The Importance of Distance to Resources in the Spatial Modelling of Bat Foraging Habitat

PLoS ONE, published 25 Apr 2011

Ana Rainho, Jorge M. Palmeirim

“Many bats are threatened by habitat loss, but opportunities to manage their habitats are now increasing. Success of management depends greatly on the capacity to determine where and how interventions should take place, so models predicting how animals use landscapes are important to plan them. Bats are quite distinctive in the way they use space for foraging because (i) most are colonial central-place foragers and (ii) exploit scattered and distant resources, although this increases flying costs. To evaluate how important distances to resources are in modelling foraging bat habitat suitability, we radio-tracked two cave-dwelling species of conservation concern (Rhinolophus mehelyi and Miniopterus schreibersii) in a Mediterranean landscape. Habitat and distance variables were evaluated using logistic regression modelling. Distance variables greatly increased the performance of models, and distance to roost and to drinking water could alone explain 86 and 73% of the use of space by M. schreibersii and R. mehelyi, respectively. Land-cover and soil productivity also provided a significant contribution to the final models. Habitat suitability maps generated by models with and without distance variables differed substantially, confirming the shortcomings of maps generated without distance variables. Indeed, areas shown as highly suitable in maps generated without distance variables proved poorly suitable when distance variables were also considered. We concluded that distances to resources are determinant in the way bats forage across the landscape, and that using distance variables substantially improves the accuracy of suitability maps generated with spatially explicit models. Consequently, modelling with these variables is important to guide habitat management in bats and similarly mobile animals, particularly if they are central-place foragers or depend on spatially scarce resources.”

Dubai’s GIS Enhances Operations to Support Continued Growth

Esri License Agreement Enables Enterprise-wide GIS in World’s Fastest-Growing City

Dubai Municipality signed an enterprise license agreement (ELA) with Esri’s United Arab Emirates distributor GISTEC, making ArcGIS software available throughout the organization to help meet the planning and operational demands of Dubai’s rapid growth.

“This is a landmark decision because it not only helps the municipality become more effective but also benefits all the citizens in the emirate of Dubai,” says AbdulHakim Abdul Kareem Malik, director of the Dubai Municipality GIS department.

With broader access to the latest ArcGIS software, the municipality intends to leverage GIS technology and share geospatial data between departments.  The enterprise-wide GIS is expected to improve disaster response capabilities; citizen services; and the planning, design, construction, and management of Dubai’s expanding infrastructure and facilities.

“The ELA provides us with the products and flexibility we need as we plan to migrate our existing cadastre and certification management systems to the ArcGIS 10 platform, making it easier to access and use data,” says Malik. “The resulting streamlined business processes will help serve our citizens in their day-to-day requests and provide accurate spatial and nonspatial information.”

Further details on Dubai Municipality are available at To learn about Esri ELAs, visit For more information on GISTEC, visit

[Source: Esri press release]

Least Cost Distance Analysis for Spatial Interpolation

Computers & Geosciences, Volume 37 Issue 2, February 2011

Jonathan A. Greenberg, Carlos Rueda, Erin L. Hestir, Maria J. Santos, and Susan L. Ustin

“Spatial interpolation allows creation of continuous raster surfaces from a subsample of point-based measurements. Most interpolation approaches use Euclidean distance measurements between data points to generate predictions of values at unknown locations. However, there are many spatially distributed data sets that are not properly represented by Euclidean distances and require distance measures which represent their complex geographic connectivity. The problem of defining non-Euclidean distances between data points has been solved using the network-based solutions, but such techniques have historically relied on a network of connected line segments to determine point-to-point distances. While these vector-based solutions are computationally efficient, they cannot model more complex 2- and 3-dimensional systems of connectivity. Here, we use least-cost-path analyses to define distances between sampled points; a solution that allows for arbitrarily complex systems of connectivity to be interpolated. We used least-cost path distances in conjunction with the inverse distance weighting interpolation for a proof-of-concept interpolation of water temperature data in a complex deltaic river system. We compare our technique to Euclidean distance interpolation, and demonstrate that our technique, which follows connectivity rules, yields are more realistic interpolation of water temperature.”

Marine Modeling as a Service

ISW-2011: Integrating Sensor Web and Web-based Geoprocessing, An AGILE 2011 Conference Workshop; Utrecht, The Netherlands, April 18, 2011

Michael Bauer, Christoph Wosniok, and Rainer Lehfeldt

“Modeling marine environments is a necessity to provide basic knowledge for decision making in coastal zone management. Current modeling software is usually implemented as stand-alone solutions. With the trend towards data infrastructures, efforts need to be made to introduce marine modeling into such infrastructures on an interoperable basis in order to improve its capabilities. We propose a service architecture, relying on trusted OGC services like the Web Processing Service or the Sensor Observation Service. We briefly summarize an implementation strategy.”

An Environmental Decision Support System for Spatial Assessment and Selective Remediation

Journal Environmental Modelling & Software, Volume 26 Issue 6, June, 2011

Robert N. Stewart and S. Thomas Purucker

“Spatial Analysis and Decision Assistance (SADA) is a Windows freeware program that incorporates spatial assessment tools for effective environmental remediation. The software integrates modules for GIS, visualization, geospatial analysis, statistical analysis, human health and ecological risk assessment, cost/benefit analysis, sampling design, and decision support. SADA began as a simple tool for integrating risk assessment with spatial modeling tools. It has since evolved into a freeware product primarily targeted for spatial site investigation and soil remediation design, though its applications have extended into many diverse environmental disciplines that emphasize the spatial distribution of data. Because of the variety of algorithms incorporated, the user interface is engineered in a consistent and scalable manner to expose additional functionality without a burdensome increase in complexity. The scalable environment permits it to be used for both application and research goals, especially investigating spatial aspects important for estimating environmental exposures and designing efficient remedial designs. The result is a mature infrastructure with considerable environmental decision support capabilities. We provide an overview of SADA’s central functions and discuss how the problem of integrating diverse models in a tractable manner was addressed.”

Studying Cartographic Heritage: Analysis and Visualization of Geometric Distortions

Computers and Graphics, Volume 35 Issue 2, April 2011

Bernhard Jenny and Lorenz Hurni

“Old maps are increasingly used as a source for historical research. This is a consequence of the increased availability of old maps in digital form, of the emergence of user-friendly Geographical Information Systems, and of a heightened awareness of the unique information stored in old maps. As with every source for historical studies, when old maps are georeferenced and information is extracted for historical research, the accuracy and reliability of the geometric and semantic information must be assessed. In this paper, a method based on a series of geometric transformations is presented, which transforms control points of a modern reference map to the coordinate system of an old map. Based on these transformed points, the planimetric and geodetic accuracy of the old map can be computationally analyzed and various visualizations of space deformation can be generated. The results are graphical representations of map distortion, such as distortion grids or displacement vectors, as well as statistical and geodetic measures describing the map geometry (e.g., map scale, rotation angle, and map projection). The visualizations help to assess the geometric accuracy of historical geographical information before using the data for geo-historical studies. The visualizations can also provide valuable information to the map historian about the history of a particular map and its creation.”

URISA’s GIS in Public Health Conference Details Announced

URISA is pleased to announce the details of its 2011 GIS in Public Health Conference, taking place in Atlanta, June 27-30, 2011. The deadline to take advantage of discounted registration and hotel fees is June 1.

“What makes this conference such a valuable experience is the mix of academics and practitioners, experienced GIS professionals and younger public health staff, with students from a variety of disciplines as well.  While the trainings, lectures and presentations add to one’s knowledge, the real perk of the conference for me is the interactions that occur during scheduled breaks and over dinner and evening activities.  I came away from the last conference in Providence very inspired, and developed a new graduate seminar in Spatial Perspectives in Community and Family Health at my university in part as a result of the conference.”  Russell Kirby, PhD, MS, FACE – University of South Florida

The conference was developed primarily from submissions received through the Call for Abstracts. More than 80 abstracts were received. Two preconference workshops will be presented:

  • Introduction to Public Participation GIS (PPGIS): Using GIS to Support Community Decision-Making (URISA-Certified Workshop)
  • Tools for Common Challenges in Public Health GIS: Aggregation, Smoothing and Masking

In addition to the twenty-one comprehensive educational sessions on topics ranging from “Using Mapping to Assess Community Health Risk” to “Applications in GIS and Remote Sensing for Environmental Health”, three keynote speakers will be featured:

  • Geomedicine: A Patient’s Perspectivepresented by Bill Davenhall, Global Manager – Health and Human Services, Esri
  • GIScience in Public Health: Chagas’ Disease, Dengue and West Nile Virus – presented by Dr. Gonzalo M. Vazquez-Prokopec, Research Scientist, Department of Environmental Studies, Emory University
  • GIS and Health: Where Can We Go from Here? – presented by Dr. Ellen K. Cromley, Assistant Clinical Professor, Department of Community Medicine and Health Care, University of Connecticut School of Medicine

The poster session is a key part of the conference with nearly 30 participants to date. Exhibits and networking events round out the conference experience.

For complete conference, exhibits, travel and registration information, visit

[Source: URISA press release]

Temporal Analysis of Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) and Land Surface Temperature (LST) Parameters to Detect Changes in the Iberian Land Cover between 1981 and 2001

International Journal of Remote Sensing, Vol. 32, No. 7, 10 April 2011, 2057–2068


“In past decades, the Iberian Peninsula has been shown to have suffered vegetation changes such as desertification and reforestation. Normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) and land surface temperature (LST) parameters, estimated from data acquired by the Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer (AVHRR) sensor onboard the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) satellite series, are particularly adapted to assess these changes. This work presents an application of the yearly land-cover dynamics (YLCD)methodology to analyse the behaviour of the vegetation, which consists of a combinedmultitemporal study of the NDVI and LST parameters on a yearly basis.Throughout the 1981–2001 period, trend analysis of the YLCD parameters emphasizes the areas that have endured the greatest changes in their vegetation. This result is corroborated by results from previous studies.”

Poland Implements Esri-Based INSPIRE Solution

Spatial Data and Services Will be Accessible throughout the Country

The Head Office of Geodesy and Cartography in Poland (GUGiK) is implementing an Esri-based solution to support compliance with the European Union’s Infrastructure for Spatial Information in Europe (INSPIRE) Directive. The directive sets out a framework and timetable for implementing a pan-European spatial data infrastructure (SDI) to address multinational and multi-agency issues. GUGiK is the central state administration unit responsible for national policy related to geodesy and cartography.

Esri’s ArcGIS technology will be used to create GUGiK’s GeoPortal2, a project designed to improve access to government datasets and provide mapping and survey services to other government agencies, citizens, and businesses.

GeoPortal2 includes Esri’s ArcGIS for INSPIRE product as well as software from Esri business partner con terra GmbH. The project is being implemented by Esri distributor ESRI Polska sp. z o.o.; Esri partner GISPartner; and the largest IT company in the country, Asseco Poland SA.

GeoPortal2 is scheduled to be completed in November 2012 and will include

  • Geographic names and addresses throughout Poland
  • Integrated and unified distribution of spatial data services defined by the INSPIRE Directive
  • Streamlined and improved data maintenance
  • Digital archive of spatial data for the central registry of data
  • Uniform maintenance on all orders of data products and services
  • More accurate monitoring of distributed resources

“ESRI Polska is excited by this opportunity and fully committed to working with GUGiK to implement this strategic project successfully,” says Lech Nowogrodzki, president, ESRI Polska. “We look forward to making a real difference to the development of Poland’s, and Europe’s, SDI.”

Passed by the member states of the European Union and the European Parliament, INSPIRE’s goal is to tie European geospatial information producers and users together into a single community to improve decision making and operations for a productive and sustainable Europe.

For more information about ArcGIS for INSPIRE, visit

[Source: Esri press release]

Using Decision Tree to Develop a Soil Ecological Quality Assessment System for Planning Sustainable Construction

Expert Systems with Applications: An International Journal, Volume 38 Issue 5, May 2011

Joonhong Park, Dongwon Ki, Kangsuk Kim, Suk Jun Lee, Dong Ha Kim, Kyong Joo Oh

“Soil ecology is the foundation of the entire biosphere and plays a significant role in global ecosystems. Soil ecology is important in the decision-making aspects of mega-construction projects. Despite its significance, soil ecological quality is not normally included in environmental impact assessments for sustainable development. This study develops and presents a new expert system to assess soil microbial diversity as an indicator of soil ecology quality using decision tree (DT) algorithms and GIS (geographic information system)-based spatial analysis. Our modeling results show that forward and backward DT models provide development-oriented and conservation-oriented information maps. To resolve potential conflicts by the different model predictions, a new mapping approach was developed for identifying strict conservation and potential development areas. These results suggest that the newly developed soil ecological quality assessment system can be used for planning mega-construction projects.”