New Atlas Presents Ancient Mongolian Art and Archaeology in a Geographic Context

Archaeology and Landscape in the Mongolian Altai: An Atlas is a chronicle of 15 years of research and documentation in northwest Mongolia, and it is now available from ESRI Press. With its extensive maps and outstanding photographs, the atlas presents the 12,000-year history and cultural heritage of the people living in the rugged landscape found along Mongolia’s borders with Russia and China. The book will appeal to both specialists and general readers interested in travel, ecotourism, preservation, geography, and ancient human cultures.

“This is the first book-length examination of the archaeology and landscape in the Mongolian Altai in any language,” says Dr. Jalbuu Choinkhor, former Mongolian ambassador to the United States.

Esther Jacobson-Tepfer provides a well-researched survey of the history and culture of this little-known area in Mongolia, while Gary Tepfer, her photographer husband, documents the surface monuments and burial mounds found throughout the region, as well as other natural and human-made features. What differentiates this from other archaeological books, however, are the geographic information system (GIS)-based maps by James Meacham. They provide the precise views and context needed to understand the geographic relationship between various architectural sites, settlements, migratory routes, and places of ceremony and worship.

“When people long ago constructed those monuments,” says Jacobson-Tepfer, “they did so with a conscious sense of the mountain ridges, rivers, directionality, and viewsheds around them, reflecting a deep sense of the significance of natural elements, of a natural order in the world and in the cosmos.”

Archaeology and Landscape in the Mongolian Altai: An Atlas (ISBN: 9781589482326, 225 pages, $79.95) is available at online retailers worldwide, at, or by calling 1-800-447-9778. Outside the United States, visit for complete ordering options, or contact your local ESRI distributor. For a current distributor list, visit Interested retailers can contact ESRI Press book distributor Ingram Publisher Services.

[Source: ESRI Press Release]

ESRI Supports Guyana’s Low-Carbon Development Strategy

GIS Technology for Carbon Accounting and Tropical Forest Management

In an effort to mitigate the effects of climate change, the South American nation of Guyana is developing the world’s first national Low-Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS) using enterprise geographic information system (GIS) technology and expertise from ESRI. The environmental technology company will provide Guyana with software for use in national carbon accounting and sustainable management of forests.

In a national announcement, Guyana’s President Bharrat Jagdeo, described the goal of LCDS: “Our low-carbon strategy combats deforestation, a factor contributing to climate change, without slowing down national development or compromising our people’s sovereignty over the forest. The emerging carbon market provides us with a unique opportunity to use the global economy to save the world’s rain forests by putting a value on them.”

ESRI President Jack Dangermond met with President Jagdeo at the Office of Guyana’s Permanent Mission to the United Nations and committed ESRI to support the country’s LCDS initiative.

“ESRI’s commitment brings vital technology for studying the effects of the forest on the planet,” said President Jagdeo. “The combination of GIS software, training, and other capacity-building efforts will provide Guyana with the tools it needs to scientifically measure and analyze our natural resources effectively. With GIS, we can support responsible resource management decisions that benefit generations to follow.”

“ESRI’s support stems from a longtime goal to advance sustainable environments and economies,” noted Dangermond. “GIS has become an integral component in the development of new carbon accounting methodologies. It adds the rigor of science to a decision support system that validates a credible carbon exchange mechanism.”

The government of Norway, the World Bank, the Clinton Climate Initiative, and McKinsey and Company are working with Guyana to implement the LCDS. Norway is one of the key countries backing Guyana’s move to use its forests for carbon financing and payment for forest conservation now. This arrangement allows future innovations, including an eventual forest carbon credit system as such a market evolves. This strategy aligns with the United Nations Collaborative Programme on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation in Developing Countries (UN-REDD), a climate change mitigation scheme created to pay developing countries for conserving their tropical forests.

GIS is the core technology of Guyana’s monitoring, reporting, and verification (MRV) system. Building on work done in country, the MRV will integrate field observations with satellite imagery and other geographic data using methodologies consistent with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) guidelines for measuring, reporting, and verification. Guyana’s MRV will be a system for data sharing and the cross-sector analysis that is essential for effective climate change research, mitigation, and adaptation planning. This enterprise approach enables the transparent disclosure of land-use dynamics and the status of natural resources for Guyana’s citizens, indigenous communities, investors, partners, and the international carbon science community.

ESRI continues to work with countries around the world, such as New Zealand, Australia, Canada, and the United States of America, to design solution models that offer a credible scientific approach to measuring, reporting, and verifying carbon emissions and sequestration. These systems incorporate ESRI’s robust imagery management, integrated workflows, spatial modeling, and analysis capabilities to help countries use reliable data and consider scientific evidence in their decision-making processes.

President Jagdeo intends to present Guyana’s LCDS at the 2009 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, Denmark, this December. Representatives of participating nations will discuss establishing emissions targets for industrialized countries and a method for financing mitigation and adaptation actions by developing countries.

[Source:  ESRI press release]

Contribution of Geophysics to Geological Models

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

Helga Wiederhold, Reinhard Kirsch, and Wolfgang Scheer

“The near surface underground of the North European Basin (Belgium, The Netherlands, parts of Germany, Denmark, and Poland) is mainly composed of gravel, sand, till, and clay of Quaternary and Tertiary origin. Although originally more or less horizontally layered, disturbances of the layer sequence by glacial tectonics (especially deep erosional valleys) and uplift of salt domes are frequent (Figure 1). This can lead to complicated underground structures which make the correlation between boreholes difficult or impossible. Therefore, geophysical measurements are an essential tool for the construction of geological models.”

Quote of the Day

“We’re going to have a whole generation of people who (won’t) know how to use a map. … I was driving across the Golden Gate Bridge and my GPS said, ‘Take a right turn.’ (I’m thinking:) ‘Why? Have you seen my movies lately?’ ”

–Robin Williams

Climate Crisis: Fixing Systems, Not Symptoms

…from WiserEarth

“Climate instability is a symptom of systems that can be fixed. So why does everyone keep trying to fix the symptom?

“Year after year, the list of planet-sized problems gets longer and the problems seem to get worse. Climate is just one of many such problems. Weird, isn’t it, that billions of bright people can collectively make such a stupid mess of things? Einstein offered an explanation, that problems can’t be solved with the same kind of thinking that causes them. People have been trying to sort out climate change and poverty and ecosystem destruction and everything else with habits of thought that unintentionally block any effective solution. Oops!”