2010 Geospatial Leadership Awards Nomination Deadline is 10 February 2010

If you have not already submitted your nomination for GeoWorld magazine’s Geospatial Leadership Awards, there is still time. The program recognizes leadership and innovation for successful system development and deployment. Nominations are open in three awards categories: Geospatial Innovation, Public Enterprise, and Private Enterprise.

  • The Geospatial Innovator Award is given to recognize tool developers that have created new software or hardware that expand the possibilities within the geospatial industry.
  • The Public Enterprise Award is presented to a government entity or non-profit association. Each of these organizations has pushed the boundaries of what’s possible to achieve broad system buy-in and use by a large number of constituents.
  • The Private Enterprise Award recognizes private organizations that have successfully extended GIS throughout their enterprise or contributed significantly to the advancement and adoption of geospatial technology.

This year we are asking the GeoTec Media audience to submit nominations for each of these awards. Please take a few minutes to nominate the best candidate in each category. The deadline for nominations is Wednesday, February 10. Following the close of nominations, subscribers to GeoWorld Magazine, GeoReport e-newsletter and GeoPlace.com will be asked to vote and determine the winners of each category.

Winners will be announced at the 2010 GeoTec Event in Toronto, Tuesday April 13, with follow-up details to be published in GeoWorld magazine and GeoPlace.com.

Click here to place your nomination.

Virulent Fish Virus Identified for First Time in Lake Superior

Viral hemorrhagic septicemia virus poses threats to fisheries and aquaculture

For the first time, the presence of an exceptionally virulent fish virus (viral hemorrhagic septicemia virus or VHSV) has been identified in fish from Lake Superior by researchers at the Cornell University’s College of Veterinary Medicine and confirmed by scientists at the USGS Western Fisheries Research Center in Seattle.

The disease (VHS) caused by the virus can result in significant losses in populations of wild fish as well as in stocks of fish reared by aquaculture. It is of sufficient global concern to be one of only nine fish diseases that must be reported to the World Organization for Animal Health.

The virus was first identified in the Great Lakes in 2005 when it was recovered from fish experiencing massive die-offs. Over the last 5 years, one die-off in Lake Ontario resulted in the death of 40,000 freshwater drum in 4 days. The virus had been found in fish from all of the Great Lakes except Superior, as well as in the Niagara and St. Lawrence rivers, and inland lakes in New York, Michigan and Wisconsin. The disease causes internal bleeding in fish, and although in the family of viruses that includes rabies, is not harmful to humans.

Cornell investigators tested 874 fish collected last summer from seven sites in Lake Superior.  Using a new genetic test developed at Cornell, fish from four of seven sites tested positive for the virus: Paradise, Mich., Skanee, Mich., St. Louis, Bay, Wisc., and Superior Bay, Wisc. The VHSV-positive species included yellow perch, white sucker, rock bass and bluegill. To confirm these findings, tissues from fish at one of the sites (Paradise) were sent to the USGS Western Fisheries Research Center where VHSV experts Drs. Gael Kurath and James Winton provided independent confirmation of the Cornell findings.

“VHS is one of the most important diseases of finfish,” said Winton. “It not only affects the health and well-being of populations of several important native fish species, but it can also impact trade, and, should it spread into the U.S. aquaculture industry, could do substantial damage as happened in Europe and parts of Japan.”

Previous genetic research at the USGS Western Fisheries Research Center and by colleagues from Canada showed that this strain of the virus was probably introduced into the Great Lakes in the last 5 to 10 years, and that the fish die-offs occurring among different species and in different lakes should be considered as one large ongoing epidemic. Experts fear the disease could potentially spread from the

Great Lakes into new populations of native fish in the 31 states of the Mississippi River basin.

Federal and State agencies had previously placed restrictions on movement of fish or fish products to slow the spread of the virus; however, the presence of a reportable pathogen in the Great Lakes States, large mortalities among wild species, potential impacts on commercial aquaculture and disruption of interstate and international trade have caused substantial concern among management agencies.

For more information, visit the USGS VHSV Web site.

[Source: USGS press release]

GIS Aids Development of Heat and Drought Resistant Potato to Meet Climate Change Challenge

…from PotatoPro

“Potato material from the International Potato Center (CIP) is helping farmers to enhance food and income security in Central and Southwest Asia in the face of climate change.

“CIP scientists, partner institutions, and stakeholders across the region are identifying and validating heat, drought, and salinity tolerance traits in a comprehensive program of strategic exchange and testing of advanced clones. They have also integrated geographic information systems (GIS) with statistical analysis of multilocation trial data to assess the suitability of clones for specific locations. These geo-referenced risk maps and growth models can also project future conditions under climate change scenarios. This information, along with the planting materials developed by the project, will provide farmers, researchers, regional governments, extension services, and policy makers with the tools they need to face the challenges of the region’s harsh conditions and adapt to climate change.”

From Cyberspace to Realspace: A New Cyber-GIS Approach to Visualize the Information Landscape of the Semantic Web and Cyberinfrastructure

…from the National Science Foundation TeraGrid Workshop on Cyber-GIS, 2010…

Ming-Hsiang Tsou

“Currently, most cyberinfrastructure research projects in the GIS community are focusing on utilizing cyberinfrastructure to advance GIScience and geospatial technology. This position paper will provide an alternative view to highlight the possibility of utilizing GIS and cartographic methods to understand and visualize the Semantic Web and cyberinfrastructure.

“In the digital age, ideas and concepts can be disseminated with incredible speed through the Internet and cyberinfrastructure. GIS, cartographic representation methods, and geo-locating skills for websites could be applied to create a dynamic information landscape of the Semantic Web for specific topics or themes (such as natural disasters, human activities, and radical social movements). Tracking and visualizing the dynamic spread of ideas might help us reveal important social contexts of specific themes and understand the temporal and spatial relationships among them.”

Integrating Climate Change into Forest Planning: A Spatial and Temporal Analysis of Landscape Vulnerability

Craig Robert Nitschke, PhD Dissertation, University of British Columbia

“The achievement of sustainable forest management requires the incorporation of risk and uncertainty into long-term planning. Climatic change is one stressor that will have significant impact on natural disturbances, ecosystems and biodiversity, particularly on landscapes influenced by forest management. Understanding where vulnerabilities lie and when climatic thresholds are reached are important areas of knowledge that must be used to manage the risks associated directly or indirectly with climatic change. The vulnerability of landscapes to natural disturbances, the resilience of ecosystems and distribution of biodiversity are all important components that need to be considered when undertaking forest planning. Through the use of modelling the vulnerability of a 145,000 ha landscape in the south-central interior of British Columbia was used as case study to assess the vulnerability of fire potential, fire regimes, ecosystem resilience and biodiversity to climatic change. The results from the analysis of fire potential identified a 30% increase in fire season length and a 95% increase in fire severity by 2085. A statistically significant shift in fire behaviour was also detected by 2070 with crown fires predicted to be more common. Climatic change was also found to significantly increase mean fire size by 2025 and decrease the mean return interval. By 2085, 95% of the landscape could burn every 50 years or less compared to the 34% currently classified. Ecosystem resilience was modelled to be affected to varying degrees with a shift in many species to higher elevation and/or to non-water deficit sites between 2025 and 2085. Six species were predicted to be at extreme risk and four others at high risk. An analysis of bark beetle risk identified 38.7% of the study area is currently at some degree of risk to attack. An analysis of biodiversity identified 19 indicator species that could be used to monitor management actions with a biodiversity management area that covers 66% of the landscape. These analyses were used as a foundation to guide forest zoning allocation, using the triad zoning framework, and for developing a “Climate-smart” management paradigm to be used for managing the landscape after allocation.”

Integrating GIS, Evolutionary Biology, and Climate Studies: Biologists Identify New Spiny Pocket Mouse Species

…from PhysOrg.com…

“Dr. Robert P. Anderson, Associate Professor of Biology at The City College of New York, and Ph.D. student Eliécer E. Gutiérrez have reported the existence of a new species of spiny pocket mouse, from Venezuela, Heteromys catopterius.

“Professor Anderson, a leader in using GIS (geographic information systems) analysis to model species distributions (ranges), says his goal is to use the genus Heteromys as an example of how to integrate GIS, evolutionary biology and climate studies. With an aim toward conservation, he hopes to compare areas with suitable habitat for the species with the location of protected areas.”

California Botanical Artist’s Work Published by ESRI Press

Botanical Serigraphs: The Gene Bauer Collection, just released by ESRI Press, is the first compilation of the entire series of flora prints and related writing created by Gene Bauer in the 1970s. Bauer visited 56 California botanical gardens and arboretums to complete this work.

Each visit was recorded with a pencil drawing of a plant or tree that caught her imagination. The drawings were later used to create serigraphs (silk screen prints) in Bauer’s studio. In addition, she wrote a description of each plant, its environment, the circumstance in which she chose to draw it, and her personal musings. Each print and description was published in a booklet and distributed to members of the California Garden Clubs, Inc.

Observes Bauer, “The choice for each drawing was made on the day I visited the garden, and it was always a plant that was particularly attractive to me on that day and not necessarily what was typical or characteristic of the garden. I intended to show that these gardens are interesting every day of the year.” The jacketed, cloth-cover edition published by ESRI Press was created to share this sentiment with a larger audience.

After her personal collection of the booklets was destroyed in a wildfire that burned her home in 1997, collectors of the series returned their original copies to her to complete this publication. Bauer’s attention to detail and keen sense for the extraordinary make this book an excellent gift for artists, gardeners, and anyone who can appreciate the care with which the beautiful serigraphs were created.

Botanical Serigraphs: The Gene Bauer Collection (ISBN: 9781589482531, 264 pages, $40.00) is available at online retailers worldwide, at www.esri.com/esripress, or by calling 1-800-447-9778. Outside the United States, visit www.esri.com/esripressorders for complete ordering options or contact your local ESRI distributor. For a current distributor list, visit www.esri.com/distributors. Interested retailers can contact ESRI Press book distributor Ingram Publisher Services.

[Source:  ESRI press release]

Questionnaire: Spatial Data Enabling USGS Strategic Science in the 21st Century

“At the request of the U.S. Geological Survey, the National Research Council is conducting a study that will: (1) identify existing knowledge and document lessons learned during previous efforts to develop Spatial Data Infrastructures (SDI) and their support of scientific endeavors; (2) develop a vision for optimizing an SDI to organize, integrate, access, and use scientific data; and (3) create a roadmap to guide the USGS in accomplishing the vision within the scope of the USGS Science Strategy. For the committee’s full statement of task, click here.

“Because the committee cannot hear from all the individuals and organizations that have valuable experience and ideas on this topic during its few scheduled meetings, the committee seeks your help in the form of written contributions on the following set of questions.”

The Questionnaire

Based on the last five years working with spatial data infrastructures:
1. What has worked well?
2. What has not worked?
3. What are the major challenges (technical, organizational, cultural, policy, financial)?
4. What would you do differently?
5. In what domain(s) are your data (e.g. biological, hydrologic, cultural, etc.)?
6. What is your vision for an SDI to meet the needs of the USGS Science Strategy?

“Comments received by December 6, 2009 will be considered at the committee’s next meeting (December 10-11, 2009). However, the committee welcomes all input through February 2010. The final report is scheduled for public release in January 2011. Please note that any written comments submitted to the committee (whether by mail, e-mail, fax, or this comment form) will be included in the study’s public access file.”

Reduction of Ground-based Sensor Sites for Spatio-temporal Analysis of Aerosols

Proceedings of the Third International Workshop on Knowledge Discovery from Sensor Data, Paris, France, 2009

Vladan Radosavljevic, Slobodan Vucetic, and Zoran Obradovic

“In many remote sensing applications it is important to use multiple sensors to be able to understand the major spatio-temporal distribution patterns of an observed phenomenon. A particular remote sensing application addressed in this study is estimation of an important property of atmosphere, called Aerosol Optical Depth (AOD). Remote sensing data for AOD estimation are collected from ground and satellite-based sensors. Satellite-based measurements can be used as attributes for estimation of AOD and in this way could lead to better understanding of spatio-temporal aerosol patterns on a global scale. Ground-based AOD estimation is more accurate and is traditionally used as ground-truth information in validation of satellite-based AOD estimations. In contrast to this traditional role of ground-based sensors, a data mining approach allows more active use of ground-based measurements as labels in supervised learning of a regression model for AOD estimation from satellite measurements. Considering the high operational costs of ground-based sensors, we are studying a budget-cut scenario that requires a reduction in a number of ground-based sensors. To minimize loss of information, the objective is to retain sensors that are the most useful as a source of labeled data. The proposed goodness criterion for the selection is how close the accuracy of a regression model built on data from a reduced sensor set is to the accuracy of a model built of the entire set of sensors. We developed an iterative method that removes sensors one by one from locations where AOD can be predicted most accurately using training data from the remaining sites. Extensive experiments on two years of globally distributed AERONET ground-based sensor data provide strong evidence that sensors selected using the proposed algorithm are more informative than the competing approaches that select sensors at random or that select sensors based on spatial diversity.”

International Cartographic Association Research Agenda on Cartography and GI Science

…from The Cartographic Journal

Kirsi Virrantaus, David Fairbairn, and Menno-Jan Kraak

“Maps and geographic information (GI) have special power through their ability to connect and integrate data sets by the inherent geographical location, and present the information contents in a user-friendly and understandable visual and tactual way. Such ability has long been recognized as an intrinsic property of the map artefact, as well as contemporary geodatabases. The power of maps and geographic data handling has been recently recognized in many real world applications and strategic decision making situations related to current topics like crisis management, early warning systems, efforts for supporting sustainability and decreasing global poverty.

“The international cartographic association (ICA), as a globally well represented and internationally visible organization, has a special position and role as a promoter of the development of cartography and GI science. Research and development in ICA aim in general to create theory and methods for cartography and GI handling. By applying theories and methods in various fields, new tools can be created for cartographic and GI practice. Such topics are
addressed at the main work-forums of ICA, its Commissions. These organizations are formally established by vote at the quadrennial ICA General Assemblies, although interim Working Groups can also be established between General Assemblies by the ICA Executive Committee (EC) to address specific short-term issues.”