CoastGIS 2011 Conference Report

10th International Symposium on GIS and Computer Mapping for Coastal Management10th International Symposium on GIS and Computer Mapping for Coastal Management

By Roger Longhorn, CoastGIS 2011 Local Secretariat

CoastGIS 2011 was co-hosted in Oostende, Belgium, by the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO, International Oceanographic Data and Information Exchange (IODE) Project Office and the Flanders Marine Institute (VLIZ). The European Science Foundation’s Marine Board donated their conference room for one of the two parallel streams of papers throughout the conference. These institutions are all situated in the new InnovOcean site on the quayside in Oostende harbour. Coping with some very windy coastal weather conditions throughout the conference, the facilities provided by the hosts were excellent, as was the catering and support provided by IOC IODE and VLIZ staff. A technical Exhibition ran in parallel with the main conference, organised by GeoMares Publishing, the event’s sole media partner. The co-organisers were CORILA – Consortium for Coordination of Research Activities Concerning the Venice Lagoon System – and EUCC – The Coastal & Marine Union.

Focus of the CoastGIS conferences has expanded beyond technology and applications alone, to encompass a wider range of subjects, including data access and sharing policies, information infrastructures, spatial planning and socio-economic issues. The theme for this year’s conference was “Marine and Coastal Spatial Planning”, which provided the focus for the keynote speech from Dr. Wendy Watson-Wright, Executive Secretary of IOC and Assistant Director of UNESCO, as well as the welcome speech from Dr. Johan Vande Lanotte, President of EUCC. Several of the papers presented at the conference also discussed how geospatial data and technology were being applied in Marine Spatial Planning activities across the globe.

Oral Presentations and Posters

The 78 papers, presented in two parallel streams from 6-8 September, covered four main areas: geospatial technology, thematic issues (e.g. climate change, conservation, pollution, etc.), ICZM methods and applications, and non-technical themes (e.g. coastal/marine SDI, MSP, PPGIS, etc.). The papers offered for oral presentation were supplemented by 13 posters, presented on the second day of the conference. The conference Committee and participants alike were very pleased with the quality of the papers and the presentations.


Two parallel workshops preceded the main conference, held on the afternoon of 5 September. The first was a hands-on session held in the IOC IODE training room, led by a team from Univ. of Aberdeen, on ‘GIS and Coastal Flooding’. The second was a combined workshop covering “SDI Capacity Building in the Hydrographic Community’, led by Dr. Mike Osborne and John Pepper, followed by “The INSPIRE SDI Directive for Coastal/Marine Communities’, led by co-organiser, Roger Longhorn, for the EUCC. A drinks reception, hosted by VLIZ, followed the workshops and was much appreciated by all!

Conference Statistics

The 78 oral papers and 13 posters were contributed by more than 280 authors and co-authors from the following 32 nations and 4 international organisations.

Algeria Australia Barbados Belgium Brazil
Bulgaria Canada Colombia Denmark France
Germany Indonesia Iran Ireland Italy
Korea Nigeria Norway Poland Portugal
Romania Russia South Africa Spain Sweden
Taiwan The Netherlands Togo Tunisia Turkey

Conference Reception and Dinner

The official conference reception was hosted at the historic Fort Napoleon Museum, located on the coast at Oostende, just a few minutes from the conference venue. Despite the blustery wind, many of the participants braved the 25 minute walk along the coast to reach the museum. Guides led participants around the museum and ramparts, while snacks and drinks were available throughout.

Conference Reception and DinnerThe conference dinner was a highlight of the event (according to all who participated!), a ‘medieval dinner’ held in an old church in the historic city of Bruges. While supping on food, wine and beer served at long trencher tables, according to medieval custom, the dinner guests were treated to a live entertainment provided by 20 actors and actresses. We were guests of the Duke of Normandy and his lady at their manor (in 1458), accompanied by ladies in waiting, knights engaged in robust sword fighting, a fire eater (!), witches, displays of eagles and owls flying over the heads of the diners, and various ‘knighting’ ceremonies performed by the Duke. An evening not to be missed – photographs and movies will be on the conference web site for all to see!

Esri Student Grants

GIS software company Esri graciously offered four Student Grants of 500 USD each to the four students offering the best papers (and oral presentations) at the conference, as selected by a panel drawn from the CoastGIS International Committee. The standard was high and 17 papers qualified for the award. The winners were:

  • Kimberly Baldwin (Barbados) – “A geospatial framework to support ecosystem based management and marine spatial planning for the transboundary Grenadine Islands”
  • Carolina Schmanech Mussi (Brazil) – “Coastal sensibility and risk evaluation to sea level rise: A case study in Santa Catarine Island, Brazil”
  • Natasa Vaidianu (Romania) – “Implications of accessibility degree in the Danube Delta human community, Romania”
  • Rizqi Abdulharis (Indonesia) – “Qualitative survey in the delineation of customary marine tenure boundary in the study of empowering indigenous coastal community in Maluku Island, Indonesia”

The students were very appreciative of the awards which help to defray the costs of attending the conference.

The Technical Exhibition

The CoastGIS 2011 conference was accompanied by a technical exhibition, set up by GeoMares Publishing, the conference sole media partner, including the following organizations:

  • Aqua Vision BVan independent Hydro- and Oceanographic Consultancy with clients including government agencies, dredging and offshore industry and engineering companies worldwide.
  • ASICON – a division of Astron NV, member of the S&SS group, delivers solutions for the oceanographic, hydrographic, and geological market.
  • BLASTan EU INTERREG funded project that addresses harmonisation in a variety of contexts around the North Sea – including harmonisation of national approaches to maritime information, harmonisation of spatial data across the land/sea boundary and harmonisation of approaches to coastal zone management.
  • CARIS BV – a provider of marine geospatial software solutions who offer a complete ‘Ping-to-Chart’ workflow, with offices in Canada, The Netherlands, US and Australia.
  • CORILA – an association of the Ca’ Foscari University, the IUAV University of Venice, the University of Padua, the Italy’s National Research Council and the National Institute of Oceanography and Experimental Geophysics, which promotes and coordinates research on the Venice lagoon.
  • Esri the market leader in GIS technology, whose software is used in more than 300,000 organizations worldwide – the only vendor providing complete technical solutions for desktop, mobile, server, and Internet platforms.
  • Nautikarisfounded in 1968, supplies hydrographic equipment and is a qualified and experienced sales and service company.

Verdict of the Conference?

Participants and visitors alike declared that CoastGIS 2011 was a success, from the quality of the papers presented to the extracurricular activities – especially the reception and dinner -even though two of the three planned field trips had to be cancelled due to the blustery weather conditions. Where to next? CoastGIS 2013 is planned for early June, 2013, to be held at the Univ. of Victoria, in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. Watch the web for details!

Temporal Dynamics of Shrub Proliferation: Linking Patches to Landscapes

International Journal of Geographical Information Science International Journal of Geographical Information Science, Volume 25, Issue 6, 2011

Dawn M. Browning, Andrea S. Laliberte, and Albert Rango

“Shifts in vegetation composition and cover are the result of processes acting at different levels such as landscapes, hill slopes, or plant interspaces. Analytical approaches designed for discrete objects which are based upon the inherently hierarchical nature of complex systems are well suited to research applications conducted across spatial scales. We quantified spatial and temporal vegetation dynamics over 71 years at three spatial scales, landscape, plot, and patch, in a Chihuahuan Desert ecosystem in southern New Mexico, USA, using object-based analysis. We analyzed time series aerial photography from 1937 to 2008 to include automated image analysis at the landscape scale and manual delineation of shrub image objects at the patch scale. We sought to identify patch mechanisms associated with changes in shrub patch density and percent cover by characterizing structural changes in individual shrub patches from one image to the next in the time series. The classification scheme captured colonization by new shrub patches, growth or decline in patch area, and patch stability (i.e., change in size of less than 15%). Patch growth was categorized as growth by coalescence with neighboring patches or canopy expansion. Similarly, patch decline was distinguished as either loss of patch area due to canopy dieback or fragmentation of conglomerate patches. Interpretations of change in patch density based solely on shrub colonization and mortality can be too simplistic. Increases in patch density can result from an influx of new patches or fragmentation of patches into its constituent patches; conversely, decreases in density may be due to mortality of patches or coalescence of existing patches.

Six sample images covering a 62 × 62 m area for 6 of 11 images used in the analysis of patch dynamics. Panels denote the appearance of new shrub patches (a) and illustrate changes in patch structure that include coalescence (b) and fragmentation (c) from one image to the next. Color images in panels (b) and (c) were converted to gray scale.

“We demonstrate that patches grew in size at the beginning of the study in conjunction with increases in shrub cover (0.5% in 1937 to 11% in 1960) and patch density increased during the initial encroachment phase of shrub proliferation (4 patches ha−1 in 1937 to 80 patches ha−1 in 1960). Shrub cover remained stable at 7% from 1967 to 1989 and over this period, patch dynamics were broadly characterized by growth and persistence of patch area with roughly equal proportions of mortality and colonization. Shrub cover increased linearly from 8% in 1989 to 14% in 2008, approaching a projected maximum shrub cover of 18% based on mean annual precipitation (MAP) of 230 mm. Patch fate over this period constituted growth and persistence of shrub patch area whereas appearance of new patches remained relatively stable. Shrub patch dynamics were nonlinear and variable over time. We documented the transition from grass- to shrub-dominated states with patch dynamics signifying a shifting mosaic in which shrub patch establishment, growth, and mortality wax and wane. Monitoring patch dynamics will become increasingly important in actively managed ecosystems as an important indicator of impending shifts in ecosystem structure and function.”

Predicting Spatial Distribution of Snow Water Equivalent Using Multivariate Non-linear Regression and Computational Intelligence Methods

Water Resources Management, 2011, Volume 25, Number 5, Pages 1417-1435

Safar Marofi, Hossein Tabari and Hamid Zare Abyaneh

“The evaluation of water resources given by snowfall is very important in the mountainous basins. In this study, the snow depth (SD) and snow water equivalent (SWE) were investigated to quantify the water resources stored in the snow. Multivariate non-linear regression (MNLR) method, four types of artificial neural network (ANN) and neural network-genetic algorithm (NNGA) model were initially evaluated to predict SWE in the Samsami basin of Iran. Afterwards, ordinary kriging (OK) technique was applied to interpolate the SWE values estimated by the best-performed model. For this regard, seven different MNLR, ANN and NNGA models comprising various combinations of climatic and topographic parameters including elevation (El.), slope (S), north–south (N-S) and east–west (E-W) aspects, maximum upwind slope (Sx), longitude (X) and latitude (Y) were developed to evaluate degree of effect of each of these parameters on SWE. The different experiment results showed that the NNGA5 model characterized by Delta-Bar-Delta learning algorithm and Sigmoid activation function with inputs of El., Sx, N-S aspects, S and X performed best in estimating SWE. In general, the results indicated that the NNGA technique was the most suitable method for estimation of SWE in the study area. The ANN and MNLR models were identified as the next categories, respectively. The sensitivity analysis revealed that El. and Sx were more important parameters influencing SWE than the other input parameters. ”