Interdisciplinary Geospatial Informatics Post Doc Position at Aarhus University, Denmark

An interdisciplinary Post Doc position is available at Aarhus University, Denmark, starting August 2010 or later. The responsibilities of the Post Doc will include work on geospatial problems on the boundary between computer science and biology, more specifically between algorithms and ecology/biodiversity. Modest teaching responsibilities may also be required. The Post Doc will be affiliated with the Danish National Research Foundation Center MADALGO (Center for Massive Data Algorithmics – www.madalgo.au.dk) under the supervision of computer science Professor Lars Arge (person.au.dk/en/large@cs), but will also work extensively with researchers in the Ecoinfomatics & Biodiversity group at the Department of Biological Sciences under the supervision of Professor Jens-Christian Svenning (person.au.dk/en/svenning@biology).The Post Doc should focus on problems in relation to computationally efficient use of modern detailed (and thus massive) topographic data in various global-change-relevant modeling applications. These problems include the computation of fine-resolution topography-derived variables on a global scale, as well as local- and global-scale flooding scenario modeling and impact assessment.

Applications are welcomed from computer science researchers with clearly demonstrated skills in the design, analysis and implementation of algorithms (preferably also with I/O-efficient algorithms), as well as from geoinformatics or biology researchers with clearly demonstrated skills in ecoinformatics, GIS, and programming. Researchers with interdisciplinary research experience will be preferred. Applicants should apply by uploading a letter of interest and a CV, as well as indicate at least two names of references for recommendations, using the application form available at www.madalgo.au.dk. To be assured of full consideration, applications must arrive by May 17, 2010. Applications will be considered until the position is filled.

For further information contact Professor Lars Arge at large@madalgo.au.dk or Professor Jens-Christian Svenning at svenning@biology.au.dk.

Geostatistical Analysis of Rainfall

Geographical Analysis, Volume 42 Issue 2 (April 2010) p 136-160

David I. F. Grimes and Eulogio Pardo-Igúzquiza

“Rainfall can be modeled as a spatially correlated random field superimposed on a background mean value; therefore, geostatistical methods are appropriate for the analysis of rain gauge data. Nevertheless, there are certain typical features of these data that must be taken into account to produce useful results, including the generally non-Gaussian mixed distribution, the inhomogeneity and low density of observations, and the temporal and spatial variability of spatial correlation patterns. Many studies show that rigorous geostatistical analysis performs better than other available interpolation techniques for rain gauge data. Important elements are the use of climatological variograms and the appropriate treatment of rainy and nonrainy areas. Benefits of geostatistical analysis for rainfall include ease of estimating areal averages, estimation of uncertainties, and the possibility of using secondary information (e.g., topography). Geostatistical analysis also facilitates the generation of ensembles of rainfall fields that are consistent with a given set of observations, allowing for a more realistic exploration of errors and their propagation in downstream models, such as those used for agricultural or hydrological forecasting. This article provides a review of geostatistical methods used for kriging, exemplified where appropriate by daily rain gauge data from Ethiopia.”

Spatial Analysis of Tuberculosis in an Urban West African Setting: Is There Evidence of Clustering?

Tropical Medicine & International Health, 2010 Apr 8. [Epub ahead of print]

Touray K, Adetifa IM, Jallow A, Rigby J, Jeffries D, Cheung YB, Donkor S, Adegbola RA, and Hill PC.

“Summary: Objectives To describe the pattern of tuberculosis (TB) occurrence in Greater Banjul, The Gambia with Geographical Information Systems (GIS) and Spatial Scan Statistics (SaTScan) and to determine whether there is significant TB case clustering.

“Methods:  In Greater Banjul, where 80% of all Gambian TB cases arise, all patients with TB registered at chest clinics between March 2007 and February 2008 were asked to participate. Demographic, clinical characteristics and GPS co-ordinates for the residence of each consenting TB case were recorded. A spatial scan statistic was used to identify purely spatial and space-time clusters of tuberculosis among permanent residents.

“Results: Of 1145 recruited patients with TB, 84% were permanent residents with 88% living in 37 settlements that had complete maps available down to settlement level. Significant high- and low-rate spatial and space-time clusters were identified in two districts. The most likely cluster of high rate from both the purely spatial analysis and the retrospective space-time analysis were from the same geographical area. A significant secondary cluster was also identified in one of the densely populated areas of the study region.

“Conclusions:  There is evidence of significant clustering of TB cases in Greater Banjul, The Gambia. Systematic use of cluster detection techniques for regular TB surveillance in The Gambia may aid effective deployment of resources. However, passive case detection dictates that community-based active case detection and risk factor surveys would help confirm the presence of true clusters and their causes.”

Selection of Roosting Habitats by Nyctalus Noctula and Nyctalus Leisleri in BiaBowieza Forest—Adaptive Response to Forest Management?

Forest Ecology and Management, 259 (8), p.1633-1641, Mar 2010

RuczyDski, I. / Nicholls, B. / MacLeod, C.D. / Racey, P.A.

“Tree dwelling bats select cavities in large, old, dying or dead trees. This inevitably brings them into direct conflict with the interests of forest managers, who are trained to fell such trees. Therefore the identification of forest stands providing optimal roosting opportunities for bats is crucial, in order to provide appropriate guidelines for forest management. It is also important to identify the extent to which the roosting ecology of bats changes in response to habitat modification. Białowieża Forest (BF) offers a unique opportunity, in the temperate zone, to observe differences between areas with no direct human intervention and managed areas and in particular to reveal the effect of forest management on the roosting ecology of forest dwelling bat species. We used GIS techniques to evaluate bats’ spatial response to changes in forest structure and to test the hypotheses that the forest dwelling bats Nyctalus noctula and Nyctalus leisleri prefer roost sites within old deciduous or wet woodlands over young and coniferous ones and that roost site preferences reflect the extent to which dead and dying trees are removed. There was a significant difference in the selection of roosting habitat between the managed and pristine areas of the forest. Within the pristine forest, both species displayed a strong preference for roost trees located within old deciduous stands (>100 years), whereas in the managed part of the forest old wet woodland was preferred while all medium and young forest stands were avoided. Our data reveal a high degree of lability in the selection of roosting habitat by bats. It appears that bats are able to respond to changes in their environment by changing their roost site preferences and could therefore occupy habitat previously considered less suitable.”

A Novel Data Visualization Method for Science Fund Management Based on GIS Technology

Proceedings of the 2009 First IEEE International Conference on Information Science and Engineering

Yingliang Fu, Yanbo Li, and Mingyu Lu

“Data visualization plays a very important role for science fund management. However, current information management system of National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC) fails to portray the region distribution characters of science fund data. In this paper, we propose a novel data visualization method which introduces Geographic Information Systems (GIS) techniques to NSFC management system. In particular, spatial statistics and expression mechanism is applied to achieve the optimal layout of science fund data. Our empirical study shows that the proposed method is more effective and convenient for science fund management than the traditional methods.”

IBM Unveils New “Serious Game” To Tackle Urban Challenges

New game to be shown at IMPACT 2010 conference

IBM has announced CityOne, a new “serious game” that can help customers, business partners and students discover how to make cities and their industries smarter by solving real-world business, environmental and logistical problems. Based on decades of experience in solving business challenges in creative ways, IBM “serious” games are designed to train the workforce of tomorrow. Details on the latest serious game from IBM will be unveiled on May 4, during the IMPACT 2010 conference in Las Vegas.

With an estimated one million people around the world moving into cities each week, experts predict population in the world’s cities will double by 2050. Today cities consume an estimated 75 percent of the world’s energy, emit more than 80 percent of greenhouse gases, and lose as much as 20 percent of their water supply due to infrastructure leaks. As their urban populations continue to grow and these metrics increase, civic leaders will face an unprecedented series of challenges as they modify their infrastructures to meet these challenges.

In order for urban centers to sustain growth and play a positive and central role in the global economy, cities must grow smart. City infrastructures that deliver vital services such as transportation, energy and water, must rely on a wealth of new information and technologies that will allow them sense and respond intelligently to the needs of their growing populations. With CityOne, IBM is providing a virtual environment that will help tomorrow’s leaders learn how to apply advances in technology and better understand how these systems work.

CityOne will be a no charge, “sim-style” game in which the player is tasked with guiding the city through a series of missions that include the Energy, Water, Banking and Retail industries. For example, one mission involves a city where water usage has increased at twice the rate of population growth, supplies are becoming strained (and possibly polluted); the municipality is losing as much as 40 percent of its water supply through leaky infrastructure; and energy costs are steadily increasing. To complete this mission, the player would be challenged to institute a Water Management System that would include accurate real time data to make decisions on delivering the highest water quality in the most economical way.

Players who promote a more customer-centric business model to the banks represented in their city will discover how mobile payments, dynamic invoicing, and micro-lending can impact business goals. In all of the missions represented in the game, the player will need to determine the best way to invest to meet the financial, environmental and sociological goals of the city’s industries while balancing their budgets and the needs of the citizenry. In parallel, players will learn how the components of service reuse, process management, cloud and collaborative technologies make business models more agile.

“Serious games allow professionals to inherently comprehend system interactions, and accurately model the potential business outcomes that can result, in a way that no other medium can do,” said Nancy Pearson, IBM vice president of SOA, BPM and WebSphere. “CityOne will simulate the challenges faced in a variety of industries so that businesses can explore a variety of solutions and explore the business impact before committing resources.”

Historically, simulation gaming has been used extensively in the military, by athletes and by scientists to discover effective new strategies and techniques and develop the skills needed to implement them. These simulations have migrated into the entertainment space and spawned a new generation of what are known as massively multiplayer online games (MMOGs). In these online games, players from all over the globe log into realistic and real-time virtual worlds via the Internet; they learn different roles and skill sets, and come together in self-selecting teams to collaborate and carry out missions in pursuit of common goals. Businesses have realized the value of this and are deploying their own games to create life-like simulations of real markets, customers and business situations that they deal with every day.

“Enterprises are increasingly adopting Web 2.0 collaboration tools to appeal to a new generation entering the workforce that grew up immersed in social media technologies,” said Lisa Rowan, director HR, Learning, and Talent Strategies research IDC. “Training will need to follow suit by incorporating interactivity and gaming to be relevant to this new workforce.”

IBM is not new to the serious games space. Over the years, IBM has released a number of games such as INNOV8, RoboCode and PowerUp that are used by schools, businesses, museums and conferences.  Additionally, IBM has conducted an extensive study of massive multiplayer online role playing games (MMORPGs), and the results have underscored how a rotating leadership model is likely to affect an enterprise.  Based on these results, last year IBM announced the second in the INNOV8 series of games that teach the fundamentals of Business Process Management (BPM) using a 3D environment. The INNOV8 series is now being used by more than 1000 universities worldwide and is offered for free to schools via IBM’s Academic Initiative.

Mark McGibbon, a PhD DBA professor of IT and Business at a leading university has used INNOV8 in three of his classes including Process Improvement, his Software Acquisition Class and Analytics and Simulation.

“Using serious games like INNOV8 to teach something as slippery as Business Process Management has really helped my students visualize directly the impact of these systems on a business,” said McGibbon. “We are greatly looking forward to the next IBM game.”

IBM will be unveiling the CityOne Demo in the Agility@Work Zone during the IMPACT Conference. A special session titled ‘Using Games to develop strategies and skills to thrive in a real-time world’ is part of IBM’s Executive Education Track at the upcoming IMPACT conference. Michael Hugos of the Center for Systems Innovation and Phaedra Boinodiris, IBM’s Serious Games Program manager will be presenting how  businesses can profit from simulation gaming.

For more information on IBM serious games and details on how IBM is helping clients and Business Partners to make smarter, faster decisions, please visit: http://www.ibm.com/cityone.

[Source: IBM press release]