Software and Data Helps Journalists Research Health Trends

Esri Provides Free Data to AHCJ Members

Esri and the Association of Health Care Journalists, Inc. (AHCJ), have created a program providing easy, no-cost access to demographic and market data to AHCJ members. The program has two components: a no-cost, subscription to Esri Business Analyst Online (BAO) Web-based software for background data exploration and reports, and a data request service to meet specialized story requirements. By providing AHCJ members access to this on-demand reporting and mapping service, the program allows demographic patterns to be identified, investigated, and reported.

“Reporters can pick existing areas—including states, counties, cities, ZIP Codes, and Census tracts—or define specific areas to profile and compare,” says Jeff Porter, director of special projects, AHCJ. “With a built-in business search tool, a reporter could, for example, create a map showing income demographics, then overlay specific locations of grocery stores for a story about a local food desert, which is an area that does not have access to affordable, nutritious food.”

BAO does not require special expertise and runs in a Web browser without the need to install software. BAO data includes

  • Demographic data
  • Street basemaps
  • Imagery
  • Data from government sources
  • Microsoft’s Bing Maps business location information

Using the data request service, AHCJ members can contact  the Esri Product Marketing who has extensive experience in providing data to the news media. In addition to demographic data, Esri’s Market Potential and Consumer Spending databases provide a wealth of medical data including amounts spent for  medical insurance and medical supplies, along with the potential for healthcare spending by market area.

Esri employs many data sources and proven methodologies to ensure delivery of the industry’s most accurate current-year demographic data estimates and five-year forecasts. Updated Demographics, Consumer Spending, Market Potential, Retail MarketPlace, and Tapestry Segmentation databases are available in a wide variety of geographies, including national, state, county, census tract, and block group.

AHCJ members can obtain more information and access their complimentary BAO subscription at For more information on how Esri supports the media and journalists, visit

[Source: Esri press release]

When Spatial Analysis Meets OLAP: Multidimensional Model and Operators

International Journal of Data Warehousing and Mining (IJDWM), Volume 6, Issue 4, pp. 33-60, 2010

Sandro Bimonte; Maryvonne Miquel

“Introducing spatial data into multidimensional models leads to the concept of Spatial OLAP (SOLAP). Existing SOLAP models do not completely integrate the semantic component of geographic information (alphanumeric attributes and relationships) or the flexibility of spatial analysis into multidimensional analysis. In this paper, the authors propose the GeoCube model and its associated operators to overcome these limitations. GeoCube enriches the SOLAP concepts of spatial measure and spatial dimension and take into account the semantic component of geographic information. The authors define geographic measures and dimensions as geographic and/or complex objects belonging to hierarchy schemas. GeoCube’s algebra extends SOLAP operators with five new operators, i.e., Classify, Specialize, Permute, OLAP-Buffer and OLAP-Overlay. In addition to classical drill-and-slice OLAP operators, GeoCube provides two operators for navigating the hierarchy of the measures, and two spatial analysis operators that dynamically modify the structure of the geographic hypercube. Finally, to exploit the symmetrical representation of dimensions and measures, GeoCube provides an operator capable of permuting dimension and measure. In this paper, GeoCube is presented using environmental data on the pollution of the Venetian Lagoon.”

Geostatistical Analysis of China Inbound Tourism Spatial Distribution Structure

18th International Conference on Geoinformatics, 18-20 June 2010, Beijing, China

Liu, Fajian; Zhang, Jie; Zhang, Jinhe; Zhu, Yawen; and Chen, Dongdong

“As an important method of GIS-based spatial analysis, geostatistics has been applied in a variety of scientific disciplines, which has expanded from natural phenomena to some socio-economic problems (metropolitan house price, land price), for its special power to reveal the spatial characteristics, structure and process of regionalized variables. China inbound tourism phenomenon can also be taken as regionalized variable as well, according to its random, structural characteristics. Yet the research existing about it paid more attention to the regional differences in individual and microscopic ways, rather than the macroscopic, totalistic, relative, dynamic characters and divergence of inbound tourism. This paper attempts to introduce geostatistics into inbound tourism research after interpreting the necessity and feasibility, and uses kriging method to analyze scales of inbound tourists of 321 prefecture-level cities from 2003 to 2007. By comparing the five semivariograms and contour maps of scales of inbound tourists, we come to the conclusion that Pearl River Delta Region, Yangzi River Delta Region and Beijing-Tianjin-Tangshan Region have been the three centralized areas and diffusion sources of China inbound tourism, while they have different modes, directions and routes of diffusion. The pole diffusion has been altering to pole-axis diffusion gradually. Meanwhile, the gap of inbound tourism scales in eastern coastal regions of China has been reducing and the homogeneity increasing. Guangxi and Yunnan, which have been developing rapidly in recent years, together with Sichuan and Shanxi constitute the sub-highlands of inbound tourism, while the tourism sinking downfall of Central China has been more apparent. This paper not only displays the spatial distribution patterns of China inbound tourism, gives advice to the planning and tactics of regional inbound tourism development, but also expands the applicable scope of geostatistics and makes contributions to the diversity of tourism research methods.”

Finding OGC Web Services in the Digital Earth

Proceedings of the Workshop “Towards Digital Earth: Search, Discover and Share Geospatial Data 2010” at Future Internet Symposium, Berlin, Germany, September 20, 2010

Aneta Jadwiga Florczyk, Patrick Maué, Francisco Javier López Pellicer, Francisco Javier Nogueras Iso

“The distribution of OGCWeb Catalogues (CSW) across professional communities, the expert profile of the catalogue user and also the low coverage of OGCWeb Services (OWS) in standard search engines reduce the possibility of discovery and sharing geographic information. This paper presents an approach to simple spatio-temporal search of OWS retrieved from the web by a specialized crawler. The Digital Earth could benefit from this solution as it overcomes technical boundaries and solves the limitation of CSW acceptance only within professional community.”

Relationship Between the Riverine Nitrate–nitrogen Concentration and the Land Use in the Teshio River Watershed, North Japan

Sustainability Science, Volume 4, Number 2, 2009, 189-198

Nina Y. Ileva, Hideaki Shibata, Fuyuki Satoh, Kaichiro Sasa and Hiroshi Ueda

“The present research investigated the relationship between nitrate–nitrogen (NO3–N) in river water and the land use/land cover (hereafter, land use) in the Teshio River watershed located in northern Hokkaido island to understand the effect of human activities such as agriculture, forestry, industry, and urbanization in the drainage basin on the river ecosystem quality and services. River water was sampled at nine points seasonally during a 2-year period and the nutrients concentration was measured. Land use profiles were estimated at two spatial scales, riparian and sub-catchment, for each sampling station. The spatial pattern of water quality in the Teshio River showed increased NO3–N levels associated with agriculture and urban expansion, and forest reduction in the watershed. Land use at the riparian scale closely reflected that at the sub-catchment scale, which masked the unique riparian buffer effect on the river water condition. The increased agricultural and reduced forest area in the riparian zone, especially in the upper middle reach, could be a possible reason for a decline of ecosystem service for the provisioning of clean water and habitat for aquatic organisms. Measures towards sustainable and more nature-friendly agricultural management are necessary in the area to protect the Teshio River ecosystem and its ecosystem services.”

Georgia Association of Regional Commissions Strengths GIS Program to Enhance Citizen Services across the State

The Georgia Association of Regional Commissions (GARC) has signed an enterprise license agreement (ELA) with Esri to secure unlimited access to ArcGIS software. GARC works to advance the efforts of the state’s 12 regional commissions, which serve local governments across the state. The ELA will help GARC members better meet geographic information system (GIS) technology needs in counties, cities, and towns, resulting in improved services for citizens.

“I think this is one of the biggest landmark decisions that the executive directors of the Georgia Association of Regional Commissions has made in its existence because it not only helps the regional commissions, it helps all the citizens in the state of Georgia, collectively,” said Chris Chalmers, GIS/IT committee chairman, GARC. “In the economic times we find ourselves in, improving the quality of service to our local governments is not only the goal of each regional commission but also the Georgia Association of Regional Commission’s main goal.”

With broader access to current ArcGIS software, GARC members will update and improve many GIS workflows and applications. For example, individual commissions will begin replicating data with one another for better contingency planning. If a hurricane damages the Coastal Regional Commission systems, commission leaders will be able to access their data immediately via the Middle Georgia Regional Commission GIS.

“Our GIS committee is outstanding; we are fortunate to have some of the finest individuals involved,” said Danny Lewis, GARC president. “They recommended the ELA to our executive directors, and there was never a question that the benefits would be exactly what the State of Georgia needed to succeed. I applaud those who advocated this initiative—it exemplifies what is expected of the regional commission leaders in Georgia. We think the sky is the limit as to what we can accomplish.”

For more information on Esri ELAs, visit

[Source: Esri press release]

Quote of the Day

“The truth about conservation is that some of the best work is done by intelligent folks sitting in front of computer screens, tied to a global community by a tangle of phone and internet lines, or in a board rooms surrounded by like-minded Patagonia- and Carhartt-clad colleagues.”

Christina Supples

Collaboration in the Model Web

Proceedings of the Workshop “Towards Digital Earth: Search, Discover and Share Geospatial Data 2010” at Future Internet Symposium, Berlin, Germany, September 20, 2010

Sven Schade, Patrick Maué, Clodoveu Davis

“Compared to environmental data sets, an open and simple exchange of environmental models on the Web remains a vision.  The lack of an architecture facilitating the different aspects of sharing models, in the sense of scientific simulations of environmental phenomena, significantly impairs collaboration between the different use groups interested in the model results.  In this paper we discuss current solutions and future challenges which facilitate collaboration in a web of models.  We elaborate on the key issues, and illustrate our vision of a collaborative Model Web by detailing a possible usage scenario.  We analyze different aspects of environmental models, investigate the involved actors, and define the different means of collaboration between these actors.  This work provides a mid-term goal for the development of the Model Web and thereby for a central part of the Digital Earth.”

Exploring Patterns of Movement Suspension in Pedestrian Mobility

Geographical Analysis, 2010 (In press)

D. Orellana and M. Wachowicz

“[This is a working version of a paper accepted for publication in  Geographical Analysis. For the final version, please contact the author.]

“One  of the main tasks  in analysing pedestrian movement is to detect  places where pedestrians stop,  because those  places  are usually associated to specific human activities and  they  can  allow us to understand their movement behaviour. Very few approaches have been proposed to detect the locations of stops in positioning data sets, and they are usually based on selecting the location of candidate stops  as well as  potential  spatial and temporal thresholds according to  different application  requirements. However, these approaches are not suitable  for analysing the slow movement of pedestrians where the inaccuracy of  non-differential GPS  commonly used for movement tracking  is  so  significant  that can hinder the selection of  adequate  thresholds.  In this  paper,  we  propose  an  exploratory statistical approach in order to detect patterns of movement suspension using a local index of spatial association (LISA)  in a vector space representation. Two different positioning data sets  are used  to evaluate our approach  in terms of exploring movement suspension patterns which  can be  related to  different landscapes. They are  players  of  an urban  outdoor mobile game and visitors  of  a  natural  park. The results show that  in both experiments patterns of movement suspension were located at places such as checkpoints  in  the game and different attractions and facilities  in  the park. Based on these results we conclude that LISA  is a reliable approach for exploring movement suspension  patterns  that  represent  the places where  the movement of  pedestrians is temporally suspended by physical restrictions (e.g. checkpoints of the mobile game and the route choosing points of the park). ”

Integrating Human Observations and Sensor Observations – the Example of a Noise Mapping Community

Proceedings of the Workshop “Towards Digital Earth: Search, Discover and Share Geospatial Data 2010” at Future Internet Symposium, Berlin, Germany, September 20, 2010

Theodor Foerster, Simon Jirka, Christoph Stasch, Benjamin Pross, Thomas Everding, Arne Bröring, Eike Juerrens

“Human observations have the potential to significantly improve the actuality and completeness of data about phenomena such as noise distribution in urban environments. The Human Sensor Web aims at providing approaches for creating and sharing human observations as well as sensor observations on the Web. One challenge is the integration of these observations for further analysis. The aspects presented in this paper are examined by the example of a noise mapping community.”