GIS and Paleoanthropology: Incorporating New Approaches from the Geospatial Sciences in the Analysis of Primate and Human Evolution

Yearbook of Physical AnthropologyYearbook of Physical Anthropology, 2011, published online 19 November 2011

R.L. Anemone, G.C. Conroy, and C.W. Emerson

“The incorporation of research tools and analytical approaches from the geospatial sciences is a welcome trend for the study of primate and human evolution. The use of remote sensing (RS) imagery and geographic information systems (GIS) allows vertebrate paleontologists, paleoanthropologists, and functional morphologists to study fossil localities, landscapes, and individual specimens in new and innovative ways that recognize and analyze the spatial nature of much paleoanthropological data. Whether one is interested in locating and mapping fossiliferous rock units in the field, creating a searchable and georeferenced database to catalog fossil localities and specimens, or studying the functional morphology of fossil teeth, bones, or artifacts, the new geospatial sciences provide an essential element in modern paleoanthropological inquiry. In this article we review recent successful applications of RS and GIS within paleoanthropology and related fields and argue for the importance of these methods for the study of human evolution in the twenty first century. We argue that the time has come for inclusion of geospatial specialists in all interdisciplinary field research in paleoanthropology, and suggest some promising areas of development and application of the methods of geospatial science to the science of human evolution.”

Spatio-Temporal Analysis of Topic Popularity in Twitter

Cornell University LibraryCornell University Library,16 November 2011

Sebastien Ardon, Amitabha Bagchi, Anirban Mahanti, Amit Ruhela, Aaditeshwar Seth, Rudra Mohan Tripathy, and Sipat Triukose

“We present the first comprehensive characterization of the diffusion of ideas on Twitter, studying more than 4,000 topics that include both popular and less popular topics. On a data set containing approximately 10 million users and a comprehensive scraping of all the tweets posted by these users between June 2009 and August 2009 (approximately 200 million tweets), we perform a rigorous temporal and spatial analysis, investigating the time-evolving properties of the subgraphs formed by the users discussing each topic. We focus on two different notions of the spatial: the network topology formed by follower-following links on Twitter, and the geospatial location of the users.

Evolving graph conductance

Evolving graph conductance.

“We investigate the effect of initiators on the popularity of topics and find that users with a high number of followers have a strong impact on popularity. We deduce that topics become popular when disjoint clusters of users discussing them begin to merge and form one giant component that grows to cover a significant fraction of the network. Our geospatial analysis shows that highly popular topics are those that cross regional boundaries aggressively.”

Spatial Giants Form Landmark Industry Partnership

Esri AustraliaTwo heavyweights of Australia’s $2.1 billion geospatial industry have joined forces in an industry-first partnership designed to expand spatial technology into new, ‘untapped’ markets.

Leading Geographic Information System (GIS) specialists Esri Australia and the nation’s peak spatial industry body the Surveying and Spatial Sciences Institute (SSSI) announced the alliance today at the International Surveying and Spatial Sciences Conference (SSSC) in New Zealand.

The move follows a record year of growth for the spatial industry, which saw GIS technology play a vital role in emergency response during the Queensland flood and cyclone disasters; underpin think tank forums for the Committee for Economic Development (CEDA); and expand its footprint in sectors such as insurance, utilities, mining and resources.

Esri Australia Managing Director Brett Bundock said together the spatial industry mainstays would facilitate a series of strategic round table discussions with business leaders from sectors where GIS is not yet established.

“Our goal here is to pave the way for an expansion and use of the science into non-traditional markets,” Mr Bundock said.

“Following the public role of GIS during this year’s flood crisis in Queensland, a number of sectors are now looking with great interest to how the technology can strengthen their decision-making.

“Esri Australia has been a member of the spatial industry for over 34 years – this partnership with SSSI gives us the opportunity to drive the sector forward, taking with us a membership base that has also contributed significantly to the industry’s success.

“We are bringing together the Australian spatial industry’s chief thought leaders to not only determine ways we can foster growth in traditional markets – but also how we can continue to forge a strong position for the technology in emerging sectors, like agribusiness, health and engineering.

“GIS is a game-changing technology – in any industry – and through research, round-table discussions and promotional forums, we intend to build a deeper understanding of that potential across the broader Australian business community.”

The alliance is expected to drive new training and educational opportunities in the local market, andsee the production of joint industry reports and in-depth analysis of challenges facing the spatial industry.

SSSI CEO Roger Buckley said the partnership was the first of its kind entered into by the peak industry body, whose membership includes hundreds of Australia’s leading spatial technology professionals.

“This is a unique case of two market leaders sharing data, expertise and market intel to champion geospatial technology,” Mr Buckley said.

“It’s a natural pairing – Esri Australia has the country’s premier spatial technology and know-how, while we represent hundreds of Australia’s most highly regarded cartographers, remote sensors, land surveyors, photogrammetrists and other spatial professionals.

“Together, we have an unmatched ability to drive growth in the spatial sector – and support organisations around the country in their use of location intelligence.

“There are many businesses who don’t yet understand where spatial technology can fit within their organisation and through this partnership, we’re here to say ‘let us show you’.”

[Source: Esri Australia press release]