology and spatial-temporal distribution of malaria vectors is essential to design more effective and sustainable strategies for malaria control and elimination. In a previous study, we analyzed presence-absence data of An. funestus, An. coluzzii, and An. gambiae s.s. in an area of southern Benin with high coverage of vector control measures. Here, we further extend the work by analysing the positive values of the dataset to assess the determinants of the abundance of these three vectors and to produce predictive maps of vector abundance.


Positive counts of the three vectors were assessed using negative-binomial zero-truncated (NBZT) mixed-effect models according to vector control measures and environmental covariates derived from field and remote sensing data. After 8-fold cross-validation of the models, predictive maps of abundance of the sympatric An. funestus, An. coluzzii, and An. gambiae s.s. were produced.


Cross-validation of the NBZT models showed a satisfactory predictive accuracy. Almost all changes in abundance between two surveys in the same village were well predicted by the models but abundances for An. gambiae s.s. were slightly underestimated. During the dry season, predictive maps showed that abundance greater than 1 bite per person per night were observed only for An. funestus and An. coluzzii. During the rainy season, we observed both increase and decrease in abundance of An. funestus, which are dependent on the ecological setting. Abundances of both An. coluzzii and An. gambiae s.s. increased during the rainy season but not in the same areas.



Our models helped characterize the ecological preferences of three major African malaria vectors. This works highlighted the importance to study independently the binomial and the zero-truncated count processes when evaluating vector control strategies. The study of the bio-ecology of malaria vector species in time and space is critical for the implementation of timely and efficient vector control strategies.”

Create Your Own Story Maps, For Free: A Simple Tutorial

March 4, 2014

You’ve probably been hearing a lot about story maps lately, and you’ve probably seen some pretty cool examples of what people are doing with them. But have you created one yourself?

If you have an ArcGIS Online Organizational account, you’ve already set.  But you don’t need one of those to build a story map. In fact, you can create story maps for free.

So why not start experimenting with story maps yourself and see what you come up with?


You can start here by creating a free account:

01 free public account

Click on “Sign Up for a Free Account”, which brings up this screen:

02 free public account

Click on “Create a Public Account”, which steps you through the account creation process.

Once you’ve created the account, click on “Map” in the top navigation.  Select which basemap you would like to use, but don’t worry about it too much at this point—you can always change this later. Here I’ve selected the National Geographic basemap.

03 basemap

Now save your webmap.  This is the webmap you will use to build you web mapping app, or “story map.”

Now click on “Share”, check the box next to “Everyone (public)”, and then click on “Make a Web Application”.

Now choose a template.  To make things as simple as possible for your first experience building a story map, select the “Map Tour” template (it’s the only template with an interactive “builder” mode right now) and then click “Publish”.

04 template

After you’ve clicked “Save and Publish”, click on “go to the item now”.

05 item

From this details page about your new story map, click on “Configure App” and then click on the b1 button.

o6 advanced options

Next click on “Start a New Tour”.

06 start a new tour

And there you have it.  Your new (but not yet populated) story map.

08 new tour

Now click the “Add” button, which brings up a dialog to add your first item to the map.  The first step is to add your media.  The two options are “Picture” and “Video”.

09 add image

For “Picture”, you simply paste in the URLs of your main image and a thumbnail.  Ideally the sizes should be 1000 x 750 for your main image and 200 x 140 for the thumbnail, but almost any size will work and the app will resize it on the fly (but remember that there is some overhead with that, so a large story map with non-standard sized images can be a little slow).  Another thing to remember is that the main image and the thumbnail can also be two different images—they don’t have to be the same exact image, just at two different sizes.

For “Video”, you can put in the URL for a video hosted on YouTube or Vimeo, then click the  button and the app will automatically create the thumbnail for you.  If your video is hosted somewhere else, select “Other” and then put in the URL of the thumbnail.  An interesting, if undocumented, feature of “Video” – “Other” is that you can actually put in any URL—not just for a video, but for ANY WEB PAGE.  Just be aware that not all web pages will work in this context.

Once you’re done entering information about your Media, click on the “Information” tab and enter a name and a caption for your item.  You can include html in both the Name and the Caption, do that you can bold or italicize text, add links, etc.

10 information

When done entering your information, click on the “Location” tab.  You can pan/zoom and annual mark the location, or you can type in and address or place or longitude, latitude in the search box.

11 location

Once your item has been correctly located on the map, click “Add tour point”. You’ve done it–you’ve added your first item to your story map!  And it should look something like this:

12 webcam

Now add the rest of your items to the map the same way.  Remember to save often.  Once all the points are on your map, you can click on “Organize” and interactively drag and drop items to change the order on the map.


And when you’re all done with your story map and ready for people to see it, make sure to click on “Share”.


There are obviously a lot more things you can do to customize your story map, but this is the most basic way to start.  So try it out, push some boundaries, and most of all, have some fun with story maps!

NOAA and Esri Agreement to Broaden Understanding of Environmental Change

February 28, 2014

noaa_whiteNOAA’s New GIS Platform Will Increase Availability of Ocean and Weather Data and Applications

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) recently signed an enterprise license agreement with Esri, the world leader in GIS technology.

The agreement enables NOAA to continue building its GIS platform while maintaining data quality in bathymetry, climate and weather data, navigational charting, fisheries protection, natural resource management, marine planning, and other areas of its mission.

“NOAA now has the ability to increase access to Esri software and services that provide additional options for making NOAA data and applications available to all our constituencies and partners,” says Tony LaVoi, NOAA geospatial information officer. “We’re looking forward to the opportunities this presents to continue to grow our geospatial programs in NOAA.”

All NOAA employees now gain unlimited access to select Esri desktop and server products, including the powerful ArcGIS for Desktop, ArcGIS Spatial Analyst and 3D Analyst extensions, and ArcGIS for Maritime. In addition, NOAA staff members gain unlimited access to Esri’s Virtual Campus for online training, discounts on Esri technical support and classroom training, and complimentary passes to annual Esri user and developer conferences.

Another benefit of the agreement is a subscription to Esri’s ArcGIS Online. This benefit allows NOAA to quickly create interactive maps and applications and share these with the rest of the organization and the public.

“The agreement provides a foundation for the development of an enterprise geospatial program for NOAA, which will likely result in increased efficiencies across the organization, enhanced access to NOAA data and services, and a streamlined acquisition process,” states Joe Klimavicz, NOAA’s chief information officer (CIO).

NOAA’s mission is to understand and predict changes in the earth’s environment, from the depths of the ocean to the surface of the sun, and to conserve and manage our coastal and marine resources.

For more information about enterprise license agreements, visit

[Source: Esri press release]

A Simple Story Map-based Real-Time Dashboard for the H.J. Andrews Experimental Forest in Oregon

February 26, 2014

Located in the Willamette National Forest in Oregon, H.J. Andrews Experimental Forest supports research on forests, streams, and watersheds, and fosters strong collaboration among ecosystem science, education, natural resource management, and the humanities. The Forest is administered cooperatively by the USDA Forest Service’s Pacific Northwest Research Station, Oregon State University, and the Willamette National Forest.

As a charter member of the National Science Foundation’s Long-Term Ecological Research (LTER) Program, the site contributes to the collection of long-term datasets to support research on ecological issues that can last decades.  Using Esri’s story maps technology, a simple map-based dashboard was developed to let researchers, administrators, and the general public view real-time data from 125 different sensors including webcams, stream gauges, and weather stations deployed throughout the forest.

H.J. Andrews Experimental Forest Dashboard

H.J. Andrews Experimental Forest Dashboard. Click to view the live dashboard.

“The dashboard is a really nice way to see all these data streams in their spatial context” said Mark Schulze, HJ Andrews Experimental Forest Director.  “Being able to look at all these sensors in real time is hugely helpful for making interpretations about how our climate/weather functions in the Andrews Forest,” added Julia Jones, Geosciences Professor at Oregon State University.

View the dashboard:


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