Workshop: VGI for SDI, Wageningen University, Netherlands, 16 April 2010

“Traditionally geographic data are captured by well trained specialist using state of the art technology. Recent developments like Web 2.0 platforms, GPS enabled cell phones and sensor technology make capturing of geographic data no longer the exclusive domain of well trained professionals, but opens new possibilities for involvement of citizens. Every human is able to capture geographic information about social and environmental phenomena. Internet provides the means to upload those observations and share it with other users. Information about places of interests, bird species, GPS tracking of bike and hiking routes are examples of this user generated content. The term Volunteered Geographic Information (VGI) is used to describe user generated geographic information.

“In this one day workshop, on the occasion of the PhD defence of Lukasz Grus, the nature, developments and challenges of voluntary geographic information will be presented. The (potential) influence of VGI on Spatial Data Infrastructures (SDI) will  be discussed.”

Spatio-temporal Analysis of the Indus Urbanization

Current Science, Vol. 98, No. 6, 25 March 2010

Kavita Gangal, M. N. Vahia, and R. Adhikari

“The greater Indus valley was home to Neolithic cultures starting from 7000 BCE. They formed the antecedents of the urban Harappan civilization, whose rise and decline are dated to 2600 BCE and 1900 BCE
respectively. At its peak, the Harappan civilization covered an area of more than a million square kilometres, making it the largest urbanized civilization of the Bronze Age. In this communication, we integrate GIS information on topography and hydrology with radiocarbon and archaeological dates of 1874 sites, to analyse the spatio-temporal growth and decline of the Indus urbanization. Our analysis reveals several large-scale patterns in the growth and decline of urbanism. In the growth phase, urbanism appears to nucleate in three distinct geographical locations, situated in Baluchistan, Gujarat and the Ghaggar–Hakra valley. In the mature phase when urbanism is fully developed, the area distribution of sites follows a Zipfian power law, a feature common to modern urban agglomerations. In the decline phase, the pace of de-urbanization is nonuniform with a strong geographical variation. The decline starts in the Ghaggar–Hakra region, followed by a large-scale collapse in the lower Indus plain, leaving, however, a resilient zone in Gujarat which has a delayed decline. The patterns discerned through our analysis will find use within a Bayesian framework to test hypotheses for the growth and decline of the Harappan civilization.”

Understanding the Changing Planet: Strategic Directions for the Geographical Sciences

New book from the Committee on Strategic Directions for the Geographical Sciences in the Next Decade, National Research Council:

“From the oceans to continental heartlands, human activities have altered the physical characteristics of Earth’s surface. With Earth’s population projected to peak at 8 to 12 billion people by 2050 and the additional stress of climate change, it is more important than ever to understand how and where these changes are happening. Innovation in the geographical sciences has the potential to advance knowledge of place-based environmental change, sustainability, and the impacts of a rapidly changing economy and society.

Understanding the Changing Planet outlines eleven strategic directions to focus research and leverage new technologies to harness the potential that the geographical sciences offer.”

Integrating Water Resources Information Using GIS and the Web

AWRA 2010 Spring Specialty Conference, Orlando, FL, March 29-31, 2010

Jack Dangermond and David Maidment

“GIS is a vital tool for building a digital information base for water resources management and analysis. Thus far, the focus in application of GIS in water resources has been on processing and synthesis of geospatial water data layers and building GIS preprocessors for water simulation models. Besides desktop and server-based GIS, a new field of web-based GIS is emerging, supported by broader bandwidth, faster computers and massive data storage. Organizations are creating geo-services on the web to open access to their information. A new challenge in water resources is to use GIS and the web to synthesize access to water observations data – the time series of flow, water levels and water quality about surface and groundwater resources that are presently held in a myriad of independently managed tabular databases maintained by water agencies. The Consortium of Universities for the Advancement of Hydrologic Science, Inc (CUAHSI) has invented a language, WaterML, for the transmission of water observations data through the internet, and has built a national water metadata catalog for water observations data in the United States. By geo-enabling and extending the CUAHSI model for water data services a new web GIS for water resources can be created. This will enable the easy integration of large volumes of water data and complex models into simple to use applications that become pervasive.”