Critical Incident Management and Geographically-based Systems

International Journal of Applied Geospatial Research, Vol. 1, Issue 3, 2010

David Webb and David Hoffpauir

“In the United States there is a strong dependence on decentralized policing services, distributed by thousands of police departments. As a primary police professional development management institute in the United States, the Law Enforcement Management Institute of Texas (LEMIT) identified that there existed a paucity of management development opportunities for police command staff engaged in critical incident management. This paper describes how LEMIT met this challenge and became a leading U.S. institute in this exciting field of operation.”

Bicycle Crash Casualties in a Highly Motorized City

Accident Analysis and Prevention, 2010; 42(6): 1902-1907

Loo BP, Tsui KL

“The characteristics of bicycle crashes in cities where bicycles are a minor transport mode have received little attention in road safety research. However, the characteristics of these injury-inflicting bicycle crashes are expected to be very different from those happening in cities where cycling is generally considered as one of the major transport modes. Specifically, this study has the following three objectives: (1) to conduct the first scientific spatial analysis of bicycle crashes in Hong Kong; (2) to analyze the circumstances leading to bicycle crashes; and (3) to conduct an epidemiological study on injury patterns of cyclist casualties. Various spatial and statistical tools, including buffer analysis, chi-square tests, analysis-of-variance and binary logistic regression, are used to analyze the bicycle crashes in Hong Kong from 2005-2007. An important finding of this paper is that the bicycle safety problem has a clear spatial dimension. The crash circumstances in different parts of the city differed systematically. Furthermore, the findings suggest that initiatives to develop new cycle tracks and to encourage bicycles as a transport mode must be planned carefully with new infrastructure and policies to ensure the safety of cyclists.”

An Agent-based Micro-simulation Framework for Modelling of Dynamic Activity–travel Rescheduling Decisions

International Journal of Geographical Information Science, Volume 24, Issue 8 August 2010 , pages 1149 – 1170

Theo Arentze; Claudia Pelizaro; Harry Timmermans

“The simultaneous implementation of daily activity-travel schedules of individuals in a given spatial environment generally gives rise to time- and location-varying congestion levels, which affect the conditions for subsequent activity and travel choices. Although such dynamics are commonly recognized, current activity-based models typically ignore the adaptive behaviour of individuals. In this article, we propose an agent-based simulation system that allows one to simulate, in addition to activity-scheduling behaviour, also the execution of schedules in space and time. Congestion levels at specific times and places emerge in the system and may lead to discrepancies between scheduled and actual activity and travel times. Agents respond to such unforeseen events by reconsidering an existing schedule (within-day re-planning) and by adapting their expectations about traffic conditions for subsequent days (learning). The system is illustrated using the activity-travel diary data collected in the Eindhoven region, the Netherlands, to better understand the choice of urban parks in the study area. We discuss the merits of the system for transport and spatial planning and identify avenues for future research.”

Learn to Conduct Network-Based Spatial Analysis

Free Esri Training Will Show How ArcGIS Network Analyst Solves Routing and Location Problems

An upcoming live training seminar will demonstrate how Esri’s ArcGIS Network Analyst technology can answer logistics and other questions such as: What is the quickest and most cost-effective way for a fleet of trucks to deliver 300 packages in one day? Where should a fire station be opened to ensure fast response time to a new residential development?

How many customers can reach a specific store or restaurant within five minutes?

To learn how to use the software extension, tune in to Using Network Analyst in ArcGIS Desktop 10 on Thursday, September 2, 2010. This seminar will air on at 9:00 a.m., 11:00 a.m., and 3:00 p.m. (Pacific daylight time).

ArcGIS Network Analyst helps users conduct network-based spatial analysis such as calculating drive times, defining service areas, and completing optimum route and shortest path analyses.

Seminar attendees will learn how to

  • Solve problems where network travel time or costs must be minimized.
  • Work with time windows, curb approach restrictions, and other constraints.
  • Find the best routes between multiple locations.
  • Find the best set of routes for a fleet of vehicles.
  • Find the optimal location for a new facility to minimize overall travel time or costs.

This seminar will be of interest to geographic information system (GIS) analysts, managers, dispatchers, planners, or researchers who want to use ArcGIS Desktop or ArcGIS Server to do distance-based analysis where distance or travel time is measured on transportation networks.

A broadband Internet connection and an Esri Global Account are needed to participate in the training seminar. Creating a global account is easy and free: visit, click Login, and register your name and address. A few weeks after the live presentation, this seminar will be archived and available for viewing on the Esri Training Web site.

[Source: Esri press release]

University of Florida Researchers to Document Boating Patterns; Could Aid Endangered Whales

One of the world’s most endangered whale species makes its way south every winter to give birth in waters near northeast Florida and southeast Georgia.

During that trip, North Atlantic right whales face two major threats: fishing gear and boats.

University of Florida researchers are embarking on a two-year study that is the first attempt to map boating traffic patterns in the northeast Florida area.

Mapping those patterns could, in turn, allow whale managers to better focus outreach efforts and more accurately assess the effects of future marine-related projects on protected species.

The UF researchers, Bob Swett and Charles Sidman, will use geographic information system, or GIS, technology to better understand boater travel patterns off the coasts of St. Johns, Duval and Nassau counties. The work will begin with boater surveys, answering questions about their usual routes and seasonal boating habits.

The researchers will also take to the air to log positions and characteristics of recreational boats. Then, all of the information will become part of a graphic representation that will help managers and policy makers understand what’s happening in area waterways.

“Once you have the patterns, you can start comparing them to the known sightings of right whales—to find the hotspots, if you will,” said Sidman, associate director for research for Florida Sea Grant, a UF-hosted ocean and coastal science program that works closely with UF’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences.

Swett, a GIS expert, is an associate professor in UF’s school of forest resources and conservation. He also coordinates the Florida Sea Grant Boating and Waterway Management Program.

Somewhere between 325 and 400 whales remain of the species that was hunted nearly to extinction by 18th- and 19th-century whalers.

It’s been illegal to hunt right whales since 1935, but vessel strikes and fishing gear entanglement continue to be a threat to the creatures, which can grow 55 feet long and weigh 70 tons.

The whales typically arrive off the Florida-Georgia coast in December and stay until early spring, said Barb Zoodsma, a biologist with the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration who coordinates right whale recovery efforts in the Southeast. NOAA is funding the $246,000 study.

Awareness among recreational boaters about right whales is not as high as it could be, she said, and the whales are more frequently seen bearing scars from collisions with boat-engine propellers.

Although rules state that boaters must keep well away from right whales, captains she’s spoken with after collisions said they never saw the animal before impact.

“From what captains have described to me, the impact is so tremendous that at first, they thought they’d hit a large container that had fallen off a ship,” she said. “So it’s not just about protecting the whales, it’s a boater-safety issue, too.”

[Source: University of Florida press release]

Gas Utility Upgrades to GIS for Outages, Compliance

Jefferson-Cocke County Utility District (JCCUD) is taking advantage of Esri’s Small Utility Enterprise License Agreement (ELA) program to improve outage response and better meet regulatory requirements with the use of geographic information system (GIS) technology. The Newport, Tennessee, gas utility company serves 7,300 homes and businesses in two counties.

Before the move to GIS, field crews had to rely on paper maps that were costly to produce and often outdated. Now JCCUD can respond to outages equipped with laptops and up-to-date GIS-based maps. Within the GIS, utility staff can view the entire gas network along with customer information, proposed and as-built data, orthophotographs, topographic maps, and street centerlines. The initial mobile GIS training session went smoothly, and JCCUD plans to make all work orders paperless by the end of the year.

Access to mobile GIS technology is also helping the gas utility in regulatory compliance reporting. JCCUD crews will have the ability to input data from the field and synchronize with the home database to ensure accuracy of valve and regulatory station maintenance as well as odorization and cathodic protection reports.

“Without the Small Utility ELA, we could not have managed this upgrade,” said Larry Masters, engineering/GIS coordinator for JCCUD. “We cut $1,200 this year in the cost of printing map books, not to mention the hours saved working on the map books and returning to the office for sketches. When we looked at the cost of the ELA and what it was saving our utility, we needed to do it.”

Through Esri’s Small Utility ELA program, small utilities receive unlimited deployments of Esri’s core ArcGIS platform as well as maintenance and support for products, staff training, passes to the Esri International User Conference, and Esri data models. The Small Utility ELA program is open to utilities with 100,000 meters or fewer.

For more information on the Small Utility ELA program and to listen to a podcast about it, visit To speak to an expert, call 800-447-9778, extension 2990.

[Source: Esri press release]

Spatial Analysis of Soil Water Balance in an Agricultural District of Southern Italy

Crop Modeling and Decision Support, 2009, 282-290

D. Ventrella, E. D. Giacomo, L. Giglio, M. Castellini and D. Palumbo

“An efficient management of water resources is considered very important for Italy and in particular for Southern areas characterized by a typical Mediterranean climate in order to improve the economical and environmental sustainability of the agricultural activity. The purpose of this study is to analyze the components of soil water balance in an important district of 110 Km2 situated in the Ionical coastal area of Southern Italy and mainly cropped with horticultural crops. The study was performed by using the spatially distributed and physically based model SIMODIS in order to individuate the best irrigation management maximizing the water use efficiency and minimizing water losses by deep percolation and soil evaporation. SIMODIS was applied for 24 soil types distributed in 96 cadastral units for three years characterized by low, normal and high spring summer rainfall. Water melon cultivation was simulated adopting three water supply managements: rainfed and two irrigation strategies based on ➀ soil water availability and ➁ plant water status adopting a threshold daily stress value. For each year and management, several water management indicators were calculated and mapped in GIS environment. For seasonal irrigation depth, actual evapotranspiration and irrigation efficiency, the cumulative distribution functions were also determined. The analysis allowed to individuate the areas particularly sensitive to water losses by deep percolation because of their hydraulic functions characterized by low water retention and large values of saturated hydraulic conductivity. For these areas, the irrigation based on plant water status caused very high water losses by drainage. At the contrary, the irrigation scheduled on soil base allowed to control better this component of soil water balance. SIMODIS resulted a useful tool to analyse the soil water balance at spatial scale and to support the local irrigation authority for planning the irrigation water distribution not only for economical and productive purposes but also for minimizing the pollution risks of deep soil and groundwater resources.”

More information

New Health Informatics Research Chair/Health Informatics Institute Scientific Director for Algoma University

Algoma University, in conjunction with ESRI Canada, is pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. Nicola Shaw as Health Informatics Research Chair and Scientific Director for the Health Informatics Institute. In her role, Dr. Shaw will build on the health informatics (HI) research and potential that exists in Algoma region.

Dr. Nicola (Nikki) Shaw comes to the Health Informatics Institute from the University of Alberta, where she was named the first Research Chair of Health Informatics in Western Canada. Her expertise in applied health informatics positions her well to capitalize on the innovative HI solutions existing in the region. She will be looking to facilitate significant local, national and international research and collaboration in health informatics. She will undertake fundamental and applied research that enables health system innovation, as well as improved and more efficient patient-centered care.

Dr. Shaw received her Post-Graduate Certification in Health Research Methods at the University of Central Lancashire, UK 2001; PhD Health Informatics (University of Central Lancashire in collaboration with Oxford University Postgraduate Medical Education & Training, UK) 1997; Professional Certificate from the Market Research Society (UK) 1995; BSc (Hons) Business Information Systems with Management from the University of Central Lancashire, UK in 1994; and her HND in Business Information Technology from the University of Central Lancashire, UK in 1992.

She is a Fellow of the British Computing Society (FBCS), a Chartered Information Technology Professional (CITP) and a Registrant Level 3 (Highest) of the UK Council for Health Informatics Professionals (UKCHIP).

She is an Expert Advisor to Canada Health Infoway and has just completed her term on the Advisory Board for the Institute of Health Services and Policy Research with the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. She has undertaken several pan-Canadian research studies in collaboration with Canada Health Infoway, the Canadian Medical Association and the Canadian Patient Safety Institute related to the use of Electronic Medical/Health Records in Canada. She is an invited member of the COACH Privacy & Security Committee which prepares the Canadian Guidelines for the Protection of Health Information bi-annually. She currently holds over $11 million in research funding.

Dr. Shaw was recruited to Canada in 2003 by the University of British Columbia where she was a Research Scientist with the Centre for Healthcare Innovation & Improvement at the Child and Family Research Institute in Vancouver. In April 2006, Dr. Nicola Shaw was appointed as the first endowed Research Chair of Health Informatics in Western Canada. As part of the Integrated Centre for Care Advancement through Research (iCARE), Dr. Shaw’s appointment was created in partnership between the former Capital Health and the University of Alberta.

Dr. Shaw’s published work includes two books on technology in primary care; the 2004, Canadian edition is entitled, “Computerization and Going Paperless in Canadian Primary Care.” and has become a recommended text for many physician offices undergoing transition to electronic medical records.

With an applied social research focus Dr. Shaw’s research interests concentrate on developing an understanding around the implementation, use, and sharing of medical records.

“Health informatics is an important emerging field that has provided valuable benefits to our community through advancements in health care,” said Dr. Richard Myers, President, Algoma University. “Dr. Shaw’s expertise will help us expand our research capacity and further develop and implement best practices in this area, as well as position Algoma University as a knowledge leader in health care.”

The research chair is funded for five years through support from the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation (NOHFC), ESRI Canada and Algoma University. The Sault Ste. Marie Innovation Centre (SSMIC) worked in partnership with Algoma University on the development of this project. SSMIC’s strong relationship with ESRI Canada helped facilitate their contribution to the project, and SSMIC also collaborated with the National Institutes of Health Informatics (NIHI) to support and develop this initiative. Health informatics is an important sector for development in SSMIC’s strategic plan. As a result, SSMIC recognizes the need to bring in academic researchers, such as the health informatics research chair, to help further the work of local researchers in health informatics.

“Sault Ste. Marie has achieved significant success in applying health informatics to address community health goals, including improving access to services and preventing the spread of disease,” said Alex Miller, president, ESRI Canada. “We are proud to support Dr. Shaw in building on the city’s success in leveraging geospatial technologies to advance health research and improve the health of all Canadians.”

“It’s important to continue developing the intellectual property and technology sector in Sault Ste. Marie, which is why our government provided $684,200 to support innovative health care technology research at Algoma University,” said David Orazietti, MPP. “Investing in research that will improve patient care is essential to enhancing our health care system and it assists our city in attracting and retaining talented individuals such as Dr. Shaw, who will help position the university as a leader in health informatics.”

Dr. Shaw will build a health informatics research program based on the community’s strengths, pursue an active research program and teach one to two courses per year during her tenure as research chair. The research program will focus on the area of Primary Care Informatics and will engage local expertise in the applications of geospatial technologies, health system management and serious games for health, e.g., for training, health promotion and rehabilitation. Academically, the health informatics research chair is important in helping Algoma University pursue the development of educational programs and research projects that will contribute to the health informatics cluster.

[Source: Algoma University press release]

A Method for Quantifying Stream Network Topology over Large Geographic Extents

Journal of Spatial Hydrology, Vol.10, No.1 Spring 2010

R. Betz, N.P. Hitt, R.L. Dymond and C.D. Heatwole

“An understanding of stream network topology is necessary for a landscape-level perspective of stream hydrology and ecology. We present a method for quantifying stream network topology that overcomes computational constraints of DEM-based analysis over large geographic extents. This method converts vector stream flow paths to raster flow paths to predict spatially-explicit stream properties from a network-constrained upstream cell count (UCC) to flow origins. UCC data enable calculations of stream network structure at designated grain sizes and spatial extents. UCC values were strongly related to empirical measures of upstream basin area (R2 = 0.94) and stream width (R2 = 0.65) within the mid-Atlantic highlands, USA, suggesting that UCC data provide a reasonable surrogate for empirical measures of stream size within the stream network. By reducing raster grids to the flow path, the UCC method reduced file sizes by 99% compared to digital elevation models. The UCC method can improve our understanding of fluvial landscape hydrology and ecology by enabling spatial analysis of stream networks over large geographic extents.”

Exploring Population Spatial Concentrations in Northern Ireland by Community Background and Other Characteristics: An Application of Geographically Weighted Spatial Statistics

International Journal of Geographical Information Science, Volume 24, Issue 8 August 2010 , pages 1193 – 1221

C. D. Lloyd

“Information on how populations are spatially concentrated by different characteristics is a key means of guiding government policies in a variety of contexts, in addition to being of substantial academic interest. In particular, to reduce inequalities between groups, it is necessary to understand the characteristics of these groups in terms of their composition and their geographical structure. This article explores the degree to which the population of Northern Ireland is spatially concentrated by a range of characteristics. There is a long history of interest in residential segregation by religion in Northern Ireland; this article assesses population concentration not only by community background (‘religion or religion brought up in’) but also by housing tenure, employment and other socioeconomic and demographic characteristics. The spatial structure of geographical variables can be captured by a range of spatial statistics including Moran’s I. Such approaches utilise information on connections between observations or the distances between them. While such approaches are conceptually an improvement on standard aspatial statistics, a logical further step is to compute statistics on a local basis on the grounds that most real-world properties are not spatially homogenous and, therefore, global measures may mask much variation. In population geography, which provides the substantive focus for this article, there are still relatively few studies that assess in depth the application of geographically weighted statistics for exploring population characteristics individually and for exploring relations between variables. This article demonstrates the value of such approaches by using a variety of geographically weighted statistical measures to explore outputs from the 2001 Census of Population of Northern Ireland. A key objective is to assess the degree to which the population is spatially divided, as judged by the selected variables. In other words, do people cluster more strongly with others who share their community background or others who have a similar socioeconomic status in some respect? The analysis demonstrates how geographically weighted statistics can be used to explore the degree to which single socioeconomic and demographic variables and relations between such variables differ at different spatial scales and at different geographical locations. For example, the results show that there are regions comprising neighbouring areas with large proportions of people from the same community background, but with variable unemployment levels, while in other areas the first case holds true but unemployment levels are consistently low. The analysis supports the contention that geographical variations in population characteristics are the norm, and these cannot be captured without using local methods. An additional methodological contribution relates to the treatment of counts expressed as percentages.”