Economic Growth and the Expansion of Urban Land in China

Urban Studies, April 2010; vol. 47, 4: pp. 813-843., first published on November 20, 2009

Xiangzheng Deng, Jikun Huang, Scott Rozelle, and Emi Uchida

“This paper aims to demonstrate the relationship between economic growth and the urban core area in order to help urban planners reach a better understanding of the pressures that are leading to changes in land use. Using a unique panel dataset with measures of China’s land use, it is shown that, during the late 1980s and 1990s, China’s urban land area rose significantly. Descriptive statistics and multivariate analysis are then used to identify the determinants of urban land use change. In addition to using more standard regression approaches such as ordinary least squares, the analysis is augmented with spatial statistical analysis. The analysis demonstrates the overwhelming importance of economic growth in the determination of urban land use. Overall, it is found that urban land expands by 3 per cent when the economy, measured by gross domestic product, grows by 10 per cent. It is also shown that the expansion of the urban core is associated with changes in China’s economic structure. If urban planners have access to forecasts of economic growth, using these results they should be able to have a better basis for planning the expansion of the built-up area in the urban core.”

Facilitating Volunteered Geographic Information Through SDI Policy Frameworks

GSDI 12 World Conference, 19 to 22 October 2010, Singapore

Kevin McDougall

“Although the momentum for the application and integration of volunteered geographic information continues to grow, the institutional inertia within government environments has yet to empower the users to participate as partners in future SDI development. This paper will review current SDI policy frameworks and trace the developments that have occurred in recent years, particularly the progressive move from top down national approaches towards the bottom up SDI developments. Existing policy frameworks vary significantly in their attitude towards the user, although a primary purpose of SDI is to facilitate the access to spatial data for potential users and the wider community. The conditions required to both facilitate and inhibit volunteered spatial information will be explored and a comparative analysis against existing policy frameworks will be undertaken. In particular, the heavy reliance of volunteered geographic information on a suitable information access framework and the ability of existing SDIs to incorporate user generated information within their data models will be examined. The conditions that facilitate collaboration for the sharing of data within a business environment such as trust, sharing of benefits, a shared value of the data and clear partner responsibilities also exist within the volunteered geographic information environment. These conditions will be explored in the context of a user and a SDI custodian agency. Changes to existing policy frameworks that are more sympathetic to user driven approaches will be presented and their possible implication discussed.”

Distributed Image-Sensor Web Management for Bandwidth Constrained Environments

Daniel Marconett, Skylar Bemus, Samuel Johnson, Ryan Jarvinen, Daniel Potter, and Lawrence C. Freudinger

“The California State University, Sacramento I-Scan Group was an undergraduate senior project group tasked with the research and creation of a Video-On-Demand distributed network computing system for NASA Earth Sciences. As the group lead, Dan directed the research and development of this distributed sensor web system-of-systems, which links multiple geographically distributed image-sensor locations and makes them available for observation over the internet in near real-time. Furthermore, the system is somewhat tolerant of narrow bandwidth constraints. This functionality is crucial to successful implementation, which will occur onboard a NASA Earth Sciences unmanned aerial vehicle for environmental mapping of a particularly inhospitable location in Antarctica.”


“Remote and in situ observation is an essential ingredient of understanding of our Earth and its processes. Observed data greatly improve the ability of Earth and Environmental scientists to model and predict various events and patterns which transpire in the environment and around the globe. Unmanned aircraft, with onboard instruments which enable such data collection, are an essential part of the future remote observing infrastructure. These platforms will contain imaging instruments capable of producing far more data that can be transferred to decision-makers for near real-time use in a cost-effective manner although narrowband communications can be assumed. In this paper, we discuss a prototype system to manage metadata for mobile cameras similar to systems that could be installed on suborbital Earth observation platforms. Network cameras simulate a distributed system of imagers on one or more platforms. A software system is described that integrates the webcam imagery with time-varying metadata. This paper offers an overview of design and performance of this system in a benign communication environment, and discusses data management challenges as it applies to implementation of such a system on unmanned airborne observation platforms for Earth science missions.”

  • Read the paper [PDF]
  • U.S. Geospatial Intelligence Foundation Honors Jack Dangermond

    Esri President Receives Arthur C. Lundahl Lifetime Achievement Award at 2010 GEOINT Symposium

    Esri president Jack Dangermond received the Arthur C. Lundahl Lifetime Achievement Award from the United States Geospatial Intelligence Foundation (USGIF) last week in New Orleans, Louisiana.

    Dangermond accepted the award at the 2010 GEOINT Symposium, the nation’s premier geospatial intelligence (GEOINT) event. The nonprofit USGIF hosts the symposium as part of its mission to promote the geospatial intelligence tradecraft. The award recognizes an individual’s outstanding contributions and longstanding commitment to the geospatial intelligence community.

    K. Stuart Shea, USGIF’s chairman and chief executive officer, lauded Dangermond for being a trailblazer and tireless advocate in the fields of geography, geospatial science, and geographic information system (GIS) technology.

    “It was his time at Harvard University that set him on a path to where he is today,” said Shea, briefly tracing the history of how Esri’s early work on mapping projects culminated in the company’s 1982 release of ARC/INFO, the first commercial GIS software. “My former company implemented one of the first digital mapping solutions inside the CIA using his nascent piece of commercial software,” Shea added.

    Dangermond, who joined USGIF’s board in 2004, thanked Shea but credited a group of visionaries who started using computers for geographic research and developing computer mapping 50 years ago. Much of the pioneering and inventive work in computational geography, he said, was pursued by “curiosity-driven researchers” such as architect Howard Fisher, founder of the Harvard lab, and geographers Waldo Tobler, David Simonett, and Duane Marble.

    “It was the birthing of quantitative geography,” Dangermond said. “It moved us from observation, description, and storytelling in the geographic sciences to exploring geography using the concepts of relationships and patterns. You have taken this same set of computational geography tools and begun to apply them in important missions of intelligence gathering and analytics. You are creating new kinds of tradecraft that are saving people’s lives and giving us the strategic advantage as a country.”

    Dangermond said that the role of computational geography is growing in the GEOINT community. “At this moment, computational geography and GIS are beginning to play very heavily into our intelligence picture,” he noted.

    There’s also a move to what Dangermond called computational intelligence. “We are connecting persistent surveillance with databases, analytics, and interpretive methodologies,” Dangermond said. “Simple observation is not enough.”

    USGIF’s Lifetime Achievement Award was renamed this year to honor Arthur C. Lundahl, known as “the father of imagery analysis.” Lundahl founded the National Photographic Interpretation Center (NPIC) at the CIA in 1961, leading the team that saw evidence in U-2 reconnaissance photos of missiles armed with nuclear warheads in Cuba. The discovery sparked the Cuban missile crisis.

    Past award winners include Leo Hazlewood, a former executive director of the CIA; Charles E. Allen, former undersecretary of Homeland Security for Intelligence and Analysis; and James R. Clapper Jr., director of National Intelligence.

    [Source: Esri press release]