The Use of Geostatistics and GIS for Evolutionary History Studies: The Case of the Nose-horned Viper (Vipera ammodytes) in the Balkan Peninsula

Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, Volume 101, Issue 3, pages 651–666, November 2010


“Geostatistics and geographical information system (GIS) procedures are novel techniques helpful for the identification of environmental correlates sustaining contact zones among subspecies or closely related species. In this paper, we tried to infer evolutionary scenarios for Vipera ammodytes across the European part of its distribution area using geostatistics and ecological niche-based models, hence trying to solve several biogeographical questions that remained unclear after the application of classical morphological tools and genetic analyses. Eleven morphological traits from 871 vipers were analysed with geostatistics and ecological niche-based modelling. Interpolation by kriging was used to generate surfaces of morphological variation, which were combined with spatial principal components analysis (SPCA). SPCA maps were used to test putative morphological differentiated groups with discriminant function analysis (DFA). Maximum entropy modelling and seven environmental variables were used to identify factors limiting the distribution of groups and areas for the potential occurrence of such groups. Three patterns of morphological variation were observed: a north-west/south-west cline, transition zones with steep clines of variation in a west–east arc, and particular character traits that disturbed the general cline. SPCA identified between three and nine putative population groups, of which three were supported by DFA. Areas of potential occurrence of these groups were coherent with the range of the three subspecies of V. ammodytes currently recognized. The distribution of all subspecies was mostly related to precipitation in the driest month. Areas of probable sympatry between subspecies are generally small and restricted. The main patterns of geographic variation of morphological characters for V. ammodytes were similar to the patterns obtained for Vipera latastei and Vipera monticola; the same environmental factors limit the distribution of differentiated groups of vipers in the Balkans and the Iberian Peninsula. The influence of humidity on the variation of morphological traits in spatially separated viper taxa from the two European peninsulas coincides with their phylogenetic relatedness. Geostatistics and GIS procedures were successful in the identification of environmental correlates sustaining contact zones among V. ammodytes subspecies in the Balkans. The same techniques should be applied for studying other parapatric forms and refugia regions.”

Facilities Managers Examine whether BIM and GIS Can Coexist

The Next Evolution of Smarter Building Practices Is Addressed at the Spatial Roundtable

As facilities owners and operators look to create buildings that are safe, secure, energy efficient, and optimally operated, they are embracing geographic information system (GIS) technology. This is leading many who have invested in building information modeling (BIM) to question whether BIM and GIS can be used together. Shelli Stockton, facilities management industry manager for Esri, addresses this question at the online Spatial Roundtable.

“One of the first questions I am often asked when I talk to FM and real property managers is whether or not GIS is a solution that is redundant to or even competitive with their BIM technology,” says Stockton.

Building owners use BIM to manage data particular to individual buildings. When querying information in multiple buildings, such as across a campus, or performing geographic analyses, like a best path analysis from one building to another, the building owner faces challenges. Stockton states that these can be overcome by integrating BIM data with GIS. When BIM and GIS are integrated, a suite of new analysis options for facility planners, owners, and operators is available. The results of these analyses can be reported and visualized at all geographic scales or levels of detail.

“Can BIM be used for ongoing facility management?” asks Stockton. “Yes, it can. Can GIS be used for design and construction? Of course, but the real power of these technologies lies in utilizing each for what it does best—BIM for design and construction and GIS for ongoing building and facility management.”

Participants can join the discussion about whether BIM and GIS are complementary technologies at the Esri-sponsored Spatial Roundtable at

[Source: Esri press release]

GeoViz Hamburg 2011: Linking Geovisualization with Spatial Analysis and Modeling

GeoViz calls for theoretical, experimental and applied papers that explore the links between geovisualization, spatial analysis and modeling. We encourage live demos and the discussion of ground-breaking work in its early stages. All together we will give time and space for a real workshop character.

The abstracts of accepted presentations will be published online at the workshop web site.

In addition, selected submissions will be invited for consideration in a special issue of the journal CARTOGRAPHICA (December 2011).

Important Dates:

November 1, 2010: Submission of abstracts

December 10, 2010: Notification of authors & publication of preliminary program

  • Invitation for presentations during GeoViz
  • Invitation for submitting full papers for consideration in special issue (submission ca. February 15, 2011)

More information

Citizens as Sensors for Crisis Events: Sensor Web Enablement for Volunteered Geographic Information

WebMGS 2010

Sven Schade, Gianluca Luraschi, Bertrand De Longueville, Simon Cox, and Laura Díaz

“A set of developments within the field of geosensors is to engage citizens to act as sensors, thus providing so-called Volunteered Geographic Information (VGI). There is a long tradition of non specialists contributing to the collection of geo-referenced information. Furthermore thanks to recent convergence of greater access to broadband connections, the availability of Global Positioning Systems at affordable prices, and more participative forms of interaction on the Web (Web 2.0) vast numbers of individuals are able to create and share geographic information. The potential of up to 6 billion human sensors to monitor the state of the environment, validate global models with local knowledge, contribute to crisis situations awareness and provide information that only humans can capture (e.g. emotions and perceptions like fear of crime) is vast and has yet to be fully exploited. However, integrating VGI into Spatial Data Infrastructures (SDI) is a major challenge, as it is often regarded as insufficiently structured, documented or validated according to scientific standards. Early instances of SDIs used to have limited ability to manage and process geosensor-based data (beyond remotely sensed imagery snapshots), which tend to arrive in continuous streams of real-time information. The current works on standards for Sensor Web Enablement (SWE) aim to fill this gap. This paper shows how such SWE standards can be applied to VGI, thus converting it in a timely, cost-effective and valuable source of information for SDIs. By doing so, we extend previous works describing a workflow for VGI integration into SDI and further advance an initial set of VGI Sensing and event detection techniques. In particular, an example of how such VGI Sensing techniques can support crisis information system is provided.”

Assessing the Quality of Geoscientific Simulation Models with Visual Analytics Methods – A Design Study

International Journal of Geographical Information Science, Volume 24 Issue 10 2010, Pages 1459 – 1479: Geospatial Visual Analytics: Focus on Time Special Issue of the ICA Commission on GeoVisualization

Doris Dransch; Patrick Köthur; Sven Schulte; Volker Klemann; Henryk Dobslaw

“Simulation models are essential means of scientific knowledge building and also the basis for decision-making. Because of their relevance, they have to be assessed thoroughly with respect to their quality. Simulation model assessment comprises two challenges: (a) modelers have to create a comprehensive mental image of the model’s quality despite the massive multidimensional, multivariate, and often heterogeneous data; and (b) the model assessment process should be as efficient as possible. We face these challenges with a visual analytics approach. We aim at developing interactive visual representations which, in combination with present computational analysis methods, support the scientist’s reasoning process to enhance the assessment of simulation models. In a design study, we analyzed two exemplary reasoning processes which cover the main model assessment procedures: the evaluation of the internal coherence of the model’s structure and behavior and the assessment of its empirical validity. The analysis was conducted by means of a user- and task-centered approach which combines several knowledge elicitation techniques and task analysis concepts. We derived domain tasks as well as cognitive actions and developed and implemented interactive visualization components which supplement the statistical analysis methods already used. An informal qualitative user study shows that our visual analytics approach and tools help gain a more detailed mental image and hence a better understanding of the data and the underlying simulation model and allow for a faster and more comprehensive assessment of the simulation model. ”