GIS-Pro 2010: Early Registration Deadline Approaching

Since 1963, URISA members and friends have convened annually to learn about, share and discuss all things geospatial. The name of URISA’s annual conference has recently been updated to better reflect that focus. URISA is pleased to present GIS-Pro 2010: URISA’s 48th Annual Conference for GIS Professionals.  The first conference under the new banner will take place September 28-October 1, 2010 in Orlando, Florida and the deadline to take advantage of discounted registration fees is July 19.

Along with the new conference name, GIS-Pro will reflect what GIS Professionals are looking for in a modern conference. Gone are restrictive conference tracks – the GIS-Pro 2010 program was organized according to these themes, designed to move the conversation forward and interactively share information among conference participants:

  • Value of GIS – The value of GIS can theoretically be quantified in terms of Return on Investment (ROI), but the methodology for determining ROI for GIS has not been standardized.  Sessions in this theme include information on measured return on investment (as opposed to estimated cost/benefit analysis performed prior to implementation); various methods for funding and justifying funding for GIS implementation; and ways to articulate the financial/liability, economic, social or environmental impact of GIS for a jurisdiction, region or organization.
  • One Government – This concept is about multiple jurisdictions and overlapping levels of government (federal, state/provincial, regional, local) acting collaboratively.  Sessions include data sharing challenges and approaches; standardization and integration of data, applications and services; collaboration and communication that leads to a “one government” approach, and activities that promote government transparency and accountability.
  • Business of GIS – GIS as a profession and an industry is coming of age.  Presentations will focus on the work to define the geospatial technology industry and associated occupations, curriculum needs to support current and future GIS technicians and analysts, how we conduct ourselves in terms of duty and standard of care, and learning to present our work in an effective manner.
  • Stewardship – The notion of stewardship is one of service and support to a community of data users.  Often, the steward has a vested interest in maintaining particular data set(s) for his/her organization, but no mandate (or funding) to maintain it for the rest of the community.  Sessions focus on data management, maintenance and integration topics, metadata issues and processes, data governance approaches, and methods for treating data as an infrastructure, or other, asset.
  • Place-based Decisions – This is a hot topic in 2010 at every level. U.S. Congressional Hearings are even focusing on ways to drive decisions based on data and “place”.  At last year’s Annual Conference, Dr. Wellar’s keynote focused on the need to manage various interrelated information infrastructures to make well-informed, accurate decisions, and the categorical need for GIS technology and geospatial sciences in that endeavor.  Find out about Web 2.0 and social networking tools as a means of bringing information together and presenting it appropriately to everyone; how to promote GIS use to decision makers; better ways to visualize change spatially and temporally; and how to manage interdependent information infrastructures with geospatial tools and techniques.

For complete conference and registration information, visit today!

[Source: URISA press release]

Mind, the Gap in Landscape-evolution Modelling

Earth Surface Processes and Landforms, Volume 35 Issue 7, Pages 842 – 855

John Wainwright and James D.A. Millington

“Despite an increasing recognition that human activity is currently the dominant force modifying landscapes, and that this activity has been increasing through the Holocene, there has been little integrative work to evaluate human interactions with geomorphic processes. We argue that agent-based models (ABMs) are a useful tool for overcoming the limitations of existing, highly empirical approaches. In particular, they allow the integration of decision-making into process-based models and provide a heuristic way of evaluating the compatibility of knowledge gained from a wide range of sources, both within and outwith the discipline of geomorphology. The application of ABMs to geomorphology is demonstrated from two different perspectives. The SPASIMv1 (Special Protection Area SIMulator version 1) model is used to evaluate the potential impacts of land-use change – particularly in relation to wildfire and subsequent soil conditions, runoff and erosion – over a decadal timescale from the present day to the mid-twenty-first century. It focuses on the representation of farmers with traditional versus commercial perspectives in central Spain, and highlights the importance of land-tenure structure and historical contingencies of individuals’ decision-making. CYBEROSION, however, considers changes in erosion and deposition over the scale of at least centuries. It represents both wild and domesticated animals and humans as model agents, and investigates the interactions of them in the context of early agriculturalists in southern France in a prehistoric context. We evaluate the advantages and disadvantages of the ABM approach, and consider some of the major challenges. These challenges include potential process-scale mismatches, differences in perspective between investigators from different disciplines, and issues regarding model evaluation, analysis and interpretation. If the challenges can be overcome, this fully integrated approach will provide geomorphology a means to conceptualize soundly the study of human-landscape interactions by bridging the gap between social and physical approaches.”

Designing a Web Processing Service Application Profile for Spatial Analysis in Business Marketing

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

Walenciak Georg and  Zipf Alexander

“This paper deals with the design of a Web Processing Service Application Profile for spatial analysis in business marketing. Since the possibilities of the Web Processing Service Specification 1.0 concerning application profiles are limited, we discuss methods how to enhance the current specification. This shall demonstrate how future Application Profiles might be developed. Therefore we present how a specific application domain can be examined in regard to the spatial analysis being used and how the results could be transferred to an application scheme. The application domain is taken from business analysis. Therefore, the basic requirements concerning spatial analysis in business marketing are being exposed and structured. To illustrate one example in more detail one method is analyzed and its structure is defined. Based on this results some general benefits and limits concerning an OGC Web Processing Service Application Profile are being identified.”

Classic Book “The Look of Maps: An Examination of Cartographic Design” Republished

Esri Press is proud to expand its cartographic classics series with The Look of Maps: An Examination of Cartographic Design by Arthur H. Robinson. The series also includes Cartographic Relief Presentation by Eduard Imhof and the soon-to-be-published Semiology of Graphics by Jacques Bertin. Originally published in 1952, The Look of Maps is based on Robinson’s doctoral research, which investigated the relationship between science and art in cartography and the resultant refinement of graphic techniques in mapmaking to present dynamic geographic information.

The book examines a wide range of topics related to the visual aspects of cartography including lettering, structure, and color. It is considered by many to have inspired the shift in cartographic research from the simple production of maps to communication and design theory.

Robinson authored and coauthored many influential articles and books on cartography including Elements of Cartography, The Nature of Maps, and Early Thematic Mapping in the History of Cartography. In addition, he developed the Robinson projection, which is used to create visually appealing maps of the world by minimizing the distortion inherent in projecting a spherical image onto a two-dimensional plane. The Look of Maps is a fundamental reference for students and professionals in the field of cartography and cartographic design as well as being an essential resource for map libraries.

The Look of Maps: An Examination of Cartographic Design (ISBN-13: 9781589482623, 124 pages, $39.95) is available at online retailers worldwide, at, or by calling 1-800-447-9778. Outside the United States, visit for complete ordering options, or visit to contact your local Esri distributor. Interested retailers can contact Esri  Press book distributor Ingram Publisher Services.

[Source: ESRI press release]

A Spatial Analysis of Illinois Agricultural Cash Rents

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign M.S. Thesis, 2010

Shannon M. Woodard

“Following the commodity price shocks in 2007, anecdotal evidence shows that tenant farmers experienced large increases in cropland rental rates and input prices. However, it is unclear how residual profits (crop revenue less non-land costs) resulting from the price increases within this sector (if any) have been allocated among tenant farmers, landowners and input suppliers. This work provides statistical evidence regarding how increases in corn prices and the associated increases in profitability ultimately flow through to the rental market, and which participants benefit the most. The purpose of this paper is to help fill the gap in the existing academic literature with respect to how the recent price shocks affected the agricultural rental market. Using unique farm-level, longitudinal data from the Illinois Farm Bureau Farm Management (FBFM) office, a hedonic model of the determinants of Illinois’ cash rents per acre is constructed and the marginal contributions of parcel characteristics to the market price are derived. A novel spatial econometric panel estimation method is employed to model the spatial error structure and ensure consistent estimators of the model parameters. Lastly, the marginal benefits appropriated by each commodity production participant are estimated and the validity of Ricardian Rent Theory (RRT) is tested. The primary findings indicate that marginal output price increases have a significant effect on cash rents with strong spatial correlations detected in the data. The estimated effect of increasing prices on cropland rents is substantially larger at the farm level, in comparison to a county aggregated model using similar data. County level results find that marginal increases in the harvest futures price increases rents by around $24.00. Under the farm level analysis, this measure rises to over $41.00, perhaps implying that the aggregation process has a significant loss of information. Second, as would be predicted by land rent theories, we find substantiating evidence that both inter-county and intra-county soil productivity variations have considerable impacts on cash rent levels, in that rents are positively associated with higher soil quality. Third, we find that there is a risk premium embedded in the cash rental rate, in that parcels with a higher perceived yield risk result in a negative impact on the cash rent. This is expected given the likely risk aversion of tenant operators. Parcels within relatively rural areas as well as those operated by farmers with large scale operations also exhibit tendencies for higher rent levels, although this impact is rather minimal. Lastly, we find limited support for RRT with a majority of increased revenues due to output price increases accruing to the farmer. Tenant farmers capture 89% of the marginal increases in commodity prices while the landowner and input suppliers absorb only 3.3% and 7.7%, respectively. The relatively large amount that is captured by the tenant farmer may be a form of ‘compensation’ for bearing price risk. This would imply that tenant farmers cash renting cropland receive both a premium for yield risk as well as price risk.”