Meet the GeoDesigner: GIS and Data-Enriched Design

…in Architect magazine…

“Earlier this year, nearly 200 people—planners, engineers, developers (of both software and real estate), architects, and academics—gathered in Redlands, Calif., at the corporate headquarters of ESRI. Founded as the Environmental Systems Research Institute in 1969 by Jack Dangermond, the company is the market leader in GIS (geographic information system) technologies; its ArcGIS is the most widely used software of its kind, with versions that can be used online and on mobile phones. ESRI was hosting the first-ever GeoDesign Summit: three days of sessions and workshops geared to map out the future impact of GIS on design.

“Loosely defined as the integration of geographic analysis and tools into the design process, the term “geodesign,” while not proprietarily linked to ESRI, is viewed as part of the company’s lexicon by the geospatial community, broadly composed of urban planners, cartographers, geographers and other social scientists, and emergency response and military analysts, among others. Geodesign, as Dangermond sees it, is shorthand for the complex interrelationship of spatial data and architecture. It is the interface between land use, census blocks, traffic patterns, air quality tables, and any other data set, on the one hand, and the process of building—site planning, conceptual design, programming, and construction drawings—on the other.

“Dangermond, who has a master’s degree in landscape architecture from Harvard’s Graduate School of Design, is as much resident philosopher as company president, and he draws his ideas about GIS and design from landscape architect Ian McHarg’s 1969 book Design With Nature. McHarg’s book spelled out the connections between environmental impact, social factors, and appropriate development. Holistic planning may seem commonsensical now, but at the time, it was part of a growing backlash against Modernism’s sweeping gestures. The GeoDesign Summit expressly set out to explore technological advances, but its goals were no less lofty than to save the Earth.”

Urban Transmission of American Cutaneous Leishmaniasis in Argentina: Spatial Analysis Study

American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, 2010 Mar;82(3):433-40

Gil JF, Nasser JR, Cajal SP, Juarez M, Acosta N, Cimino RO, Diosque P, Krolewiecki AJ

“We used kernel density and scan statistics to examine the spatial distribution of cases of pediatric and adult American cutaneous leishmaniasis in an urban disease-endemic area in Salta Province, Argentina. Spatial analysis was used for the whole population and stratified by women > 14 years of age (n = 159), men > 14 years of age (n = 667), and children < 15 years of age (n = 213). Although kernel density for adults encompassed nearly the entire city, distribution in children was most prevalent in the peripheral areas of the city. Scan statistic analysis for adult males, adult females, and children found 11, 2, and 8 clusters, respectively. Clusters for children had the highest odds ratios (P < 0.05) and were located in proximity of plantations and secondary vegetation. The data from this study provide further evidence of the potential urban transmission of American cutaneous leishmaniasis in northern Argentina.”

Female Breast Cancer Mortality Clusters within Racial Groups in the United States

Health and Place, 16 (2), p.209-218, Mar 2010

Nancy Tian, J. Gaines Wilson, and F. Benjamin Zhan

“Although breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths among women in the Unites States, to date there have been no nationwide studies systematically analyzing geographic variation and clustering. An assessment of spatial–temporal clusters of cancer mortality by age and race at the county level in the lower 48 United States indicated a primary cluster in the Northeast US for both younger (RR=1.349; all RR are p≤0.001) and older (RR=1.283) women in the all-race category. Similar cluster patterns in the North were detected for younger (RR=1.390) and older (RR=1.292) white women. The cluster for both younger (RR=1.337) and older (RR=1.251) black women was found in the Midwest. The clusters for all other racial groups combined were in the West for both younger (RR=1.682) and older (RR=1.542) groups. Regression model results suggest that lower socioeconomic status (SES) was more protective than higher status at every quartile step (Medium-high SES, OR=0.374; Medium-low, OR=0.137; Low, OR=0.061). This study may provide insight to aid in identifying geographic areas and subpopulations at increased risk for breast cancer.”

Using a GIS to Enhance Grain Size Trend Analysis

Environmental Modelling and Software, 25 (4), p.513-525, Apr 2010

Poizot, E. / Mear, Y.

“This paper introduces GisedTrend, a plugin of the QGIS geographical information system that implements the Grain Sized Trend Analysis (GSTA) method. It is advantageous to incorporate the GSTA method in a GIS since it can directly access: (i) environmental information such as bathymetry, coastline, etc., (ii) spatial analysis tools available in such working environments, (iii) input/output data management; all these features are provided by standard GIS software. The paper also presents two case studies: the first case is based on an artificial dataset to focus on effects of obstacles on GSTA computed vector fields. The second case is based on a dataset acquired in the western part of the NW Mediterranean sea (Gulf of Lions, France). In this area, rocky formations, more or less continuous, outcrop directly on the seafloor, modifying the local hydrographic context and thus the sedimentary dynamic.”

The Use of Immersive Real-time 3D Computer Graphics for Visualisation of Dilution of Precision in Virtual Environments

International Journal of Geographical Information Science, Volume 24, Issue 4 April 2010 , pages 591 – 605

Jing Li; Claire H. Jarvis; Chris Brunsdon

“Dilution of precision (DOP) is a fundamental concept in satellite navigation and surveying. A deeper understanding of this concept can be achieved through the means of 3D immersive visualisation. In this article, we present a method for visualising and exploring the spatial variation of DOP and discuss its presentation within an immersive virtual environment. The work demonstrates a real-time simulation of global positioning system (GPS) satellite geometry, modelled and visualised within a virtual representation of the university campus. The number of satellites visible to the receiver is modelled in real time as a user walks through the university campus. During this process, the changing satellite geometry is visualised in both 3D and aerial views. Various DOP values update to the screen against a pseudo-realistic building backdrop as the user travels. Both the aerial views and the changing volumes of the tetrahedra drawn in 3D provide an effective way of interpreting why exceptionally large or small horizontal DOP and vertical DOP values can occur in an urban context. Because the factors affecting DOPs are inherently 3D, communicating the spatial uncertainty of global positioning system coordinates within an immersive stereo environment has been viewed as a particularly powerful communication tool by both undergraduate and postgraduate students studying GI Science.”

Investigation of Aggregation Effects in Vegetation Condition Monitoring at a National Scale

International Journal of Geographical Information Science, Volume 24, Issue 4 April 2010 , pages 507 – 521

T. K. Alexandridis;  T. Katagis;  I. Z. Gitas;  N. G. Silleos;  K. M. Eskridge; G. Gritzas

“Monitoring vegetation condition is an important issue in the Mediterranean region, in terms of both securing food and preventing fires. Vegetation indices (VIs), mathematical transformations of reflectance bands, have played an important role in vegetation monitoring, as they depict the abundance and health of vegetation. Instead of storing raster VI maps, aggregated statistics can be derived and used in long-term monitoring. The aggregation schemes (zonations) used in Greece are the forest service units, the fire service units, and the administrative units. The purpose of this work was to explore the effect of the modifiable areal unit problem (MAUP) in vegetation condition monitoring at the above-mentioned aggregation schemes using 16 days Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) composites acquired by the moderate resolution imaging spectroradiometer satellite sensor. The effects of aggregation in the context of MAUP were examined by analyzing variance, from which the among polygon variation (objects’ heterogeneity) and the within polygon variation (pixels’ homogeneity) were derived. Significant differences in objects’ heterogeneity were observed when aggregating at the three aggregation schemes; therefore there is a MAUP effect in monitoring vegetation condition on a nationwide scale in Greece with NDVI. Monitoring using the fire service units has significantly higher pixels’ homogeneity; therefore there is indication that it is the most appropriate for monitoring vegetation condition on a nationwide scale in Greece with NDVI. Results were consistent between the two major types of vegetation, natural and agricultural. According to the statistical validation, conclusions based on the examined years (2003 and 2004) are justified.”

Extending the Qualitative Capabilities of GIS: Computer-Aided Qualitative GIS

Transactions in GIS, Volume 14 Issue 1, Pages 63 – 87, Published Online 17 Jan 2010

Jin-Kyu Jung, Sarah Elwood

“A number of approaches for integrating GIS and qualitative research have emerged in recent years, as part of a resurgence of interest in mixed methods research in geography. These efforts to integrate qualitative data and qualitative analysis techniques complement a longstanding focus in GIScience upon ways of handling qualitative forms of spatial data and reasoning in digital environments, and extend engagements with ‘the qualitative’ in GIScience to include discussions of research methodologies. This article contributes to these emerging qualitative GIS methodologies by describing the structures and functions of ‘computer-aided qualitative GIS’ (CAQ-GIS), an approach for storing and analyzing qualitative, quantitative, and geovisual data in both GIS and computer aided data analysis software. CAQ-GIS uses modified structures from conventional desktop GIS to support storage of qualitative data and analytical codes, together with a parallel coding and analysis process carried out with GIS and a computer-aided data analysis software package. The inductive mixed methods analysis potential of CAQ-GIS is demonstrated with examples from research on children’s urban geographies.”