Fast Food and Obesity: A Spatial Analysis in a Large United Kingdom Population of Children Aged 13–15

American Journal of Preventive MedicineAmerican Journal of Preventive Medicine, May 2012, Vol. 42, No. 5

“Background: The childhood obesity epidemic is a current public health priority in many countries, and the consumption of fast food has been associated with obesity.

“Purpose: This study aims to assess the relationship between fast-food consumption and obesity as well as the relationship between fast-food outlet access and consumption in a cohort of United Kingdom teenagers.

“Methods: A weighted accessibility score of the number of fast-food outlets within a 1-km network buffer of the participant’s residence at age 13 years was calculated. Geographically weighted regression was used to assess the relationships between fast-food consumption at age 13 years and weight status at ages 13 and 15 years, and separately between fast-food accessibility and consumption. Data were collected from 2004 to 2008.

Results of geographically weighted regression model of fast-food consumption; local coefficients with t-value contours

Results of geographically weighted regression model of fast-food consumption; local coefficients with t-value contours

“Results: The consumption of fast food was associated with a higher BMI SD score (^^0.08, 95% CI^0.03, 0.14); higher body fat percentage (^^2.06, 95% CI^1.33, 2.79); and increased odds of being obese (OR^1.23, 95% CI^1.02, 1.49). All these relationships were stationary and did not vary over space in the study area. The relationship between the accessibility of outlets and consumption did vary over space, with some areas (more rural areas) showing that increased accessibility was associated with consumption, whereas in some urban areas increased accessibility was associated with lack of consumption.

“Conclusions: There is continued need for nutritional education regarding fast food, but public health interventions that place restrictions on the location of fast-food outlets may not uniformly decrease consumption.”

Are ‘Smart Cities’ Smart Enough?

GSDI World Conference (GSDI 13)GSDI World Conference (GSDI 13), 14-17 May 2012, Québec City, Canada

Stéphane Roche, Nashid Nabian, Kristian Kloeckl, and Carlo Ratti

“In our contemporary societal context, reconfigured by wide spread impact of Geolocalization and wikification on urban population’s everyday work and life, two related concepts, “spatially enabled society” and “smart city”, have emerged from two different but related fields: the Global Spatial Data Infrastructure community drives the former while practitioners and researchers in urban planning, urban studies and urban design are more concerned with the latter. We believe that technology enhanced, ICT‐driven solutions that spatially enable the members of urban populations, contribute to smart operation of cities, and we suggest that a dialogue between the communities that foster these two notions needs to be established. We seek to provide an ontology of categorically different, but still related, spatial enablement scenarios along with speculations on how each category can enhance the Smart City agenda by empowering the urban population, using recent projects by the MIT SENSEable City Lab to illustrate our points.”

A GPS/GIS Method for Travel Mode Detection in New York City

Computers, Environment and Urban SystemsComputers, Environment and Urban Systems, Volume 36, Issue 2, March 2012, Pages 131–139

Hongmian Gong, Cynthia Chen, Evan Bialostozky, Catherine T. Lawson


  • A GIS algorithm is developed to detect five travel modes from GPS data.
  • The overall success rate for mode detection is a promising 82.6%.
  • Over half of the trip segments in our surveys are walk, of which 92.4% is successfully identified.
  • Building a multimodal transportation network in GIS helps the mode detection.

“Handheld GPS provides a new technology to trace people’s daily travels and has been increasingly used for household travel surveys in major cities worldwide. However, methodologies have not been developed to successfully manage the enormous amount of data generated by GPS, especially in a complex urban environment such as New York City where urban canyon effects are significant and transportation networks are complicated. We develop a GIS algorithm that automatically processes the data from GPS-based travel surveys and detects five travel modes (walk, car, bus, subway, and commuter rail) from a multimodal transportation network in New York City. The mode detection results from the GIS algorithm are checked against the travel diaries from two small handheld GPS surveys. The combined success rate is a promising 82.6% (78.9% for one survey and 86.0% for another). Challenges we encountered in the mode detection process, ways we developed to meet these challenges, as well as possible future improvement to the GPS/GIS method are discussed in the paper, in order to provide a much-needed methodology to process GPS-based travel data for other cities.”

Is Malaria Illness among Young Children a Cause or a Consequence of Low Socioeconomic Status? Evidence from the United Republic of Tanzania

Malaria JournalMalaria Journal 2012, 11:161 (9 May 2012)

Marcia Caldas de Castro and Monica G Fisher

“Background: Malaria is commonly considered a disease of the poor, but there is very little evidence of a possible two-way causality in the association between malaria and poverty. Until now, limitations to examine that dual relationship were the availability of representative data on confirmed malaria cases, the use of a good proxy for poverty, and accounting for endogeneity in regression models.

“Methods: A simultaneous equation model was estimated with nationally representative data for Tanzania that included malaria parasite testing with RDTs for young children (six-59 months), and accounted for environmental variables assembled with the aid of GIS. A wealth index based on assets, access to utilities/infrastructure, and housing characteristics was used as a proxy for socioeconomic status. Model estimation was done with instrumental variables regression.

“Results: Results show that households with a child who tested positive for malaria at the time of the survey had a wealth index that was, on average, 1.9 units lower (p-value < 0.001), and that an increase in the wealth index did not reveal significant effects on malaria.

“Conclusion: If malaria is indeed a cause of poverty, as the findings of this study suggest, then malaria control activities, and particularly the current efforts to eliminate/eradicate malaria, are much more than just a public health policy, but also a poverty alleviation strategy. However, if poverty has no causal effect on malaria, then poverty alleviation policies should not be advertised as having the potential additional effect of reducing the prevalence of malaria.”

Spatial and Temporal Trends of Global Pollination Benefit

PLoS ONE 7(4): e35954, Published 26 April 2012

Sven Lautenbach, Ralf Seppelt, Juliane Liebscher, and Carsten F. Dormann

“Pollination is a well-studied and at the same time a threatened ecosystem service. A significant part of global crop production depends on or profits from pollination by animals. Using detailed information on global crop yields of 60 pollination dependent or profiting crops, we provide a map of global pollination benefits on a 5′ by 5′ latitude-longitude grid. The current spatial pattern of pollination benefits is only partly correlated with climate variables and the distribution of cropland.

Global map of pollination benefits for soybeans

Global map of pollination benefits for soybeans

“The resulting map of pollination benefits identifies hot spots of pollination benefits at sufficient detail to guide political decisions on where to protect pollination services by investing in structural diversity of land use. Additionally, we investigated the vulnerability of the national economies with respect to potential decline of pollination services as the portion of the (agricultural) economy depending on pollination benefits. While the general dependency of the agricultural economy on pollination seems to be stable from 1993 until 2009, we see increases in producer prices for pollination dependent crops, which we interpret as an early warning signal for a conflict between pollination service and other land uses at the global scale. Our spatially explicit analysis of global pollination benefit points to hot spots for the generation of pollination benefits and can serve as a base for further planning of land use, protection sites and agricultural policies for maintaining pollination services.”

URISA Offers LiDAR Webinar Series

URISAURISA, the Association for GIS Professionals, is offering a three part LiDAR webinar series for all members of the geospatial community. Part two of the series, Project Planning, is scheduled for Wednesday, May 23rd. Part three, Data Quality Control, will take place on Wednesday, June 27th.

The first session, LiDAR 101, has been archived and is available for purchase. Please visit to learn more about viewing archived URISA Connect webinars.

The purpose of this webinar series is to review concepts involving light detection and ranging (LiDAR), its real-world applications, current visualization, data processing and quality control approaches. The target audience of this webinar is at the beginner to intermediate level, including GIS managers, geospatial analysts, survey professionals, scientists and students.

Series presenter, Mark Stucky, currently serves as the MARS® Technical Support Specialist for the GeoSpatial Solutions division of Merrick & Company, a professional engineering services firm based in Aurora, Colorado (USA). In this position, Mark is responsible for technical support and software maintenance of MARS®, Merrick’s LiDAR visualization and data processing software solution. Mark is extensively involved in MARS® design, testing, and documentation.

URISA Connect is an effective way to develop your professional skills and even work towards GISCI Certification Education Hours. URISA Webinars count towards the EDU-2 section of the application.

For more information about this series, or to register, please visit

Other upcoming URISA Connect events include the return of the popular Asset Management series. For more information, please visit

[Source: URISA press release]

Change Detection Methods for Multi-temporal Analysis of Satellite Data Aimed at Environmental Risk Monitoring

FIG 2012


“In the last years the topic of Environmental monitoring has raised a particular importance, also according to minor short-term stability and predictability of climatic events. Facing this situation, often in terms of emergency, involves high and unpredictable costs for public Agencies.

Change detection before and after filter application

Change detection before and after filter application

“Prevention of damages caused by natural disasters does not regards only weather forecasts, but implies the constant attention and practice of monitoring and control of human activity on territory. Practically, the problem is not knowing if and when an event will affect a determined area, but recognizing the possible damages if this event happened, by adopting the adequate measures to reduce them to a minimum, and requiring the necessary tools for a timely intervention. On the other hand, the surveying technologies should be the most possible accurate and updatable in order to guarantee high standards, involving the analysis of a great amount of data. The management of such data requires the integration and calculation systems with specialized software and fast and reliable connection and communication networks.

“Change detection analysis serve to facilitate individuation of environmental temporal variations, contributing to reduce the users intervention by means of the processes automation and improving in a progressive way the qualitative and quantitative accuracy of results. The research investigate automatic methods on land cover transformations by means of “Change detection” techniques executable on satellite data that are heterogeneous for spatial and spectral resolution with homogenization and registration in an unique digital information environment.

“In the present work we tested some areas of study particularly interesting for the knowledge of the morphology changes of land cover, in particular the area of the coast of Manfredonia characterized by the presence of important industrial sites and protected area of the Park of Alta Murgia with frequent episodes of land transformation.”

Integrating Ecosystem-service Tradeoffs into Land-use Decisions

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Published online 23 April 2012

Joshua H. Goldstein, Giorgio Caldarone, Thomas Kaeo Duarte, Driss Ennaanay, Neil Hannahs,
Guillermo Mendoza, Stephen Polasky, Stacie Wolny, and Gretchen C. Daily

“Recent high-profile efforts have called for integrating ecosystem-service values into important societal decisions, but there are few demonstrations of this approach in practice. We quantified ecosystem-service values to help the largest private landowner in Hawaii, Kamehameha Schools, design a land-use development plan that balances multiple private and public values on its North Shore land holdings (Island of O’ahu) of ∼10,600 ha. We used the InVEST software tool to evaluate the environmental and financial implications of seven planning scenarios encompassing contrasting land-use combinations including biofuel feedstocks, food crops, forestry, livestock, and residential development.

Maps of study region showing provision for the base landscape

Maps of study region showing provision for the base landscape of (A) water-quality improvement (nitrogen export reduction), (B) carbon storage (in above- and belowground pools), and (C) annual financial return from the agricultural fields.

“All scenarios had positive financial return relative to the status quo of negative return. However, tradeoffs existed between carbon storage and water quality as well as between environmental improvement and financial return. Based on this analysis and community input, Kamehameha Schools is implementing a plan to support diversified agriculture and forestry. This plan generates a positive financial return ($10.9 million) and improved carbon storage (0.5% increase relative to status quo) with negative relative effects on water quality (15.4% increase in potential nitrogen export relative to status quo). The effects on water quality could be mitigated partially (reduced to a 4.9% increase in potential nitrogen export) by establishing vegetation buffers on agricultural fields. This plan contributes to policy goals for climate change mitigation, food security, and diversifying rural economic opportunities. More broadly, our approach illustrates how information can help guide local land-use decisions that involve tradeoffs between private and public interests.”

Ocean Basemap Now Accepting Contributions

The Ocean Basemap, a bathymetric map service by Esri released on June 21st of 2011 (World Hydrography Day), is being used by many ocean GIS users around the world; initially, the Ocean Basemap was created with data from the General Bathymetric Chart of the Oceans (GEBCO), IHO-IOC GEBCO Gazetteer of Undersea Feature Names, NOAA, Seafloor Mapping Lab of the California State University Monterey Bay, National Geographic, DeLorme, and Esri.

Due to its great success and in an attempt to enrich and improve data resolution, the Ocean Basemap  is now open to receive bathymetric data contributions from data providers such as Hydrographic Offices and academia,  for bathymetry and named features. If you want to learn more details please contact

A Query Integrity Assurance Scheme for Accessing Outsourced Spatial Databases

GeoInformaticaGeoInformatica, Published Online 14 March 2012

Wei-Shinn Ku, Ling Hu, Cyrus Shahabi, and Haixun Wang

“With the trend of cloud computing, outsourcing databases to third party service providers is becoming a common practice for data owners to decrease the cost of managing and maintaining databases in-house. In conjunction, due to the popularity of location-based-services (LBS), the need for spatial data (e.g., gazetteers, vector data) is increasing dramatically. Consequently, there is a noticeably new tendency of outsourcing spatial datasets by data collectors. Two main challenges with outsourcing datasets are to keep the data private (from the data provider) and to ensure the integrity of the query result (for the clients). Unfortunately, most of the techniques proposed for privacy and integrity do not extend to spatial data in a straightforward manner. Hence, recent studies proposed various techniques to support either privacy or integrity (but not both) on spatial datasets. In this paper, for the first time, we propose a technique that can ensure both privacy and integrity for outsourced spatial data. In particular, we first use a one-way spatial transformation method based on Hilbert curves, which encrypts the spatial data before outsourcing and, hence, ensures its privacy. Next, by probabilistically replicating a portion of the data and encrypting it with a different encryption key, we devise a technique for the client to audit the trustworthiness of the query results. We show the applicability of our approach for both k-nearest-neighbor queries and spatial range queries, which are the building blocks of any LBS application. We also design solutions to guarantee the freshness of outsourced spatial databases. Finally, we evaluate the validity and performance of our algorithms with security analyses and extensive simulations. ”