ESRI President Jack Dangermond Invites Online Discussion on Climate Change at Spatial Roundtable

Conversation Coincides with COP15 in Copenhagen, Denmark

On December 9, 2009, ESRI president Jack Dangermond opened an online discussion about the value of geographic information systems (GIS) to develop programs for carbon accounting and environmental sustainability. The conversation runs concurrently with the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP15) in Copenhagen, Denmark. ESRI’s hosted Spatial Roundtable will provide an engaging online venue for environmental professionals to weigh in on their vision for geospatial technologies’ role in meeting the climate change crisis.

“GIS has the robust capacity and capability to design the building blocks for carbon accounting systems including data, models, and delivery systems,” said Dangermond. “It provides the tools needed for analyzing environmental practices as well as developing and monitoring sustainable greenhouse gas reduction plans. GIS users represent a vast reservoir of knowledge, expertise, and best practices for applying this cornerstone technology to the science of climate change and understanding its impact on natural and human systems. I look forward to a lively online discussion at the Spatial Roundtable.”

Dangermond, an environmentalist who is a strong advocate of sustainable environmental management, has demonstrated a lifelong commitment to developing technology for monitoring and managing sustainable systems. In so doing, his company, ESRI, or Environmental Systems Research Institute, has become the world’s leader in GIS technology.

“I invite environmental professionals who use GIS in their work to visit the Spatial Roundtable to discuss how organizations and businesses use this technology to help us understand and respond to climate change,” Dangermond said.

Dangermond kicked off the climate change conversation by asking, “What do you think are the benefits of using GIS technology to advance climate change science?” He has invited special contributors to join the discussion and invites site visitors to add their comments. The climate change topic discussion will be active from December 13, 2009, through January 31, 2010, and will remain accessible for review in the Spatial Roundtable archive through 2011.

Visit and join the conversation.

[Source: ESRI press release]

The Role of Geological Modeling in a Web-based Collaborative Environment

…from the 2009 Three-Dimensional Geologic Mapping Workshop held by the Illinois State Geological Survey…

Keith Turner and Frank A D’Agnese

“Over the past two decades, a series of sophisticated three-dimensional modeling technologies have been developed to address the need for a precise definition of subsurface conditions (Turner, 1991). Because geological modeling requires the extension of traditional GIS methods (Turner, 2000; 2006), the modeling process remains technically challenging. In 2001, during a conference sponsored by the European Science Foundation, four major impediments to the greater use of subsurface geological modeling by a broad spectrum of users were identified (Rosenbaum & Turner, 2003). These constraints were: (1) a lack of 3D/4D mathematical, cognitive, and statistical spatial tools, (2) a lack of cheap modeling tools designed for the shallow subsurface that can be operated without specialist personnel, (3) the inability of models to depict natural variability of geological systems, and (4) a shortage of case histories. By 2008, these constraints had been largely overcome with the use of new modeling software and techniques and, importantly, with an understanding of the needs of the client (Kessler, et al., 2008).”

Evaluating Hydrological Response to Forecasted Land-Use Change: Scenario Testing with the Automated Geospatial Watershed Assessment (AGWA) Tool

…in Proceedings, 3rd Interagency Conference on Research in the Watersheds, Estes Park, CO, September 08 – 11, 2008. USGS, Corvallis, OR, 79-84, (2009)…

KepnerR, W. G., D. J. Semmens, M. Hernandez, and D. C. Goodrich.

“Envisioning and evaluating future scenarios has emerged as a critical component of both science and social decision-making. The ability to assess, report, map, and forecast the life support functions of ecosystems is absolutely critical to our capacity to make informed decisions to maintain the sustainable nature of our ecosystem services now and into the future. During the past two decades, important advances in the integration of remote imagery, computer processing, and spatial-analysis technologies have been used to develop landscape information that can be integrated with hydrologic models to determine long-term change and make predictive inferences about the future. Two diverse case studies in northwest Oregon (Willamette River basin) and Southeastern Arizona (San Pedro River) were examined in regard to future land-use scenarios relative to their impact on surface-water conditions (e.g., sediment yield and surface runoff) using hydrologic models associated with the Automated Geospatial Watershed Assessment (AGWA) tool. The base reference grid for land cover was modified in both study locations to reflect stakeholder preferences twenty to sixty years into the future and the consequences of landscape change were evaluated relative to the selected future scenarios. The two studies provide examples of integrating hydrologic modeling with a scenario analysis framework to evaluate plausible future forecasts and understand the potential impact of landscape change on ecosystem services.”