An Application-driven Approach to Terrain Model Construction

International Journal of Geographical Information Science, Volume 24, Issue 8 August 2010 , pages 1171 – 1191

Amii R. Darnell; Andrew A. Lovett; Jenni Barclay; Richard A. Herd

“Terrain is a surface phenomenon that is measured, modelled, and mapped. However, it is continuously variable and must be simulated by points or mathematical equations that are inherently approximations. The error induced by digitally represented terrain can propagate to surface derivatives and geographical information science (GIS) applications where topography is considered. This can lead to uncertainty in model predictions and the use of data that are unfit for the application to which they are intended. This article outlines the problem of uncertainty in terrain representation and demonstrates the consequences for volcanic mudflow modelling. The response of a simple least-cost single flow algorithm to input parameters was investigated in order to assess output variation from the different sources of input variation. Elevation error was modelled with a probability density function (PDF) and propagated through stochastic simulation (Monte Carlo). Such combined uncertainty and sensitivity analyses enabled a qualitative judgement of the relative significance of elevation error on the flow model prediction. Different methods for terrain model construction were considered and show that supplementing global positioning system (GPS) measurements with information from field notes and reconnaissance photographs greatly improved the model performance and reduced the uncertainty. It is concluded that in terms of validity of model results, there is no substitute for constructing an elevation model that is informed by the terrain.”

Online Forum Asks if GIS Can Bring Choice Back into a “One Size Fits All” Retail Landscape



Locating Business Intelligently Is Topic of Spatial Roundtable

Simon Thompson, director of global business solutions, Esri, asks retailers to raise the bar and start reflecting local flavors and themes in the stores they open. “On my last drive across Kansas, it wasn’t the wheat fields or the flatness that amazed me but the repetitive retail landscape,” Thompson explains. “It seemed that every small town was a clone of the one I had just left—the same restaurant chains, grocers, drugstores, and general merchants.”

Thompson asks those with an opinion to share their insight on the current “one size fits all” retail landscape via Spatial Roundtable, a forum sponsored by Esri to discuss important topics. Can retailers use location intelligence through geographic information system (GIS) technology and data to discover the differences between each town and city? Can we use this information to give these communities what they need to satisfy customer demand, create vibrant communities, and thrive? Or do we give in to, as Thompson describes it, “the Wicked Witch of the Great Recession”?

Spatial Roundtable is designed for industry thought leaders to share their points of view about concerns, trends, challenges, and technologies. Participants in the online Spatial Roundtable discussion include the main contributor, who initiates the discussion, and invited topic-expert guests. Site visitors may also add comments. Topics remain open for discussion for 6 weeks. Archived topics are accessible for 24 months.


[Source: Esri press release]

Geographic Disparities in Cancer Survival and Access to Care: Ovarian Cancer in Kentucky

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

Mary Gordinier and Carol Hanchette

“From 1995-2005, ovarian cancer accounted for 2.7% of new cancer cases diagnosed among women in Kentucky and was responsible for 4.7% of female cancer deaths in the state. The five-year survival rate for ovarian cancer is 45% for all stages combined. Multiple studies document a survival advantage for women with gynecologic malignancies when treated by a gynecologic oncologist. The authors used Kentucky Cancer Registry data for the years 1995-2005, geocoded to 5-digit ZIP code, to examine the hypothesis that ovarian cancer survival is higher among patients receiving treatment in areas where gynecologic oncologists practice. Their hypothesis was confirmed. A secondary goal of the study was to identify geographic areas of the state with lower overall access to care. Contrary to the expected pattern of low access to care in the Appalachian region of the state, their analysis indicated that access to successful treatment is a greater issue in the western portion of Kentucky.”

Learn How to Run ArcGIS Server on Amazon EC2

Free Training Seminar Offers an Overview of Esri’s Newest Cloud GIS Offering

Esri will present a live, online training seminar on Thursday, August 26, 2010, titled Running ArcGIS Server on Amazon EC2. The seminar will air on at 9:00 a.m., 11:00 a.m., and 3:00 p.m. Pacific daylight time.

Amazon EC2 allows users to rent computing hardware resources and build scalable system architectures. Presenter Andrew Stauffer, ArcGIS Server development technical lead, will explain how to use a preconfigured ArcGIS Server instance on the Amazon EC2 cloud infrastructure. He will also demonstrate how to navigate the Amazon Web Services Management console and develop a production application using multiple instances.

The attendees will learn how to

·      Create flexible deployments that respond to fluctuations in demand.

·      Develop prototype geographic information system (GIS) applications while reducing hardware investments.

·      More effectively meet the needs of their organizations.

This live training seminar is geared toward GIS managers, administrators, developers, and analysts as well as IT managers and network administrators who want to use Amazon’s cloud infrastructure as a platform for running ArcGIS Server.

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]

Planning for Climate Change—ClimateWise

2010 ESRI International User Conference, San Diego, CA

Richard Nauman, Jessica Leonard

“Our ClimateWise program uses GIS to incorporate climate modeling data in community-based climate change adaptation planning. Modeling efforts have produced a series of large, spatially explicit datasets projecting future climatic conditions. The volume of information produced by these efforts coupled with the technical difficulty of accessing the data, processing it, and displaying it in a GIS environment has limited their usefulness for non-technical audiences. We have developed Python scripts that use the built-in geoprocessing functionality of ArcGIS to access these files and produce cartographic and tabular output used in climate adaptation planning processes. When incorporated into a facilitated series of forums, these data have proven valuable communities creating climate change adaptation plans at the river basin scale. Our process integrates the needs of cultural, ecological, economic, social, and built sectors of communities and results in robust action plans that build resistance and resilience in human and natural systems.”