New Peer-reviewed Scientific Journal: Spatial and Spatio-temporal Epidemiology

719813Elsevier, a world-leading publisher of scientific, technical and medical information products and services announced today the launch of a new peer-reviewed scientific journal, Spatial and Spatio-temporal Epidemiology ( The first issue was published in September 2009 and will be a primary forum for academics and scholars in the growing fields of graphical information systems, epidemiology, exposure science, and spatial statistics.

Spatial and Spatio-temporal Epidemiology will publish a broad range of topics relating to geospatial health methodology. The journal focuses on answering epidemiological questions where spatial and spatio-temporal approaches are appropriate to help advance our understanding of infectious and non-infectious diseases in humans. Veterinary topics will also be included. The journal places special emphasis on spatio-temporal aspects of emerging diseases (e.g., avian flu, SARS), development of spatial statistical and computational methods, and novel applications of geospatial technology (e.g., GPS, GIS) for shedding insights on exposure and disease processes.

The Editorial Board will be led by the internationally recognized scholar Professor Andrew B. Lawson, Division of Biostatistics & Epidemiology, College of Medicine, Medical University of South Carolina, USA.

Spatial and Spatio-temporal Epidemiology is the premier vehicle for novel developments and advances in the area of geospatial health methodology,” commented Professor Andrew B. Lawson, “In this outlet we hope to attract state of the art papers describing the latest advances in methodology in application to spatial and spatio-temporal epidemiology.”

Jane Ma, Executive Publisher at Elsevier commented; “H1N1 is one of the world’s greatest challenges for public health. It requires experts from a number of specialties to ensure this challenge is dealt with effectively. Spatial and Spatio-temporal Epidemiology uniquely draws together key research from across the medical, social science and statistics disciplines to address key health issues such as H1N1, Avian ‘flu and cancer clustering in an effort to provide a more holistic approach to epidemiological questions and how space and time impact on these.”

[Source: Elsevier news release]

DOI Demonstrates Climate Change with ArcGIS Explorer: Visualizing Environmental Impacts Shows Need for New Strategy

esriSecretary of the Interior Ken Salazar recently signed an order to establish a coordinated strategy within the United States Department of the Interior (DOI) to improve response to climate change. During the press conference announcing the order, DOI staff used ESRI geographic information system (GIS) technology to demonstrate the current and future impacts of global climate change.

“I’m issuing the order because the Department of Interior must continue to change how it does business and to respond to the energy and climate change challenges which I consider to be the signature issues of the twenty-first century,” said Salazar.

Science adviser Kit Batten and enterprise geographic information management lead Robert R. Pierce, Ph.D., used ArcGIS Explorer to show where on the globe climate change is taking place and what that change looks like. “This is a live demonstration,” said Batten. “It demonstrates how Interior’s scientific expertise, data resources, and geospatial analysis and visualization capabilities help us understand, anticipate, and deal with the impacts of climate change.”

Batten used ArcGIS Explorer to show a 3D globe indicating increases in surface temperatures around the world and where warming negatively impacts the United States. Map points indicated incidents of extreme weather, such as large hail and strong tornados, and lines showed the paths of intense hurricanes.

Batten also explained that as greenhouse gases continue to warm the environment and cause glaciers and permafrost to melt, scientists anticipate sea-level rises of up to one meter by the end of the century. The ArcGIS Explorer globe showed potential impacts to coastal communities. “This information is imperative for designing strategies to protect our low-lying coastal communities,” she said.

To better manage these and many other environmental impacts, Secretary Salazar’s order includes establishing a Climate Change Response Council and Regional Climate Change Response Centers, creating a network of Landscape Conservation Cooperatives, overseeing the DOI Carbon Storage Project, and lowering the department’s carbon footprint.

DOI will continue to leverage its investment in GIS technology for complex data analysis, data sharing, and collaboration with government agencies to address the vast nature of climate change challenges.

To see the demonstration, visit To learn more about ArcGIS Explorer, visit

[Source: ESRI news release]

Satellite Images of Nighttime Lights Give Clues to GDP


“Economists are always interested in tracking the economic progress of countries around the world. However, that’s a difficult thing to do in undeveloped countries where records are rarely kept. Many countries do not even appear in the Penn World Tables, one of the most trusted compendiums of world economic data. Researchers at Brown University think that they’ve come up with an ingenious way of tracking the gross domestic product (GDP) of developing countries: they’ll do it from space.”

Cutting-Edge Mobile GIS Resources for Forestry: Free Webinar, 04 November 2009

esriWednesday, 04 November 2009, 10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. Pacific Time

Cutting Edge Mobile GIS Resources for Forestry
Each quarter, the ESRI Forestry Group (EFG) hosts a free Webinar for EFG members. These online events help forestry professionals worldwide improve efficiencies and lower costs in forestry and land management organizations of all sizes. Join us and learn the latest in mobile GIS software.

See the Business Value of Mobile GIS for Your Organization
Whatever your GIS experience, you’ll take away ideas and tools you can put to work immediately. From senior executives to GIS professionals, this Webinar will help you widen the scope of your GIS investment. Take advantage of this chance to explore practical solutions and hear mobile GIS success stories firsthand from your peers.

What You’ll Experience
• Get updated on how mobile GIS is being used in the forest industry including furthering field data collection activities, enhancing interoperability, and optimizing the management of inventory infrastructure.

• See real-world, insightful user presentations and learn how others have integrated mobile GIS into their existing business systems and solved problems, addressed issues, and improved decision making.

• Connect with ESRI staff and solutions providers and pose your questions.

Featured speakers include:
• Mark Books, CF Remote Sensing/GIS Forester and EFG President Fort A.P. Hill, VA
• Elizabeth Martinez Dir GIS / IT and EFG Vice-President, The Forestland Group Chapel Hill, NC
• Christopher W. Gerecke Director of Enterprise Solutions, Timmons Group Richmond, VA
• Myles Sutherland Mobile Product Manager, ESRI Redlands, CA
• Jim Skillings Vice President, Business Division, DeLorme Yarmouth, ME

View the FREE one-hour Webinar right from your desktop.

Free Data Set: Greenhouse Gas Flux Between the Land and Atmosphere for Major Regions of the World

“The atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), and nitrous oxide (N2O) are increasing substantially.  These increases are expected to result in global warming and changes in precipitation patterns, and may directly affect terrestrial ecosystems.  Our understanding of the contemporary fluxes of these gases between the land and atmosphere is incomplete.  There are large regions of the earth for which we have very little information on trace gas fluxes.   Furthermore, for no region do we fully understand how global change, including land-use change, will affect gas fluxes.  The United States Trace Gas Network (TRAGNET) is meant to accomplish the following two goals: document contemporary fluxes of CO2, CH4 and N2O between regionally important ecosystems and the atmosphere, and  determine the factors controlling these fluxes and improve our ability to predict future fluxes in response to ecosystem and climate change.  Part of this research is supported by the National Science Foundation. Abstract from website”

Quote of the Day

JackDangermondESRI160“People today are very nervous about what is happening on Wall Street and what I am more concerned about is ecological sustainability and global warming issues on the planet, because they are not something that you can go to the bank and borrow more money from. The real sustainability issue and the real economic foundation is nature’s capital, it is not artificial money capital.”

–Jack Dangermond, 2008

Evaluating Geographic Imputation Approaches for ZIP Code Level Data: An Application to a Study of Pediatric Diabetes

plague…from the International Journal of Health Geographics 2009, 8:54…

James D. Hibbert, Angela D. Liese, Andrew Lawson, Dwayne E. Porter, Robin C. Puett, Debra Standiford, Lenna Liu, Dana Dabelea


“There is increasing interest in the study of place effects on health, facilitated in part by geographic information systems. Incomplete or missing address information reduces geocoding success. Several geographic imputation methods have been suggested to overcome this limitation. Accuracy evaluation of these methods can be focused at the level of individuals and at higher group-levels (e.g., spatial distribution).


“We evaluated the accuracy of eight geo-imputation methods for address allocation from ZIP codes to census tracts at the individual and group level. The spatial apportioning approaches underlying the imputation methods included four fixed (deterministic) and four random (stochastic) allocation methods using land area, total population, population under age 20, and race/ethnicity as weighting factors. Data included more than 2,000 geocoded cases of diabetes mellitus among youth aged 0-19 in four U.S. regions. The imputed distribution of cases across tracts was compared to the true distribution using a chi-squared statistic.


At the individual level, population-weighted (total or under age 20) fixed allocation showed the greatest level of accuracy, with correct census tract assignments averaging 30.01% across all regions, followed by the race/ethnicity-weighted random method (23.83%). The true distribution of cases across census tracts was that 58.2% of tracts exhibited no cases, 26.2% had one case, 9.5% had two cases, and less than 3% had three or more. This distribution was best captured by random allocation methods, with no significant differences (p-value > 0.90). However, significant differences in distributions based on fixed allocation methods were found (p-value < 0.0003).


“Fixed imputation methods seemed to yield greatest accuracy at the individual level, suggesting use for studies on area-level environmental exposures. Fixed methods result in artificial clusters in single census tracts. For studies focusing on spatial distribution of disease, random methods seemed superior, as they most closely replicated the true spatial distribution. When selecting an imputation approach, researchers should consider carefully the study aims.”

U.S. DOE’s Renewable Energy Lab Maps Wind Resources with GIS

These maps show how wind resources in Indiana increase with height.

These maps show how wind resources in Indiana increase with height.

…from the Spring 2009 issue of ArcNews


  • Using ArcGIS Desktop software, the NREL team can determine the most favorable locations for wind farms.
  • GIS-based modeling enables analysis of terrain, which significantly impacts the quality of wind at a particular site.
  • The primary audience for these maps is government decision makers.

Read the article

Map of the Day: Determination of Potential Aquifer Recharge Zones Based on Soil Permeability and Slope, Butte County

…from the ESRI Map Book, Volume 24


“Some of the feature characteristics of potential aquifer recharge zones are soil permeability values and steepness of slope. In other words, water will tend to sink into the ground more readily in areas where the soil is more permeable and the slope is level or nearly level.

“Soil permeability values and slope steepness values can be represented as layers in a GIS for further analysis. A new layer (Potential Aquifer Recharge Zones) can be created by combining the soil permeability values with the slope steepness values.

“Courtesy of the California Department of Water Resources.”