Most California Important Bird Areas will Protect Sensitive Bird Species from Climate Change

As questions remain as to how we can best help California birds prosper in a time of climate change, important new research from Audubon California may provide part of the answer. A new analysis of future climate models shows that most California Important Bird Areas – a network of sites identified by Audubon California as providing essential habitat – will protect sensitive bird species against climate change.

“Although climate change will inevitably result in some loss of bird populations, knowing ahead of time where birds will persist gives us a good idea of where to focus our conservation efforts,” said William Monahan, senior GIS scientist with Audubon California.

A fact sheet showing these findings is available on

Audubon California has identified 145 Important Bird Areas within the state that provide more than 10 million acres of essential habitat for breeding, wintering and migrating birds. Part of an international process, these sites were nominated by local experts and selected according to rigid criteria.

Monahan and his colleagues identified 25 sensitive bird species that are present at these sites and analyzed their prospects using future climate models. Their results show that 16 of 25 of these species will persist at these sites through the year 2100. Moreover, 89 of the 145 sites will enable 50 percent or more of their sensitive species to persist. Researchers found that California’s most resilient areas are located in coastal regions and the Central Valley.

This is good news for birds such as the Northern Harrier, Golden Eagle, Peregrine Falcon, California Clapper Rail and a many other noteworthy birds that among California’s most sensitive species.

“We already knew that these sites were important to protect because they provided critical habitat for some of California’s most sensitive bird species,” said Andrea Jones, Audubon California’s Important Bird Areas program director. “Learning that they will also provide refuge for birds during the next 90 years of climate change only increases their conservation value.”

[Source: Audubon California press release]

Indian Ministry of Environment and Forests Announced Formation of National Forestry Information Network

“On 1oth January, 2010, a special meeting of the Minister with over 100 Indian Forest Service Officers with PhD degrees in forestry science was convened. A number of decisions related to upgrading the scientific capabilities of India’s forestry establishment were taken at this meeting. These included the institution of the following:

National Forestry Information Network:  A network is being established with a robust foundation using remote sensing, GIS and MIS.  All land based forestry interventions will be geo-mapped and monitored on a time scale, and will be put in the public domain. The process is being guided by a core group of forestry professionals.”

[Source: PIB press release]

Experts Urge Middle East Governments to Revise Water Policies

…from IRIN News

“Governments in the Middle East must put aside political differences, rethink water management and revise strategy and policy in using water otherwise the region will face a dire future, scientists have warned at an international conference in Jordan.

“The 1-4 February Amman conference is entitled Food Security and Climate Change in Dry Areas.

“Scientists said the region can no longer afford to waste water, with global warming expected to exacerbate an already existing problem.

“Eddie Bethel, head of ICARDA’s Geographic Information Systems (GIS) unit, said: “The predictions for the near future are dire for the entire Mediterranean region. There is a significant increase in temperature and a decrease in precipitation. For the medium future we can expect serious difficulty in the availability of water in improving agriculture in the region”. ”

ESRI Development Center 2009 Student of the Year Award Recipient Announced

…from the University of Salzburg Centre for Geoinformatics…

“The University of Salzburg – Centre for Geoinformatics EDC is proud to announce Mariana BELGIU as the 2009 recipient of the EDC (ESRI Development Center) Student of the Year Award. She has been chosen as the top Salzburg EDC student for 2009 due to her outstanding achievements and contributions:

“Mariana started the year as a master’s student finalizing her thesis on “Making Geographic Resources Discoverable – an Approach towards a Streamlined Metadata Generation Process”. In this thesis she was working towards a prototype implementation of an Austrian national metadata profile within the framework of applicable standards. This successful implementation is based on the GPT (GIS Portal Toolkit). After achieving excellent grades on her thesis and final exam, she moved on to developing and successfully presenting a PhD proposal with a focus on the role of ontologies as a basis for semantic search within SDI’s and portals. After acceptance of this proposal she currently is in the initial stages of her PhD work.

“In addition Mariana volunteered contributions to the development of a demonstrator for a Central Asia SDI in cooperation with Kyrgyz universities. This project has been recognized through grants from GSDI and ESRI. Mariana assisted with building demonstrator SDI components and involved herself in the education and training of local actors.

“Mariana Belgiu is a role model as a dedicated individual as well as a future GIS professional with very high academic standards.”

Connecting Local to Global: Geographic Information Systems and Ecological Footprints as Tools for Sustainability

The Professional Geographer, Volume 62, Issue 1 February 2010 , pages 84 – 102

Sonja Klinsky; Reneacutee Sieber; Thom Meredith

“Tools that support public engagement with sustainability are essential for local sustainability planning. This research investigates the ability of two geographic information system (GIS)-based tools to promote discussion of sustainability in a suburban context. A local ecological footprint tool and a community environmental atlas (an environmentally themed online mapping system) were created for seven suburban boroughs of Montreal. Variations of both tools have been used to support sustainability efforts, but their use has not been widely evaluated. Working from a public participation GIS (PPGIS) framework that recognizes the powerful influence of data representation, this research uses focus groups to evaluate how well these tools address three criteria that have emerged from the literature on public engagement in sustainability: interdependency across systems, reflexivity about personal and social decision making, and interactions across spatial scales. Whereas the atlas remains advantageous for discussing local spatial specifics, it was found that the ecological footprint helped people see the interconnections among systems, integrate local and global aspects of sustainability, and reflect on the values and assumptions underlying current social and economic structures.”

ISDA ’10: Intelligent Spatial Decision Analysis, 28-30 July 2010, Baltimore, Maryland

Intelligent Spatial Decision Analysis (ISDA ’10)

in conjunction with

International Symposium on Intelligent Decision Technologies (IDT’10)

InnerHarbor, Baltimore, Maryland, USA 28-30 July 2010

Workshop Description
Within the study on decision-making essence and its links with some strictly related concepts as evaluation and choice, it is possible to state that whereas decision can be mostly considered as a “political” process, evaluation mainly includes technical issues, while choice induces both sides problems.

  • Evaluation concerns an initial phase of a cognitive process and the decision terms of reference defining the boundaries within which the entire process takes place and the evaluation purposes are defined.
  • Decision is a deliberative act which temporarily closes a long and predominantly political process where the relationship among individuals of a community (and therefore among contrasting interests) needs to be regulated.
  • Choice ends an evaluation process which aims to select a decisional alternative among many ones, on the base of different and often conflictual criteria and points of view. So it reminds the necessity to screen and compare many alternatives and to make a selection.

How does Information Technology application in spatial analysis modify the way of making decisions? Decision Theory based its fundamentals on limited sets of solution and evaluation criteria for a long time, but the way of describing spatial issues of governance, characters and constraints of physical space shows a further complexity that can not be described without the use of new methods, in order to increase decision quality. Even if the core nature of decision approach still remains the same, the number of complexities connected within the process increases rapidly. The interaction among evaluation methods, and the new described complexity of the physical urban space create a new era for spatial decision support involving several disciplines, and domains of knowledge.

In relation to what above, a decision process necessarily involves the existence of several social actors, usually called “stakeholders”, contributing to the final choice definition and enforcement; it is therefore important to stress the distinction between decision making and decision aiding, sometimes wrongly adopted as synonyms. While a decision maker is the subject able, at the same time, to give the knowledge and to have the responsibility to make a choice, a decision aiding context involves the existence of two distinctive subjects at least: the analyst (or a group of them) aiding the decision via a deep scientific knowledge and the client (public or private) to whom such support is directed. Therefore, in the first case the following elements are usually considered: a well defined set of possible decisional alternatives, a well defined preference system already clear in the decision maker mind and a correctly formulated mathematical problem. A decision! aiding approach implies a set of not necessary stable potential actions compared on the base of n criteria able to reflect, under a natural uncertainty, the social actor preferences; in this case, then, a well formalized mathematical problem is quite impossible. In this context Intelligent Spatial Analysis Systems represent a fundamental support to decision making processes in conformity with a double reading perspective:

  1. they comprise a coherent set of methods and techniques which enable to deepen the investigation on the scientific aspect of decision making process, adopting several rigorous tools and models belonging to different fields as machine learning (i.e. cellular automata, multi-agent systems, Bayesian networks, artificial neural networks, etc.), geostatistics (i.e. kernel methods, kriging, support vector machines, etc.), remote sensing, spatial data warehousing and Spatial OLAP, and spatial data mining;
  2. they represent an innovative mean to enhance and guarantee participation (i.e. spatial multicriteria decision aiding, electronic meetings, focus groups, etc.), consensus building and communicability consensus building and communicability of decision making scenarios among stakeholders, in order to reach a transparent and accepted final choice.

The aim of the workshop is to investigate such connections among disciplines, by theoretical debates and tales on case studies.

The programme committee especially requests high quality submissions on the following Conference Themes :

  • Decision Support Theory;
  • Spatial Multicriteria Decision Analysis;
  • Spatial Rough Set;
  • Spatial extension of Fuzzy Set theory;
  • Ontologies for Spatial Analysis;
  • Environmental data mining;
  • Learning from geospatial data;
  • Machine Learning and Geostatistics;
  • Artificial neural networks;
  • Web-based decision analysis tools;
  • Wireless Sensor Networks for Spatial Apllications
  • Ant-based Algorithms;
  • Cellular automata;
  • Bayesian reasoning;
  • Statistical learning theory: support vector machines, kernel methods;
  • Remote sensing and remote sensed image processing;
  • Geographical approach to risk analysis;
  • Spatial Data warehousing foundations and architectures;
  • Spatial Data extraction, cleaning, and loading;
  • Spatial Multidimensional modeling and queries;
  • Spatial OLAP visualization;
  • New Spatial OLAP applications;
  • Spatial OLAP as support for intelligent spatial analysis (data mining, multi-criteria, etc…);
  • Spatial data mining: algorithms and visualization;
  • New spatial data mining applications;
  • Coupling spatial data mining and Spatial OLAP;
  • Geovisual analytics, geovisualisation, visual exploratory data analysis;
  • Visualisation and modelling of track data.

Authors Guideline
Please adhere strictly to the formatting provided in the template to prepare your paper and refrain from modifying it.
For formatting information, see the publisher’s web site
( ).

Papers should not exceed 10 pages in Springer format. Papers longer than this will be subject to an additional charge. Shorter papers will be acceptable if they adequately convey the material to be described, and are not so short as to be trivial or lacking in depth.

Papers for review for the conference must be submitted electronically in PDF form using the PROSE online submission and review system access.

You may submit a paper to “Intelligent Spatial Decision Analysis” Session selecting the session from a drop-down box when you submit the paper. Please ensure you select the correct session.

If you wish to submit a paper to an Invited Session, and the session is not shown on the drop-down box, please wait until the session has been set up.

Once the paper has been submitted you may check its progress by login in to the PROSE review system using the login details you have been supplied with (

Accepted papers will be published by prestigious publishing house, Springer Verlag, as book chapters in a volume of their Engineering Series and indexed in ISI conference publications, EI, INSPEC, etc.

Outstanding papers will be invited to a submission in two special issues:

Important dates

2 March 2010: Deadline for full paper submission
22 March 2010: Notification of acceptance
19 April 2010: Deadline for Camera Ready Papers
28-30 July 2010: ISDA ’10 (IDT’10) Conference

University of Glasgow Research Associate: Design of Large-scale Rabies Vaccination Programs

University of Glasgow
Faculty of Biomedical and Life Sciences
Ecology and Evolution Biology

The University of Glasgow is seeking a post-doctoral research associate to work with a leading epidemiology research group (Haydon, Cleaveland, Hampson, Kao, Lembo) to study the design of large-scale rabies vaccination programs for domestic dogs in the developing world. We require an epidemiological modeller to work with a $10M Gates funded team conducting regional vaccination of dogs in Southern Tanzania, Kwazulu Natal, and the Philippines. The position will be based in the Boyd Orr Centre ( at the University of Glasgow but will require some international travel.

The purpose of the MRC-funded position is to conduct real-time analysis on data generated by the in-country vaccination teams and to advise and provide feed-back on control strategy. The position is supported by field teams and dedicated in-country Project Liason Officers, with provision of funds for GIS technical support and sequencing of rabies virus genomes. The ideal applicant will have advanced knowledge of different approaches to epidemiological modelling and control of infectious disease, good computer programming skills, some experience of spatial modelling and statistics, must enjoy working in a dynamic multi-disciplinary group, have good communication and people skills, and an interest in public health in developing countries.

Informal enquiries and further details are available from Professor Dan Haydon (

Linking External Components to a Spatio-temporal Modelling Framework: Coupling MODFLOW and PCRaster

Environmental Modelling & Software, Volume 24, Issue 9, September 2009, Pages 1088-1099

O. Schmitz, D. Karssenberg, W.P.A. van Deursen, and C.G. Wesseling

“An important step in the procedure of building an environmental model is the transformation of a conceptual model into a numerical simulation. To simplify model construction a framework is required that relieves the model developer from software engineering concerns. In addition, as the demand for a holistic understanding of environmental systems increases, access to external model components is necessary in order to construct integrated models.

“We present a modelling framework that provides two- and three-dimensional building blocks for construction of spatio-temporal models. Two different modelling languages available in the framework, the first tailored and the second an enhanced Python scripting language, allow the development and modification of models. We explain for both languages the interfaces allowing to link specialised model components and thus extending the functionality of the framework. We demonstrate the coupling of external components in order to create multicomponent models by the development of the link to the groundwater model MODFLOW and provide results of an integrated catchment model. The approach described is appropriate for constructing integrated models that include a coupling of a small number of components.”

An Investigation on the Distribution of Eight Hazardous Heavy Metals in the Suburban Farmland of China

Journal of Hazardous Materials, Volume 167, Issues 1-3, 15 August 2009, Pages 1246-1251

Pingguo Yang, Renzhao Mao, Hongbo Shao, Yunfeng Gao

“Understanding spatial variability of hazardous soil heavy metals is an important precondition for suitably monitoring and evaluating eco-environment quality in the primary agricultural production zone. One hundred topsoils were sampled from the urban–rural transition zone in Taihang Piedmont Plain, China. The contents of eight heavy metals Cu, Zn, Cr, Ni, Pb, Cd, Hg and As were tested for each soil sample, and their spatial patterns were analyzed by the semivariogram approach of geostatistics and geographical information system (GIS) technology. Results showed that Cd concentration exceeded its background level. The local pollution from Cd attributed to the anthropogenic influence. The concentrations of eight hazardous heavy metals are relatively lower than the critical values of the national soil quality standard. The correlation distance of soil heavy metals ranged from 3.28 to 11.63 km, with the eight heavy metals having moderate spatial dependence. Cu, Cr, Ni, Pb and As are associated with and controlled by parent material. The results are helpful for improving agricultural and forest ecosystem in the arid and semiarid region.”