Online Discussion Examines Role of GIS in Economic Gardening

Industry Leaders Weigh In on Readiness of Economic Developers to Apply Geospatial Technology

In the latest installment of the online Spatial Roundtable, the Esri global industry manager for community development, Ahmed Abukhater, compares the traditional economic development strategy of luring big business with the new trend of developing existing small businesses called economic gardening. Abukhater explains that geographic information system (GIS) technology is a key component to successful economic gardening programs and asks, “Are economic developers ready to take on the challenge of promoting healthier economic development through mindful application of GIS technology?”

Though Abukhater acknowledges economic gardening as a new concept, he believes that it builds on the traditional economic development strategies of business retention and expansion that have been in place for decades. He asserts that cultivating existing businesses for economic growth and utilizing GIS are the keys to rising above current economic challenges.

One of the first voices to weigh in on the discussion is Chris Gibbons, cocreator of the economic gardening approach and director of business/industry affairs for Littleton, Colorado. “The ability to target local markets by demographics, lifestyle, and consumer expenditure patterns can be accomplished at an exquisitely fine scale using GIS,” he notes. Gibbons goes on to say that GIS is one of the sophisticated tools he uses to make his economic gardening program successful.

To join the conversation with industry leaders, share your thoughts at

[Source: Esri press release]

Call for Maps for the 7th Iteration of the Places & Spaces: Mapping Science Exhibit on “Science Maps as Visual Interfaces to Digital Libraries” (2011)

Background and Goals
The Places & Spaces: Mapping Science exhibit was created to inspire cross-disciplinary discussion on how to best track and communicate human activity and scientific progress on a global scale. It has two components: (1) physical exhibits enable the close inspection of high quality reproductions of maps for display at conferences and education centers and (2) the online counterpart ( provides links to a selected series of maps and their makers along with detailed explanations of how these maps work.

Browse Maps

Places & Spaces is a 10-year effort. Each year, 10 new maps are added, which will result in 100 maps total in 2014. Each iteration of the exhibit attempts to learn from the best examples of visualization design. To accomplish this goal, each iteration compares and contrasts four existing maps with six new maps of science. Themes for the different iterations/years are:

  • 1st Iteration (2005): The Power of Maps
  • 2nd Iteration (2006): The Power of Reference Systems
  • 3rd Iteration (2007): The Power of Forecasts
  • 4th Iteration (2008): Science Maps for Economic Decision Makers
  • 5th Iteration (2009): Science Maps for Science Policy Makers
  • 6th Iteration (2010): Science Maps for Scholars
  • 7th Iteration (2011): Science Maps as Visual Interfaces to Digital Libraries
  • 8th Iteration (2012): Science Maps for Kids
  • 9th Iteration (2013): Science Maps for Daily Science Forecasts
  • 10th Iteration (2014): Telling Lies With Science Maps

Places & Spaces was first shown at the Annual Meeting of the Association of American Geographers in April 2005. Since then, the physical exhibit has been displayed at more than 175 venues in over 15 countries, including eleven in Europe, plus Japan, China, Brazil, Canada, and the United States. A schedule of all display locations can be found at

Submission Details

The 7th iteration of the Mapping Science exhibit is devoted to science maps that serve as visual interfaces to digital libraries. These maps might communicate the

  • quality and coverage of data sets,
  • the structure (ontology, taxonomy, classification hierarchy) of data sets,
  • (semantic) linkages between data sets,
  • the evolution of a data set, or
  • access and usage patterns of data sets.

They are intended to support the navigation, management, and utilization of mankind’s scholarly knowledge and to make it more readily available to researchers, educators, industry, policy makers and/or the general public.

We invite maps that show a visual rendering of a dataset together with a legend, textual description, and acknowledgements as required to interpret the map. Science map dimensions can be abstract, geographical, or feature-based, but are typically richer than simple x, y plots. Scientific knowledge can be used to generate a reference system over which other data, e.g., funding opportunities or job openings, are overlaid or be projected onto another reference system, e.g., a map of the world, but must be prominently featured. See for an overview of the 60 maps already featured in the exhibit.

Each initial entry must be submitted by Jan 30th, 2011 and needs to include:

  • Low resolution version of map
  • Title of work
  • Author(s) name, email address, affiliation, mailing address
  • Copyright holder (if different from authors)
  • Description of work: Scholarly needs addressed, data used, data analysis, visualization techniques applied, and main insights gained (100-300 words)
  • References to publications in which the map appeared
  • Links to related projects/works

Entries should be submitted via email to the curators of the exhibit: Katy Börner ( and the exhibit designer Michael J. Stamper ( using the email subject header “Mapping Science Entry”.

Review Process

All submissions will be reviewed by the exhibit advisory board and invited scholars from academia, industry, and government. Submissions will be judged in terms of

  • Scientific value – quality of data collection, analysis and communication of results. Appropriate (innovative?) application of existing algorithms and/or development of new approaches.
  • Value for scholars – what major insight does the map provide and why does it matter?  Is the map easy to understand by scholars and the exhibit audience?

Final Submission

Authors of winning entries will be contacted at the end of February and invited to submit final entries by April 30th, 2011. Each final entry comprises:

  • Title of Work
  • Author(s) name, email address, affiliation, mailing address
  • 24 x 30 inch, 300 dpi, landscape version of map
  • Official map description (200 words)
  • Biographies and photos of all authors (100 words each)
  • Signed copyright and reproduction agreement

Map makers are welcome to use the expertise and resources of the exhibit curators when designing their final maps. The layout and production of the 6th iteration maps are expected to be ready for display by mid-June, 2011.

Important Dates

Submit initial entries: January 30th, 2011
Notification to mapmakers: February 28th, 2011
Submit final entries: April 30th, 2011
7th Iteration ready for display: June 15th, 2011

Exhibit Advisory Board

  • Deborah MacPherson, Accuracy&Aesthetics
  • Kevin Boyack, SciTech Strategies, Inc.
  • Sara Irina Fabrikant, Associate Professor of Geography and head of the Geographic Information Visualization and Analysis (GIVA) group at the GIScience, Geography Department, University of Zürich, Switzerland
  • Peter A. Hook, Law Librarian, Indiana University
  • André Skupin, Associate Professor of Geography, San Diego State University
  • Bonnie DeVarco, Media X, Stanford University
  • Dawn Wright, Professor of  Geography and Oceanography, Oregon State University

Please feel free to send any questions you might have regarding the judging process to Katy Börner (  Please use the subject header “Call for Maps: Mapping Science Exhibit, 7th Iteration on “Science Maps as Visual Interfaces to Digital Libraries” (2011)”.

This call is also available at

Land Use Analysis using GIS, Radar and Thematic Mapper in Ethiopia

DMG ’10: Proceedings of the 1st ACM SIGSPATIAL International Workshop on Data Mining for Geoinformatics, 2010

Haile K. Tadesse

“Land degradation, and poverty issues are very common in our world, especially in developing countries in Africa. There are fewer adaptation strategies for climate change in these countries. Ethiopia is a tropical country found in the horn of Africa. The majority of the population live in rural areas and agriculture is the main economic sector. Extensive agriculture has resulted in an unexpected over-exploitation and land degradation. The project locations are Southwestern and Northwestern Ethiopia. The main objectives are to analyze the accuracy of land use classification of each sensors, classification algorithms and analyze land use change. Thematic Mapper (TM) and Radar data will be used to classify and monitor land use change. Two consecutive satellite images will be used to see the land use change in the study area (1998, 2008). ERDAS Imagine will be used to resample and spatially register the Radar and TM data. The image classification for this research study is supervised signature extraction. The Maximum likelihood decision rule and C4.5 algorithm will be applied to classify the images. TM and Radar data will be fused by layer staking. The accuracy of the digital classification will be calculated using error matrix. Land change modeler will be used for analyzing and predicting land cover change. The impact of roads, urban and population density on land use change will be analyzed using GIS.”

Forecasting Weed Distributions using Climate Data: A GIS Early Warning Tool

Invasive Plant Science and Management 2010 3:365–375

Catherine S. Jarnevich, Tracy R. Holcombe, David T. Barnett, Thomas J. Stohlgren, and John T. Kartesz

“The number of invasive exotic plant species establishing in the United States is continuing to rise. When prevention of exotic species from entering into a country fails at the national level and the species establishes, reproduces, spreads, and becomes invasive, the most successful action at a local level is early detection followed by eradication. We have developed a simple geographic information system (GIS) analysis for developing watch lists for early detection of invasive exotic plants that relies upon currently available species distribution data coupled with environmental data to aid in describing coarse-scale potential distributions. This GIS analysis tool develops environmental envelopes for species based upon the known distribution of a species thought to be invasive and represents the first approximation of its potential habitat while the necessary data are collected to perform more in-depth analyses. To validate this method we looked at a time series of species distributions for 66 species in Pacific Northwest and northern Rocky Mountain counties. The time series analysis presented here did select counties that the invasive exotic weeds invaded in subsequent years, showing that this technique could be useful in developing watch lists for the spread of particular exotic species. We applied this same habitat-matching model based upon bioclimatic envelopes to 100 invasive exotics with various levels of known distributions within continental U.S. counties. For species with climatically limited distributions, county watch lists describe county-specific vulnerability to invasion. Species with matching habitats in a county would be added to that county’s list. These watch lists can influence management decisions for early warning, control prioritization, and targeted research to determine specific locations within vulnerable counties. This tool provides useful information for rapid assessment of the potential distribution based upon climate envelopes of current distributions for new invasive exotic species.”

(via @adenas)