USGS Seeks Proposals to Build the National Spatial Data Infrastructure

USGS and the Federal Geographic Data Committee (FGDC) formally announced their request for proposals to support the 2010 National Spatial Data Infrastructure (NSDI) Cooperative Agreements Program (CAP).  With over $1.3 million spread across seven categories, the 2010 NSDI CAP will award an estimated 31 innovative projects in the geospatial data community. The goals of the awarded projects will be to develop partnerships and to build new and improve existing geospatial infrastructure necessary to effectively discover, access, share, manage and use geospatial assets.

In 2009, NSDI CAP awarded a total of 25 projects, totaling close to $1.3 million.  One of the 2009 categories is helping States develop strategic and business plans that will support the coordination of programs, policies, technologies, and resources related to all aspects of geospatial information.  See the full list of the 2009 NSDI CAP projects online.

To date the annual NSDI CAP awards have supported metadata creation and service, outreach and coordination, standards implementation, partnership development, State strategic and business plan development, map and geospatial data services deployment, geo-enablement of data, and NSDI training.  All levels of government, academia, and private sector have participated in this national effort to implement the NSDI.  Since 1994 CAP awards have played a substantial role in advancing and propagating the tenets of the NSDI to thousands of practitioners.

2010 NSDI CAP proposals need to be submitted via by January 7, 2010.  The awarded projects scheduled to be announced by USGS/FGDC contracts officer in February 2010 with obligated work to begin on each project by September 30, 2010.  More information is available at the FGDC proposal submissions site.  To apply go to

The FGDC, which is hosted by the USGS, sponsors the NSDI CAP to promote the technologies, standards, best practices and organizational collaboration vital to data integration, partnerships for data investment and speedy delivery of geospatial products to support government.

For more information on this program, please contact Gita Urban-Mathieux: or 703-648-5175. For further information on FGDC NSDI CAP Grants:; contact the FGDC Secretariat, c/o U.S. Geological Survey, 590 National Center, Reston, VA 20192; fax 703-648-5755.

[Source: USGS news release]

GIS to Meet Renewable Energy Goals

p32p2…from the Fall 2009 issue of ArcNews

“Throughout the developed world, there is ongoing interest in renewable energy as a replacement for traditional fossil fuel. Wind farms are cropping up around the world, and the sunniest spots are slated for solar power potential, while additional significant strides are being made to expand geothermal, tidal, biomass, and other types of generation. Motives for renewable energy development vary from place to place, but the recurring theme is a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions—a smaller carbon footprint. All agree on the need to tread more lightly, and with GIS technology, the path to renewable energy is becoming clearer.

“The identification of areas technically suitable for renewable generation involves the collection of existing information, such as historical wind speed and direction, terrain and slope information, and solar radiation. Data must be analyzed for currency, accuracy, and completeness. Further data collection may be required.”

ESRI Brings GIS to the Public with Mapping for Everyone Web Site

esriOnline Resource Offers Three Simple Ways to Make Maps for Free

ESRI has launched a Web site that allows users to create maps for free with simple geographic information system (GIS) tools. Called Mapping for Everyone, the Web site includes tools that cover a range of mapping needs, such as embedding an interactive demographic map into a Web site, creating custom applications using Web Mapping APIs, and using a 2D/3D globe viewer on the desktop.

Mapping for Everyone contains the following mapping resources:

Make a Map—The Make a Map feature includes a simple interactive Web map showing seven different U.S. demographic layers. Visitors can zoom in to an area of interest, select a demographic layer, then embed the map into their own Web pages simply by copying and pasting the automatically generated HTML.

Web Mapping APIs—Visitors can access or download ArcGIS Web Mapping APIs to make their maps. Web Mapping APIs allow users to develop rich, interactive applications using JavaScript, Flex, and/or Silverlight. The page includes step-by-step instructions for installing the APIs, samples to help visitors get started, free map layers, and a gallery of live user sites where visitors can get ideas from applications other people have built. Web Mapping APIs are free for noncommercial use.

Virtual Globe Viewer—A third mapping option is ArcGIS Explorer, ESRI’s free virtual globe viewer. Using ArcGIS Explorer, users can explore the world in 2D and 3D using both their own data and free available data from the ESRI Web site. In addition to the ArcGIS Explorer download, the virtual globe page gives visitors easy access to map layers that they can add to ArcGIS Explorer, such as topographic maps, shaded relief, and world transportation. Once visitors become familiar with ArcGIS Explorer, they can also visit this page to find free add-ins that extend the software’s capabilities.

Mapping for Everyone also includes a Community section where visitors can ask questions and collaborate with others. This section also provides access to ESRI’s ArcGIS Explorer and Web Mapping API blogs.

Visit to get started making your free maps.

[Source: ESRI news release]

Building an Oasis in the Desert: GIS Helps Ensure that Masdar City Meets Its Carbon-Neutral, Zero-Waste Goals

p26p2…from the Fall 2009 issue of ArcNews


  • Every facet of designing and building the city will be analyzed with ArcGIS.
  • Asset management using ArcGIS means all systems can be visualized, maintained, and tracked efficiently.
  • An enterprise geodatabase will be used throughout the city’s life cycle.

“Many of us are interested in decreasing our carbon footprint, whether one individual, one family, or one organization at a time. Imagine living in an entire city specifically designed to meet the ambitious goals of zero waste; sustainable living; and, ultimately, carbon neutrality. This is the vision of Masdar City, which is being designed and constructed in Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), by Masdar, Abu Dhabi’s multifaceted initiative advancing the development, commercialization, and deployment of renewable and alternative energy technologies and solutions. Masdar, which means “the source” in Arabic, integrates the full technology life cycle—from research to commercial deployment. The Masdar company aims to create renewable energy solutions.”

Variable Selection for Spatial Random Field Predictors Under a Bayesian Mixed Hierarchical Spatial Model

719813…in Spatial and Spatio-Temporal Epidemiology, Volume 1, Issue 1…

Ji-in Kim, Andrew B. Lawson, Suzanne McDermott, C. Marjorie Aelion

“A health outcome can be observed at a spatial location and we wish to relate this to a set of environmental measurements made on a sampling grid. The environmental measurements are covariates in the model but due to the interpolation associated with the grid there is an error inherent in the covariate value used at the outcome location. Since there may be multiple measurements made on different covariates there could be considerable uncertainty in the covariate values to be used. In this paper we examine a Bayesian approach to the interpolation problem and also a Bayesian solution to the variable selection issue. We present a series of simulations which outline the problem of recovering the true relationships, and also provide an empirical example.”

Quote of the Day

“Mystery creates wonder, and wonder is the basis for man’s desire to understand.  Who knows what mysteries will be solved in our lifetime, and what new riddles will become the challenges of the new generations?”

–Neil Armstrong, 1969

Map of the Day: Geological Map of Trans-Altai Gobi

…from the ESRI Map Book, Volume 24


“Mongolia is a country of enormous mineral potential that attracts geologists and mining companies from all over the world. This creates a large demand for high-quality geological maps.

“The Trans-Altai Gobi is a remote desert area of the southwestern wedge of Mongolia along the border with China. Part of the Trans-Altai Gobi belongs to the Great Gobi Protected Area, which was established in 1975 to protect a largely undisturbed part of the vast Gobi Desert and to provide a refuge for the ancient terrestrial fauna of Central Asia. In 1991, the United Nations designated the Great Gobi as an international biosphere reserve.

“One of the projects of a long-standing geological cooperation between Mongolia and the Czech Republic was oriented toward the geological mapping and geochemical reconnaissance of the Trans-Altai Gobi at a scale of 1:200,000. The map of the Trans-Altai Gobi at a scale of 1:500,000, published by Czech Geological Survey in 2008, is the summation of this work. All data was maintained in ESRI geodatabase format and cartographically processed in the ArcGIS environment.

“Courtesy of Czech Geological Survey.”