Characterization of Complex Fluvial Systems using Remote Sensing of Spatial and Temporal Water Level Variations in the Amazon, Congo, and Brahmaputra Rivers

Earth Surface Processes and Landforms, Volume 35, Issue 3, Date: 15 March 2010, Pages: 294-304

Hahn Chul Jung, James Hamski, Michael Durand, Doug Alsdorf, Faisal Hossain, Hyongki Lee, A. K. M. Azad Hossain, Khaled Hasan, Abu Saleh Khan, and A.K.M. Zeaul Hoque

“The Surface Water and Ocean Topography (SWOT) satellite mission will provide global, space-based estimates of water elevation, its temporal change, and its spatial slope in fluvial environments, as well as across lakes, reservoirs, wetlands, and floodplains. This paper illustrates the utility of existing remote sensing measurements of water temporal changes and spatial slope to characterize two complex fluvial environments. First, repeat-pass interferometric SAR measurements from the Japanese Earth Resources Satellite are used to compare and contrast floodplain processes in the Amazon and Congo River basins. Measurements of temporal water level changes over the two areas reveal clearly different hydraulic processes at work. The Amazon is highly interconnected by floodplain channels, resulting in complex flow patterns. In contrast, the Congo does not show similar floodplain channels and the flow patterns are not well defined and have diffuse boundaries. During inundation, the Amazon floodplain often shows sharp hydraulic changes across floodplain channels. The Congo, however, does not show similar sharp changes during either infilling or evacuation. Second, Shuttle Radar Topography Mission measurements of water elevation are used to derive water slope over the braided Brahmaputra river system. In combination with in situ bathymetry measurements, water elevation and slope allow one to calculate discharge estimates within 2.3% accuracy. These two studies illustrate the utility of satellite-based measurements of water elevation for characterizing complex fluvial environments, and highlight the potential of SWOT measurements for fluvial hydrology.”

A Predictive Model for Frequently Viewed Tiles in a Web Map

Transactions in GIS, Volume 14, Number 2, April 2010

Sterling Quinn and Mark Gahegan

“Distributing pre-generated image tiles from a server-side cache is a fast and popular way of serving maps on the Web. However, these caches can grow unmanageably large for maps covering many scales over a broad extent. This research presents a model for determining high-priority geographic areas for tile caching. The model considers variables found in previous research to be of interest to Web map users, such as populated places, major roads, coastlines, and tourist attractions. The proportion of area, disk space, and time saved when creating a partial cache (consisting only of high-interest areas) and a cache of the entire map extent are compared to establish that marked savings are possible. Several applications of the model beyond tile caching are briefly discussed.”

The Spatial Structure of Autism in California, 1993–2001

Health & Place, Volume 16, Issue 3, May 2010, Pages 539-546

Soumya Mazumdar, Marissa King, Ka-Yuet Liu, Noam Zerubavel, and Peter Bearman

“This article identifies significant high-risk clusters of autism based on residence at birth in California for children born from 1993 to 2001. These clusters are geographically stable. Children born in a primary cluster are at four times greater risk for autism than children living in other parts of the state. This is comparable to the difference between males and females and twice the risk estimated for maternal age over 40. In every year roughly 3% of the new caseload of autism in California arises from the primary cluster we identify—a small zone 20 km by 50 km. We identify a set of secondary clusters that support the existence of the primary clusters. The identification of robust spatial clusters indicates that autism does not arise from a global treatment and indicates that important drivers of increased autism prevalence are located at the local level.”

Ocean of Information: Fusing Aggregate & Individual Dynamics for Metropolitan Analysis

International Conference on Intelligent User Interfaces, Proceeding of the 14th international conference on Intelligent user interfaces, Hong Kong, China, 2010

Mauro Martino, Francesco Calabrese, Giusy Di Lorenzo, Clio Andris, Liu Liang, and Carlo Ratti

“In this paper, we propose a tool to explore human movement dynamics in a Metropolitan Area. By analyzing a mass of individual cell phone traces, we build a Human-City Interaction System for understanding urban mobility patterns at different user-controlled temporal and geographic scales. We solve the problems that are found in available tools for spatio-temporal analysis, by allowing seamless manipulability and introducing a simultaneous\multi-scale visualization of individual and aggregate flows. Our tool is built to support the exploration and discovery of urban mobility patterns and the daily interactions of millions of people. Moreover, we implement an intelligent algorithm to evaluate the level of mobility homophily of people moving from place to place.”

ESRI Supports Farming Programs at Africa Agriculture GIS Week

Collaborative GIS Web Applications Will Help Agricultural Researchers Make African Farmers More Productive and Profitable

ESRI will be sharing ideas and knowledge on geographic information systems (GIS) for agricultural development at Africa Agriculture GIS Week (AAGW) 2010, to be held June 8–12 in Nairobi, Kenya. Staff will be on hand to meet with delegates and support agricultural programs for rural populations in less developed regions of the world.

“Food security and agricultural productivity initiatives are fully supported by ESRI,” says Geoff Wade, natural resources solution manager, ESRI. “We are excited to be a part of this prestigious community. We look forward to contributing to solutions that ensure that people in every nation on earth are fed and have the opportunity for a sustainable livelihood.”

A training workshop featuring ArcGIS Server will be hosted by ESRI on Friday, June 11. The workshop will cover a complete step-by-step process to create a variety of Web applications for enhanced collaboration between organizations. Attendees will learn how to use their own data to make maps and share them with others. Topics will include authoring maps, effective Web editing, and how to select the appropriate end client application to support different workflows.

AAGW is organized by the Consortium for Spatial Information (CSI) of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR); HarvestChoice, an agriculture investment targeting program; Agricultural Geospatial Commons (AGCommons), a geospatial information program based in Africa; and other partners. ESRI is proud to support these organizations and has worked with CGIAR formally since 2002, bringing GIS technology to its network of research centers worldwide.

Through the training workshop and conference meetings at AAGW, ESRI wants to empower more organizations to share geospatial information through collaborative Web applications. An example is the HarvestChoice AgMarketFinder, a prototype application that helps locate potential markets in East Africa within an eight-hour travel time from a given location. The application was created with ESRI’s ArcGIS Server and the ArcGIS Server API for JavaScript. Data comes from ArcGIS Online and is used with crop production and harvest data from the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) and transportation networks and waterways from Vector Map, a product available from the Multinational Geospatial Co-Production Program (MGCP).

To register for AAGW and the ESRI-sponsored training workshop, visit For more information on ESRI’s agriculture solutions, visit

[Source: ESRI press release]

Kansas Geological Survey Recognizes Outstanding Students

Five University of Kansas students received outstanding achievement awards from the Kansas Geological Survey, based on KU’s West Campus.

Nathan Corbin, an undergraduate in geology, was the recipient of the Norman Plummer Outstanding Student Award. A technical research assistant in the Survey’s Exploration Services Section, Corbin helped develop a geophysical system for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers that will be used to differentiate rock layers and other features near the earth’s surface. Corbin is from Lecompton, Kansas. Norman Plummer was a Survey employee from 1936 to 1969.

Terri Woodburn, a doctoral student in geology, was the recipient of the Lee C. and Darcy Gerhard Field Research Student Award. She is involved with a program to map the geology of Kansas counties and has coauthored a number of the maps, including maps of Ford, Morton, Hodgeman, Gray, Edwards, Pawnee, Jewell, Norton, Republic, Reno, and Doniphan counties. Woodburn is from Platte City, Missouri, and has a Master’s degree in geography from KU. The award is named after the Survey’s director from 1987 to 1999 and his wife.

Scott Klopfenstein, a master’s student in geography, was the recipient of the Jack Dangermond/ESRI Geospatial Technologies Student Award. As a graduate research assistant Klopfenstein integrates data on playas (small, intermittent lakes in the High Plains) into the Survey’s hydrography data set, uses aerial imagery to identify perennial and intermittent water features, and helps with map design and development. Klopfenstein is from Lawrence, Kansas, and received a Bachelor’s degree in environmental studies from KU. The award was established by Jack Dangermond, president of the Environmental Systems Research Institute, Inc., (ESRI) to recognize student accomplishments in the application of geospatial technologies.

Sarah Kreitzer, a master’s student in hydrogeology, was the recipient of the Frank C. Foley Groundwater Student Travel Award. She has produced maps and diagrams illustrating groundwater availability and changes in groundwater levels in the Ogallala aquifer of western Kansas and assists with other projects as a graduate research assistant in the Survey’s Geohydrology Section. Kreitzer is from Chattanooga, Tennessee. The award, named after the Survey’s director from 1954 to 1970, will provide funding for her to attend the annual conference of The Geological Society of America this fall in Denver, where she will present the results of her work.

Laura Murphy, a doctorate student in anthropology (geoarcheology), was the recipient of the William W. Hambleton Student Research Award. She has participated in an endowed Survey program looking for evidence of early humans in the central Great Plains, particularly at the Burntwood Creek Rock Shelter in Rawlins County. Other projects she has been involved with include a study of landscape evolution in the High Plains and the program to map the geology of Kansas counties. Murphy, who has a Master’s degree from KU, is from Massilon, Ohio. William W. Hambleton was the Survey’s director from 1970 to 1986.

The Kansas Geological Survey studies and provides information on the state’s geologic resources and hazards, particularly ground water, oil, natural gas, and other minerals. It employs approximately 25 students.

The recipients were presented cash awards and certificates in a mid-May ceremony.

[Source: Kansas Geological Survey news release]

A Currency for Offsetting Energy Development Impacts: Horse-Trading Sage-Grouse on the Open Market

PLoS ONE 5(4): April 28, 2010

Kevin E. Doherty, David E. Naugle, Jeffrey S. Evans

“Biodiversity offsets provide a mechanism to compensate for unavoidable damages from new energy development as the U.S. increases its domestic production. Proponents argue that offsets provide a partial solution for funding conservation while opponents contend the practice is flawed because offsets are negotiated without the science necessary to backup resulting decisions. Missing in negotiations is a biologically-based currency for estimating sufficiency of offsets and a framework for applying proceeds to maximize conservation benefits.”