URISA Exemplary Systems in Government (ESIG) Awards Process Opens

The Urban and Regional Information Systems Association (URISA) has recently posted the 2011 application materials for its prestigious Exemplary Systems in Government (ESIG) Awards. The awards recognize exceptional achievements in the application of geospatial information technology that have improved the delivery and quality of government services.

Applications may be submitted in two categories, Single Process and Enterprise Systems:

–      SINGLE PROCESS SYSTEMS – Systems in this category are outstanding and working examples of applying information system technology to automate a specific SINGLE process or operation involving one department or sub-unit of an agency. The system application results in extended and/or improved government services that are more efficient and/or save money.

–      ENTERPRISE SYSTEMS – Systems in this category are outstanding and working examples of using information systems technology in a multi-department environment as part of an integrated process. These systems exemplify effective use of technology yielding widespread improvements in the process(es) and/or service(s) involved and/or cost savings to the organization.

Applications must be submitted by June 6, 2011. Winners in each category will be recognized at GIS-Pro 2011: URISA’s 49th Annual Conference, November 1-4, 2011 in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Previous ESIG Winners encourage GIS Professionals to participate:

–      “I believe the award has done two things for me professionally.  The first relates to leadership.  The award was a source of pride for my team and reinforced the team’s belief in my ability to pull all the pieces together to develop a product worthy of national recognition and their ability to be successful in their roles.  The second relates to credibility.  Many of the District’s senior leaders have little experience in GIS.  However, many of these leaders are familiar with URISA.  Receiving this award has reinforced their decision to entrust me with this large, complex project and has demonstrated that I can deliver despite the statistics related to failed and overly expensive IT projects.” – Don Nehmer, Capital Program Business Manager, Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District, WI: SewerView, ESIG Enterprise Systems Category – Distinguished System

–      “It was an honor to receive the ESIG award  from URISA. By participating in the ESIG award process we were able to exercise another reason to evaluate our system, by doing so we were able to find ways to improve our current system. We also received local media exposure because of the ESIG award, this helped us inform the Forsyth County public of how we were applying GIS for public safety in their county. This award also validated all of the hard work and development that went into this system, this helped the GIS department fortify a trust with the Forsyth County Administration.” – John Kilgore, GISP, GIS Director, Forsyth County, GA: GIS Mobile Emergency Response System (ERS), ESIG Single Process System Winner

–      “One of the most rewarding aspects of participating in the ESIG Awards process was the rare opportunity to formally acknowledge the outstanding efforts of our staff and regional partner agencies for their collaborative work. Recognition of their achievements by URISA’s respected community of GIS professionals and peers has provided quite a charge.” – Eric Brandt, GISP, GIS Program Manager, Lane Council of Governments, OR: Regional Land Information Database (RLID), ESIG Enterprise Systems Category – Distinguished System

For more information or to review past submissions from winning systems, visit http://www.urisa.org/esig or call (847) 824-6300.

[Source: URISA press release}

More-than-Human Contact, Conspicuous Mobility, and the Digital Frontier

Spatio-Temporal Constraints on Social Networks Workshop, University of California, Santa Barbara, Center for Spatial Studies, 13-14 December 2010

Matthew Wilson

“Not only have social networking technologies provided alternative modes of interaction among individuals, but these technologies are increasingly shifting more traditional ways in which individuals interact in everyday life. This has implications for human contact, and therefore impacts all aspects of contemporary social life—government, politics, the interpersonal, kinship, work environments, artistic expression, health and wellness, informational media, entertainment, etc. A “more-than-human contact” has emerged, where mediation has become the norm, where the concept of “human-computer-human interaction” is excessively repetitive. Human interaction is always already digitally mediated.”

Standards-Based Middleware and Tools for Coastal Sensor Web Applications

IEEE Journal of Selected Topics in Applied Earth Observations and Remote Sensing, Dec. 2010, Volume 3 Issue 4, pp. 451 – 466

Durbha, S. S. King, R. L. Amanchi, S. K. Bheemireddy, S. Younan, N. H.

“Coastal buoys and stations provide frequent, high quality marine observations for oceanographic study, weather service, atmospheric, and public safety. There is a great need for sharing the generated data sets to enable timely decision-making across various agencies/institutions. However, this requires tremendous efforts and coordination among different sensor network agencies to come to a shared understanding for disseminating the information in a uniform and standardized way. To address these needs and achieve interoperability, syntactic standardization provides to a certain extent the data description models. In addition, semantic enrichment of the information sources is also required to understand the context of the data. In this paper we adopt standardized data models based on the Open Geospatial Consoritum (OGC) sensor web enablement framework for coastal sensor networks, which facilitates improved information retrieval on a variety of spatio-temporal scales. The semantic enrichment is achieved in terms of conceptualization of selected sensor types and other terminology involved in the coastal domain in the form of Ontologies. A coastal semantic mapping (COSEM-Map) tool developed as a part of this work facilitates the harmonization of different representations. This ontological model is amenable to querying using SPARQL, which is a standardized RDF query language. Further, sensor web services discovery aspects have been addressed by augmenting the Universal Description, discovery and Integration (UDDI) registry with Web Ontology Language for Services (OWL-S) and using a semantic matching algorithm for services discovery. Both web-based and mobile-enabled clients were developed to process syntactic and semantic queries.”

Spatial Analysis of Earthquake Fatalities in the Middle East, 1970-2008: First Results

American Geophysical Union, Fall Meeting 2010, published 12/2010

Khaleghy Rad, M.; Evans, S. G.; Brenning, A.

“Earthquakes claim the lives of thousands of people each year and the annual number of earthquake fatalities in the Middle East (21 countries) is 20 % of the total yearly fatalities of the World. There have been several attempts to estimate the number of fatalities in a given earthquake. We review the results of previous attempts and present an estimation of fatalities using a new conceptual model for life loss that includes hazard (earthquake magnitude and focal depth), vulnerability (GDP value of countries and elapsed time since 1970 as proxy variables) and exposed population in the affected area of a given earthquake. PAGER_CAT is a global catalog (http://earthquake.usgs.gov/research/data/pager/) that presents information on casualties of earthquakes since 1900. Although, the catalog itself is almost a complete record of fatal earthquakes, the data on number of deaths is not complete. We use PAGER_CAT to assemble a Middle East (the latitude and longitude of 10°-42° N and 24°-64° E respectively) catalog for the period 1970-2008 that includes 202 events with published number of fatalities, including events with zero casualties. We investigated the effect of components of each event, e.g. exposed population, instrumental earthquake magnitude, focal depth, date (year of event) and GDP on earthquake fatalities in Middle East in the 202 events with detailed fatality estimates. To estimate the number of people exposed to each event, we used a fatality threshold for peak ground acceleration of 0.1g to calculate the radius of affected area. The exposed population of each event is the enclosed population of each circle calculated from gridded population data available on SEDAC (http://sedac.ciesin.columbia.edu/gpw/global.jsp) using ArcGIS. Results of our statistical model, using Poisson regression in R statistical software, show that the number of fatalities due to earthquakes is in direct (positive) relation to the exposed population and the magnitude of the earthquake at the epicenter. On the other hand, it is in inverse (negative) relation to elapsed time since 1970, focal depth and GDP of the country affected. These spatial and temporal patterns of life loss are consistent with the patterns expected within our conceptual framework in relationship with hazard, exposed population and proxies of vulnerability. Our findings suggest that for earthquakes with comparable physical characteristics, the number of fatalities has been falling since 1970 in the Middle East region. We interpret this as an overall reduction of vulnerability of the Middle East during 1970-2008. Ongoing research is focusing on more detailed analysis of particular indicators of vulnerability reduction such as the development of earthquake building codes and preparedness, and on the spatial disaggregation of exposed population and the attenuation of earthquake magnitude. ”