GeoDesign Summit: Abstracts for Day 2 Lightning Talks

Partial list, subject to change…

Geospatial Campaign Design for COIN Civil Affairs
Rashed, Tarek

This lightning talk will highlight ongoing prototype developments by Milcord LLC to support Civil Affairs (CA) operations in counterinsurgencies (COIN). Our tool supports tactical level commanders at the brigade, battalion, and company level, acting as a platform for cross-culture decision making by providing operationally relevant information on the relationships between factors driving the insurgency and leverage points identified through counterinsurgency measures, helping to build a more effective campaign for complex operations. Cross-cultural decision making analysis aims to integrate root causes of instability and tactics and operations outlined in counterinsurgency doctrine with domain expert knowledge in social and behavioral sciences for analysis and course of action forecasting. Our campaign management tool will assist civil affairs specialists and intelligence analysts understand the dynamics of the operational environment so they can develop more targeted and effective policies and plans that address the cycle of conditions and behaviors that sustain militant activity and IED networks. The tool will provide end-to-end support for various stages of campaign design, beginning with problem framing and mission analysis through different design and modeling tactics to deciding on a specific course of action. This end-to-end support is facilitated through a seamless integration between the following four subsystems, each of which is designed to provide an environment appropriate to one of the progressive phases of a decision making process : • Brainstorming environment, which provides concept mapping capabilities that enable users to visually think about COIN CA problems and their underlying factors; • Modeling environment, which provides quantitative and qualitative modeling capabilities allowing users to better understand, refine, and restructure CA problems; • Decision environment, which provides decision modeling capabilities that enable users to integrate and optimize the qualitative and quantitative models, weigh factors, and construct “what…if” scenario; • Geospatial environment, which provides capabilities for geospatial reasoning, mapping, and reporting of recommended courses of action.

Real-time, Sketch-based GIS Database Updates to Support Crisis Command and Mobile Resource Deployment
Dana, Mike

This sample application utilizes ArcServer, ArcGIS Desktop and an interactive pen display to support first responders. The integration of ArcGIS and a pen display allows centralized command to draw updated conditions onto an electronic map surface and have these updates broadcast out to the mobile resources. This dynamic mapping configuration delivers near real-time updates from the command center to the front lines and incorporates dispersed field updates into the central GIS database. The result is a common operating environment for incident management that is easily used and updated without requiring specially-trained GIS analysts to create these updates.

Object-Oriented Diagrams in GeoDesign
Ervin, Stephen

Diagrams are a form of graphic representation that have a special place in geo-design. They are not sketches – outlines with fuzzy edges — nor are they exactly maps — graphical answers to questions about what and where. Like maps and sketches, they are abstractions;  like sketches they are often ‘preliminary’. Diagrams contain logical assertions about elements and relations in a design, either proposed, or otherwise being analyzed;  and these elements and relations are effectively mapped using object-oriented terminology & technology. Examples include topological assertions like ‘inside’, ‘connected’ or ‘surrounded by’, as well as object/kinship/count relations such as ‘kind-of’, ‘unique’, ‘many’. These concepts, contained in diagrams and expressed in a stylized graphical language,  are often the kernels of design ideas;  and any Geo-Design system that seeks to bridge the current gap between relational databases, 3D graphics, and analytic models on the one hand, and ‘napkin sketches’ and design ideas on the other, will need to enable and interpret these kinds of conceptual diagrams.

The dual processes of moving from a map to a diagram (‘abstraction’) and from a a diagram to a map (‘development’, or ‘instantiation’) today require human-intelligence, and few GIS (or CAD, or other) tools are available to help, except with the most basic, graphical / syntactical tasks (e.g. ‘draw a circle, label it ‘node’).We also could use interactive geo-design systems that enable semantic assertions (e.g. ‘a node with no links must be a different kind of node than one with links — or else it requires some links!’) and that carry these semantics, as constraints, into more developed maps and plans (e.g the ‘node’ is a multi-modal transit facility; see BIM plan A1…).

Practical Considerations for Integrating BIM and GIS
Przybyla, John

A rudimentary level of integration between BIM and GIS currently is available with current technology. But there are many elements to this integration that are far from mature. This presentation will discuss the practical issues related to today’s capabilities and what is needed to provide a mature solution. It will discuss the following questions:

1. Do IFC’s contain all of the information that would be desired in an interior GIS dataset?
2. What role does COBIE play in supplying information?
3. How much of the data from the BIM should be in the GIS?
4. What effort is needed to fully populate the ESRI BISDM model?
5. Can we take 3-D GIS data and export it to create an as-is BIM?

Building Interior Space Optimization and GIS/RDBMS Space Management Tools
Ball, William B.

Langley Research Center (LaRC) is leveraging its GIS/RDBMS for interior space management to support space utilization optimization. Collectively these tools support more objective and efficient use of the center’s limited and extremely valuable office and technical space.

Optimization accomplishments over the last year and the path ahead will be addressed. Components of the tool include: constraints and metrics (such as organizational synergy), application of optimization algorithms (greedy, metaheuristic, etc.), visualization tools for solution evaluation (dashboard), and web based data maintenance and reporting tools. Successes and failures will be discussed.

Site Engineering Design – Live Start to Finish using ArcPad
Dennis, William

This GeoDesign process will explore methods for creating a dynamic process integrating the project design with spatial elements and natural elements observed in the field. Design sketches are imported into ArcPad from ACAD based on a project scope and set design constraints. On the site the designer is able to see ,with ArcPad and a GPS connection ,conceptual designs and spatial elements in relationship to the natural elements that would affect the design. Field observations are made and data is collected to revise the design. The design is exported to ACAD and a revised design is exported to ArcPad to field check. This provides for a process that can result in designs that more closely fits the field conditions and meets the goals of the project resulting in project time and cost are savings. The design fits the needs of the developer, design constraints, and the environment surrounding the project.

Using GIS to Facilitate the Design of a Sustainable City
McElvaney, Shannon

With a changing world and much discussion of energy conservation measures, there is an increased focus on the potential of sustainable technologies and the tracking of carbon output. MASDARCity, a new 5-million square meter sustainable development uses planning principles of a traditional walled city, together with cutting-edge technologies, to achieve a zero carbon and zero waste community. GIS-based technologies provide the tools needed to support the planning, construction, and ultimately operations and maintenance of the city, helping to make an economic case for the use of alternative energy and the tracking of carbon emissions to encourage responsible development in the years ahead.

Key to the presentation will be an in-depth review of how GIS is being used to model and visualize the implementation of these technologies within MASDAR. McElvaney will showcase modeling techniques to support renewable energy, routing of driverless vehicles, modeling of waste, water, and energy usage and production, and construction phasing. Ultimately attendees will get an overview of how GIS technologies can be used as GeoDesign tools to provide sustainable solutions for the design or retrofit of cities.

Building High Fidelity 3D Landscapes in a Design Charrette Setting with Participants using GIS, CityScape, and Augmented Reality
Lally, Jason

PlaceMatters assists our partners in designing civic engagement processes with an emphasis on creative ways to garner participation. Our meeting facilitation ensures equal participation and that feedback is effectively captured and organized. To enhance our face-to-face meetings, we offer a broad set of tools that improve accessibility and engage citizens throughout the process. 3D visualization tools can play a critical role in helping participants imagine a more sustainable and vibrant future.  Over the past 7 years, PlaceMatters has road tested cutting edge visualization techniques in combination with GIS and other decision support tools.  At our national conference on Tools for Community Design and Decision Making, which ESRI has regularly sponsored financially, we have demonstrated a variety of these techniques. For example, we have used ArcScene, ArcGlobe, CommunityViz, Sketch-Up, and photo montage techniques with PhotoShop.  This year, PlaceMatters has added two new tools to its mix.  First we have acquired a new high fidelity 3D tool, CityScape by Pixel Active 3D, used in real time design 3D landscapes with buildings, utilities, vegetation, roads, and moving traffic.  We are also using Augmented Reality technology to help participants experiment with form and function of the built environment and for design competitions for sustainable building.   Jason Lally, Director of Planning Technology at PlaceMatters, will give a very brief presentation/demonstration of these technologies and how they are shaping the new world of digitally interactive planning.

Open Exchange for Semantically Rich City Models
Cote, Paul

GeoDesign requires the integration of information crossing several content domains as well as administrative and temporal ones.  In can be expected that the most authoritative information from one domain, such as buildings and their facilities will originate in one specialized set of tools, while information about electrical networks or trees, terrain, roads, cadastral information will originate in yet other tools.  A reasonable vision for the future of Geodesign would be to integrate fine-grained, up-to-date, authoritative  information to create a coherent model in which the relationships among all of these elements can be studied and experimented with.  One of the greatest challenges to this vision is that it is the difficulty of exchanging information among the multitude of domain specific tools in such a way that the important semantic information from each component relates as it should with a larger aggregated model.   This lightning talk will discuss the CityGML Specification for the coherent encoding and exchange of semantically rich city models.  Originating from the Special Interest Group 3D in North Rhineland Westphalia, CityGML has recently been adopted as an Approved specification of the Open Geospatial Consortium.  CityGML provides a modular framework of concepts and relationships and a means of exchange that can be drawn from to develop specialized data models and or exchange specifications that may be aggregated in a meaningful and predictable way.  Ultimately, the prospect of a consistent shared vocabulary for city models will provide a means of comparing complex models of cities across time periods that will add the dimension of systematically addressable memory for how places have responded to changes of various types in the past.   Geodesigners should be aware of CityGML and how it can be used and extended to make our individual efforts fit together into a larger meaningful picture.

Farming for the Future with Fertiliser Science

…from Scoop

“To some, it may represent IT-heavy data management – for example, the use of geographical information systems (GIS) allowing users to graphically manage and display different layers of farm information in a map-based system.

“To others, precision agriculture may mean deployment of auto-steer tractors along with GPS guidance and tracking. At the end of the day, precision agriculture is simply about doing what we already do, but doing it better.”

GeoDesign Summit: Abstracts for Day 1 Lightning Talks

Partial list, subject to change…

Geodesign: Fundamental Principals and Routes Forward
Flaxman, Michael

The term geodesign, not more than 5 years old, has already come to have different meanings to various audiences.  Having been present at the birth of this toddler, and having been part of ESRI’s GeoDesign group in early implementations, I would like to offer my vision for geodesign.  My purpose is not to search for definitional purity, but rather to distinguish geodesign from a variety of similar ideas, and to propose several parallel routes forward.

What is GeoDesign?  To me, geodesign is a design and planning method which tightly couples the creation of a design proposal with impact simulations informed by geographic context.  In an ideal case, a planner or designer receives real-time guidance on performance at every phase of design from early site visit or conceptual sketch to final detail.   The use of contextual geographic information means that design performance can be evaluated relative to local conditions, and that evaluation can consider off-site impacts.  The focus is on supporting “human in the loop” design, providing continuous feedback on multiple aspects of performance and improving designs-in-progress rather than on post-hoc evaluation.

This concept is fundamentally dependent on software, but is broader than a particular implementation.  If fact, I would argue that desktop GIS extensions such as Placeway’s CommunityViz and Criterion Planner’s INDEX have been supporting aspects of geodesign for several years.  One current front of activity in this area is to integrate geodesign concepts into standard GIS tools.  A second front includes the need to support web-based tools, particularly web-based evaluation modeling, in ways which allow widespread model sharing.  A third route forward is the development of digital sketch planning tools which leverage GIS data models.  Last but not least, geodesign concepts need to be applied to 3D design and geovisualization.

Participatory GeoDesign
Klosterman, Richard

GeoDesign can—and should—do more than facilitate the design work of landscape architects, planners and other professionals.  It also has the potential to provide private citizens with the information and tools they can use to help design the communities in which they live.  However, this will require the development of new tools and modes of professional practice that support processes of public deliberation and collective decision making.  This presentation will describe the concepts that underlie ideal of participatory geodesign and suggest four principles for developing tools and techniques that can help the public consider their collective future.

Site Selection for Solar-Electrical Powerplants from a Regional Level to a Community Location using GIS Processing and Sketching Tools
Schaller, Joerg

Based on a regional Geodatabase of the Planning region Munich containing detailed information on natural resources, Landscape scenery, land- use and administrational planning data, a ModelBuilder application has been developed to preprocess the data for a potential site suitability analysis. Based on these results field inspections and discussions with the community and the land owners had been supported by detailed scetches explaining the different situations and solution possibilities.

GeoDesign in Environmental Analysis and Planning: An Example
Reynolds, Keith

The Ecosystem Management Decision Support (EMDS) system is a general application framework for designing and implementing knowledge-based decision support for environmental analysis and planning at any geographic scale or scales.  The system integrates state-of-the-art geographic information system (GIS) as well as knowledge-based reasoning and decision modeling technologies to provide decision support for a substantial portion of the adaptive management process of ecosystem management.  EMDS 4.1 is implemented as both an ArcGIS 9.3 ArcMap extension and as an ArcEngine stand-alone for the GIS-averse. It integrates a logic engine  to perform landscape evaluations, and a decision modeling engine for developing management priorities.

Key features of the system’s logic component include abilities to 1) reason about large, abstract, multi-faceted ecosystem management problems, 2) perform useful evaluations with incomplete information, 3) evaluate the influence of missing information, and 4) determine priorities for missing information.  A key feature of the planning component is the ability to determine priorities for management activities, taking into account not only ecosystem condition, but also criteria that account for the feasibility and efficacy of potential management actions.  Both components include powerful and intuitive diagnostic features that facilitate communicating the explanation of modeling results to a broad audience.

After 13 years since its initial release, EMDS remains popular in the natural resource community, mostly perhaps because it provides a very general design framework suitable for many questions and spatial scales. This and other features of the system will be highlighted in the talk.

GeoGames – Board Game Metaphors for GIS
Ahlqvist, Ola

Massive multiplayer online gaming (MMOG) is now firmly established in the entertainment world and is slowly finding its way into education and training environments. These games embed parallels to many societal processes that we regard as complex and ‘wicked ‘ problems. Simultaneously, virtual globes and online mapping has revolutionized certain aspects of geographic information production and dissemination. With this as our starting point we seek to further the current use of virtual globes and geographical web resources to integrate the social interaction and simulation aspects of MMOGs. In our proposed GeoGames framework we transform an existing online virtual globe into a “game board” for role-play, simulation, interactive web functionality, and content as a source for challenges and answers on geographically related issues. More specifically, we have developed an interactive simulation layer on top of the existing map adding support for multi-user interaction and manipulation of scenario objects. This allows for construction and execution of game-like scenarios, through which users can immerse in, explore, investigate and learn about our world. In this way we seek a new role for maps as an interface for two-way communication between real world information, individual decision making, and computer based models of human and physical systems.

Landscape Design with Tangible GIS
Mitasova, Helena

We combine real-world digital elevation model with a flexible, laboratory-scale 3D model, indoor laser scanner and projectors into a tangible geospatial modeling system. The model surface can be manually modified, facilitating face-to-face collaboration when designing landscapes. The system is coupled with GIS that is used to create digital elevation models from the scanned, redesigned landscapes, perform analysis and simulations, and project the results over the laboratory model providing feedback on how the landscape modifications affect water flow, solar radiation and other processes.

GeoDesign Utilization in a Participatory Land Use Planning Process
Lee, Brian

There are more digital geospatial data available today than at any other time in history, with ever expanding opportunities for almost anyone to contribute “volunteer geographic data.” The technological capability exists to create exploratory scenarios using past landscape conditions to inform alternative futures in software applications such as SLEUTH, Marxan, and the Landscape Change Modeler Extension. Software such as Fragstats can be utilized in analysis or in a scenario evaluation mode. The landscape planning and design process requires the capability to input stakeholder values concerning existing and future landscape conditions. This software/hardware/data/participation amalgamation is changing the old paradigm of finding an “expert designer” to one that utilizes an “expert process facilitator” whereby stakeholders are empowered throughout the planning process from the initial goal creation stage through plan evaluation. The capability to utilize smart geospatial tools throughout each phase of the landscape planning process coupled with a robust and reliable method of what might be termed a “Geospatial Delphi” framework could prove to be essential for scenario creation. For example, ModelBuilder has been used as a basis for Enhanced Land Evaluation and Site Assessment (ELESA) to address land use suitability and land use conflict in an interactive stakeholder setting. This lightning talk describes some opportunities and constraints of geospatial technology for designers in traditional university courses and service-learning experiences involving stakeholders and community planning challenges through a landscape architecture program.

Ge@Design: A Multimedia Design Studio for Geospatial Collaboration
Roche, Stéphane

The Ge@Design studio is the newest infrastructure of the ‘Département des sciences géomatiques’, Laval University, funded by the Canadian Foundation for Innovation (CFI). The main aim of the Ge@Design studio is to support research and experimental development of geospatial technologies for GeoDesign, which includes in particular urban design and landscape architecture. The Ge@Design studio consists of the latest technologies of multi-sensory graphical representation and interaction. It is mainly based on the multimedia/multitouch graphical table SURFACE ( SURFACE is a 30″ multitouch display (incorporating a computer), horizontally placed to allow a group of users to design, manipulate, interact and share, without keyboard or mouse (with hands), objects and digital content (maps, plans, sketch, 3D models, photos). The Ge@Design studio is also equipped with multitouch and multimedia workstations (MacPro, Dell and HP TouchSmart Hybrid) supporting sedentary uses and, nomadic solutions (multitouch Tablet PC – Dell Latitude XT, Smartphone – Apple iPhone).

The GeoDesign or ‘Geospatial Design’ covers the design activities applied to space in general (especially geographical) as urban design, architectural design or landscape design. GeoDesign could somehow be considered as a specific component of architecture, urban planning and more generally planning. It is particularly characterized by three main dimensions: (1) creative (at the intersection of engineering design and artistic creation), (2) deliberative (following a process of collaboration-oriented consensus building) and, (3) the major role of representations – spatial in particular – (design, creation, manipulation and dissemination of geospatial representations).

The Ge@Design studio is therefore specifically designed to support basic researches and technological developments aiming at designing, developing and testing innovative experimental GeoDesign processes, featuring different actors (designers, citizens, engineers… ), placed in situations of individual or collective works, sedentary or nomadic and, interacting with each other and spatial representations (maps, airborne and satellite images, 3D models …), through multitouch GUIs.

More specifically, the first Ge@Design studio project (funded by NSERC grant) is dedicated to the development and test of new Web 2.0 tools (modules, operators) to expand the current GIS technology. These enhancements will provide more effective responses to the needs of Geodesigners: integrating multiple forms of qualitative spatial reference frameworks, supporting the creative process, managing the fuzzy, ambiguous and uncertain geospatial representations  and the geographical versioning and geo-traceability (WikiGIS way).

Summer Institute on Geographic Information Science: Cognitive and Linguistic Aspects of Geographic Space

5 – 9 July 2010

“Almost 20 years ago, from July 8 to 20, 1990, 60 researchers gathered for two weeks at Castillo-Palacio Magalia in Las Navas del Marques (Avila Province, Spain) to discuss cognitive and linguistic aspects of geographic space. This meeting was the start of successful research on cognitive issues in geographic information science, produced an edited book , and led to a biannual conference (COSIT), a refereed journal (Spatial Cognition and Computation), and a substantial and still growing research community.

“It appears worthwhile to assess the achievements and to reconsider the research challenges twenty years later. What has changed in the age of computational ontologies and cyber-infrastructures? Consider that 1990 the web was only about to emerge and the very first laptops had just appeared! The 2010 meeting will bring together many of the original participants, but is open to others, and invites contributions from all who are researching these topics. Early-career scientists, engineers, and humanists working at the intersection of cognitive science and geographic information science are invited to help with the re-assessment of research needs and approaches.

“The meeting will compare the research agenda laid out in the 1990 book with achievements over the past twenty years and then turn to the future: what are the challenges today? What are worthwhile goals for basic research? What can be achieved in the next 20 years? What are the lessons learned?

“The meeting will be held again in the Castillo-Palacio Magalia (, a historic castle about two hours by train from Madrid, in the hills towards Avila, with a nice climate in summer. The comprehensive services in the Castillo will foster intense contacts and fruitful exchanges among the participants. The meeting will be single track, with a mix of longer and shorter presentations to stimulate discussion.”

Building on Geological Models — The Vision of an Environmental Modelling Platform

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

Holger Kessler, Diarmad Campbell, Jon Ford, Jeremy Giles, Andrew Hughes, Ian Jackson, Denis Peach, Simon Price, Hans-Georg Sobisch, Ricky Terrington, and Ben Wood

“Geological Survey Organisations (GSOs) were originally founded to produce an inventory of the earth’s resources to inform governments and support construction and primary industries. Therefore, their initial emphasis was on finding construction material, metalliferous minerals, and hydrocarbons. Throughout the 20th Century, the focus shifted towards aggregates, water, and more recently to environmental concerns such as waste, reuse of post-industrial contaminated land, climate change, and biodiversity.”

Modeling Uncertainty of Moving Objects on Road Networks via Space-time Prisms

International Journal of Geographical Information Science, Volume 23, Issue 9 September 2009 , pages 1095 – 1117

Bart Kuijpers; Walied Othman.

“Moving objects produce trajectories, which are typically observed in a finite sample of time-stamped locations. Between sample points, we are uncertain about the moving objects’s location. When we assume extra information about an object, for instance, a (possibly location-dependent) speed limit, we can use space-time prisms to model the uncertainty of an object’s location.

“Until now, space-time prisms have been studied for unconstrained movement in the 2D plane. In this paper, we study space-time prisms for objects that are constrained to travel on a road network. Movement on a road network can be viewed as essentially one-dimensional. We describe the geometry of a space-time prism on a road network and give an algorithm to compute and visualize space-time prisms. For experiments and illustration, we have implemented this algorithm in MATHEMATICA.

“Furthermore, we study the alibi query, which asks whether two moving objects could have possibly met or not. This comes down to deciding if the chains of space-time prisms produced by these moving objects intersect. We give an efficient algorithm to answer the alibi query for moving objects on a road network. This algorithm also determines where and when two moving objects may have met.”

Estimating Components of Population Change from Census Data for Incongruent Spatial/Temporal Units and Attributes

Journal of Spatial Science, Vol. 54, No. 2

R. G. Cromley, A. Y. Ebenstein, D. M. Hanink

“When calculating the components of population change over time, the spatial units of analysis must remain constant.  However, the boundaries of these units often change from one census to the next.  Another limiting factor is the absence of data values for the time period.  Net migration figures might be available for a five year interval in a census but not for a twenty year interval.  GIS and areal interpolation are used here to rectify boundary changes that occur from one census to the next and shift-share analysis is used to estimate the components of population change from the census data.   These methods are applied to a county level study of population change in China between 1982 and 2000.”

Top Ten Posts of 2009

Top ten posts of 2009 based on number of page views:

  1. Spatial Statistics, Geostatistics, and GIS: Free Training Available
  2. Accuracy of iPhone Locations: A Comparison of Assisted GPS, WiFi, and Cellular Positioning
  3. A Farewell Chat with David Maguire, ESRI’s Chief Scientist
  4. Top Nine Favorite Innovations in ArcGIS
  5. Integrating GIS with Models: A Bibliography
  6. What Would Happen if the Earth Stopped Spinning?
  7. GIS and Climate Change Resources
  8. California Governors’ Global Climate Summit 2: September 30 – October 2, 2009
  9. Agent-Based Modeling and GIS
  10. Aggregated Live Feeds in ArcGIS