GIS Professor Opening at South Dakota State University

southdakota…from the GIS in Education blog

“The Geographic Information Science Center of Excellence (GISCE) at the South Dakota State University is in need of an Associate Professor or Full Professor to fill up its faculty position vacancy.

“An Associate or Full Professor with research interests in quantitative remote sensing, large-area terrestrial monitoring and/or modeling is sought for a position with the Geographic Information Science Center of Excellence. Specialization in one of the following areas is preferred: 1) land/atmosphere interactions and climate modeling, 2) active sensors (radar and/or lidar) for vegetation characterization, 3) modeling the dynamics of coupled human-environmental systems. The position workload is 80% research, 10% teaching, and 10% service. Research includes securing externally funded grant awards and recruiting and supervising grant-funded researchers. Teaching responsibilities include instructing one course per year and recruiting and advising students in the Geospatial Science and Engineering doctoral program. Service to international and/or national research organizations, the University, and the Center is expected. The successful candidate will hold academic rank at SDSU in Geography and/or other appropriate department. The successful candidate will be expected to train and advise graduate students, post-doctoral researchers, and research assistants.”

Simulations and Ancient Magnetism Suggest Mantle Plumes May Bend Deep Beneath Earth’s Crust

…from the University of Rochester…

“Computer simulations, paleomagnetism and plate motion histories described in today’s issue of Science reveal how hotspots, centers of erupting magma that sit atop columns of hot mantle that were once thought to remain firmly fixed in place, in fact move beneath Earth’s crust.

“Scientists believe mantle plumes are responsible for some of the Earth’s most dramatic geological features, such as the Hawaiian islands and Yellowstone National Park. Some plumes may have shallow sources, but a few, such as the one beneath Hawaii, appear to be rooted in the deepest mantle, near Earth’s core.”

Solving the Puzzle: Researching the Impacts of Climate Change Around the World

nsf_climate…a new report from the National Science Foundation…

“This report addresses some of the major questions facing climate change researchers, and how those puzzles are being addressed by NSF-funded activities. Complex computer models are being developed and refi ned to predict Earth’s future climate. Observations of climate conditions from observatory networks distributed in Earth’s oceans, polar regions, land masses, and near-Earth orbit improve the accuracy of the climate models. Records of Earth’s past climate provide important insights into the mechanisms involved in climate cycles of the past, and can help to refine computational models by allowing researchers to simulate past climate. But understanding climate is only part of the story—as we improve our knowledge of how Earth’s climate is changing, we also improve our ability to cope with the impacts of global climate change and variability. Through social, economic, and behavioral science, researchers are learning how human behavior factors into climate change—and how human behavior can be modifi ed to ameliorate our impact on Earth’s climate. Physical scientists and engineers are developing alternative ways of creating, storing, and using energy to reduce the amount of carbon that human activities contribute to the atmosphere. Researchers are also building the scientific foundation for the tools that humanity may need in the future to counteract the eff ects of global climate change.”

Apply Now for the Albert Einstein Distinguished Educator Fellowship

einApply now for the Albert Einstein Distinguished Educator Fellowship, a paid fellowship for K-12 math, science, and technology teachers. Einstein Fellows spend a school year in Washington, D.C. serving in a federal agency or on Capitol Hill.

To be considered for an Einstein Fellowship for the 2010-11 school year, apply and submit three letters of recommendation online by January 13, 2010.

Apply online at For more information about the program, visit or contact Program Manager Kathryn Culbertson at

NASA Video: Global Transportation of Carbon Monoxide Pollution

airs20091002-browse“Data from the Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS) instrument on NASA’s Aqua satellite were used to create this short video showing plumes of carbon monoxide being transported in Earth’s atmosphere around the globe. These observations track carbon monoxide at about 5.5 kilometers (3.4 miles) above the surface of Earth. In the movie, carbon monoxide emissions from large fires and large urban and industrial areas like northeastern China are visible, and are transported around the globe by weather fronts. The video is narrated by AIRS Science Team Member Wallace McMillan of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.”

Automating Counts of Photographed Indiana Bats Using the ArcGIS Feature Analyst Extension

bats“The Indiana bat (Myotis sodalis) is a Federally listed endangered species found in the Midwest and eastern United States. Its population has profound implications for forest management throughout its range. Declining populations could lead to timber harvest restrictions and changes to other land management practices in Midwestern and eastern forests. The Forest Plan and Biological Opinion of the Hoosier National Forest (Indiana) require hibernacula (i.e., winter hibernation sites) occupied by the Indiana bat to be monitored regularly to assess changes in population numbers. State and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service biologists survey the bats every other winter while the bats are hibernating. Because management decisions and recovery action priorities are based on the population estimates and trends determined from these surveys, it is critical that they are accurate. During the surveys, individual bats and small clusters are counted directly, but those in larger clusters are estimated by multiplying the approximate area of the cluster by an assumed bat packing density. Unfortunately, estimates derived by these techniques can be highly inaccurate. In many hibernacula, using a digital camera to document bat numbers could reduce stress to the bats and also increase the accuracy of the population estimate by allowing the bats to be counted manually on a computer screen in an office setting. Nevertheless, this is a very tedious and labor-intensive task that some state and federal agencies cannot afford. An accurate, rapid, and more cost-effective way to count photographed bats is needed. With sponsorship from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service Remote Sensing Steering Committee, the Remote Sensing Applications Center conducted a study to investigate the feasibility of rapidly deriving accurate counts of photographed bats using Feature Analyst, an extension for ArcGIS. Counts derived with Feature Analyst were typically within one to nine percent of manually interpreted counts and processing times of less than four minutes per photo were achieved. This represents a significant improvement over traditional in-cave estimates and has the potential for high-volume use, which could further reduce the per photo processing time.”

Hot Spot Analysis – An ArcGIS Tutorial

hotspot“In this 9.3/9.3.1 tutorial, 911 Emergency call data is investigated and analyzed using the Hot Spot Analysis tool (Getis-Ord Gi* statistic). The tutorial begins by setting the scenario: Authorities in your community are spending a large portion of public resources responding to 911 emergency calls. They want to better understand the distribution of 911 calls in order to more effectively allocate emergency response resources. This tutorial guides you through the process of building a Hot Spot Analysis model tool. You will learn how to aggregate incident data, select appropriate parameter settings, and display results.”