The Sensor Web: Unpredictable, Noisy and Loaded with Errors

WI/IAT 2010 – IEEE/WIC/ACM International Joint Conferences on Web Intelligence and Intelligent Agent Technology, 1-3 September 2010, Toronto, Canada

Alan F. Smeaton

“Classical information retrieval is based around a user having an information need, formulated as a query, and a system which matches the query against ‘documents’, retrieving those most likely to be relevant. In some applications there are challenges because the ‘documents’ are not discrete objects but highly inter-connected, and IR research has for decades developed models of the processes, devised novel ranking algorithms, and developed very elaborate benchmarking techniques for performance. But what if the information we need or seek is not neatly divided into documents, either discrete or inter-connected, but needs to be taken from a constant stream of data values, namely data from sensors. These sensors cover the physical sensors around us (environment, place, physical activities like traffic, weather, people movement, crowd gatherings like concerts and sports events) as well as the online sensors we have access to (blogs, tweets, etc.). Often termed the *sensor web*, this information source is characterised as being noisy, errorsome, unpredictable and dynamic, exactly like the real and the virtual worlds in which we live, work and play. In this presentation I introduce several diverse sensor web applications to show the breadth and pervasive nature of the sensor web and I then show some of the techniques which we use to manage the information which forms part of the sensor web.”

New Book is a Practical Guide for GIS in Humanitarian Relief

Features ArcGIS Tutorials in Real-World Scenarios

GIS Tutorial for Humanitarian Assistance uses real-world scenarios as a practical guide for responding to crises, disasters, and relief efforts around the world. New from Esri Press, the tutorial will benefit both professionals and students as they apply geographic information system (GIS) skills and analysis to humanitarian efforts in ways that can help save lives and make the most of limited resources.

GIS is an essential tool for situational awareness to improve the flow of goods and services to populations at risk. This tutorial focuses on the specific skills needed to support emergency relief efforts, with an emphasis on finding, importing, and managing spatial data in regions with poor infrastructures. The tutorial also works well as an academic textbook for intermediate and advanced college coursework or for self-study.

“This book provides the core skills necessary to realize the full potential of GIS in humanitarian assistance,” says author Firoz Verjee. “It builds on recent experience of leading GIS practitioners from around the world and establishes some basic doctrines for the analytic applications of ArcGIS software during humanitarian operations.”

Verjee is a senior research associate at the Institute for Crisis, Disaster, and Risk Management at George Washington University in Washington, D.C. He also coordinates Aga Khan Development Network’s Seismic Risk Management Initiative based in Dushanbe, Tajikistan. For more than 16 years, Verjee has specialized in the application of remote sensing and GIS, primarily within the fields of disaster risk reduction and humanitarian assistance.

The book includes a 180-day trial of ArcGIS Desktop 9.3.1 software on DVD. A CD with data for the exercises is also provided.

GIS Tutorial for Humanitarian Assistance (ISBN: 978-1-58948-213-5, 380 pages, $79.95) is available at online retailers worldwide, at, or by calling 1-800-447-9778. Outside the United States, visit for complete ordering options, or visit to contact your local Esri distributor. Interested retailers can contact Esri Press book distributor Ingram Publisher Services.

[Source: Esri press release]

Survival Analysis in Land Change Science: Integrating with GIScience to Address Temporal Complexities

Annals of the Association of American Geographers, Volume 98, 2 June 2008 , pp 323-344

Li An and Daniel G. Brown

“Although land changes are characterized by dimensionality in both space and time, and a multitude of methods and techniques have been developed to model them, the temporal dimension has seldom been adequately addressed by commonly used methods. In the context of temporal complexities represented in different space-time data models, this study aims to establish a framework for applying survival analysis theory and techniques to geographical land change modeling. Our efforts focus on (1) introducing basic concepts in survival analysis and their connections to space-time data commonly used in land change analysis, (2) using survival metrics to describe temporal patterns that are not easily detected by other methods, and (3) applying survival analysis methods to disclose effects of varying temporal patterns and uncertainties. Our findings suggest that survival analysis, coupled with geographic information systems (GIS) and remote sensing data, can effectively disclose relationships in land changes, and in many instances excel in shedding light on the temporal patterns of land changes.”

Spatial Evaluation on Wetland Conversion Pattern in Surabaya and Surrounding Areas

Selected Topics in Power Systems and Remote Sensing, 2010


“Government and public awareness in maintaining and protecting the wetland ecosystem has increased recently. This was actualized by the applicable acts or regulations for the conservation of wetland ecosystems. However in reality, since the last two decades, wetland ecosystem in the world has become the most endangered ecosystem due to wetland drainage, pollution and over-exploitation being conducted in various countries. This condition is not appropriate with the Ramsar Convention policy which has been agreed by many countries especially those countries which have ratified this convention. Like in other countries, the existence of Indonesia wetlands area also threatened since they still become target of economic activities and also development. The uncontrolled of wetlands conversion can cause the extinction of those ecosystems. The conversion of wetland ecosystems are also occurred in the artificial wetland such as rice fields and ponds. In general, the conversion of agricultural areas are occurred in the fertile agricultural land which have a good technical irrigation channel. Those areas are converted into residential, industrial and infrastructure. The objective of this research is to explain the spatial phenomena of the evaluation of wetland conversion in Surabaya and surroundings by using the multi-temporal analysis. From the result of the research, it was stated that there are 1.722,68 km2 of wetland ecosystem (76.51% of the total area 2.251,62 km2). Those wetlands consist of fluvial landform (1.302,54 km2) fluvio-marine landform (386,14 km2) and marine landform (34.00 km2). The conversion patterns of those areas are various and controlled by the type of landform.”