Greater Utilization of Geospatial Technology is Theme of Gubernatorial Roundtable Hosted by PA-MAPPS

Utilization of the geospatial profession, including private sector companies and management, was among the topics discussed at a round table session with Pennsylvania Gubernatorial candidate Jack Wagner (D), the current Auditor General, and Dauphin County Commissioner Nick DiFrancesco, campaign representative for candidate Tom Corbett (R), the current Attorney General. The session was hosted by PA-MAPPS, the Pennsylvania chapter of MAPPS (, the national association of private geospatial firms.

The focus of the discussion was the role of geospatial technology in support of future needs of the Commonwealth and in the next administration. Included was the fact that Pennsylvania is one of the few states that does not have either a geospatial coordination council or a current, accurate statewide mapping activity.

“This technology, for disaster relief, emergencies of all kinds, economic development and most importantly planning, is critical, it is critical to our vision, our future, here in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, throughout the country and throughout the world,” said Wagner. “It is vitally important that we move this profession forward in a coordinated effort as it relates to government.”

Mr. Wagner discussed his plan for greater utilization of Pennsylvania’s natural resources in an environmentally sensitive way, as well as updating and upgrading the Commonwealth’s infrastructure, including airports, railroads, highways and broadband. He noted that geospatial data is critical to those initiatives.

Mr. DiFrancesco addressed Attorney General Corbett’s campaign platform on workforce development, the current state of Pennsylvania’s infrastructure and addressing budget challenges. He outlined a government reform agenda, including eliminating government activities that duplicate and compete with private business.

“We appreciate the time that each of the campaigns spent with our group, their understanding of geospatial technology, and the way this data and technology can be utilized to help the Commonwealth and its citizens,” said Michael Shillenn, CP (Photo Science, Inc., West Chester, PA), PA-MAPPS President.

The roundtable discussion included representatives from nine private geospatial firms from across the Commonwealth. The event was filmed by the Pennsylvania Cable Network (PCN) and is archived on their website:

Earlier sessions were held with the campaign of Joe Hoeffel (D) and U.S. Rep. Jim Gerlach (R), prior to his departure from the Governor’s race.


PA-MAPPS, the first state chapter of MAPPS, is open to private firms in the geospatial community including those in photogrammetry, satellite and airborne remote sensing, hydrography, aerial and satellite image processing, surveying, GPS, and GIS data collection and conversion services in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. PA-MAPPS has two membership categories; Member Firms: geospatial service firms with offices and employees based in Pennsylvania and Associate Members: companies that do business in but not having a physical office or businesses in the Commonwealth, or those that provide hardware, software, products and services to the geospatial profession in the Keystone State.Firms in PA-MAPPS are also members of MAPPS.

Formed in 1982, MAPPS is the only national association exclusively comprised of private firms in the remote sensing, spatial data and geographic information systems field in the United States. Current MAPPS memberships span the entire spectrum of the geospatial community, including Member Firms engaged in satellite and airborne remote sensing, surveying, photogrammetry, aerial photography, LIDAR, hydrography, bathymetry, charting, aerial and satellite image processing, GPS, and GIS data collection and conversion services. MAPPS also includes Associate Member Firms, which are companies that provide hardware, software, products and services to the geospatial profession in the United States and other firms from around the world. MAPPS provides its 180+ member firms opportunities for networking and developing business-to-business relationships, information sharing, education, public policy advocacy, market growth, and professional development and image enhancement.

For more information on MAPPS, please visit

[Source: MAPPS press release]

Spatial Analysis of Residential Break and Enter

Timothy R. Mots, PhD thesis

“This study explores three separate, but inter-related aspects of residential break and enter. The study, located in the Capital Regional District of Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, offers a unique environment for this type of research with its thirteen municipalities, four municipal and one national police force confined geographically by sea on three sides and wilderness on the fourth. The first part of this research identifies spatial and temporal patterns of residential break and enters at the regional level and the municipal level. The results showed that patterns existed at the municipal level, but changed at the regional level. There was evidence that some of the patterns at the municipal level persisted over time. Temporally, break and enter is predominately an afternoon occurrence. No other consistent pattern was found daily, monthly, nor seasonally over the course of the study period. The second part of the study examines police perceptions about the location of residential break and enters high activity areas or ‘hot spots’. Police perceptions were compared to actual hot spots to determine the degree of agreement. The research also explored the concordance between police perceptions of hot spot locations. The results indicated that police hot spots did not conform to actual hot spots; furthermore, there was only limited agreement amongst police on hot spot locations. The third part of the study examined burglar’s use of space. Burglars were asked a number of questions to establish their geographical knowledge of the region. Information was obtained on the location of their offences, routes taken to offence sites, method of transportation, trip start location, motivation behind the offence, and purpose of the trip. The findings indicate that offenders commit the majority of their crimes within areas they know. The subjects in the study were motivated by the need for money, mainly to purchase drugs. The majority of Offence trips were initiated with the sole purpose of committing a burglary. Most journey to crimes emanated from the offenders’ residence. Travel was restricted not so much by distance, instead by their knowledge of the region or by the necessity to obtain money for drugs.”

Spatial Analysis of the Health Risks Associated with Solid Waste Incineration: A Preliminary Analysis

Revista Brasileira de Epidemiologia, 2010, vol.13, n.1, pp. 3-10

Nelson GOUVEIA and Rogério Ruscitto do PRADO

“OBJECTIVES: to examine if emissions from the Vergueiro solid waste incinerator are associated with an increased risk of cancer in the population in its vicinity. METHODS: the area under influence of this incinerator was delimited by a 7 km radius from its geocoded centroid. Deaths of city residents in administrative districts inside this area due to cancer of lung, liver, larynx, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in adults, leukemia, and all sites combined in children, in the 1998 to 2002 period, were selected and geocoded. The studied area was divided into 7 concentric rings delimited by a radius of 1 to 7 km from the incinerator. The analysis of the relationship between residential proximity to the incinerator and mortality due to cancer was based on the comparison of observed and expected cases, using the Stone test for decline in risk with distance from the incinerator. RESULTS: the area studied comprised 1,599,532 inhabitants, of which 92,894 were children less than 5 years old and 634,993 were adults over 40 years old. No spatial gradient in risk was observed for any outcome in relation to distance from the incinerator. CONCLUSION: although no excess risk for the selected cancers were observed, emissions of incinerators still operating and their possible health effects should be monitored. The study of the spatial distribution of health events in areas around point sources of air pollution can become a methodological option for surveillance activities.”

Revista Brasileira de Epidemiologia

A New Method for Determining the Population with Walking Access to Transit

International Journal of Geographical Information Science, Volume 24, Issue 3 March 2010 , pages 347 – 364

S. Biba;  K. M. Curtin; G. Manca

“The use of geographic information systems in determining transit service areas has not progressed far beyond simple buffering operations even though there is widespread capability to analyze network walking distances in conjunction with demographic, cadastral, and land-use data sets. This article presents a method for determining the population with walking access to bus stop locations using the spatial and aspatial attributes of parcels and the network distances from parcels to bus stop locations. This parcel-network method avoids the well-known and unrealistic assumptions associated with the existing methods and reduces overestimation of the population with access to transit, resulting in improved spatial precision and superior inputs to transit service decision-making processes. Comparisons of the parcel-network method, the buffer method, and the network-ratio method are made in a study area within the Dallas metropolitan area. The novel integration of cadastral data with network analysis in our method holds promise for research in many areas of geographic information science.”

Assessment of the Erosion Control Function of Forest Ecosystems based on GIS: A Case Study in Zhangjiajie National Forest Park, China

International Journal of Sustainable Development & World Ecology, 1745-2627, Volume 16, Issue 5, 2009, Pages 356 – 361

Tongqian Zhao; Bosu Yang; Hua Zheng

“Erosion control is one of the most important functions of forest ecosystems, and its accurate assessment is useful to illuminate the importance of forest ecosystem services for humans so as to rationally conserve forest resources. This paper examines Zhangjiajie National Forest Park, the first national forest park in China, to seek practical methods for assessment of the forest erosion control function using a geographical information system (GIS). The results show that the potential and actual amounts of soil erosion are 2.92 million ton and 0.14 million ton per year, respectively, in Zhangjiajie National Forest Park. The total reduction in soil loss reaches 2.77 million ton per year with the existence of a forest ecosystem. The erosion control function of near mature, mature and over mature broadleaf forest is excellent, and natural forest conservation and natural restoration of the degraded forest ecosystem can provide the largest benefits in soil erosion control. Nearly all the near mature, mature and over-mature forest in the park is at the top and in steep mountain areas, and could be rationally cut and utilized by local communities, but extensive timber felling should be strictly prohibited. ”

A Second Hydrocarbon Boom Threatens the Peruvian Amazon: Trends, Projections, and Policy Implications

Environmental Research Letters, Volume 5, Number 1, 2010

Matt Finer and Martí Orta-Martínez

‘The Peruvian Amazon is home to extraordinary biological and cultural diversity, and vast swaths of this mega-diverse region remain largely intact. Recent analysis indicates, however, that the rapid proliferation of oil and gas exploration zones now threatens the region’s biodiversity, indigenous peoples, and wilderness areas. To better elucidate this dynamic situation, we analyzed official Peruvian government hydrocarbon information and generated a quantitative analysis of the past, present, and future of oil and gas activities in the Peruvian Amazon. We document an extensive hydrocarbon history for the region—over 104 000 km of seismic lines and 679 exploratory and production wells—highlighted by a major exploration boom in the early 1970s. We show that an unprecedented 48.6% of the Peruvian Amazon has been recently covered by oil and gas concessions, up from just 7.1% in 2003. These oil and gas concessions overlap 17.1% of the Peruvian Amazon protected area system and over half of all titled indigenous lands. Moreover, we found that up to 72% of the Peruvian Amazon has been zoned for hydrocarbon activities (concessions plus technical evaluation agreements and proposed concessions) in the past two years, and over 84% at some point during the past 40 years. We project that the recent rapid proliferation of hydrocarbon zones will lead to a second exploration boom, characterized by over 20 000 km of new seismic testing and construction of over 180 new exploratory wells in remote, intact, and sensitive forest areas. As the Peruvian Amazon oil frontier rapidly expands, we conclude that a rigorous policy debate is urgently needed in order to avoid the major environmental impacts associated with the first exploration boom of the 1970s and to minimize the social conflict that recently led to deadly encounters between indigenous protesters and government forces.'”