CyberGIS – Toward Synergistic Advancement of Cyberinfrastructure and GIScience: A Workshop Summary

Journal of Spatial Information ScienceJournal of Spatial Information Science, article in press

Shaowen Wang, Nancy R. Wilkins-Diehr, and Timothy L. Nyerges

“As a spatial data deluge takes place across numerous domains, both cyberinfrastructure and Geographic Information Science (GIScience) play increasingly essential roles in addressing grand challenges of scientific and engineering disciplines and improving decision-making practices with significant societal impacts. Yet, fulfilling such roles requires the development of cyberinfrastructure-based geographical information systems (CyberGIS) for effectively synthesizing cyberinfrastructure, GIScience, and spatial analysis and modelling. To better understand the opportunities and challenges to achieve the integrated CyberGIS vision through synergistic advancement of cyberinfrastructure and GIScience, the National Science Foundation (NSF) Office of Cyberinfrastructure sponsored a CyberGIS workshop through the NSF TeraGrid project while the University Consortium of Geographic Information Science (UCGIS) co-organized the workshop that was held in conjunction with the UCGIS 2010 annual winter meeting. Over the one and one-half day workshop, a multidisciplinary group of experts from the international communities of cyberinfrastructure, GIScience, spatial analysis and modelling, and several other related scientific domains were brought together in a ‘participatory’ manner composed of both small- and large-group settings to discuss the CyberGIS roadmap. This workshop summary paper describes the activities and findings of the workshop relevant to CyberGIS research and education, and presents research questions and priorities that, if studied, will lay a solid foundation to synthesize computational and spatial studies toward a paradigm shift of geospatial fields.”

The Role of Age, Ethnicity and Environmental Factors in Modulating Malaria Risk in Rajasthali, Bangladesh

Malaria JournalMalaria Journal, 2011, Volume 10, Number 1

Ubydul Haque, Ricardo J Soares Magalhães, Dipak Mitra, Korine N Kolivras, Wolf-Peter Schmidt, Rashidul Haque, and Gregory E Glass

“Background: Malaria is endemic in the Rajasthali region of the Chittagong Hill Tracts in Bangladesh and the Rajasthali region is the most endemic area of Bangladesh. Quantifying the role of environmental and socio-economic factors in the local spatial patterns of malaria endemicity can contribute to successful malaria control and elimination. This study aimed to investigate the role of environmental factors on malaria risk in Rajasthali and to quantify the geographical clustering in malaria risk unaccounted by these factors.

“Method: A total of 4,200 (78.9%; N = 5,322) households were targeted in Rajasthali in July, 2009, and 1,400 individuals were screened using a rapid diagnostic test (Falci-vax). These data were linked to environmental and socio-economic data in a geographical information system. To describe the association between environmental factors and malaria risk, a generalized linear mixed model approach was utilized. The study investigated the role of environmental factors on malaria risk by calculating their population-attributable fractions (PAF), and used residual semivariograms to quantify the geographical clustering in malaria risk unaccounted by these factors.

“Results: Overall malaria prevalence was 11.7%. Out of 5,322 households, 44.12% households were living in areas with malaria prevalence of ≥ 10%. The results from statistical analysis showed that age, ethnicity, proximity to forest, household density, and elevation were significantly and positively correlated with the malaria risk and PAF estimation. The highest PAF of malaria prevalence was 47.7% for third tertile (n = 467) of forest cover, 17.6% for second tertile (n = 467) of forest cover and 19.9% for household density >1,000.

“Conclusion: Targeting of malaria health interventions at small spatial scales in Bangladesh should consider the social and socio-economic risk factors identified as well as alternative methods for improving equity of access to interventions across whole communities.”

Playful Public Participation in Urban Planning: A Case Study for Online Serious Games

Computers, Environment and Urban SystemsComputers, Environment and Urban Systems, Volume 36, Issue 3, May 2012, Pages 195–206

Alenka Poplin


  • We present the concept of play and games in urban planning.
  • The study case concentrates on the design of an online serious game.
  • The implemented game was tested with the help of students and external experts.
  • We summarize the positive and critical aspects of the implemented game.

“The aim of this paper is to study the implementation of online games to encourage public participation in urban planning. Its theoretical foundations are based on previous work in public participatory geographical information systems (PP GISs), play and games, with a special focus on serious games. Serious games aim to support learning processes in a new, more playful way. We developed the concept of playful public participation in urban planning, including playful elements such as storytelling, walking and moving, sketching, drawing, and games. A group of students designed an online serious public participatory game entitled NextCampus. The case study used in NextCampus was taken from the real-world question of a possible move of a university campus to a new location in the city of Hamburg, Germany. The development of the serious public participatory game NextCampus resulted in a physical prototype, user interface design, and a computational model of the game. The NextCampus game was tested with the help of two groups of urban planning students and presented to three external experts who provided valuable recommendations for further development. The critical comments questioned the level of complexity involved in such games. The positive comments included recognition of the potential for joy and the playfulness a game like NextCampus could evoke.”

A Simple, Interactive GIS Tool for Transforming Assumed Total Station Surveys to Real World Coordinates – The CHaMP Transformation Tool

Computers & GeosciencesComputers & Geosciences, Volume 42, May 2012, Pages 28-36

Joseph M. Wheaton, Chris Garrard, Kelly Whitehead, and Carol J. Volk


  • A simple GIS tool was developed for transforming total station data into real world coordinates.
  • The transformation preserves the relative accuracy of the total station survey.
  • Real world coordinates for the transformation can be acquired from cost-effective handheld GPS.
  • The interactive tool allows visualization of survey data in a webGIS (e.g., Google Earth).
  • The tool has been tested by 12 crews at 364 sites in a new stream monitoring program.

“Increasingly, geoscientists and biologists are monitoring the natural environment with total station and terrestrial laser scanning surveys. Due to the remote nature of many of the sites monitored (e.g., streams, rivers, glaciers, etc.) the surveys are often done in unprojected, Cartesian, local, assumed coordinate systems. However, without the survey data projected in real world coordinates the range of possible analyses is limited and the contextual power of existing imagery, elevation models, and hydrologic layers can not be exploited. This requires a transformation from the local assumed to the real world coordinate systems. We present a simple interactive interface, as an ArcGIS Add-In, that allows a user to transform unprojected total station data into real-world coordinates using three benchmark coordinates, which can be collected from a hand-held GPS (available at Unlike most transformations built into GIS programs, our tool uses an affine transformation (simple shift and rotate) to preserve the precision and relative accuracy of the total station survey, while leveraging the absolute positional accuracy of the hand-held GPS to place one’s data approximately in real world coordinates for GIS overlay purposes. The user can quickly visually inspect between six and twelve transformation options, while comparing the residual error estimates to interactively choose the most reasonable transformation. The tool provides an easy-to-use, cost-effective workflow, which facilitates the sharing and visualization of precise total station survey data in real world coordinates through a webGIS or virtual globes (e.g., Google Earth, NASA Whirlwind). The tool has been tested and was used by 12 crews to transform topographic total station surveys of 364 sites into real world coordinates as part of the Columbian Habitat Monitoring Program (CHaMP).”

Detecting Mountain Peaks and Delineating Their Shapes Using Digital Elevation Models, Remote Sensing and Geographic Information Systems Using Autometric Methodological Procedures

Remote Sensing, 2012, 4(3), 784-809

Tomaž Podobnikar

“The detection of peaks (summits) as the upper parts of mountains and the delineation of their shape is commonly confirmed by inspections carried out by mountaineers. In this study the complex task of peak detection and shape delineation is solved by autometric methodological procedures, more precisely, by developing relatively simple but innovative image-processing and spatial-analysis techniques (e.g., developing inventive variables using an annular moving window) in remote sensing and GIS domains. The techniques have been integrated into automated morphometric methodological procedures. The concepts of peaks and their shapes (sharp, blunt, oblong, circular and conical) were parameterized based on topographic and morphologic criteria.

“A geomorphologically high quality DEM was used as a fundamental dataset. The results, detected peaks with delineated shapes, have been integratively enriched with numerous independent datasets (e.g., with triangulated spot heights) and information (e.g., etymological information), and mountaineering criteria have been implemented to improve the judgments. This holistic approach has proved the applicability of both highly standardized and universal parameters for the geomorphologically diverse Kamnik Alps case study area. Possible applications of this research are numerous, e.g., a comprehensive quality control of DEM or significantly improved models for the spatial planning proposes.”

What Multipliers Don’t Tell You: A Spatial Analysis of Farm Household Linkages

86th Annual Conference of the Agricultural Economics Society, 16-18 April 2012

Kate Pangbourne and Deborah Roberts

“Agricultural policy and farm lobby groups often stress the role of farm production in sustaining local economies. This paper considers the spatial pattern of the upstream and downstream agricultural transactions of farms in North East Scotland and, in particular, the extent to which they take place within the locality of the farm holding. Three alternative definitions of “local” are considered: a distance based measure; a measure which takes into account the location of the farm in relation to the nearest town; and finally a measure which takes into account the location of input suppliers/output purchasers.

Cattle Sales, main locations

Cattle Sales, main locations

“The results are shown to vary qualitatively according to the definition of local adopted, highlighting the importance of allowing for context as well as demand-side factors when explaining purchasing and sales decisions. A highly complex pattern of production-related linkages in the region is revealed. Certain towns are found to dominate agriculture-related transactions in the region reflecting the spatial concentration of upstream and downstream agribusinesses. Probit analysis suggests that farm size, farm type and risk attitudes influence output sales patterns. The policy implications of the findings are considered.”

Keynote Speakers Announced for Global Geospatial Conference 2012 in Quebec

The joint organizers of Global Geospatial Conference 2012 are delighted to announce Dr. Gilberto Câmara (Brazil), Dr. Prashant Shukle (Canada), Dr. Michael Goodchild (US) and Dr. Abbas Rajabifard (Australia) as featured keynote speakers at the upcoming May conference.

Dr. Gilberto Câmara is General Director of Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research (INPE) and will address the topic of Global Visions in Sharing Geospatial Data and Tools and Progress in Their Achievement. Dr. Camara is being honored as well with a Global Citizen Award for his staunch support and highly influential global leadership in opening citizen access to governments’ environmental and geospatial data across the planet.

Dr. Prashant Shukle, Director General of the Mapping Information Branch of Natural Resources Canada, will highlight substantial innovations employed and advancements made in spatially enabling Canadian government services and providing access for businesses and citizens.

Dr. Michael Goodchild, member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and Director of the University of California-Santa Barbara’s Center for Spatial Studies, will provide a personal perspective on topics raised at the conference and topics drawn from his over forty years in supporting and observing advancements in the field.

Dr. Abbas Rajabifard, Chair of the Department of Infrastructure Engineering at The University of Melbourne and President of the GSDI Association, will open the conference with an address on Visions for Spatially Enabling Government, Industry and Citizens.

GGC 2012 will take place at the Québec City Convention Center from May 14-17, 2012. This conference combines the GSDI World Conference (GSDI 13), 14th GEOIDE Annual Scientific Conference, Canadian Geomatics Conference (CGC 2012) and the 7th 3D GeoInfo Conference. In addition to the keynotes, the conference has a full slate of corporate sponsors, the exhibit space is sold out, a full program of technical and plenary sessions will be presented, additional poster and industry showcase sessions will be highlighted and the social events have all been booked.

We congratulate titanium sponsor Tecterra, platinum sponsor Esri/Esri Canada and all of the other sponsors, exhibitors, and speakers that promise to make the conference a great success.

Come join your professional, government, industry and academic peers in beautiful Quebec City in May 2012!

[Source: GSDI News]