New e-Book: Climate Change is a Geographic Problem

Climate Change is a Geographic Problem: The Geographic Approach to Climate Change

Jack Dangermond and Matt Artz, ESRI

June 2010

“Climate change is a geographic problem, and solving it takes a geographic solution. A GIS-based framework for climate science gives us hope. With it we can gain a scientific understanding of Earth’s systems at a truly global scale and make thoughtful, informed design decisions that ultimately allow humans and nature to coexist more harmoniously.”

The Space Package: Tight Integration between Space and Semantics

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

Willem Robert van Hage, Jan Wielemaker, and Guus Schreiber

“Interpretation of spatial features often requires combined reasoning over geometry and semantics. We introduce the Space package, an open source SWI-Prolog extension that provides spatial indexing capabilities. Together with the existing semantic web reasoning capabilities of SWI-Prolog, this allows efficient integration of spatial and semantic queries and provides an infrastructure for declarative programming with space and semantics. There are few systems that provide indexing and reasoning facilities for both spatial and semantic data. A common solution is to combine separate semantic reasoning and geospatial services. Such loose coupling has the disadvantage that each service cannot make use of the statistics of the other. This makes optimization of such a service-oriented architecture hard. The SWI-Prolog Space and Semantic web packages provide a native Prolog interface to both spatial and semantic indexing and reasoning, which makes it easy to write combined query optimizers. Another advantage of the Space package is that it allows declarative logic programming, which means in practice that you say what you want to compute instead of how to compute it. The actual indexing machinery is encapsulated inside Prolog predicates. In this article we describe the interface of the Space package, compare its functionality to alternative software libraries, and show how to work with it using three example applications. These example illustrations include reasoning over movement patterns, dynamically loading geospatial linked data off the semantic web, and setting up a simple KML server.”

Centre for Spatial Law and Policy Announces Start of Operations

The Centre for Spatial Law and Policy, a non-profit organization focusing on the legal and policy issues associated with the collection, use and distribution of spatial and location data, announced today the beginning of its operations. The Centre promotes the need for a consistent legal and policy framework to address the issues that arise from the growing use of spatial technology.

“Legal and policy issues have a substantial impact on the collection and distribution of spatial data around the globe,” said Kevin Pomfret, the Centre’s executive director. “The impact of laws, policies and regulations will undoubtedly grow as the technology matures and the number of applications using spatial data increases.”

Currently, spatial technology is used in everything from commercial satellite imagery, intelligent transportation systems and geographic information systems (GIS) to location-based services, smart phones and satellite navigation devices.

“DigitalGlobe works on a global scale to limit business uncertainty and work toward more predictable and transparent geospatial legal and policy regimes,” said Jill Smith, DigitalGlobe’s chief executive officer. “We are glad to support the Centre’s mission of education and dialogue and see it as an important next step in the maturation of an industry that is poised to have a greater impact on businesses, governments and consumers around the world.”

The emerging technologies and expanded distribution channels raise important legal and policy issues such as privacy, national security, data ownership, data quality, and liability.

GeoEye’s Chief Executive Officer and president Matt O’Connell said, “As a company that specializes in location-based intelligence, we’re happy to support the work of the new Centre. Geospatial technologies affect our lives every day. The Centre will provide the focus our industry needs to further the understanding of how satellite imaging and geospatial technologies can benefit business and societies around the world.”

The Centre will regularly update its members on changes in the law and policy and will serve as a repository of legal and policy documents associated with spatial data. In addition, the Centre will issue a series of white papers on important legal and policy issues regarding spatial data.

“The Centre is set to become an important forum for education, discussion, and debate around spatial law and policy. It provides an excellent opportunity to educate, influence policies, and participate in the shaping of the legal framework to address the issues in this rapidly developing sector,” said Kara John, Senior Vice President Intellectual Property and Privacy, DMTI Spatial Inc.

About the Centre for Spatial Law and Policy
The is a membership-based, non-profit organization working to create a consistent and coherent legal and policy framework with regards to spatial data. . The Centre’s mission is to help further the development of this framework through education on both the technology and the issues as well as promotion of dialogue between interested parties. Founding members of the new Centre include Google (NASDAQ:GOOG), Digital Globe (NYSE:DGI), DMTI Spatial Inc., GeoEye (NASDAQ: GEOY), ESRI, Lockheed Martin, Rolta International. and PCI Geomatics. For more information, visit the Centre’s Web site (

[Source: About the Centre for Spatial Law and Policy press release]

University of Florida Short Course on Geostatistical Analysis of Environmental Data

August 9-13, 2010

“This course will introduce a suite of geostatistical methods for the spatial analysis of environmental data. Participants will learn how to apply geostatistics for the description of spatial patterns and identification of scales of variability, spatial interpolation and stochastic modeling of environmental attributes, creation of risk maps and their use in decision-making. Lectures will alternate with analysis of environmental data using the Stanford Geostatistical Modeling Software (S-GeMS) and the TerraSeer Space-time Information System (STIS).Test datasets will be prepared so that results of geostatistical prediction and impacts on decision-making can be compared and discussed during the course. Each participant will receive a set of lecture notes and have the opportunity to purchase a copy of  Dr. Goovaerts’ textbook. A copy of the public domain S-GeMS software will be provided. Ample time will be allocated to discussion, and participants are invited to bring their own case studies to seek Dr. Goovaerts opinion. The course provides 30 hours of training and instruction, and a Certificate of Completion will  be provided upon conclusion. Enrollment is limited, so register early to secure a seat in the course. Advance registration is required.

“A key feature of environmental information is that each observation relates to a particular location in space. Knowledge of an attribute value, say a pollutant concentration or a soil property, is of little interest  unless the location of the measurement is known and accounted for in the analysis. Another feature is that  the information available is usually sparse which, in combination with the imperfect knowledge of underlying processes, leads to a large uncertainty about the actual spatial distribution of values. Such an uncertainty needs to be quantified and accounted for in decision-making, hence probabilistic (statistical) tools are increasingly preferred to a deterministic approach where a single (error-free) representation is sought. Geostatistics provides a set of statistical tools for the analysis of data distributed in space and time. It allows the description of spatial patterns in the data, the incorporation of multiple sources of information in the mapping of environmental attributes, the modeling of the spatial uncertainty and its propagation through decision-making. Since its development in the mining industry, geostatistics has emerged as the primary tool for spatial data analysis in various fields, ranging from earth and atmospheric sciences, to agriculture, soil science, environmental studies, and more recently exposure assessment and environmental epidemiology. The recognition of the importance of geostatistical analysis is illustrated by the inclusion of geostatistical functions in a growing number of products, including ArcGIS Geostatistical Analyst and TerraSeer Space-time Information System (STIS).”

A Multicriteria Spatial Analysis of Erosion Risk into Small Watersheds in the Low Normandy Bocage (France) by ELECTRE III Method Coupled with a GIS

International Journal of Multicriteria Decision Making, 2010 – Vol. 1, No.1 pp. 25 – 48

Francis Macary, Dominique Ombredane, and Daniel Uny

“In environmental risk analysis, many explanatory factors, often with highly complex interaction relationships, need to be taken into account. This is the case, for example, in the relation between agricultural practices and the quality of superficial aquatic ecosystems. Suspended solids are responsible for clogging salmonid spawning areas and hence for reductions in their populations. We studied the risks of erosion across two small watersheds in Normandy (France) on the scale of the agricultural plot – the level on which good practices can be applied. Plots were defined according to quantitative as well as qualitative criteria: connectivity to the stream, slope, plant cover, presence of embankments and erosion of the banks in the case of plots beside the river. By combining the ELECTRE III multicriteria analysis method to a geographical information system (GIS), it was possible to discriminate zones that present a risk with respect to particle emission and then to present the results in map form to provide decision-making aid for local actors.”