A Geospatial Analysis of Convective Rainfall Regions Within Tropical Cyclones After Landfall

International Journal of Applied Geospatial Research, Vol. 1, Issue 2, 2010

Corene Matyas

“In this article, the author utilizes a GIS to spatially analyze radar reflectivity returns during the 24 hours following 43 tropical cyclone (TC) landfalls. The positions of convective rainfall regions and their areal extent are then examined according to storm intensity, motion, vertical wind shear, time until extratropical transition, time after landfall, and distance from the coastline. As forward velocity increases in conjunction with an extratropical transition, these regions move outward, shift from the right side to the front of the TC, and grow in size. A similar radial shift, but with a decrease in areal extent, occurs as TCs weaken. Further quantification of the shapes of these regions could yield a more spatially accurate assessment of where TCs may produce high rainfall totals.”

Challenges of the Sensor Web for Disaster Management

International Journal of Digital Earth, Volume 3, Issue 3 September 2010 , pages 260 – 279

Fei Wang; Hongyong Yuan

“Sensor Web has been widely promoted and its application has evolved from original military usages to current ubiquitous civil and commercial applications. Its emergence has become a great strength to facilitate the Digital Earth concept. Although many Sensor Web applications and methods have been proposed to assist disaster management, they are not well suited to the unique features and application requirements of disaster management. Most researches focus on how to use the Sensor Web to monitor a certain phenomenon before a disaster happens and to provide early warning. However, there is a lack of study on the negative effects that a disaster may bring to the Sensor Web. For example, severe weather conditions, damaged infrastructure, and spatial isolation may directly make the Sensor Web out-of-service. Besides, disaster management is a complex subject and its domain knowledge needs to be clarified. In this paper, the domain of the disaster management is explored and its unique features are analyzed. Then the Sensor Web concept and its role in disaster management are explained. Afterwards, the challenges of the Sensor Web for disaster management and the possible solutions are discussed. Based on the above, we introduce a high-mobility emergency system to demonstrate a good solution of the Sensor Web for multi-purpose disaster management.”

Termites Foretell Climate Change in Africa’s Savannas

Using sophisticated airborne imaging and structural analysis, scientists at the Carnegie Institution’s Department of Global Ecology mapped more than 40,000 termite mounds over 192 square miles in the African savanna. They found that their size and distribution is linked to vegetation and landscape patterns associated with annual rainfall. The results reveal how the savanna terrain has evolved and show how termite mounds can be used to predict ecological shifts from climate change. The research is published in the September 7, 2010, advanced online edition of Nature Communications.

Mound-building termites in the study area of Kruger National Park in South Africa tend to build their nests in areas that are not too wet, nor too dry, but are well drained, and on slopes of savanna hills above boundaries called seeplines. Seeplines form where water has flowed belowground through sandy, porous soil and backs up at areas rich in clay. Typically woody trees prefer the well-drained upslope side where the mounds tend to locate, while grasses dominate the wetter areas down slope.

“These relationships make the termite mounds excellent indicators of the geology, hydrology, and soil conditions,” commented lead author Shaun Levick at Carnegie. “And those conditions affect what plants grow and thus the entire local ecosystem. We looked at the mound density, size, and location on the hills with respect to the vegetation patterns.”

Most research into the ecology of these savannas has focused on the patterns of woody trees and shorter vegetation over larger, regional scales. Work at the smaller, hill-slope scales has, until now, been limited to 2-dimensional studies on specific hillsides. The Carnegie research was conducted by the Carnegie Airborne Observatory (CAO)–a unique airborne mapping system that operates much like a diagnostic medical scan. It can penetrate the canopy all the way to the soil level and probe about 40,000 acres per day. The CAO uses a waveform LiDAR system (light detection and ranging) that maps the 3-dimensional structure of vegetation and, in this case, termite mounds and combines that information with spectroscopic imaging—imaging that reveals chemical fingerprints of the species below. It renders the data in stunning 3-D maps.

“We looked at the vegetation and termite mound characteristics throughout enormous areas of African savanna in dry, intermediate, and wet zones,” explained Levick. “We found that precipitation, along with elevation, hydrological, and soil conditions determine whether the area will be dominated by grasses or woody vegetation and the size and density of termite mounds.”

The advantage of monitoring termite mounds in addition to vegetation is that mounds are so tightly coupled with soil and hydrological conditions that they make it easier to map the hill slope seeplines. Furthermore, vegetation cover varies a lot between wet and dry season, while the mounds are not subject to these fluctuations.

“By understanding the patterns of the vegetation and termite mounds over different moisture zones, we can project how the landscape might change with climate change,” explained co-author Greg Asner at Carnegie. “Warming is expected to increase the variability of future precipitation in African savannas, so some areas will get more, while others get less rain. The predictions are that many regions of the savanna will become drier, which suggests more woody species will encroach on today’s grasslands. These changes will depend on complex but predictable hydrological processes along hill slopes, which will correspond to pattern changes in the telltale termite mounds we see today from the air.”

This research was funded by a grant from the Andrew Mellon Foundation. The Carnegie Airborne Observatory is supported by the W.M. Keck Foundation and William Hearst, III. SANParks provided logistical support.

[Source: Carnegie Institution for Science press release]

High Concentration of Childhood Deaths in the Low-lying Areas of Chakaria HDSS, Bangladesh: Findings from a Spatial Analysis

Global Health Action, Vol 3 (2010)

Syed Manzoor Ahmed Hanifi, Muhammad Zahirul Haq, Rumesa Rowen Aziz, Abbas Bhuiya

“Despite significant reduction of childhood mortality in Bangladesh, large spatial variations persist. Identification of lower level spatial units with higher concentrations of deaths can be useful for strengthening services in these areas. This paper reports findings from a spatial analysis of deaths in Chakaria, a rural subdistrict, where a Health and Demographic Surveillance System has been in place since 1999. Chakaria is an INDEPTH member site. Methods: An analysis was done of 339 deaths among nearly 24,500 children under the age of five during 2005-2008. One ward, the lowest level of administrative units, was the unit of spatial analysis. Data from 24 wards were analyzed. The Discrete Poisson Probability Model was used to identify the clustering of deaths. Results: Deaths were concentrated within 12 wards located in the low-lying deltaic flood plains of the Chakaria HDSS area. The risk of death in the low-lying areas was statistically significantly higher, 1.5 times, than the non-low-lying areas (p<0.02). Conclusion: Spatial analysis can be a useful tool for identifying high-risk mortality areas. An understanding of the risk factors prevalent in the low-lying areas can help design effective interventions to reduce mortality in these areas.”

i2 and Esri Form Global Partnership to Deliver Combined Analytics and Geospatial Capabilities

Unparalleled analytical solution integrates geospatial, link and temporal analysis to maximize resources, efficiencies and analytical productivity

A new solution announced today gives defense, national security and law enforcement personnel around the world unprecedented analysis and intelligence capabilities better arming them for current and future counterinsurgency (COIN), anti-terrorism and public safety operations. As part of today’s announcement, i2 is now one of Esri’s Gold Tier partners.

i2, the leading provider of intelligence and investigation software previewed the first module of i2 Analyst’s Notebook — Esri® Edition at the Esri International User Conference this past July. Esri is the leading provider of geospatial analysis capabilities in the world. Analyst’s Notebook — Esri® Edition is a powerful and flexible geospatial, link and temporal analysis solution that includes a host of military, intelligence, law enforcement and civilian applications.  At their fingertips, analysts can incorporate and visualize demographics, road networks, railway lines, critical infrastructure and terrorist cells. The new solution also includes advanced human terrain mapping capabilities to examine and to understand the dynamics of roadside bombs and Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs).

Analysts recognize the value of intelligence products that integrate and visualize geographic, temporal and link relationships within a single, comprehensive picture.  i2 Analyst’s Notebook — Esri® Edition offers an unprecedented evolution towards this dynamic framework.

“Whether you are preventing, managing or responding to a crime or threat, it all must begin somewhere,” said E.B. Chambers of Homeland Security’s Intelligence and Analysis Department. “Geography and ‘dots on maps’ are at the core of what public safety, defense and intelligence organizations do.  But, ‘dots on maps’ are only the beginning. Through the integration of link and social network analysis capabilities with a complete GIS, public safety, defense and intelligence agencies can now answer the other critical questions of who, what, when and why. Through one common interface, virtually every organization can accelerate their ability to become more intelligence-led and knowledge-driven.”

i2 Analyst’s Notebook — Esri® Editionenables customers to:

  • Maximize their existing investments in data analysis.
  • Integrate link, temporal and geospatial analysis.
  • Save time and increase analytical accuracy.
  • Efficiently and effectively analyze and visualize in time and space their mission critical intelligence.

For example, users can quickly establish the people and locations that a suspect may be associated with, determine the routes they may have taken and with the click of a button, draw a buffer around a route, and then quickly query for suspicious activity, incidents or other relevant intelligence within that buffered region.

“Capitalizing on our long term partnership with Esri working with COPLINK for law enforcement, the extension of geospatial capabilities to Analyst’s Notebook was a logical next step,” said i2 CEO Bob Griffin.  “Incorporating geospatial with traditional link analysis is essential for crime prevention and counterinsurgency efforts.”

According to John Day, Esri’s Director of Defense Business Development, “many users of Analyst’s Notebook are Esri’s customers, and we are delighted that the new i2 Analyst’s Notebook — Esri® Edition will provide the increased integration of geospatial capabilities with link analysis they have been seeking. Analyst’s Notebook, coupled with geospatial services from ArcGIS Server, will help our customers continue their evolution towards a net-centric architecture leveraging Web 2.0 technologies. We are very pleased that i2 has chosen to further extend the ArcGIS platform and its ability to support all-source analysis — something we think will be compelling to both our current and new customers.”

The first module of i2 Analyst’s Notebook — Esri® Edition is available now.

[Source: i2 press release]

Mixed Land-use Planning on the Periphery of Large Asian Cities: The Case of Nonthaburi Province, Thailand

Sustainability Science, Volume 5, Number 2, 2010, 237-248

Yuji Hara, Ai Hiramatsu, Ryo Honda, Makiko Sekiyama and Hirotaka Matsuda

“Throughout Asia, rapid and uncontrolled urbanization has created serious environmental problems, and the development of sustainable urban–rural planning methods is of critical importance. To improve our understanding of mixed urban–rural land uses and provide future practical visions for regional planning, we conducted a case study of the urban fringe of the Bangkok Metropolitan Region, Thailand. After identifying local irrigation districts as the basic spatial unit for resource circulation, we quantified current material flows of organic wastes generated by households within each district. We then developed two different land-use scenarios for 2020: (1) a high-rise compact and (2) a low-story sprawl development scenario. These scenarios were compared in terms of efficiency of material flows and energy consumption. We found that, based on current infrastructure and technology, the latter scenario was more advantageous in terms of both material input and energy consumption than the former, thereby, identifying positive aspects of urban–rural land-use mixture. Based on these results, we propose that planners should focus on density control measures that take into account bioresource circulation within irrigation districts rather than simply drawing arbitrary land-use zoning lines. To this end, we suggest that the division between agricultural and urban planning departments must be bridged, and that research should take an interdisciplinary approach.”