An Ontology for the Representation of Spatiotemporal Jurisdictional Domains in Information Retrieval Systems

International Journal of Geographical Information ScienceInternational Journal of Geographical Information Science, Volume 26, Issue 4, 2012

Francisco J. Lopez-Pellicer, Javier Lacasta, Aneta Florczyk, Javier Nogueras-Iso & F. Javier Zarazaga-Soria

“Jurisdictional domains are generally accepted political divisions of the earth surface that cover specific territorial and functional scopes over time. They are frequently used in information retrieval (IR) to classify and locate resources by means of their geographical location. However, the changes they suffer over time reduce their applicability in historical collections. In this context, and with the objective of improving the use of jurisdictional domains, this article proposes an ontology schema that combines in a single model the administrative structure, the spatial components, and the temporal evolution of jurisdictional domains. This ontology schema has been used to create the Spanish jurisdictional model. Additionally, as an example of its applicability in the IR context, the Spanish model has been used as part of a location-based query component for the Spanish Official State Gazette.”

“GIS Tutorial for Health”: Essential Book for Health Care Analysts

GIS Tutorial for Health, Fourth Edition

GIS Tutorial for Health, Fourth Edition

From explaining map basics to the spatial analysis of health issues, GIS Tutorial for Health, Fourth Edition, published by Esri Press, helps health professionals and students learn how to analyze and manage health data using geographic information systems (GIS).

In this fourth edition, GIS Tutorial for Health is fully revised and updated for ArcGIS Desktop 10 software. To better support skill building and GIS analysis, this workbook features extended introductions to eleven tutorials addressing significant issues of health care and policy planning. Step-by-step exercises cover health map basics, data preparation for maps, and the spatial analysis of health issues using GIS.

Authors Kristen S. Kurland and Wilpen L. Gorr are well-known and have co-written several GIS tutorials and reference books. Both are professors at Carnegie Mellon University’s H. John Heinz III College.

In the preface to the book, the authors write, “GIS Tutorial for Health is a unique textbook for teaching GIS to health professionals and students interested in health IT and informatics, health care administration, and health policy. After teaching GIS for over 20 years, we know that you, like our own students, will enjoy this subject and software.”

Complete with a 180-day trial of ArcGIS Desktop 10 software and exercise datasets, this book is a valuable resource for the classroom, as well as the individual user.

GIS Tutorial for Health, Fourth Edition (ISBN: 978-1-58948-313-2, 466 pages, $79.95) is available at online retailers worldwide, at esri.com/esripress, or by calling 1-800-447-9778. Outside the United States, visit esri.com/esripressorders for complete ordering options, or visit esri.com/distributors to contact your local Esri distributor. Interested retailers can contact Esri Press book distributor Ingram Publisher Services.

[Source: Esri press release]

Use of Satellite Data and GIS for Assessing the Agricultural Potentiality of the Soils South Farafra Oasis, Western Desert, Egypt

Arabian Journal of GeosciencesArabian Journal of Geosciences, Published Online 24 January 2012

Wael Ahmed Mohamed Abdel Kawy and Islam H. Abou El-Magd

“Overpopulation and food security are the main global problems alert decision makers. In developing countries, such problem put extra pressure for horizontal expansion for agricultural development. The rapid sprawl of urbanized areas on the alluvial land of the River Nile and delta to accommodate the population growth has encouraged governmental and private sector for agricultural expansion in the desert. Unless there are reliable information and accurate studies for land and soil suitability, there will be a collapse of such investment. To evaluate the potential suitability of soil for agriculture development in areas of the western desert, satellite images, geographic information, and field survey including soil profiles and artesian water samples with laboratory analysis were integrated to classify the soils according their suitability for specific crop. The main land qualities of the different mapping units and the crop requirement were rated and matched to obtain the current and potential land suitability using Automated Land Evaluation System “ALES”. The study found that the main physiographic units are plateaus, hilland, mountain, and depression floor. But there are three limiting parameters for land suitability which are the lack of nutrient elements, wind erosion vulnerability, and soil texture. The study concluded that the best crops adapted with the soil conditions and could be feasible for economic use are: (1) native vegetation such as agol, sand trees, sammar, halfaa, bawaal, qordaob, bardi, and qortom; (2) filed crops such as onion, garlic, watermelon and wheat; and (3) fruits such as olive and date palms.”

URISA Announces 2012 GIS Hall of Fame Inductees

GIS Hall of FameThe Urban and Regional Information Systems Association (URISA) established the GIS Hall of Fame in 2005 to recognize and honor the most esteemed leaders of the geospatial community. To be considered for the GIS Hall of Fame, an individual’s or an organization’s record of contribution to the advancement of the industry demonstrates creative thinking and actions, vision and innovation, inspiring leadership, perseverance, and community mindedness. Hall of Fame inductees are individuals or organizations whose contributions and accomplishments have moved the geospatial industry and user community in a better, stronger direction.

This year, the GIS Hall of Fame Nomination Committee, composed of URISA Past Presidents, proposed five federal agencies that have made substantial contributions to the GIS community and profession. The URISA Board of Directors unanimously approved each nominee.  URISA is pleased to announce the 2012 GIS Hall of Fame inductees:

  • National Aeronautics and Space Administration
  • Natural Resources Canada
  • Statistics Canada
  • United States Census Bureau
  • United States Geological Survey

Representatives from each agency will be in attendance at URISA’s 50th Annual Conference in Portland, Oregon, where each will be inducted into the URISA GIS Hall of Fame during the Awards Ceremony on Wednesday, October 3, 2012.

“The United States Geological Survey (USGS) is thrilled to be receiving this award from URISA and is immensely proud of the many USGS employees who have pioneered the application of GIS in the programs we carry out on behalf of the U.S. Department of the Interior and the citizens of our Nation”. — Mark DeMulder, Director, USGS National Geospatial Program

“NASA is honored by this recognition from a leader in the use of geospatial data and tools across sectors.  This honor is truly a tribute to the many people who design and operate the Earth-observing satellite missions, process and deliver the data, and analyze the measurements to benefit all humankind.” — Michael H. Freilich, Director of the NASA Earth Science Division

“Statistics Canada is honored to be recognized by the URISA GIS Hall of Fame for its leadership role in advancing GIS technology for the production and dissemination of statistical data in Canada. The Agency is most proud of its staff who have partnered with organizations in Canada and internationally to develop and adopt innovative GIS solutions to meet increasing and evolving user needs.” — Rosemary Bender, Assistant Chief Statistician, Informatics and Methodology, Statistics Canada

“The U.S. Census Bureau is honored to be inducted into the URISA GIS Hall of Fame, which recognizes the achievements of Census Bureau staff for its technological innovations for making GIS data available to the nation.” —  Thomas L. Mesenbourg, Acting Director, Census Bureau

“Natural Resources Canada is proud to be recognized for its scientific and technological accomplishments in geomatics. This honour is a reflection of the dedication and professionalism of our staff and partners who have advanced geomatics innovation in Canada and beyond.”—  The Honourable Joe Oliver, P.C., M.P., Minister, Natural Resources Canada

The 2012 inductees will join the following esteemed members of URISA’s GIS Hall of Fame, each of which is profiled online (http://www.urisa.org/hall_of_fame):

  • 2005 Inductees: Edgar Horwood, Ian McHarg, Roger Tomlinson, Jack Dangermond, Nancy Tosta, and the Harvard Lab
  • 2006 Inductee: Gary Hunter
  • 2007 Inductees: Don Cooke and Michael Goodchild
  • 2009 Inductees: Will Craig and Carl Reed
  • 2010 Inductee: C. Dana Tomlin
  • 2011 Inductees: William Huxhold and Barry Wellar

For more information about URISA, the GIS Hall of Fame, and GIS-Pro 2012: URISA’s 50th Annual Conference for GIS Professionals, visit www.urisa.org.

[Source: URISA press release]

ArcGIS for AutoCAD Offers Advanced CAD and GIS Interoperability

Use ArcGIS for AutoCAD to easily add, create, and edit GIS information in your AutoCAD drawings.

Use ArcGIS for AutoCAD to easily add, create, and edit GIS information in your AutoCAD drawings.

New Version Introduces Geodatabase Editing

The latest release of ArcGIS for AutoCAD, Esri’s free AutoCAD plug-in, improves the ability to exchange data and information between the ArcGIS and AutoCAD platforms. ArcGIS for AutoCAD users with read/write access to ArcGIS for Server feature services can now edit geodatabases through AutoCAD. This enables easier data dissemination between CAD and GIS users across the enterprise, reduces the duplication of work, and increases efficiency.

CAD professionals can use the free downloadable application to add, create, and edit GIS data within AutoCAD drawings. For example, users can add maps and map services from enterprise or cloud servers, such as ArcGIS Online, to their drawings, giving the design a geographic context and a common operating picture for the organization.

“ArcGIS for AutoCAD is the interface to the ArcGIS system and all of its rich data content, sharing, and data management,” states Esri CAD product manager Don Kuehne. “The possibilities presented by the combination of AutoCAD and ArcGIS services to automate editing and data maintenance workflows are going to result in an exponential leap in value for those who take advantage of them.”

The new release also includes access to image services and a geolocation service for navigating within an AutoCAD drawing. AutoCAD 2010/2011/2012 (32-bit and 64-bit) systems are supported. To learn more about or to download the new release of ArcGIS for AutoCAD, visit esri.com/autocadapp.

[Source: Esri press release]

Clinton Climate Initiative Receives 2012 Special Achievement in GIS Award

Clinton FoundationLast month at the Esri International User Conference, Clinton Climate Initiative (CCI) received the 2012 Special Achievements in GIS Award. The award recognized CCI for using geographic information system (GIS) technology to help countries monitor their carbon levels.

CCI’s Forestry Program is developing forestry projects and carbon measurement systems that help governments and local communities receive compensation for preserving and re-growing forests. As global warming is caused by increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere from burning fossil fuels – and deforestation accounts for about 15% of total carbon dioxide emissions in the world – scientists predict that if governments and communities don’t take action to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, our world will face increasingly drastic consequences ranging from stronger heat waves to more droughts and floods to increasing sea level. All of these affect agriculture, food security, viability of coastal cities, and water availability around the world.

In order to reduce emissions, governments and economies must use less fossil fuels and increase use of energy efficient technologies and renewable technologies. CCI’s Forestry Program focuses on helping developing countries reverse deforestation and plant new trees. If countries are able to show that they can monitor and verify that they are reducing their carbon dioxide emissions, countries become eligible for funding to manage their forest programs and other low-carbon economic activities.

CCI was recognized with the 2012 Special Achievement in GIS Award for helping the country of Guyana become eligible for $70 million in forest-based payments from the government of Norway. Guyana is now using this funding to facilitate specific elements of a Low Carbon Development Plan envisioned and put in place by former Guyana President Bharrat Jagdeo. This project is part of CCI’s Forestry Program and has been supported by the Rockefeller Foundation and the governments of Norway and Australia.

CCI uses GIS technology as a centerpiece of forest carbon measurement, reporting, and verification (MRV) systems for developing countries. GIS is one of three legs of the platform–Data, Models, and GIS–that allows countries to determine how much carbon they have, how it is changing, and how the drivers of deforestation and forest degradation can be monitored and adjusted as required.

With GIS systems in place for forestry, developing countries can be eligible for direct payments through international agreements based on the effectiveness of their MRV systems. Once in place, the GIS systems can be used more broadly by the countries for other resource development, land surveys, and determination of land tenure.

Read more about CCI’s forestry projects.

[Source: Clinton Foundation press release]

Obesogenic Neighborhood Environments, Child and Parent Obesity: The Neighborhood Impact on Kids Study

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

“Background: Identifying neighborhood environment attributes related to childhood obesity can inform environmental changes for obesity prevention.

“Purpose: To evaluate child and parent weight status across neighborhoods in King County (Seattle metropolitan area) and San Diego County differing in GIS-defıned physical activity environment (PAE) and nutrition environment (NE) characteristics.

“Methods: Neighborhoods were selected to represent high (favorable) versus low (unfavorable) on the two measures, forming four neighborhood types (low on both measures, low PAE/high NE, high PAE/low NE, and high on both measures). Weight and height of children aged 6–11 yearsandone parent (n730) from selected neighborhoods were assessed in 2007–2009. Differences in child and parent overweight and obesity by neighborhood type were examined, adjusting for neighborhood-, family-, and individual-level demographics.

“Results: Children from neighborhoods high on both environment measures were less likely to be obese (7.7% vs 15.9%,OR0.44, p0.02) and marginally less likely to be overweight (23.7% vs 31.7%,OR0.67, p0.08) than children from neighborhoods low on both measures. In models adjusted for parent weight status and demographic factors, neighborhood environment type remained related to child obesity (high vs low on both measures, OR0.41, p0.03). Parents in neighborhoods high on both measures (versus low on both) were marginally less likely to be obese (20.1% vs 27.7%,OR0.66, p0.08), although parent overweight did not differ by neighborhood environment. The lower odds of parent obesity in neighborhoods with environments supportive of physical activity and healthy eating remained in models adjusted for demographics (high vs low on the environment measures, OR0.57, p0.053).

“Conclusions: Findings support the proposed GIS-based defınitions of obesogenic neighborhoods for children and parents that consider both physical activity and nutrition environment features.”