Esri Recognizes Seven Longtime Partners

Organizations Honored for Dedication, Innovation at Esri Partner Conference

On March 7, 2011 at the 2011 Esri Partner Conference (EPC), Esri president Jack Dangermond acknowledged organizations that have been Esri partners for 20 or more years. At a special session, he lauded these organizations and their dedication to Esri and its geographic information system (GIS) technology.

“Our partners are key to the continued evolution and adoption of GIS,” said Dangermond. “Esri values their innovation, dedication, and commitment to our users, and we want to recognize their important work over the past 20-plus years. We want to thank them for their contributions to Esri’s success.”

Dangermond honored the following partners (in parentheses are the years each company became a partner):

  • TomTom North America (1988)
  • Davis Demographics & Planning (1989)
  • General Dynamics Information Technology, Inc. (1991)
  • Atterbury Consultants, Inc. (1991)
  • GCR & Associates, Inc. (1991)
  • Owen, Little & Associates (1991)
  • International Development Advisory Services (1991)

For more information about Esri’s partner programs, visit

[Source: Esri press release]

Mapping Human Vulnerability to Climate Change

First global map suggests climate change will have greatest impact 
on the populations least responsible for causing the problem

Researchers already study how various species of plants and animals migrate in response to climate change. Now, Jason Samson, a PhD candidate in McGill University’s Department of Natural Resource Sciences, has taken the innovative step of using the same analytic tools to measure the impact of climate change on human populations. Samson and fellow researchers combined climate change data with censuses covering close to 97 per-cent of the world’s population in order to forecast potential changes in local populations for 2050.


Local vulnerability of human populations to climate change based on ecological and demographic models is depicted by regions in red which are expected to be most negatively impacted by climate change. White regions correspond to human density values of zero in the global population database. (Credit: McGill University) *Note: map replaced March 21, 2011 to show full global coverage.

Samson’s team found that if populations continue to increase at the expected rates, those who are likely to be the most vulnerable to climate change are the people living in low-latitude, hot regions of the world, places like central South America, the Arabian Peninsula and much of Africa. In these areas, a relatively small increase in temperature will have serious consequences on a region’s ability to sustain a growing population.”It makes sense that the low latitude tropical regions should be more vulnerable because the people there already experience extremely hot conditions which make agriculture challenging. An increase in temperature over the next few decades will only make their lives more difficult in a variety of ways,” says Samson.

This contrasts with Samson’s predictions about the impact of climate change on human populations in the high-latitude more temperate zones of the world, where the temperature change is expected to be greater. Because the spread of human populations along with their activities are already more constrained by the cooler conditions in these regions, the researchers expect that climate change will have less of an impact on people living in these areas.

The study also points to clear inequities in the causes and consequences of climate change: the countries that have contributed the least to climate change, based on their average per-capita carbon dioxide emissions, are nevertheless predicted to be the most vulnerable to its impacts. “Take Somalia for instance,” suggests Samson.”Because it’s so hot there, it’s already very difficult to grow things, and it will only become more difficult if the temperature rises. It’s also clear that Somalia is not a big contributor of greenhouse gas to the atmosphere. Now thanks to this map, we have concrete quantitative evidence of the disparity between the causes and the consequences of climate change at a national level.”

Samson anticipates this data could be useful for decision makers around the world in the ongoing international negotiations around climate change.”

The research was funded by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Council of Canada (NSERC).

On online version of the article was recently published by the journal Global Ecology and Biogeography

For an abstract of the article:

[Source: McGill University press release]

Development of a New Spatial Analysis Tool in Mental Health: Identification of Highly Autocorrelated Areas (Hot-spots) of Schizophrenia using a Multiobjective Evolutionary Algorithm Model (MOEA/HS)

Epidemiol Psichiatr Soc. 2010 Oct-Dec;19(4):302-13.

García-Alonso CR, Salvador-Carulla L, Negrín-Hernández MA, and Moreno-Küstner B.

“AIMS: This study had two objectives: (1) to design and develop a computer-based tool, called Multi-Objective Evolutionary Algorithm/Hot-Spots (MOEA/HS), to identify and geographically locate highly autocorrelated zones or hot-spots and which merges different methods, and (2) to carry out a demonstration study in a geographical area where previous information about the distribution of schizophrenia prevalence is available and which can therefore be compared.

“METHODS: Local Indicators of Spatial Aggregation (LISA) models as well as the Bayesian Conditional Autoregressive Model (CAR) were used as objectives in a multicriteria framework when highly autocorrelated zones (hot-spots) need to be identified and geographically located. A Multi-Objective Evolutionary Algorithm (MOEA) model was designed and used to identify highly autocorrelated areas of the prevalence of schizophrenia in Andalusia. Hot-spots were statistically identified using exponential-based QQ-Plots (statistics of extremes).

“RESULTS: Efficient solutions (Pareto set) from MOEA/HS were analysed statistically and one main hot-spot was identified and spatially located. Our model can be used to identify and locate geographical hot-spots of schizophrenia prevalence in a large and complicated region.

“CONCLUSIONS: MOEA/HS enables a compromise to be achieved between different econometric methods by highlighting very special zones in complex areas where schizophrenia shows a high autocorrelation.”

Don Cooke to Discuss Volunteered Geographic Information at CalGIS 2011

CalGIS is very pleased to announce Don Cooke as the closing keynote speaker at the 17th Annual California GIS Conference in Fresno, March 28-31, 2011. Donald Cooke is Community Maps Evangelist at Esri.

Volunteered Geographic Information (VGI) is embodied in operations ranging from the Open Street Map to user feedback channels for Google Maps and personal navigation devices.  The biggest challenge for VGI is turning a large number of citizen reports into the kind of authoritative data that we’ve grown to expect from maps.

Esri’s new Community Maps program takes a unique slant on VGI by empowering authoritative stewards of spatial data to contribute to a global map at scales down to 1:1000.  Don will present a history and examples of VGI applications with emphasis on Esri’s “Maps and Apps” program.

Mr. Cooke will deliver his keynote address on Thursday, March 31, 2011, at CalGIS in Fresno, California. For more information, visit

Don Cooke has worked with digital mapping and geospatial technologies for 43 years, starting as a researcher in the New Haven Census Use Study. Don was a key member of the Use Study team that developed the Dual Independent Map Encoding (DIME) method of encoding street maps.  The DIME innovation led directly to the nationwide Census Bureau TIGER files which constitute the most complete public domain street database in the world.  In 1980, Don founded Geographic Data Technology, the first private company to produce and license digital maps as a product.  GDT was a major contractor to the Census Bureau in creating the TIGER database; in 2004 Tele Atlas bought GDT for $100,000,000.

At GDT and Tele Atlas, Don served in many roles, most recently that of Chief Scientist.  In the 1990s he performed pioneering work on GPS and digital map accuracy and was first to adapt the new Federal Geographic Data Committee (FGDC) map standard, NSSDA (National Standard for Spatial Data Accuracy) to digital street maps. A recent Tele Atlas project determined accuracy of consumer GPS units to prove the viability of crowdsourcing road alignments for personal navigation devices.

Don has written a wide range of publications, ranging from monthly columns in GIS magazines to a book “Fun with GPS”, published by ESRI Press. He was a member of the Mapping Science Committee of the National Academy of Science in the early 1990s and currently serves as a member of the NAS Panel to Review the 2010 Census. In 2007 he received the ESRI Lifetime Achievement award to complement URISA’s Horwood award and election to the URISA Hall of Fame. He is a 1967 graduate of Yale and studied Civil Engineering Systems at MIT.

[Source: URISA press release]

Tackling Uncertainty in Combined Visualizations of Underground Information and 3D City Models

GeoViz: Linking Geovisualization with Spatial Analysis and Modeling, 10-11 March 2011, Hamburg, Germany

Michel Kramer, Martin Dummer, Tobias Ruppert, and Jorn Kohlhammer

“Cities are under constant development. They are characterized not only by their surface constructions like buildings and traffic infrastructure, but also by their underground structures. Besides human-created lifelines, tunnels and quarries, there are also diverse geological formations. Underground information contains a lot of uncertainty by nature, because measurements provide information along drilling lines only. Additionally, man-made structures are often hardly documented. In this paper we will present ways to visualize such uncertainty in combination with exact surface structures from 3D city models in order to assist stakeholders in making decisions. We will evaluate existing techniques and describe the requirements imposed on uncertainty visualization.”

Visualization Problems of the Hungarian Earthquake Catalog

GeoViz: Linking Geovisualization with Spatial Analysis and Modeling, 10-11 March 2011, Hamburg, Germany

Andrea Pődör and Marta Kiszely

“Earthquake catalogs are very important in representing the seismic activity in a region. The examination of data contained by a catalog evidently illustrate the seismologically active regions and provides a strong basis for studying the geological structure responsible for earthquakes and for developing seismotectonic models. The catalog has important values for experts and common people as well. Consequently, there is a long tradition of representing earthquakes on maps. Recently the available dataset of the regional earthquakes of Hungary became so significantly large that the necessitiy of finding different visualization techniques has occured.”