Investigating Idiosyncrasy: Toward a Comprehensive Methodology of Visual Exploration and Analysis for Humanities Scholarship

New Technologies and Interdisciplinary Research on Religion: 2010 Center for Geographic Analysis (CGA) Conference, Harvard University

“Interpretation is at the heart of all humanities scholarship.

“Scholars seek to characterize complex webs of idiosyncratic structure in historical and social systems.

“This structure arises within and across spatial, temporal, and relational dimensions and scales.

“But, most existing visualization approaches target the methodological norms of the sciences rather than the humanities.”

Assessing the Implementation of Rawalpindi’s Guided Development Plan through GIS and Remote Sensing

REAL CORP 2010 Proceedings/Tagungsband, Vienna, 18-20 May 2010

Muhammad ADEEL

“Rawalpindi is the fourth largest city of Pakistan inhibiting 2 million people. Growth of Traffic in Rawalpindi city has acquired an alarming situation and put tremendous pressure on infrastructure of the city. Rawalpindi Development Authority conducted the series of traffic surveys in 1995, 1998 and a Guided Development Plan was formulated to develop proper road infrastructure, a series of main & sub-main traffic corridors. The plan is supposed to be implemented soon. But with the passage of time, road alignment plans are required to be updated with respect to the ongoing development activity in the area. Traffic and ground surveys were conducted in year 2007. But it 2009, the plan needs to be rechecked. Required cost, time and manpower for this purpose make this task virtually impossible, thus hindering the implementation of the project.

“In this paper, we have proposed a system of regularly monitoring on ground situation, using high resolution “Quickbird” satellite images of and Geographical Information Systems, at a relatively lower cost. Satellite images have been used to identify the exact on ground alignment of the proposed roads through spatial overlays of georeferenced data. The process will support authority to know whether the proposed development falls under the right of way of a proposed network. The system will thus help regularizing the development activity and help identify the unauthorized construction activity taking place in the area. The approach also helps identifying alternative route alignment more efficiently.”

ESRI’s Education User Conference Puts Critical Thinking on the Map

Keynote Speaker Mark Chandler to Discuss Citizen Science and GIS

ESRI marks its commitment to GIS education with its 10th annual ESRI Education User Conference (EdUC), scheduled for July 10–13, 2010, in San Diego, California. The conference provides the opportunity for the education community to share ideas and experiences and discuss the latest developments in geographic information system (GIS) technology through a series of presentations, panel discussions, and workshops. The conference overlaps the 30th annual ESRI International User Conference, which will be held July 12–16.

One of the hot topics at this year’s education conference is the use of GIS to promote analytic and critical thinking skills. “These are the higher-order problem-solving skills employers say they want in future employees,” says Angela Lee, libraries and museums manager for ESRI industry solutions.

Other key topics include the broader use of GIS for administration purposes in educational institutions, implementing ArcGIS Server in the teaching environment and its impact on educational resource sharing, and making greater use of the resources available on

Michael Gould, ESRI’s director of education for industry solutions, says, “The Education User Conference brings together leaders in GIS education from different sectors and countries to both hear the latest news from the ESRI Education Group regarding future initiatives and strategies and share their own experiences and ideas. It is the premier event for educators who are passionate about employing GIS to help improve education and therefore improve our future.”

Dr. Mark Chandler, international director of research for the Earthwatch Institute, will be this year’s keynote speaker at the conference. He is a prominent conservation biologist with more than 20 years of experience conducting field research in Central and South America, East Africa, and New England. Chandler will discuss Using Citizen Science and GIS Technology to Connect the Local to the Global.

The Earthwatch Institute, a pioneer in citizen science endeavors, is committed to scientific research and environmental education. It is one of the world’s largest private funders of research expeditions and has used ArcGIS for several years to monitor and document the many expeditions it supports throughout the world.

Additional information regarding ESRI’s EdUC is available on the Web at

[Source: ESRI press release]

GIS Professional Training in Egypt: The Impact of New Technologies and Trends

ASPRS 2009 Annual Conference, Baltimore, Maryland, March 9-13, 2009

Darwish A. Ahmed

“The last two decades has witnessed an unprecedented growth in the GIS industry allover the world, and particularly in the Arab world. Accompanying this growth, there is a similar unprecedented change, in the technologies and techniques e.g. introduction of web GIS and mobile GIS, associated with traditional GIS. This has dictated the need for a new sort of caliber to work in GIS projects and consequently a change on how GIS training is being offered. Therefore, preparing and implementing different educational, academic and professional training programs within the GIS field became a true challenge for every contributor in this field. The main objective of this paper is to analyze how the professional training sector in Egypt has responded to such changes in the need of local and regional industry. Other objectives include: analyzing the relation between the education sector and the GIS industry, how successful the education sector is in responding to the industry needs, and the need for higher education programmes. This shall be achieved by analyzing the offerings of the major provider of professional GIS training in Egypt. Analysis clearly shows that the training offerings have been responsive to the change in the industry’s needs. Also, it is clear that there is a need for more academic programmes to complement the available professional training.”

Small Unmanned Aerial Vehicles in Teaching Geospatial Disciplines

ASPRS 2009 Annual Conference, Baltimore, Maryland, March 9-13, 2009

Eugene Levin, Robert Liimakka, and Stephen Curelli

“The latest developments in small unmanned air vehicle (SUAV) technologymake it possible to utilize SUAV platforms in geospatial disciplines research and teaching processes. Michigan Technological University is implementing a number of remotely controlled aircraft platforms in its photogrammetry course. The Surveying Engineering Program is working on a SUAV suite configuration that will make the following hands-on labs possible: project planning and potential accuracy analysis, implementation of project waypoints into the SUAV operational control unit, auto-pilot flight control over calibration sites and test-objects, and processing of gathered UAV imagery on softcopy photogrammetric workstations. The initial SUAV is equipped with autopilot and can carry up from 1 to 11 pounds of payload, and is currently fitted with a 7.1MP non-metric camera. Students use surveying grade GPS equipment to prepare calibration sites. Work on processing of the obtained datasets encompasses: bundle block adjustment, image co-registration, mosaicking, and finally feature extraction from UAV imagery. Comparison of the results obtained from the SUAV to respective results obtained from traditional aerial photogrammetry will provide an excellent opportunity for research investigation directed at accuracy and applicability of SUAV imagery for specific projects. Practical hands-on experience with SUAV control and imagery provides students a unique opportunity to participate in ongoing development and research activities in the geospatial science and industry.”

Monitoring GIS Analysis and Simulations of Natural and Anthropogenic Digital Terrain Change Impacts on Water and Sediment Transport in the Agricultural Farms

ISPRS Archives XXXVIII-8/W3 Workshop Proceedings: Impact of Climate Change on Agriculture

Mahmoud Reza Delavara and Nasser Najibi

“The research effort focused on the acquisition of new knowledge about the complex interactions that occur between natural processes and anthropogenic activities to improve current understanding of topographic and land cover change impact on landscape processes. The method has been developed for a comprehensive spatio-temporal analysis of sand dune evolution. First, a set of features that can be used as indicators of dune evolution was identified and methods based on surface analysis using principles of differential geometry developed. Specific thresholds for extraction of the features such as dune crests, ridges, slip faces and active dune areas were introduced. The proposed methodology can be used to assist quantifying various aspects of complex evolution of a sand dune field that included rotation, translation and deflation, evolution of new slip faces and transformation from crescent to parabolic dunes. Complex interactions between human impacts and natural processes were identified: the impact of a large number of visitors freely moving over the dune has proven to be minimal, on the other hand, the naturally expanding vegetation and urban development surrounding the dune that reduced the sand supply had a major impact. It appears that the combination of climate change and indirect human activities have more significant impact than the direct interaction. Quantification of dune evolution provided critical information for park management and selected results of the research will be included in the visitor’s center. The developed methodology is general and can be applied to other areas that include migrating sands providing valuable information for management of such areas and a range of additional applications.”

ESRI Provides Free Data to Investigative Reporters and Editors

Complimentary GIS Software and Data Saves Journalists Time and Money with Accurate, Current Information

ESRI and Investigative Reporters and Editors, Inc. (IRE), announce a program that provides IRE members located in the United States with a complimentary subscription to ESRI Business Analyst Online (BAO), an easy-to-use, Web-based demographic data exploration application. This combination of GIS software technology and extensive demographic data for the United States will make it easier for reporters to investigate demographic patterns for news articles.

“This new partnership brings IRE members a new tool they can use to add demographic data to their stories,” states IRE executive director Mark Horvit. “ESRI and IRE have a long-standing partnership that has been of great benefit to our members, and this new arrangement with BAO adds another important element to that.”

With BAO, IRE members can access information including demographic data, street basemaps, imagery, data from government sources, and Microsoft’s Bing business location information. Data summaries can be prepared easily through 17 preformatted reports and maps, or users can interact with the data, creating their own thematic maps and uploading additional data. Reporters and editors can highlight data such as street addresses, event locations, and areas of interest to show analysis according to factors such as drive times. All data and analysis can be accessed with BAO using Web browsers on both PCs and Mac computers.

For specialized data needs, news outlets can obtain data and maps from the ESRI product marketing team, which has extensive experience working with news media. ESRI employs many data sources and proven methodologies to ensure delivery of the industry’s most accurate current-year demographic data estimates and five-year forecasts. Updated demographic data variables are available at a wide variety of geographies, including national, state, county, census tract, and block group. Other proprietary databases developed by ESRI are available including Consumer Spending, Market Potential, Retail MarketPlace, and Tapestry Segmentation.

More information can be found at IRE members can access their complimentary BAO subscription at

[Source: ESRI press release]

National Academy of Sciences to Release Three Reports in the ‘America’s Climate Choices’ Study on May 19

Three reports in the America’s Climate Choices study will be released May 19:

Advancing the Science of Climate Change

Limiting the Magnitude of Climate Change

Adapting to the Impacts of Climate Change

At a public briefing to discuss the reports, Ralph J. Cicerone, president of the National Academy of Sciences, will deliver opening remarks, and members of the panels that wrote the reports will discuss their recommendations and take questions. The briefing starts at 10 a.m. EDT Wednesday, May 19, in the Lecture Room of the National Academy of Sciences building at 2100 C Street, NW, Washington, DC. Those unable to attend the event can watch the live webcast at The National Academies website.