Mapping Antarctica: Latest Satellite Imagery Brings Continent into High-Res Focus

antsun…from The Antarctic Sun

“Maps of Antarctica date back to when Roman geographer and astronomer Ptolemy envisioned a land in the southern hemisphere to counterbalance that in the north to satisfy an ancient sense of proportion. Terra Australis would remain terra incognita for more than 1,500 years, though that didn’t stop cartographers from drawing fanciful depictions of the southern continent, varying widely in size and location.

“Today, the average person can zoom across Antarctica with Google Earth. It’s even possible to download high-definition images of ice and mountaintops thanks to an International Polar Year External U.S. government site project that created a map mosaic of the continent from more than 1,000 satellite images — the Landsat Image Mosaic of Antarctica (LIMA) External U.S. government site. [See previous story: Getting on the map.]

“But Paul Morin knows those images and the maps created from them can get even better, practically proselytizing about a new promised land of high-resolution imagery in which one can literally count the boulders on the ground.”

Flexible Soil Model Maps Remote Areas

innovlogo…from Innovations Report

“Soil scientists often face the dilemma of wishing to study soil in remote areas because they are ideal places to study soil formation and distribution under natural conditions, but mapping them requires a huge investment of time and resources. Computer-based models offer an efficient alternative. Researchers used ArcGIS geodatabase software to develop the Remote Area Soil Proxy (RASP) modeling technique to predict natural occurrence of soils in remote areas.

“Bruce Frazier and Richard Rupp of Washington State University and Toby Rodgers and Crystal Briggs of Soil Survey conducted this work in the Pasayten River watershed in north-central Washington. Their results are reported in the summer issue of Soil Survey Horizons. Data were collected from dominant landscape facets accessible by or near trails, and soil formation was modeled using surrogates for the soil forming factors.”

The Need for Comprehensive 3D City Models

stu_rich22Stu Rich has a new post on his Spatial Explorations blog titled “The Need for Comprehensive 3D City Models (Part 1)“.  Here’s an excerpt:

“On my recent trip to Vancouver to speak at the GeoWeb 2009 conference, however, I was inspired by Thomas Kolbe’s work on CityGML to think more about collections of buildings and how they work together in an urban environment. As we move to this city and regional scale, the level of granularity at which we model our buildings has big implications on scalability, performance, and the tool sets that we use for visualization and analysis.  For the purposes of our discussion here, let’s define a “City” is a reasonably large collection of buildings in a condensed area. This city might be a traditional municipality like Philadelphia or Chicago, it might be a military city like Langley Air Force Base, or it might be a college campus like Boston University.”

Looking forward to reading Part 2, Stu!

University of Arkansas gets DOE Grant for Water Resource Simulation Model

…from New Technology Magazine

“The Office of Fossil Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) has selected nine new projects targeting environmental tools and technology for shale gas and coalbed methane (CBM) production. NETL’s goals for these projects are to improve management of water resources, water usage and water disposal, and to support science that will aid the regulatory and permitting processes required for shale gas development.

“University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, Ark.—The ultimate goal of this project is to develop a water management decision-support system by modifying and integrating a state-of-the-art water resource simulation model with a modern enterprise geographic information system (GIS). This will provide a science-based tool that can be used to support development of energy resources in the Fayetteville Shale region of Arkansas. (DOE share: $636,467; recipient share: $179,517; duration 24 months)”

Spatial Analysis Aids Relocation of Javanese Rhino

…from The Jakarta Post

“The study was aimed at assessing the geology, soil type and proximity to water in order to find suitable areas for the planned relocation of the Javanese rhino.

“The proposed areas are adjacent to Gunung Honje, Gunung Halimun, Masigit Kareumbi and Leuweung Sancang, all of them close to the Ujung Kulon area on the western tip of Java Island.

““The spatial analysis suggests there is good possibility of an area on the Ujung Kulon peninsula and on Gunung Hone suitable for the Javan rhino,” the study said.”

Spatial Analysis of Social Facts

By Claude Grasland

“A tentative theoretical framework derived from Tobler’s first law of geography and Blau’s multilevel structural theory of society.

“This document presents an attempt to build a theoretical framework for the spatial analysis of social facts, derived from Tobler’s first law of geography (‘Everything is related to everything else, but near things are more related than distant things’) and Blau’s theory of macro sociology and multilevel structural analysis. At individual level four basic times of position and interaction are defined (geographical/sociological and discrete/continuous). It is then necessary to discuss the effects of scale aggregation and time dynamics on the elementary levels of position and interaction. This part is illustrated by examples about airflows between world cities in 2000 and euro coins diffusion across borders between 2002 and 2007.”

Washington Department of Ecology Takes Geospatial Services to the Next Level

The Washington Department of Ecology and ESRI signed a comprehensive enterprise license agreement (ELA) in June. The ELA provides the department with access to all required ESRI ArcGIS software and builds on a strong, longtime relationship between ESRI and the department, which is aiming to strengthen program delivery by extending the functionality of the ArcGIS platform throughout the entire organization at a time when resources are limited.

The ELA enables the Department of Ecology to continue to build its enterprise services within existing budget constraints. It will also help the department save time on procurement and applications development, release, and deployment. The agency uses geographic information system (GIS) tools and procedures as aids in accomplishing its mission of protecting the land, air, and waters of the state and supporting its geographic approach to environmental management.

“For more than 20 years, ESRI has been our partner in the delivery of geospatial solutions,” says Dan Saul, GIS manager for the agency. “The ELA takes our partnership to the next level and will allow our agency to concentrate more on the delivery of geospatial services to our customers and spend less time on administrative overhead.”

The Washington Department of Ecology has been a leader in the state for building GIS services such as Location Finder, a Web service for geoprocessing to assist applicants for environmental permits. The ELA will enable the agency to expand application development in asset management and operational awareness with a focus on providing agency staff and the public with access to more relevant geospatial information.

“The Washington Department of Ecology has been at the forefront of GIS technology utilization, with its sustainable vision, active executive leadership, and dynamic organizational structure,” says Dr. Robin Smith, ESRI manager for environment, marine, and coast. “We are confident that what has been done here is a replicable model for other environmental organizations in reaching their goals through a geographic approach.”

According to the terms of the ELA, the department can deploy ESRI’s ArcGIS platform of desktop, server, Web, and mobile solutions as required to meet their needs. Also included in the ELA are subscriptions to the ESRI Enterprise Advantage Program (EEAP), the ESRI Developer Network (EDN), training and support, and complimentary registrations to the ESRI International User Conference.

The EEAP subscription will support the Department of Ecology with an assigned technical advisor, an annual GIS strategy and account review, and learning and services credits for general consulting work and training.

ESRI has a New Home for its Learning Center

…from the Redlands Daily Facts
“One of Redlands’ largest employers just put a new face on an old building that’s now ready for business.

“Environmental Systems Research Institute (ESRI) opened the doors recently of its new Learning Center. Architects renovated a building more than half a century old and transformed it into a modern facility where ESRI customers can go to learn to use the software the company develops.”

ESRI Software Users Invited to Tell Their GIS Story at 2010 International User Conference

Deadline for User Presentation Abstract Submissions Is October 16, 2009

Professionals using ESRI’s GIS technology are encouraged to submit an abstract for possible presentation at the 30th Annual ESRI International User Conference (ESRI UC) next July. ESRI invites users to tell their GIS story by sharing their experiences with GIS and presenting during a moderated session. The ESRI UC is the world’s largest GIS conference, providing the best forum for the global ESRI user community to communicate their innovative projects. The deadline for abstract submissions is October 16, 2009.

“Being a presenter means conveying valuable information to your peers; it’s almost like becoming colleagues,” says ESRI president Jack Dangermond. “The sharing of best practices, lessons learned, and advice—the discussion and collaboration that take place during these sessions—gives others a chance to learn from your challenges and successes. Be influential, build your network, become partners, and great things will stem from your conference experience.”

The overarching user session categories of industry, science and modeling, and technology contain tracks relevant to both the public and private sectors such as business GIS, education, transportation, health and human services, climate change, ecology and conservation, system implementation, technology integration, and data publishing, to name a few. The wide range of presentation topics each year attracts users from across the globe who want to gain specific, real-world GIS knowledge and skills.

From presentation room equipment and Internet access to the on-site Speaker Coaching Lab, ESRI also offers tools and resources for presenters to have a successful presentation. Matt Keeling, a GIS analyst from the City of Riverside, California, says, “Presenting was very memorable. And it was great to have help from the Speaker Coaching Lab.”

The 2010 ESRI UC will be held July 12–16 at the San Diego Convention Center in California. Authors submitting an abstract are asked to choose a session track that best fits their presentation; visit our Web site to learn more and view the submission guidelines. Abstracts can be submitted at