Toward Understanding the Ecological Impact of Transportation Corridors

PNW-GTR-846General Technical Report #PNW-GTR-846, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station, 2011

Bennett, Victoria J.; Smith, Winston P.; and Betts, Matthew G.

“Transportation corridors (notably roads) affect wildlife habitat, populations, and entire ecosystems. Considerable effort has been expended to quantify direct effects of roads on wildlife populations and ecological communities and processes. Much less effort has been expended toward quantifying indirect effects. In this report, we provide a comprehensive review of road/transportation corridor ecology; in particular, how this new field of ecology has advanced worldwide. Further, we discuss how research thus far has shaped our understanding and views of the ecological implications of transportation infrastructures, and, in turn, how this has led to the current guidance, policies, and management options. We learned that the impacts of transportation infrastructures are a global issue, with the potential to affect a wide variety of taxonomically diverse species and ecosystems. Because the majority of research to date has focused on the direct and more aesthetic and anthropocentric implications of transportation corridors, mainly wildlife-vehicle collisions, it is a fairly standard practice to incorporate underpasses, green bridges (i.e., overpasses), fencing, and barriers into road corridors to alleviate such impacts. Few studies, however, have been able to demonstrate the efficiency of these structures. Furthermore, it is becoming increasingly evident that the indirect implications of transportation infrastructures (i.e., behavioral responses of wildlife individuals to roads) may be more pervasive, at least from the standpoint of biological diversity. Understanding how road corridors influence the functional connectivity of landscapes is crucial if we are to effectively manage species of concern. With these issues in mind, we propose a program of study that addresses the indirect and cumulative implications of transportation infrastructure on species distributions, community structure and ecosystem function.”

Evaluating the Usabilty of Cartographic Animations with Eyemovement Analysis

Proceedings of the 25th International Cartographic Conference, Paris, France, 03–08 July 2011

T. Opach and A. Nossum

“Availability of time-series spatial data and wide access to computer tools has resulted in broad use of cartographic animations. A growing amount of animated maps poses new challenges, in which the efficiency of cartographic communication is of concern (Opach 2005).

“There are various methods for studying usability of maps in general. The methods range from traditional surveys (Suchan and Brewer 2000) to unobtrusive data gathering such as eye-tracking. In recent years the use of eye-tracking in cartography has increased (Fabrikant et al. 2008, Çöltekin et al. 2009, Brodersen et al. 2001, Fabrikant et al. 2010, Li et al. 2010). Availability as well as development of both eye-tracking software and hardware is believed to be the major reason for this.

Examples of: (A) areas of interest, (B) gaze plot and (C) heat map.

Examples of: (A) areas of interest, (B) gaze plot and (C) heat map.

“Eye-tracking provides the ability to record eye movements in unobtrusive manner relying on specialized equipment. Earlier studies using eye-tracking have primarily treated the stimuli as static representations. Although, several studies have also focused on exploring new approaches or analysis methods for eyetracking data to accommodate better cartographic stimuli and qualities associated with this (Garlandini and Fabrikant 2009, Çöltekin et al. 2010).

“Despite the increased focus on eye-tracking, the question remains unanswered on how eye-tracking is suitable as an evaluation method with cartographic animations as stimulus. In this paper we explore the suitability of eye-tracking on two different cartographic animations in an attempt to answer this question.

“We have conducted two eye-tracking experiments with 10 participants each for both an isolated cartographic animation (semistatic animations) and a complex animated map (the Kampinos Forest animation). We have used standard analysis tools to assess and gain experience on their strengths and weaknesses when cartographic animations are used as stimuli. The experience gathered in this process is described throughout this article as well as our suggestions for improvements.”

A Spatial Analysis of Variations in Health Access: Linking Geography, Socio-economic Status and Access Perceptions

International Journal of Health GeographicsInternational Journal of Health Geographics, 10:44, Published 25 July 2011

Alexis J Comber, Chris Brunsdon and Robert Radburn

“Background: This paper analyses the relationship between public perceptions of access to general practitioners (GPs) surgeries and hospitals against health status, car ownership and geographic distance. In so doing it explores the different dimensions associated with facility access and accessibility.

The study area, Leicestershire UK, and the locations of the attitude survey  respondent postcodes, GP surgeries, hospitals and hospitals with Emergency  Departments (ED).

The study area, Leicestershire UK, and the locations of the attitude survey respondent postcodes, GP surgeries, hospitals and hospitals with Emergency Departments (ED).

“Methods: Data on difficulties experienced in accessing health services, respondent health status and car ownership were collected through an attitudes survey. Road distances to the nearest service were calculated for each respondent using a GIS. Difficulty was related to geographic distance, health status and car ownership using logistic generalized linear models. A Geographically Weighted Regression (GWR) was used to explore the spatial non-stationarity in the results.

“Results: Respondent long term illness, reported bad health and non-car ownership were found to be significant predictors of difficulty in accessing GPs and hospitals. Geographic distance was not a significant predictor of difficulty in accessing hospitals but was for GPs. GWR identified the spatial (local) variation in these global relationships indicating locations where the predictive strength of the independent variables was higher or lower than the global trend. The impacts of bad health and non-car ownership on the difficulties experienced in accessing health services varied spatially across the study area, whilst the impacts of geographic distance did not.

Spatial variation in the relationships between perceived difficulty in access  to hospitals and GPs with Bad Health and Non-Car Ownership.

Spatial variation in the relationships between perceived difficulty in access to hospitals and GPs with Bad Health and Non-Car Ownership.

“Conclusions: Difficulty in accessing different health facilities was found to be significantly related to health status and car ownership, whilst the impact of geographic distance depends on the service in question. GWR showed how these relationships were varied across the study area. This study demonstrates that the notion of access is a multi-dimensional concept, whose composition varies with location, according to the facility being considered and the health and socio-economic status of the individual concerned.”

Animating the Cities: Dynamic Exploration of Harmonized Urban Databases (United States, France, 1800-2000)

Proceedings of the 25th International Cartographic Conference, Paris, France, 03–08 July 2011


“The project consists in a generic visual tool for mapping and analyzing the evolution of a system of cities on a long-term period (2 centuries), in different countries. The project started in 2008 in the framework of a national grant . The first step aimed to build a dynamic urban database over two centuries, in its conceptual form as well as in its fill in. The conception of the visual tool for exploring the database represents the last part of this project and has been developed in 2010 (Van Hamme and al. 2010).

The Observed City and the Modelised City

The Observed City and the Modelised City

“Three main objectives were challenged: Designing a generic tool, that could be possibly used in the future for several countries under study (United States, France, South Africa, and possibly China and India); Allowing a dynamic exploration of the different databases, which raises a range of difficulties as they are spatio-temporal and multi-level (cities themselves and systems of cities); Giving an interactive application, that could be used by a large range of Internet users, from pupils to researchers or urban planners. The resulting interface combines time, location and attributes, according to the triad model (Peuquet, 1994). Attributes are characteristics of cities, such as population, surfaces, density, socio-economic indicators and will include also inter-urban accessibility. The application integrates the interactivity in order to propose an exploratory and animated cartography of urban dynamics, according to our conception of the urban system analysis and in order to stimulate the desire of exploration of the variety of trajectories (Dykes &al. 2004, Andrienko &al. 2005). This paper focuses on the two first implementations, United States and France.”

Spatial Analysis of Malaria Epidemiology in the Amanse West District

Kwame Nkrumah University Thesis submitted to the Department of Geomatic Engineering, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Master of Science, April 2011

Laari Prosper Basommi

“Malaria has become a major global health problem. It affects 3.5-5.0 billion people worldwide with environmental factors contributing about 70-90% of the disease risk. The World Health Organization has estimated that over one million cases of Malaria are reported each year, with more than 80% of these found in Sub-Saharan Africa. The malaria situation in Ghana is typical of sub-Saharan Africa, presenting a serious health problem in Ghana. It is hyper endemic with a crude parasite rate ranging from 10 – 70% with Plasmodium falciparum dominating. Disease Risk mapping has long been effective in disease modeling, monitoring, evaluation and providing major intervention for areas at risk.

Distance Risk Map of Malaria in relation to the Forest Cover

Distance Risk Map of Malaria in relation to the Forest Cover

“The spatial dependency of the malaria risk was explored using Poisson variograms and the risk was used to create surface maps from 2004 to 2009 to identify areas at high risk. Bayesian geostatitical approach was then used to correlate the relationship between the elevation and the disease risk. Geographic Information System (GIS) was used to create the risk surfaces and overlays in the study. A buffered distances of 500m, 1000m, 1500 and 2000m was used to overlay the disease risk map with forest, rivers/streams to find out its effects with the disease prevalence. The risk map created in this study, which integrates Poisson statistical methods showed areas at risk, especially in the central portions of the district capital. It also showed an average of 20% rise yearly from 2004 to 2009. The results in the semi-variogram analysis with an average range of 2000m showed that the disease incidence was local and not global. The local nature of the disease occurrence gives credence to the fact that the covariates used which were rivers/streams, forest, temperature, rainfall and elevation had different and independent influence on the malaria prevalence. Areas which were more than 2km away from the water source (rivers/streams) recorded relatively higher cases except for some few within 1km of the Offin and Oda rivers. There was a varied effect of elevation with the disease prevalence as evidenced in the Bayesian regression model. There was a general trend of high disease incidence between 1-3 km from the forest edge. The study also showed that rainfall had an effect on the yearly disease incidence. However, there was no trend as far as the temperature over the disease prevalence was concerned.”

Spatial Analysis of Income Inequality in Agriculture

Economics Bulletin, Volume 31, Issue 3 (2011)

Robert Finger and Nadja El Benni

“We investigate the spatial dimension of farm household income inequality as well as the importance of spatial considerations for its development over time using data for the period 1990-2009 on Swiss agriculture. To this end, Gini coefficients are estimated and non-parametric bootstrap is used to construct confidence intervals.

Lorenz curve of farm household income in the cantons of Zurich and Valais 1999.

Lorenz curve of farm household income in the cantons of Zurich and Valais 1999.

“We find significant differences between Gini coefficients across space, even though most cantons are characterized by homogeneous farm household income inequality. No significant change of Gini coefficients over time is found at the national level. In contrast, the analyses at the cantonal level show a heterogeneous development of income inequality. We find both increases and decreases in cantonal Gini coefficients.”

Feature Speakers for URISA/NENA Addressing Conference Highlighted

URISA and the National Emergency Number Association (NENA) are pleased to announce the feature speakers at the 2011 URISA/NENA Addressing Conference taking place next month in New Orleans (August 15-18, 2011 at the Marriott New Orleans). Michelle Thompson, PhD from the University of New Orleans will open the conference and Steven Johnson, representing OpenStreetMap US, will close the conference.

Don’t miss the only annual conference where GIS professionals, addressing coordinators, 9-1-1 and emergency response specialists come together for education and networking.

Three preconference workshops will be presented on August 15:

  • Transition to Next Generation 9-1-1
  • Addresses: Key to GIS Success
  • Introduction to 9-1-1 Database

The conference is organized into these program tracks:

  • Integrating Addresses Across the Enterprise
  • Looking Ahead: Next Generation 9-1-1 Standards and Practices
  • It’s All About Data: Address Data Quality and Exchange

…with important sessions including:

  • The Address Standard in Action: The FGDC has approved the United States Thoroughfare, Landmark and Postal Address Data Standard.  So what’s in it and what does it mean for you?  This session will offer insights.
  • Preparing YOUR Data for NG9-1-1: Next Generation 9-1-1 (NG9-1-1) depends on aggregating local GIS data into a single virtual databases to be used for civic address location validation and routing the 9-1-1 call to the proper Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP). GIS becomes the core database for NG9-1-1, and the addressing and location data it contains must be accurate, current, and maintained.
  • Addressing at the State Level:  Challenges in Aggregation and Standards

Addressing has always been a local matter.  But recent developments have caused the states and even federal governments to become interested in acquiring and managing address data.  The Broadband projects, collection of ad-valorem vehicle taxes, and state-level emergency management initiatives require statewide address data.

An Ignite (Lightning Talk) session and reception and a joint NSGIC/URISA/NENA roundtable on NG9-1-1 will also be featured. Register early (especially for preconference workshops/courses) as classroom size is limited for each. The discounted room rate at the Marriott New Orleans is available through July 29. Book your room right away.

For complete conference details, visit

[Source: URISA press release]

Real-time Web-based GIS for Analysis, Visualization, and Integration of Marine Environment Data

Lecture Notes in Geoinformation and Cartography, 2009, Information Fusion and Geographic Information Systems, Part 6, Pages 277-288

Jacek Dąbrowski, Marcin Kulawiak, Marek Moszyński, Krzysztof Bruniecki and Łukasz Kamiński, et al.

“Visualization and integration of the marine spatial data collected by various marine sensors and sources is an important factor in the context of marine environment sensing and monitoring. Several approaches and techniques of measurements are available to achieve this purpose including direct sampling, airborne and satellite imagery, and underwater acoustics. The paper briefly describes the state-of-the art marine GIS system developed in the Department of Geoinformatics of Gdansk University of Technology, Poland. The proposed system is able to integrate many different types of marine data, especially those acquired by various acoustic sensors like multibeam sonar (MBSS), echosounder and side scan sonars (SSS), and other external sensors such as satellite data receiver, radar, or automated identification of ships (AIS) data analyzer. Instantaneous 2D and 3D visualization is provided by the two components of the system: GeoServer web-based module and a standalone application basing on ESRI ArcGIS Engine solutions.”

City of Philadelphia Opens Data, Imagery to the Public

Esri logoFree APIs Encourage Citizens and Web Developers to Leverage Local Information

Through the OpenDataPhilly website, the City of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, now provides access to over 100 datasets, applications, and APIs containing authoritative regional information on a wide variety of topics. The site includes a series of map services built with ArcGIS technology from Esri that offer data and imagery related to census tracts, political wards, crime incidents, hydrology, evacuation routes, bicycle networks, and more.

“Our goal is to expose current and accurate Philadelphia spatial data that will enable developers to build applications to benefit Philadelphia citizens and businesses, enhance commerce, and help streamline city government,” said James L. Querry, Jr., City of Philadelphia director of enterprise GIS. “The city has openly shared its core GIS data and imagery for over a decade, and now, in conjunction with OpenDataPhilly, we have recently expanded data and imagery access via APIs.”

Built by Philadelphia-based GIS software firm Azavea, OpenDataPhilly is based on the idea that providing free and easy access to information encourages more effective, transparent government and a more engaged and informed citizenry. ArcGIS technology from Esri supports the Gov 2.0 movement by enabling governments around the world to build mapping applications that empower the public and enhance policy making. To learn more about the role of GIS in open government, visit To access OpenDataPhilly, visit

[Source: Esri press release]

USDA and Esri Build Geospatial Portal Mapping Service

Esri logoPrivate GIS Cloud Opens Enterprise Opportunities

The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Esri have partnered in the implementation of a fully cloud-based geospatial portal. USDA’s prototype portal, Enterprise Spatial Mapping Service (ESMS), is built with Portal for ArcGIS, managed by Esri, and hosted on the Amazon cloud within USDA’s secure environment.

“ESMS empowers nontraditional GIS users, such as program analysts, economists, and research communities, to become confident working with maps and GIS analytic capabilities as part of their work,” said Stephen Lowe, chief geographic information officer for the USDA Enterprise Geospatial Management Office. “The GIS portal is cost-effective and provides rich resources. We anticipate that the service will extend, expand, and enhance department-wide use of spatial data and GIS competencies for a variety of tasks.”

USDA and Esri designed the prototype’s geospatial interfaces with a focus on search and discovery, hosting and publishing USDA-owned data, and the capability to display and analyze data. The private cloud GIS makes the central repository for authoritative content accessible to users within the department. ESMS provides a platform to

  • Quickly create maps and apps using templates and web mapping APIs.
  • Form groups to collaborate on projects or common activities.
  • Share maps and apps with private groups or the entire organization.
  • Embed maps and apps in custom web pages or blogs.

USDA and other external government agencies go through the portal to access valued agricultural datasets and maps from a browser and perform spatial analytics. Esri Managed Services maintains and supports the GIS and infrastructure for USDA. Users have the same collaboration and sharing tools as those provided in the public cloud mapping environment ArcGIS Online, but the site retains the USDA customization and brand. Esri’s Portal for ArcGIS is a geospatial content management system that can be hosted on-premises or as an off-premises cloud environment to provide a private, multitenant, geospatial content management system. USDA will eventually integrate its eAuthentication access control system with the private cloud solution to make the platform more secure.

In May, the prototype USDA portal was tested at the New Madrid National Level Exercise 2011, which is an event for developing regional catastrophic response and recovery activities. USDA representatives from the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), Farm Service Agency (FSA), Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), and other USDA agencies worked with the portal as a means to search for, discover, and share disaster response geospatial content. ESMS map products were used in presentations and briefings.

[Source: Esri press release]