Development of GIS as a Tool in the Ministry of Mining and Energy, Serbia

Geology Today, Volume 26, Issue 3, Date: May/June 2010, Pages: 105-107

Dejan Sokolović, Dragan Simanić, Petar Popović

“On behalf of the Serbian Government, the Ministries of Mining and Energy and of Science and Environment Protection are signatories to a master plan for the promotion of the mining industry in Serbia. This is being achieved with the assistance of the Japanese Government through the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA), who engaged a mining company from Tokyo–Mindeco (Mitsui Mineral Development Engineering Co. Ltd) to partner the Serbian ministries, the Mining and Geology Faculty in Belgrade, the Geological Institute of Serbia (Belgrade), the Copper Institute (Bor), and the Military Geographical Institute (Belgrade), as well as private companies dealing in geological exploration, etc. Apart from other things, the master plan contains a newly-formed GIS application, which registers exploration, exploitation fields and other relevant data. This GIS web application was one the first steps towards the realization of ‘e-Government’ in the field of geological exploration and mining activities within the Republic of Serbia.”

First Detailed National Map of U.S. Land-cover Vegetation Released

The most detailed national vegetation U.S. land-cover map to date was released today by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). The map will enable conservation professionals to identify places in the country with sufficient habitat to support wildlife.

The map, produced by the USGS Gap Analysis Program (GAP), can be viewed online and downloaded for free.

“These data are critical for determining the status of biodiversity, as baseline data for assessing climate change impacts, and for predicting the availability of habitat for wildlife,” said John Mosesso, Gap Analysis Program Manager. “Large datasets of this type are extremely important to land and wildlife managers because they allow for analysis and planning across extensive geographic areas.”

The GAP national land cover data, based on the NatureServe Ecological Systems Classification, is the most detailed, consistent map of vegetative associations ever available for the United States and will help facilitate the planning and management of biological diversity on a regional and national scale.

GAP’s mission is to keep common species common by providing information on the status of native species. The creation and dissemination of the national landcover dataset and online map viewer furthers that goal by putting crucial information into the hands of conservation professionals. Information about land cover is a key component of effective conservation planning and the management of biological diversity.

Landcover Map Portrays Complex Data

The final version of the landcover map contains 551 Ecological Systems and modified Ecological Systems (the modified ecological systems represent 32 land use classes which depict developed and/or disturbed land cover classes). The map combines data from previous GAP projects in the Southwest, Southeast, and Northwest United States with recently updated California data. For areas of the continental United States where ecological system-level GAP data has not yet been developed, data from the LANDFIRE project compiled by Landscope was used. This allows for the construction of a seamless representation of ecological system distributions across the continental United States.

The map also meets natural resources agencies’ need for a way to characterize land cover. Finally, the new map furthers the mission of GAP to promote conservation by providing state, regional, and national assessments of the conservation status of land cover types to resource managers, planners, and policy makers who can use the map and its underlying data to make informed decisions.

Online Map Viewer Shows Data at Multiple Scales

The online map viewing interface has been designed to allow users to explore land cover data at three levels of complexity. Level 1 contains eight classes: grassland, shrubland, forest, aquatic, sparse and barren, recently disturbed, riparian, and human land use. Level 2 contains 43 classes, and incorporates information on elevation and climate. Level 3 contains the full 583 classes. This online tool facilitates exploration of ecological system distribution patterns at multiple scales and allows users to calculate statistics on the types of vegetation occurring within a mapping zone, a state, or a county.

As part of the USGS National Biological Information Infrastructure (NBII) — a collaborative program coordinated by the USGS to provide increased access to data and information on the nation’s biological resources — GAP data and associated analytical tools have been used in hundreds of applications, from basic research to comprehensive state wildlife plans, and from education projects in schools to ecoregional assessments of biodiversity.

GAP has developed land cover data since the 1980s — initially on a state-by-state basis and more recently on a regional basis. The national land cover map provides seamless coverage across political boundaries, facilitating its use by governmental agencies, researchers, conservation organizations and others.

[Source: USGS press release]

Spatial Analysis of Trace Fossils for Paleogeographic Studies

13th AGILE International Conference on Geographic Information Science 2010, Guimarães, Portugal

Paula Redweik, Joel Dinis, Edgar Barreira, Mário Cachão, Cristina Catita, Ana Santos, Eduardo Mayoral, Carlos M.da Silva, and Wilfried Linder

“Understanding the spatial distribution of species is a fundamental issue in paleontology. Nevertheless, exhaustive quantitative descriptions of specimen distributions are rare. In this paper, a method is described for systematic acquiring and analyzing images of trace fossils of two species, Gastrochaenolites lapidicus and Gastrochaenolites torpedo, existing in Foz da Fonte (Sesimbra, Portugal) and investigate their spatial patterns. The procedures of field data acquisition and statistical analysis are described and the presented results are discussed. Emphasis is placed in close-range photogrammetry methods for data acquisition and spatial statistics for data analysis. Goals of the analysis are focused on the statistical description of the fossil species population, the investigation of some spatial relationship among groups of G.lapidicus of different dimensions, and finally the investigation of a preferential orientation of the G.torpedo population in order to draw paleogeographic/environmental conclusions. Feature extraction is done on the produced orthophotos of the site. The main results of this study revealed that both G.lapidicus and G.torpedo populations were significantly clustered during life. Furthermore, the preferential cluster location of different diameter classes of G.lapidicus on the surveyed block indicates the relative location and orientation of the paleoshore in this site 18 millions years ago.”

URISA to Present Fifth Caribbean GIS Conference in Trinidad

The Association for GIS Professionals – is pleased to announce the Fifth Caribbean GIS Conference, taking place December 6-10, 2010 in Trinidad. The conference program is developed through a Call for Presentations which will be issued shortly. URISA is pleased to note that CARILEC, the Caribbean Electric Utility Service Corporation – an association of electric utilities, suppliers, manufacturers and other stakeholders operating in the electricity industry in the Caribbean, will be a partner in the 2010 conference.

The objectives of URISA’s Caribbean GIS Conference are:

  • To inform broad cross-section of Caribbean users about GIS technology and applications
  • To share experiences regarding GIS implementation and management issues
  • To establish new relationships with the vendor/consultant community
  • To provide workshops and sessions that are application driven, and are relevant to the Caribbean community of GIS users
  • To foster a Caribbean GIS network
  • To assess the state of readiness of national and regional Spatial Data Infrastructures

Previous Conferences

  • URISA’s Fourth Caribbean GIS Conference – August 25-29, 2008 – Grand Cayman
  • URISA’s Third Caribbean GIS Conference – October 29 – November 1, 2006 – Bahamas
  • URISA’s Second Caribbean GIS Conference – September 13-17, 2004 – Barbados
  • URISA’s First Caribbean GIS Conference – September 9-12, 2001 – Jamaica

For more information, contact Wendy Nelson at URISA,

[Source: URISA press release]

Embodied Spatial Cognition: Biological and Artificial Systems

Image and Vision Computing, Volume 27, Issue 11, 2 October 2009, Pages 1658-1670

Hanspeter A. Mallot and Kai Basten

“In this paper, we sketch out a computational theory of spatial cognition motivated by navigational behaviours, ecological requirements, and neural mechanisms as identified in animals and man. Spatial cognition is considered in the context of a cognitive agent built around the action–perception cycle. Besides sensors and effectors, the agent comprises multiple memory structures including a working memory and a longterm memory stage. Spatial longterm memory is modelled along the graph approach, treating recognizable places or poses as nodes and navigational actions as links. Models of working memory and its interaction with reference memory are discussed. The model provides an overall framework of spatial cognition which can be adapted to model different levels of behavioural complexity as well as interactions between working and longterm memory. A number of design questions for building cognitive robots are derived from comparison with biological systems and discussed in the paper.”

Developing Alternatives to Mitigate River Herring Bycatch at Sea

New England Fishery Management Council, May 2010

Jamie Marie Cournane

“Many river herring runs have declined along the Atlantic coast to a degree such that a collapse of the coast-wide stock is feared to be underway (Limburg and Waldman 2009). Commercial landings of river herring (alewife, Alosa pseudoharengus, and blueback herring, Alosa aestivalis) in state waters have declined dramatically in the past 50 years from approximately 70 million lbs in 1957 to 13.7 million lbs in 1985 to under a million lbs in 2007 (ASMFC). The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) declared both species as “Species of Concern” in 2006, and in 2009, the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) has passed a default closure of directed fisheries and has joined the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council (MAFMC) in requesting emergency action from the Secretary of Commerce. The New England Fishery Management Council (NEFMC) is now joining efforts to reverse the decline of river herring by tasking the Atlantic Herring Plan Development Team (PDT) with development of alternatives to mitigate bycatch in ocean fisheries.

“River herring are an important part of freshwater and oceanic ecosystems (Garmen and Macko 1998, Saunders et al. 2006). Undertaking extensive migrations, river herring, anadromous fish, spawn in fresh and brackish water then return to the ocean, where they spend the majority of their life (Colette and Klein-MacPhee 2002, Yako et al. 2002). They encounter numerous impacts in their riverine, estuarine, and oceanic habitat (Yako et al. 2002, McKenzie 2008, Cieri et al. 2008, Limburg and Waldman 2009). All of these impacts need to be monitored, managed, and ultimately mitigated in a comprehensive restoration strategy (Fig. 1).”

An Enhanced Two-step Floating Catchment Area (E2SFCA) Method for Measuring Spatial Accessibility to Primary Care Physicians

Health & Place, Volume 15, Issue 4, December 2009, Pages 1100-1107

Wei Luo and Yi Qi

“This paper presents an enhancement of the two-step floating catchment area (2SFCA) method for measuring spatial accessibility, addressing the problem of uniform access within the catchment by applying weights to different travel time zones to account for distance decay. The enhancement is proved to be another special case of the gravity model. When applying this enhanced 2SFCA (E2SFCA) to measure the spatial access to primary care physicians in a study area in northern Illinois, we find that it reveals spatial accessibility pattern that is more consistent with intuition and delineates more spatially explicit health professional shortage areas. It is easy to implement in GIS and straightforward to interpret.”