Sacramento Opens Redistricting to Citizens via Free Online App

Esri Technology Enables the Public to Create and Propose District Scenarios

The City of Sacramento, California, is opening its redistricting process to the public with the help of a free online tool built on Esri technology. Now through May 16, the City of Sacramento Redistricting Online application enables anyone to develop new district boundaries for consideration by the city’s redistricting citizen advisory committee, which will make recommendations to the city council.

“By offering a central place to create and submit plans, we can expand participation and communicate the objectives and challenges of redistricting,” says Maria MacGunigal, City of Sacramento IT manager. “Our goal is to make sure the community has the ability to develop a plan in a timely manner that works for both the citizens and the council.”

Sacramento IT staff worked with Esri to create the customized app based on Esri Redistricting, a comprehensive web-based redistricting solution, which was released in February and is also available as Software as a Service (SaaS). The Sacramento app enables users to redraw district boundaries to meet new population targets while keeping communities intact and adhering to federal, state, and city requirements. The online platform allows plans to be shared and revised before submission, enabling collaboration among citizen groups.

“Sacramento played a key role in developing a version of the solution that provides basic redistricting tools for citizens,” says Larry Boden, Esri professional services chief technology officer. “The easy-to-use interface and simple workflow are geared toward guiding non-GIS users through the process.”

Upon the release of the 2010 US Census data in March, the app was configured to include the latest official population and demographic information before its public launch on April 4. It is available for a six-week period ending on the May 16 public plan submission deadline.

Sacramento has a history of progressive efforts to engage citizens and leverage GIS technology to improve efficiency and services. In the previous redistricting cycle, in 2001, the city sought public input by offering a free GIS-based desktop redistricting tool, since online offerings were not yet widely embraced. MacGunigal says strong participation and positive feedback from that experience created an expectation of continued public involvement in redistricting, supporting the decision to offer an online app.

For information on Sacramento’s redistricting process, visit www.cityofsacramento.org/redistricting. To learn more about Esri Redistricting and sign up for a free 30-day trial, visit esri.com/redistricting.

[Source: Esri press release]

Macroscopic Cellular Automata for Groundwater Modelling: A First Approach

Environmental Modelling & Software, Volume 26 Issue 5, May 2011

G. Ravazzani, D. Rametta, and M. Mancini

“A groundwater model representing two-dimensional flow in unconfined aquifers is presented. The model is based on the paradigm of macroscopic cellular automata, that represents dynamical systems which are discrete in space and time, operate on a uniform regular lattice and are characterised by local interactions. Physically based equations are implemented to simulate the flow of water between adjacent cells. The model was validated against solutions of simple problems in both steady state and transient state conditions including analytical solutions and simulations performed with the MODFLOW-2000 model. The developed code is simple enough to facilitate its integration into other models such as land-surface models. The good performance without detriment to accuracy makes the model adequate to perform long simulation time analysis.”

OGC Seeks Participants for 3D Portrayal Interoperability Experiment

The Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) is launching a 3D Portrayal Interoperability Experiment (IE) on 26 May 2011 to advance best practice for implementing standards for publishing and streaming 3D geospatial assets related to urban planning and landscape visualization.

The 3D Portrayal IE will focus on the use of recently developed draft 3D portrayal service interface specifications within the context of the OGC standards baselines. These are the Web 3D Service (W3DS), which streams geospatial 3D models using interactive web formats, and the Web View Service (WVS), which generates images of projective views on massive, complex 3D worlds.

Objectives for the 3D Portrayal IE are to test and further develop these services and workflows that support rapid visualization of extremely large and complex 3D geodata. Such services and workflows are anticipated to be major building blocks of spatial data infrastructures. The IE will include digital landscape models, city models, and interior models, e.g., in the CityGML data format, as well as different client configurations such as thin clients and web portals. The IE will clarify the specifics of 3D portrayal services; provide best practices and guidelines for their implementation, integration, and usage; and directly support current standardization efforts.

The 3D Portrayal IE is initiated by OGC members Hasso Plattner Institute at the University of Potsdam, GIScience Group at the University of Heidelberg, and Fraunhofer Institute for Computer Graphics Research.

A summary of the activity plan, requirements for participation, schedule, and kick-off meeting details are available at  http://www.opengeospatial.org/projects/initiatives/3dpie. Expressions of interest in participating are due by 22 May 2011.

Contact Benjamin Hagedorn (Benjamin.Hagedorn@hpi.uni-potsdam.de) for further details or to register as a participant.

OGC testbeds, pilot projects and interoperability experiments are part of the OGC’s Interoperability Program, a global, hands-on collaborative prototyping program designed to rapidly develop, test and deliver proven candidate specifications into the OGC’s Standards Program, where they are formalized for public release.

An OGC Interoperability Experiment is a rapid, low-overhead, formally structured OGC-facilitated activity, where members achieve specific technical objectives that further the OGC Technical Baseline. A key outcome of this activity will be an OGC Engineering Report.

[Source: OGC press release]

Esri Press Releases “Spatial Statistical Data Analysis for GIS Users”

The long-anticipated Spatial Statistical Data Analysis for GIS Users is now available from Esri Press.

The book presents a practical introduction and guide to spatial statistics for researchers, statisticians, academics, and college students who want to expand their knowledge and skills in geographic information system (GIS) technology to new areas of analysis. More than 1,000 full-color illustrations are included, along with lessons and sample data to help organize courses and lectures.

“This book provides a fundamental guide to understanding and applying the three tasks of geostatistical modeling,” said author Konstantin Krivoruchko, whose career has focused on developing statistical software and teaching spatial statistics. “Those tasks include finding out how much data variation exists, making sure that the model describes the data as closely as possible and is not adding too much additional error, and knowing how much error is too much.”

Published in DVD-ROM format, the book provides a comprehensive overview of spatial statistical and geostatistical data analysis that

● Explains basic concepts of statistical models that are common in current research

● Cites difficulties in applying these models to the data

● Sketches solutions to typical problems

● Offers examples of data analysis and computer codes

● Provides exercises for practicing spatial data analysis

            Spatial Statistical Data Analysis for GIS Users (ISBN: 978-1-58948-161-9, 894 pages, $39.99) is available at online retailers worldwide, at esri.com/esripress, or by calling 1-800-447-9778. Outside the United States, visit esri.com/esripressorders for complete ordering options, or visit esri.com/distributors to contact your local Esri distributor. Interested retailers can contact Esri Press book distributor Ingram Publisher Services.

[Source: Esri press release]

United States Thoroughfare, Landmark, and Postal Address Data Standard Endorsed by FGDC

On February 9, 2011, the Steering Committee of the Federal Geographic Data Committee (FGDC) endorsed the United States Thoroughfare, Landmark and Postal Address Data Standard.

The Standard is the culmination of efforts of the Address Standard Working Group, which was created in 2005 when the FGDC accepted a proposal submitted by the Urban and Regional Information Systems Association (URISA) to create a Street Address Standard.

The Standard contains four parts: address data content, classification, transfer, and quality.  The standard covers each of the main types of addresses found in the United States, and provides a framework for classifying them, understanding their component parts and attributes, testing their quality, and organizing them for exchange with other agencies and the public.

Street addresses are the location identifiers most widely-used by state and local government and the public. Street addresses are critical for administrative, emergency response, research, marketing, mapping, geospatial information systems, routing and navigation, and for law enforcement and first-responders in time of crises.  The adoption of the Standard will provide local, state, tribal, and federal agencies with a means to share address information, as well as a methodology for improving response to emergency and non-emergency service requirements, with associated improvements in efficiency, effectiveness and economy.

“The United States Thoroughfare, Landmark, and Postal Address Data Standard will have a significant impact at all levels of government and is an essential component of the National Spatial Data Infrastructure,” said Ivan DeLoatch, Executive Director of the FGDC. “We encourage government agencies, as well as others, to implement the standard for it provides a foundation for understanding and developing solutions for the many challenges in our communities.”

URISA’s Address Standards Working Group (ASWG), led by Carl Anderson, GISP; Hilary Perkins, GISP; Ed Wells, GISP; Martha McCart Wells, GISP; and Sara Yurman, GISP, along with dozens of additional volunteers, has worked tirelessly since 2005 on this effort, with the support of the United States Census Bureau.  The Census Bureau will be the maintenance authority for the Address Standard.

The ASWG used an innovative methodology in developing the standard, placing all draft materials and discussion in a public environment through the use of a wiki site, public circulation through URISA’s website of two drafts, and a broad inclusionary effort to help understand “on-the-ground” addressing issues across all 50 states, the District of Columbia and the United States Territories.  In addition, both the U.S. Postal Service and the National Emergency Number Association (NENA) were involved, resulting in two profiles of the Standard, outlining the equivalencies and  differences between the Address Standard and USPS Publication 28 (the standard for mailing pieces), and NENA’s Next Generation 9-1-1 Address Standard (in public review).

  • Two drafts were circulated through the URISA Web Site (over 400 comments received on these drafts)‏
  • Over 40 presentations discussing the Standard in progress (URISA, NSGIC, NENA, state, regional, and national conferences, GSDI and ISO internationally)‏
  • Two webinars presented through URISA
  • Use of Wiki Site to further refine the Standard (more than 500 people joined effort to view and comment)
  • Thousands of teleconferences, emails and conversations with practitioners
  • Two public comment periods required by the FGDC with 216 comments received.

The results of this consensus-driven process were submitted through the FGDC’s formal standards approval process.

The endorsed Standard is published in its entirety on the URISA website, www.urisa.org, and is available for use and implementation. It is also available on the FGDC website.

In order to facilitate use and adherence to the Standard, the ASWG has begun work on implementation guidelines.  Members of the ASWG have received a CAP Grant from FGDC for the prototyping of data quality and data exchange tools to assist local, state and federal agencies in implementation of the Standard.  A new URISA webinar is also planned for May 2011 on the Standard and addressing issues.

[Source: URISA press release]