Retiring Forest Service Employee Gives Thoughts on Impact of Technology

…from the Standard Journal

“When Mark Orme first worked at the Targhee National Forest in St. Anthony in 1981, timber sale maps were drawn by hand from aerial photos, and acreages were calculated using a dot overlay counts.

“Now, using GIS (geographic information systems) and electronic analysis, timber sale maps may be created to be 100 percent accurate — down to the inch rather than mile.”

West Virginia Expands Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Education with GIS

Statewide License Enables Students to Build Skills to Further Their Education

The adoption of ESRI’s geographic information system (GIS) software statewide marks the next step for West Virginia in doing its part in the national effort to expand science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education.

Many policy makers, researchers, and educators are concerned about the lack of STEM-oriented subjects taken by today’s high school students as they prepare to enter college or the workforce. State and district education agencies, as well as private educational organizations, are boosting their effort to address STEM content and skills.

According to Charlie Fitzpatrick, K–12 education manager at ESRI, “More and more states see value in GIS for all students, in all grades and subject areas, because it fosters integrative thinking, analysis, problem solving, and communication. These are critical skills students must master not only to make the most of social studies and STEM education but also to become effective workers and informed citizens.”

During the past few years, West Virginia’s Department of Education has conducted GIS seminars for its teachers at its Social Studies Summer Institute and annual Teacher Leadership Institute. In addition, the West Virginia Geographic Alliance regularly offers seminars and classes in ArcGIS software.

“We are excited about the prospect of providing GIS instruction throughout our elementary and secondary schools,” says Regina Scotchie, social studies coordinator for the West Virginia Department of Education. “We are focusing our attention on grades 6 through 12; however, we have not limited the use of GIS to any particular grade level.”

For more information about ESRI’s GIS for Schools program, visit

[Source:  ESRI press release]

ORNL’s Budhendra Bhaduri Named to Mapping Science Committee of the National Academy of Sciences


“Budhendra Bhaduri, leader of the Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s Georgraphic Information Science & Technology Group, will serve a three-year term on the Mapping Science Committee of the National Academy of Sciences/National Research Council.

“The committee oversees the council’s studies that provide info and advice on issues pertaining to geospatial science, technology and policy, according to ORNL.

“More information on the committee is available here.”

Spatial and Temporal Analysis of the Nitrate Concentrations in Groundwater for South Africa

Biennial Groundwater Conference of the International Association of Hydrogeologists. Somerset West, South Africa, 16-18 November 2009

Maherry, A; Clarke, S; Tredoux, G; Engelbrecht, P

“The aims of this investigation was to create an updated view of the nitrate distribution for the country, to identify whether there are any gaps or significant changes in the distribution of nitrate concentration over the sampling record and identify areas where nitrate pollution occurs as an ecological hazard for priority research and remediation. Data was sourced from the national groundwater database for the entire country for the period up until 2008. Previous maps used data pre-1990 and up to 2001. Additional nitrate data was sourced to supplement the NGDB data. The data was evaluated using excel pivot tables, and maps plotted using ArcMAP. Maps of the total count representing the total number of points sampled and their densities for South Africa, as well as the minimum, maximum and average nitrate concentration for the various decades were used to evaluate the extent and duration of nitrate pollution in South Africa. The nitrate concentrations were overlayed on the geological or hydroterrains and land cover for South Africa to investigate if there are links between lithology, land cover and nitrate concentrations. Comparison of maps compiled for different periods indicate that the Western Cape now has elevated nitrate levels, possibly associated with agricultural stock farming. The Northern Cape Province, in particular the Kalahari has elevated nitrate levels, but a distinct lack of recent sampling may mask the extent of the current spatial distribution of nitrate concentrations. The scarcity of sampling points within urban centres makes it difficult for pollution monitoring and control to take place.”

GeoDesign Bibliography Updates

The GeoDesign Bibliography has been updated with a number of recent articles and blog posts (below), many related to the recently completed 2010 GeoDesign Summit.  Note that presentations from the 2010 GeoDesign Summit are not yet included in the bibliography, but I will add these as soon as the presentations are posted online (hopefully in a few weeks).  And if you find anything I’ve missed, please email me at or leave a comment.

Ball, Matt.  2009. “Dangermond on GIS and Design.” Spatial Sustain blog, 17 June 2009.

Ball, Matt.  2009. “Dealing with a Rapidly Changing Planet.” Spatial Sustain blog, 13 July 2009.

Ball, Matt.  2010. “Goodchild on the Yin and Yang of GIS.” Spatial Sustain blog, 06 January 2010.

Ball, Matt.  2010. “GeoDesign as a Return to the Potential of GIS.” Spatial Sustain blog, 06 January 2010.

Ball, Matt.  2010. “Ferren Asserts that GeoDesign is the Next Storytelling Medium.” Spatial Sustain blog, 07 January 2010.

Ball, Matt.  2010. “Steinitz Discusses Different Design Approaches.” Spatial Sustain blog, 07 January 2010.

Ball, Matt.  2010. “GeoDesign Provides the Basis for a New Language.” Spatial Sustain blog, 07 January 2010.

Ball, Matt.  2010. “GeoDesign Challenge to Spur Meaningful Work.” Spatial Sustain blog, 08 January 2010.

Ball, Matt.  2010. “The Inclusive Push for GeoDesign.” Spatial Sustain blog, 08 January 2010.

Ball, Matt.  2010. “The Fresh Start that GeoDesign Offers.” Spatial Sustain blog, 10 January 2010.

Ball, Matt.  2010. “Vancouver Embodies GeoDesign.”  Spatial Sustain blog, 12 January 2010.

Ball, Matt.  2010. “Avoid Thinking of GeoDesign as a Manifestation of the Singularity.” Spatial Sustain blog, 13 January 2010.

Batty, Peter.  2009.  “Shakespeare on GeoDesign.”  Geothought blog, 17 September 2009.

Batty, Peter.  2009.  “Jack Dangermond on GeoDesign.”  Geothought blog, 07 October 2009.

Entchev, Atanas. 2010. “GeoDesign 2010 and Beyond.” The ENTCHEV GIS blog, 06 January 2010.

Fee, James.  2010.  “Thoughts on the GeoDesign Summit.”  Spatial Adjusted blog, 09 January 2010.

Fisher, Tom. 2010. “Monday Minute, January 11, 2010.” University of Minnesota College of Design, 11 January 2010.

Schutzberg, Adena. 2010. “ESRI Geodesign Summit Day 1 AM.” All Points blog, 06 January 2010.

Schutzberg, Adena. 2010. “ESRI Geodesign Summit Day 1 PM.” All Points blog, 07 January 2010.

Schutzberg, Adena. 2010. “Jack Dangermond’s Research Vision for #Geodesign Parallels that for GIS.” All Points blog, 07 January 2010.

Schutzberg, Adena. 2010. “Tidbits from the Geodesign Summit.” All Points blog, 07 January 2010.

Schutzberg, Adena. 2010. “ESRI #Geodesign Summit Day 2 PM.” All Points blog, 07 January 2010.

Schutzberg, Adena. 2010. “ESRI #Geodesign Summit Day 2 AM.” All Points blog, 07 January 2010.

Schutzberg, Adena. 2010. “Geodesign Summit Day 3 AM.” All Points blog, 08 January 2010.

Schutzberg, Adena. 2010. “GeoDesign Summit Reflections.” Directions magazine. 14 January 2010.

Thurston, Jeff.  2010.  “Putting Your Finger on the Spatial Pulse of Design.”  Vector One blog, January 14, 2010.

The Accuracy and Precision Revolution: What’s Ahead for GIS?

…from the Winter 2010 issue of ArcUser

“The ability to obtain precise information is nothing new. With great patience and skill, mapmakers and land surveyors have long been able to create information with an impressive level of accuracy. However, today the ability to determine and view locations with submeter accuracy is now in the hands of millions of people. Commonly available high-resolution digital terrain and aerial imagery, coupled with GPS-enabled handheld devices, powerful computers, and Web technology, is changing the quality, utility, and expectations of GIS to serve society on a grand scale. This accuracy and precision revolution has raised the bar for GIS quite high. This pervasive capability will be the driver for the next iteration of GIS and the professionals who operate them.”

NGA Visiting Scientist Fellowship Program Accepting Applications

“The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) is looking to select undergraduates, postgraduate students or faculty members to provide technical support for research and development activities. NGA conducts work in the areas of remote sensing, sensors and signatures, geodesy and geophysics, and geospatial analytic techniques. These include work in automated image analysis, spectral exploitation, gravitational and geomagnetic modeling, subsurface geophysical sensor applications, human computer interfaces, neuroscience, information technology, and other related subjects.

“This appointment may include, but is not limited to, the following:

  • Signal extraction and exploitation from overhead imagery.
  • Testing algorithms, evaluating and developing analytical techniques, analyzing data and physical models, and other R&D work commensurate with the applicant’s background and experience;
  • Working closely with NGA data, with NGA scientists and other outstanding scientists in the NGA environment, and with NGA analysts;
  • Planning and executing original research; and
  • Assembling a corpus of evaluated ground-truth data.

“Several appointments are available at NGA sites or mutually agreeable facilities.”

Coastal Environmental Changes Along the Northwestern Coast of Egypt: Case Study from Alexandria to El Alamein Coast

Forum Geografic. Studii şi cercetări de geografie şi protecţia mediului. Year 8, No. 8/ 2009, pp. 14-22


“The present papers aims at highlighting the urban development, fishing activities, tourism, industrial development and agricultural activities that affect delicate and valuable coastal ecosystems. A supervised classification, post-classification, change detection techniques were applied to Land sat images acquired in 1991 and 2007, respectively, to map land cover changes along the north-western coast of Egypt, from Alexandria to El Alamein. A supervised classification was carried out on the six reflective bands for the two images individually with the aid of true ground data. The truthful ground information, collected during field trips using ancillary data, visual interpretation and experts’ knowledge of the area using GIS, further refined the classification results. Post-classification change detection technique was used to produce image through cross-tabulation. Changes among different land cover classes were assessed.  During the study period, a very severe land cover change has taken place as a result of agricultural and tourist development projects. These shoreline and land cover changes led to modifications of the environmental properties.”