Usability Issues in Applying Participatory Mapping for Neighborhood Infrastructure Planning

Transactions in GIS, Volume 14 Issue s1, Pages 119 – 147

Trias Aditya

“Public participation is required in neighborhood infrastructure planning and problem-solving. Although Participatory GIS methods are considered important to help urban community groups identify problems and express their needs and concerns, usable means to help groups produce their maps remain difficult to be realised. Further, an effective means to facilitate the integration of government spatial plans and participatory maps also remains unclear. This article addresses usability issues in participatory mapping activities by exploring group collaboration mechanics and accomplishing use assessments. The study aims at testing the usefulness and the impact of participatory mapping for community development. User studies including questionnaire surveys, interviews, group usability testing, scenario assessments, and the scaling-up activity were executed. Transparent photomaps, Mobile GIS, and a Web map were implemented and assessed in the study area. A use scenario for community and official spatial data integration was also developed. The results of user studies show that the use of transparent photomaps is more effective to complete group tasks to discuss, draw, and annotate their infrastructure problems. For group participants, the transparent maps are more engaging, easy to learn, and more error tolerant than the use of Mobile GIS. A combination use of simple and advanced PGIS methods is necessary to be implemented to reach informed priority-decision making.”

Vulnerability Assessment of Landslide to Climate Change in South Korea

2010 ESRI International User Conference, San Diego, CA

Zhen Xu, Han-Bin Kwak, and Woo-Kyun Lee

“Climate change engages in extreme weather condition, such as flood and drought which cause the natural disasters including landslide and water shortage, etc. Adaptation measures should be prepared on the basis of vulnerability assessment for these disasters by climate change.

“As criterions for assessing landslide vulnerability to climate change, the sensitivity, exposure and adaptation indices were employed. The sensitivity was quantified by residential area, industry and commerce area, traffic area, and mining area. The exposure was quantified by landslide risk model which considers slope distance, parent rock, slope position, forest type, slope forms, soil depth and gradient. On the other hand, the adaptation was quantified by forest density. Finally, using these criterions, the vulnerability of landslide to climate change was assessed and the spatial landslide vulnerability map was prepared in Korea.”

Geo-spatial Information and Technologies in Support of EU Crisis Management

International Journal of Digital Earth, Volume 3, Issue 1 March 2010 , pages 16 – 30

Delilah H. A. Al-Khudhairy

“This paper discusses the challenges in operational crisis management and describes the role of information and geo-spatial technologies in meeting those challenges. The paper discusses two main sources of data, Web and very high resolution (VHR) earth observation sensors, in terms of relevance to crisis management and techniques for information extraction and analysis. Although research in information text extraction and analysis is more advanced than in information image extraction and analysis, further research is required in both these fields to take advantage of the increasing complexity but richness of open source and VHR satellite data. The paper also discusses the use of Web, GIS and Digital Earth technologies in facilitating collaborative work, decision-making and information sharing in crisis management. Despite exciting and relevant advances in information sources, information extraction and analysis methods, and collaborative crisis technologies, the main challenge remains to convince stakeholders in operational crisis management that the adoption of these technologies will lead to enhanced and effective crisis management.”

National Geographic Society and Esri Agreement Helps Broaden the Geographic Story

The National Geographic Society has signed a nonprofit site license (NSL) agreement with Esri that allows expansion of the geographic information system (GIS) user base within the society and improves public access to geographic data. The NSL gives the National Geographic Society unlimited deployments of ArcGIS software, thereby providing greater support of the society’s goal of increasing and diffusing geographic knowledge.

“Our relationship with Esri and use of its products over the years has helped us more effectively utilize GIS technology in our cartographic workflow and analysis,” says Charles Regan, vice president and general manager, National Geographic Maps. “This new agreement will provide our staff with even greater access to GIS applications and data, allowing us to better incorporate geographic information into our storytelling.”

Esri has worked with the National Geographic Society for more than 25 years and has provided solutions for robust analysis of geographic data.

National Geographic Society will use the NSL to

  • Improve efficiency in data sharing.
  • Reduce GIS maintenance and support costs.
  • Deploy ArcGIS on more desktops and give employees greater access to GIS applications and data.
  • Enable more people to use spatial data and analysis to effectively tell stories.

The National Geographic Society will deploy Esri’s ArcGIS Server technology both on the premises and in the cloud. These Web-enabled applications are being designed to help the public have a more in-depth and interactive experience with geographic information.

“Historically, the National Geographic Society has been preeminent in using geography to tell compelling, dramatic, and engaging stories,” notes Jack Dangermond, president of Esri. “The society has gone far beyond the service of delivering maps and data. It uses GIS as an education tool to describe the cultures, landscapes, and environments of our world. This NSL affirms Esri’s support of the National Geographic Society’s work and continues our longstanding relationship, respect, and appreciation of the many education projects it provides the world.”

National Geographic uses ArcGIS for a wide range of data production, cartography, publishing, and analysis tasks. Staff often queries and combines datasets to create statistics and graphs for National Geographic maps, Web sites, and magazine articles. For example, National Geographic’s FieldScope application uses ArcGIS to enable students and citizen scientists to compute watersheds and flow paths on the fly. This helps them understand how water flows to and from their locations. In addition, ArcGIS Server enables LandScope America, an online resource for land protection that is a collaborative project of NatureServe and National Geographic Society, to publish hundreds of conservation map layers at multiple scales and extents. LandScope America also uses ArcGIS Server to make available thousands of geotagged articles, photos, and videos.

[Source: Esri press release]

Twenty Years of Progress: GIScience in 2010

Journal of Spatial Information Science, Number 1 (2010), pp. 3–20

Michael F. Goodchild

“It is 20 years since the term “geographic information science” was suggested to encompass the set of fundamental research issues that surround GIS. Two decades of GIScience have produced a range of accomplishments, in an expanding literature of research results as well as in the infrastructure of research. Several themes are suggested for future research, based both on gaps in what has been accomplished thus far, and on technology trends that will themselves raise research questions.”

Does Competition Improve Public School Efficiency? A Spatial Analysis

Dissertation, Mississippi State University, 2010

Kaustav Misra

“Proponents of educational reform often call for policies to increase competition between schools. It is argued that market forces naturally lead to greater efficiencies, including improved student learning, when schools face competition. In many parts of the country, public schools experience significant competition from private schools; however, the literature is not clear as to whether public versus private competition generates significant improvements in technical efficiency. A major hurdle for researchers examining this issue is determining a workable definition of competition by which they can measure the degree of competition within local markets. I address this challenge by developing a School Competition Index (SCI) for Mississippi through implementation of several Geographical Information System (GIS) tools. The SCI reveals the degree of competition for each public school based on their spatial location relative to peer private schools operating within their service area. GIS is a unique way to measure the degree of competition among public schools and private schools. Including components of market structure is not sufficient to measure the effects of competition in a market; market characteristics, which vary between locations, are also important. Market characteristics such as, religiosity, school location, and social capital are used in this dissertation as exogenous variables. Two stage stochastic frontier analysis and single equation stochastic frontier analysis are both employed to evaluate school efficiency. This dissertation finds that higher degrees of competition from private schools significantly increase public elementary school efficiency, as measured by the proficiency rates in different examinations. At the same time, competition from private schools does not improve public high schools efficiency. The results suggest that a rural-urban student academic achievement gap persists, and that community social capital stock is also important to some extent. Regardless of model or estimation procedure, students race and socio-economic status significantly reduce public school efficiency. It is anticipated that the current results will inform policymakers regarding the viability of competition-based reforms after considering all these factors.”

The Effect of Biomass and Scanning Angle on the Laser Pulse Transmittance

ISPRS Technical Commission VII Symposium: 100 Years ISPRS – Advancing Remote Sensing Science, 05-07 July 2010, Vienna, Austria

Eero Ahokas, Juha Hyyppä, H. Kaartinen, Antero Kukko, Sanna Kaasalainen, and Anssi Krooks

“During the last decade, there have been numerous scientific studies verifying the accuracy of digital elevation models (DEM) derived from airborne laser scanning (ALS). Since ALS has increasingly been used for nationwide digital elevation model data acquisition, optimizing ALS acquisition parameters is a topic of interest to national land surveys. In particular, the effect of the scanning angle and biomass on elevation-model accuracy needs further study in heavily-forested areas. The elevation-model accuracy is affected by, for example, the number of pulses hitting the ground, footprint size, terrain slope and, especially, vegetation. In order to better understand the effect of the biomass and scanning angle on the penetration rate of ALS signal through canopy and give further support to ALS studies, especially for scanning angles beyond 15 degrees of the nadir point, we conducted an indoor experiment using small spruce trees to represent forest canopy. The indoor experiment allowed us to measure the biomass reference accurately.  We used manual thinning to produce various levels of biomass and scissor lift as the carrying platform. We measured the weight of every tree and the total biomass of trees after each thinning phase. We removed the material homogeneously from the trees, starting from the latest shoots. We used a FARO laser scanner in the experiment and attached it to the scissor lift. We scanned the experimental plot from four altitudes (about 3, 5, 7 and 9 m) and at six biomass levels (about 0, 6, 9, 14, 20 and 25 kg). The results show that signal transmittance through spruce trees is a function of biomass and scanning angle, but that the scanning angle only has a minor effect on the results. Biomass is the major parameter in determining the quality of the elevation model. While the results require further airborne experiments to be fully confirmed, they do imply that a scanning angle greater than 15 degrees can be applied in regions having low and moderate biomass, and due to the significant effect of the biomass on the transmittance, the airborne scanning missions must be carefully specified in heavily-forested terrain. We also found that terrestrial laser scanning experiments performed in an indoor laboratory-type setting yielded a relatively good understanding of the basic behaviour of and interaction between the target and laser scanning rather easily, but that it will be considerably more difficult to obtain similar results in a real-life experiment due to limited accuracy when collecting the reference data.”