Using GIS in Ecological Management: Green Assessment of the Impacts of Petroleum Activities in the State of Texas

International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, May 2010, 7(5), 2101-2130

Edmund Merem, Bennetta Robinson, Joan M. Wesley, Sudha Yerramilli, and Yaw A. Twumasi

“Geo-information technologies are valuable tools for ecological assessment in stressed environments. Visualizing natural features prone to disasters from the oil sector spatially not only helps in focusing the scope of environmental management with records of changes in affected areas, but it also furnishes information on the pace at which resource extraction affects nature. Notwithstanding the recourse to ecosystem protection, geo-spatial analysis of the impacts remains sketchy. This paper uses GIS and descriptive statistics to assess the ecological impacts of petroleum extraction activities in Texas. While the focus ranges from issues to mitigation strategies, the results point to growth in indicators of ecosystem decline.”

Using GIS to Analyze Wind Turbine Sites within the Shakopee Public Utilities Electric Service Territory, Shakopee, MN USA

Papers in Resource Analysis, Volume 11, 2009

Jay T. Berken

“Shakopee Public Utilities (SPU) has been a publicly owned electric and water utility in Minnesota USA since 1902. Its electric service territory includes most of the City of Shakopee and some surrounding townships and a small portion of the City of Prior Lake. The City of Shakopee contains a main downtown district as well as residential, commercial, industrial, and agricultural zones. SPU is a separate entity from the City of Shakopee with a commission appointed by the Shakopee City Council. As an electric utility, SPU does not generate its own power and purchases all of its electric power demands from outside sources. SPU has been receiving inquiries from developers of power generating wind turbines since energy independence and the worries of global warming have become more prevalent. This study is a macro comprehensive spatial analysis to determine the best placement of wind turbines in SPU’s electric territory by analyzing geographic data layers.”

SDI: Best Practices

While doing research for a new ESRI Best Practices paper on Spatial Data Infrastructure (SDI), I ran across the following case studies.  Although the Best Practices paper will not be available for a couple months, I wanted to share the SDI case studies now.

Building INSPIRE: The Spatial Data Infrastructure for Europe
, Spring 2010

Mukund Rao Steers Data and GIS for Global Spatial Data Infrastructure
ArcNews, Winter 2009/2010

Small Island SDI Is a Huge Success
, Fall 2009

Governance of the NSDI
, Fall 2009

A Geospatial Foundation: Public, private, and military applications flow from SDI
, Spring 2009

The Next Step: The importance of building geospatial infrastructures
, Spring 2009

Improving Regional Water Quality Assessment: Geodatabase improves data management and analysis capabilities
, Spring 2009

There are also some new SDI case studies being developed for the Summer 2010 issue of ArcNews, which will be available in July…so stay tuned!

Enlisting Volunteers Can Boost Confidence in Scientific Research

…from the UC Davis School of Education…

“In an era of public skepticism about science and high-stakes decisions based on it, involving more non-scientists in research projects can boost public acceptance, understanding and the quality of the scientific results, a study co-authored by a UC Davis researcher suggests.

“The study will be presented on Monday, May 3, at the 91st annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association in Denver.

“For years, the National Science Foundation has encouraged the inclusion of volunteers from the public in the collection of data for scientific research. Through its funding, the NSF has institutionalized such so-called “citizen science.””

(via @disruptivegeo )

Temporal Analysis of the Reduction in Gas Emission in Areas of Mechanically-harvested Sugarcane using Satellite Imagery

Ciencia e Investigación Agraria, 37(1):113-121, 2010

Christiano Luna Arraes, Jesús Camacho-Tamayo, Teresa Tarlé Pissarra, Célia P. Bueno, and Sergio Campos

“The primary objective of this study was to estimate the amount of gas not emitted into the air in areas cultivated with sugarcane (Saccharum officinarum) that were mechanically harvested. Satellite images CBERS-2/CCD, from 08-13-2004, 08-14-2005, 08-15-2006 and 08-16-2007, of northwestern São Paulo State were processed using the Geographic Information System (GIS)-IDRISI 15.0. Areas of interest (the mechanically-harvested sugarcane fields) were identified and quantified based on the spectral response of the bands studied. Based on these data, the amount of gas that was not emitted was evaluated, according to the estimate equation proposed by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The results of 396.65 km2 (5.91% for 2004); 447.56 km2 (6.67% for 2005); 511.54 km2 (7.62% in 2006); and 474.60 km2 (7.07% for 2007), calculated from a total area of 6,710.89 km2 with sugarcane, showed a significant increase of mechanical harvesting in the study area and a reduction of gas emissions of more than 300,000 t yr.”

URISA’s GISCorps has Launched its 60th Mission!

In April 2010, GISCorps, a program of the Urban and Regional Information Systems Association (URISA), received a request for a volunteer from one of its long-time partners, the Information Management and Mine Action Program (iMMAP). This project was GISCorps’ 60th mission!

iMMAP is assisting the Chadian Independent Electoral Commission (CENA) in Chad. The goals of this project are to georeference +/-10,000 polling stations for the entire country and then add attribute data such as type of polling station, mobile network operator available, accessibility, and time to reach from the sub-district center to that dataset. This dataset will be used for the preparation of the upcoming legislative elections due in September 2010. After developing a job description, the search for volunteers began and the recruitment will be concluded shortly.

Another recruitment effort is in progress for a project in North Korea. That project is in partnership with the World Food Program (WFP) and iMMAP. Twenty digitizers will be compiling features such as settlement points, transportation (roads, foot path, and railroads), rivers and lakes (complete with attributes) from 400 scanned map sheets. This project will be managed by two GISCorps volunteers, Chris Zumwalt from California and Carol Kraemer from Georgia. Karen Payne of ITOS will be assisting with this project as well.

Our Vietnam project in partnership with CartONG was completed in April. The overall goal of the project was to support the Vietnamese government in finding a mechanism to improve the livelihood of the poor by increasing the value of their forests through a pilot study in two regions in the Central Highlands of Vietnam. CartONG and Jason San Souci, the GISCorps volunteer, have written a detailed report which is posted on the website.

In October 2009, we were approached by Professor Michelle Thompson of University of New Orleans – Department of Planning and Urban Studies (UNO-PLUS). She requested a volunteer with expertise in ArcGIS Server. Rafael Ferraro from Virginia has been working with the UNO-PLUS team since then and has developed an IMS application which will soon be launched publicly. Screenshots of the application are posted on our website.

The project to develop several datasets for a flood stricken region in Albania is progressing, and in early April the partner agency asked for four additional volunteers who were deployed and put in direct contact with them. More information about the project is posted on the website.

With the 60th mission, the count of our deployed volunteers will reach 180 (including North Korea’s 20 volunteers). We are extremely proud of our volunteers’ selfless service and their desire to make a positive difference in the world.

For more details and to read the details of our projects, visit our website at:

The Urban and Regional Information Systems Association (URISA) is a nonprofit professional and educational association that promotes the effective and ethical use of spatial information and information technologies for the understanding and management of urban and regional systems. It is a multidisciplinary association where professionals from all parts of the spatial data community can come together and share concerns and ideas. For more information, visit

[Source: URISA press release]