Global Geospatial Conference 2013 to be held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, 04-08 November 2013

The organisers of the Global Geospatial Conference 2013, to be held at the UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) United Nations Conference Centre (UNCC), Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, from 4-8 November, are pleased to announce that industry leaders Esri, Intergraph, Google and DigitalGlobe have all signed on as lead sponsors for this joint GSDI 14 World Conference and AfricaGIS 2013 Conference.

Esri, Inc. is the conference Titanium Sponsor while Intergraph Corporation (part of Hexagon) and Google, Inc. are Platinum Sponsors. DigitalGlobe has signed on as a Bronze Sponsor. Esri and Intergraph are also both GSDI Association corporate members. Negotiations are on-going with a range of other sponsors and exhibitors. The Sponsor and Exhibitors Prospectus is available at the conference web site at

Confirmed Keynote Speakers

  • Jack Dangermond, President, Esri, Inc.
  • Peter Gilruth, Director, Division of Early Warning and Assessment (DEWA), United Nations Environment Programme
  • Carlos Lopes, Executive Secretary, United Nations Economic Commission for Africa
  • Wilbur Khasilwa Ottichilo, Member of Parliament, Emuhaya Constituency, Kenya
  • Barbara Ryan, Secretariat Director, Group on Earth Observations (GEO)
  • Lee Schwartz, Director, Office of the Geographer and Global Issues, US Department of State
  • … and more are forthcoming!

AfriGEOSS Launch

AfriGEOSS, the GEO initiative to reinforce Earth observation in Africa, will feature a special plenary launch on the second day of the conference, followed by a cocktail reception that evening at the UNECA. Learn more about this exciting initiative that will expose African experts to global collaborations and improve their access to data and open-software tools for applications development in order to create new benefits for society, help sustain existing capacities, encourage knowledge transfer and provide a large return on investment in Earth Observation.

GSDI Global Citizen Award

The GSDI Association’s Global Citizen Award recognizes globally an individual who has provided exemplary thought leadership and substantive worldwide contributions in (1) promoting informed and responsible use of geographic information and geospatial technologies for the benefit of society and/or (2) fostering spatial data infrastructure developments that support sustainable social, economic, and environmental systems integrated from local to global scales.  The recipient receives a medallion and certificate to be presented at the global conference, and is invited to present a visionary speech. Following appraisal of the nominations and final selection by the awards committee, the winner has been selected. Watch this space for more news!

For more information, contact Sives Govender, Executive Director, EIS-Africa, or Harlan Onsrud, Executive Director, GSDI Association, and visit the conference website at

[Global Geospatial Conference 2013 Press Release]

2013 GIS in Transit Conference Program Unveiled

URISAURISA, the Transportation Research Board (TRB) and the National Center for Transit Research (NCTR) are pleased to provide program details for the 2013 GIS in Transit Conference. The conference will take place at the Keck Center of the National Academies in Washington, D.C. Early registration discounts are available until September 6 and reservations at the conference hotels will be accepted until August 30.

GIS in Transit is a unique conference specifically designed for transit planners, managers, researchers and GIS industry experts who are interested in sharing ways to use geographic and spatial analysis in transit planning, operations, and marketing to increase efficiency and effectiveness.

The conference will:

  • Provide GIS transit professionals an opportunity to learn from peers and industry experts (vendors, researchers, and practitioners)
  • Discuss emerging trends in geo-spatial analysis and transit informatics
  • Demonstrate the use of GIS data to improve transit efficiency and effectiveness
  • Provide a forum for public-private discussions about practical applications of new technologies

The conference program is organized into 15 sessions that feature presentations on the use of GIS to enhance service planning and improve transit performance, transit agency GIS innovations and applications, and opportunities for public-private partnerships to create practical applications of new technology. A poster session will also provide the opportunity for dialogue between conference participants and presenters on featured GIS applications.

Visit the conference website regularly for program details and additional information.

The conference thanks Esri and DTS in advance for their early commitment as conference sponsors.

[Source: URISA press release]

Abstracts Sought for 18th Annual GIS/CAMA Technologies Conference

URISAThe International Association of Assessing Officers (IAAO) and the Urban and Regional Information Systems Association (URISA) are pleased to announce the 18th Annual GIS/CAMA (Geographic Information Systems / Computer-Assisted Mass Appraisal) Technologies Conference, to be held February 24-27, 2014 in Jacksonville, Florida.

The educational program is developed through a review of submissions received through the Call for Presentations. The GIS/CAMA 2014 Conference Committee welcomes the submission of individual papers, complete sessions, panels and lightning talks and has proposed a list of suggested program tracks and topics for consideration (note that all abstracts received will be reviewed and considered for the conference program regardless of the list below):

Get It Done: At a time when budgets and staff sizes are dwindling, getting your work done better and more efficiently is critical. Presentations in this track should focus on improving processes from field data collection to data integrity. Some topics to consider:

  • Mobile technology in action
  • Utilizing GIS for change detection
  • Using GIS to support personal property assessments

Run the Numbers: Accurate and equitable valuations are the cornerstone of an assessment office. Learn new ways of analyzing data and utilizing statistical models. Some ideas to consider:

  • Modeling unstable markets using advanced techniques
  • Statistical models for commercial property
  • CAMA models using SPSS “Blame it on statistics.”

Serve It Up: Public confidence can rise and fall based on effective sharing and communication of property data and values with taxpayers, businesses, and other entities. How has your jurisdiction stepped up to the challenge and changed the ways or methods of utilizing, displaying and communicating data?

  • Raising Public Understanding: New ways of showing the public what we do and how we do it
  • Web-Interfaces: From electronic submission of appeals to comparable sales maps for public use
  • Technology and Customer Service

General/Other Topics:

  • GIS in Crisis: Sharing data instantly using GIS when nature wreaks havoc
  • On The Up and Up: Tales of recovery after economic and natural disasters
  • The Best Idea We Had This Year Was…….
  • Modern Workflows: Where we’ve come from and where we are going
  • Organizational Models for IT and GIS Services to Assessment (Where do staff sit and who do they report to?)
  • Implementing the Subparcels: What it means to CAMA and GIS
  • Cadastral Mapping

Again, this list is not comprehensive. All abstracts will be reviewed and considered regardless of the suggested topics above. Abstracts are due on or before Monday, September 23, 2013. For details and an online submission form, visit

[Source: URISA press release]

Application of Remote Sensing and GIS for Flood Hazard Management: A Case Study from Sindh Province, Pakistan

American Journal of Geographic Information SystemAmerican Journal of Geographic Information System, Volume 2, Number 1, February 2013

Kabir Uddin, Deo Raj Gurung, Amarnath Giriraj, and Basanta Shrestha

“Floods are one of the most common hazards in the world, affecting people’s lives and livelihoods. Flood hazard mapping and flood shelters suitability analysis are vital elements in appropriate land use planning for flood-prone areas. This paper describes application of Remote Sensing (RS) and Geographical Information Systems (GIS) in identifying flood hazard zones and flood shelters and are therefore important tools for planners and decision makers. The purpose of this article is to describe a simple and efficient methodology to accurately delineate flood inundated areas, flood-hazard areas, and suitable areas for flood shelter to minimize flood impacts. Possible extent of flooding and suitable location flood shelter sites were modeled and mapped for Sindh Province in Pakistan, using the software ArcGIS model builder.

Flow diagram of flood shelter analysis

Flow diagram of flood shelter analysis

“The output was validated using inundation maps based on flood events that took place in 2010 in Pakistan. These were mapped using object-based image analysis (OBIA) implemented in eCognition software. The catastrophic flood of 2010 inundated a total area of 7579 km2, while the modeled result indicated the hazard area to be 6216 km2 out of 46138 km2. Discrepancies in modeled and mapped results are insignificant and acceptable considering the manual flood management interventions which are beyond the capability of models to represent. Thus, this method is robust enough to develop flood hazard zoning maps and map shelter sites for flood management. ”

URISA 2013 Election Results Announced

URISAURISA, The Association for GIS Professionals, is pleased to announce the results of its 2013 Board of Directors’ Election. Carl Anderson will become President-Elect of the association and Jochen Albrecht, Amy Esnard and Ashley Hitt will begin their terms as members of the Board of Directors, at the close of GIS-Pro 2013: URISA’s 51st Annual Conference in Providence, Rhode Island, September 16-19, 2013.

Carl Anderson, GISP, a Senior Consultant with Spatial Focus, Inc. hails from Sarasota, Florida. He  remarked, “I’d like to thank the URISA membership for selecting me as President-Elect. I would also like to recognize my fellow candidate, Geney Terry. Geney is an outstanding URISA leader and GIS professional and I am sure we will continue to work together on programs and initiatives for years to come. URISA’s future is exciting… educational programs and advocacy efforts are expanding; GISCorps, celebrating 10 years of existence, continues to impact the world; and the GIS Management Institute, URISA Labs and the Professional Practice Division will strengthen the geospatial profession with the development of best practices and standards. Again, thank you for your expression of support!”

Three new directors were elected by the URISA membership to serve a three-year term on the URISA Board, also beginning in September. The three new Board members are:

  • Jochen Albrecht, PhD – Hunter College at the City University of New York – New York, NY
  • Amy Esnard, GISP – City of Portland, Oregon
  • Ashley Hitt, GISP – Connected Nation – Louisville, Kentucky

At the close of GIS-Pro 2013 in Providence, the terms of service for these Board members will conclude:

  • Greg Babinski, GISP (Immediate Past President) – King County GIS Center, Seattle, Washington
  • Thomas Conry – Fairfax County, Virginia
  • Nancy Obermeyer, GISP – Indiana State University
  • Christopher Thomas – Esri, Redlands, California

We thank them all, in advance, for their dedication and service to URISA and anticipate many more years of continued involvement.

[Source: URISA press release]

A Study of Morphological Changes in the Coastal Areas and Offshore Islands of Bangladesh Using Remote Sensing

American Journal of Geographic Information SystemAmerican Journal of Geographic Information System, 2013; 2(1): 15-18

M. Shamsul Alam and Kabir Uddin

“Bangladesh is a country where 80 percent of the land is below 1 meters from the MSL. The small country with a huge population is already known to the outside world for her vulnerability to natural hazards. Among the impacts of climate change, the serious concern for Bangladesh is the relative sea level rise (RSLR). A 45-centimeter sea level rise in Bangladesh may dislocate about 35 million people from 20 coastal districts by 2050. In a worst-case scenario, Bangladesh could lose nearly 25 percent of its 1989 land area by around 2100. The process of erosion, deposition and accretion are common phenomenon in the deltaic country.

Morphological Changes in the Coastal Areas of Bangladesh, 1977-2010

Morphological Changes in the Coastal Areas of Bangladesh, 1977-2010

“This study based on remote sensing data tries to examine the erosion, accretion and net gain/loss of land in the Coastal Areas and Offshore Islands of Bangladesh and recommends measures to enhance the process of accretion to save millions from becoming environmental refugees.”

A Highly Aggregated Geographical Distribution of Forest Pest Invasions in the USA

Diversity and DistributionsDiversity and Distributions, 2013

Liebhold, Andrew M.; McCullough, Deborah G.; Blackburn, Laura M.; Frankel, Susan J.; Von Holle, Betsy; Aukema, Juliann E.

Aim:  Geographical variation in numbers of established non-native species provides clues to the underlying processes driving biological invasions. Specifically, this variation reflects landscape characteristics that drive non-native species arrival, establishment and spread. Here, we investigate spatial variation in damaging non-native forest insect and pathogen species to draw inferences about the dominant processes influencing their arrival, establishment and spread.
Location:  The continental USA, including Alaska (Hawaii not included).
Methods: We assembled the current geographical ranges (county-level) of 79 species of damaging non-indigenous forest insect and pathogen species currently established in the continental USA. We explored statistical associations of numbers of species per county with habitat characteristics associated with propagule pressure and with variables reflecting habitat invasibility. We also analysed relationships between the geographical area occupied by each pest species and the time since introduction and habitat characteristics.

Variables associated with habitat invasibility measured at the county-level: (a) forested land area; (b) numbers of tree species detected in FIA surveys; (c) numbers of tree families detected in FIA surveys; (d) numbers of tree genera detected in FIA surveys.

Variables associated with habitat invasibility measured at the county-level: (a) forested land area; (b) numbers of tree species detected in FIA surveys; (c) numbers of tree families detected in FIA surveys; (d) numbers of tree genera detected in FIA surveys.

Results:  The geographical pattern of non-native forest pest species richness is highly focused, with vastly more species in the north-eastern USA. Geographical variation in species richness is associated with habitat factors related to both propagule pressure and invasibility. Ranges of the non-native species are related to historical spread; range areas are strongly correlated with time since establishment. The average (all species) radial rate of range expansion is 5.2 km yr-1, and surprisingly, this rate did not differ among foliage feeders, sap-feeders, wood borers and plant pathogens.
Main conclusions:  Forest pest species are much more concentrated in the north-eastern region of the USA compared with other parts of the country. This pattern most likely reflects the combined effects of propagule pressure (pest arrival), habitat invasibility (pest establishment) and invasion spread. The similarity in historical spread among different types of organisms indicates the importance of anthropogenic movement in spread.”

Spatial Assessment of Attitudes Toward Tigers in Nepal

AMBIOAMBIO: A Journal of the Human Environment, Published Online 09 July 2013

Neil H. Carter, Shawn J. Riley, Ashton Shortridge, Binoj K. Shrestha, and Jianguo Liu

“In many regions around the world, wildlife impacts on people (e.g., crop raiding, attacks on people) engender negative attitudes toward wildlife. Negative attitudes predict behaviors that undermine wildlife management and conservation efforts (e.g., by exacerbating retaliatory killing of wildlife). Our study (1) evaluated attitudes of local people toward the globally endangered tiger (Panthera tigris) in Nepal’s Chitwan National Park; and (2) modeled and mapped spatial clusters of attitudes toward tigers. Factors characterizing a person’s position in society (i.e., socioeconomic and cultural factors) influenced attitudes toward tigers more than past experiences with tigers (e.g., livestock attacks).

Maps showing percentage of respondents per ward that (a) had <8 years of education, (b) were from lower caste Hindu and Terai Tibeto-Burmese ethnic groups, (c) were female, and (d) reported that a tiger had threatened/attacked a family member in the past. Percentage categories were defined by equal intervals.

Maps showing percentage of respondents per ward that (a) had

“A spatial cluster of negative attitudes toward tigers was associated with concentrations of people with less formal education, people from marginalized ethnic groups, and tiger attacks on people. Our study provides insights and descriptions of techniques to improve attitudes toward wildlife in Chitwan and many regions around the world with similar conservation challenges.”

URISA Focuses on Public Participation GIS in July 29 Webinar

URISAOn Monday, July 29, URISA will present an educational webinar on “Public Participation GIS: Using GIS to Support Community Decision Making”. This 90 minute webinar will explore the use of GIS in community decision making, including the process of entering into engagements and the utilization of GIS techniques and software that can be adapted for use in community settings. Examples of both government and community-led projects that encourage citizen participation and engagement will be shown. This webinar is an excellent overview of PPGIS and the methodologies that are utilized to implement Community Decision Making with GIS.

When:                  Monday, July 29, 2013

Time:                     12:00 Noon EDT/11:00 AM CDT/10:00 AM MDT/9:00 AM PDT

Duration:             90 minutes

Fee:                       URISA Members $20 / Non-Members $35

Both of the instructors for this educational webinar are certified to teach URISA’s eight-hour workshop, Public Participation GIS: Using GIS to Support Community Decision Making, which is one of the organization’s most-requested and highly-reviewed courses:

  • Judy Colby-George, Principal, Spatial Alternatives, Yarmouth, ME: Judy Colby-George has over eighteen years experience on a wide variety of GIS projects. She works with a number of clients on projects ranging from needs assessment to data conversion to customized programming designed to meet specific needs. She specializes in using GIS for planning, public participation, and environmental applications.
  • Laxmi Ramasubramanian, PhD, AICP – Hunter College, City University of New York (CUNY): Laxmi Ramasubramanian is a planner with over 10 years experience in the design and implementation of participatory action research projects in the USA and abroad. She is currently the President of the University Consortium for Geographic Information Science.

For more information and registration, visit

[Source: URISA press release]

Town of Canmore Contracts Advanced Aerial LiDAR Survey to Assess Damage from Southern Alberta Floods

LiDAR Services International Inc.The Town of Canmore, Alberta contracted LiDAR Services International Inc., (LSI), a Calgary based airborne LiDAR mapping company to mobilize their advanced helicopter equipped laser mapping system to conduct an aerial LiDAR and imaging survey of 54 square kilometers of the Bow River valley in the Canmore area to assess damage as a result of the 2013 Alberta floods. The mountain town declared a state of local emergency on June 20 as over 220 millimeters of rain fell in 36 hours, nearly half of Canmore’s annual average rainfall on already saturated ground, coupled with a steep mountain watershed, resulted in a rapid increase in the size and flow of several rivers. The normally tranquil Cougar Creek raged, spilling over its banks, washing away roadways, a rail line, pathways and destroying swaths of green space and creek side homes.

“A tremendous amount of material has been swept off the mountain … rocks, dirt, soil, boulders and trees …into Cougar Creek and depositing the material in the Town of Canmore causing several homes to be destroyed and taking out the Trans-Canada Highway and a CP Rail line,” said Blair Birch, P. Eng., Municipal Engineer , Town of Canmore.

The flood initiated the need for the LiDAR survey … the Town contracts the collection of aerial ortho photos every five years, however, the flood created the immediate need for accurate, detailed topographic data that LiDAR can provide. “The LiDAR survey will capture where the water caused the greatest damage …where water courses were rerouted, how the hydrology of the watershed has been altered. The survey’s topographic data and imagery will assist in studying what happened and how to mitigate these events in the future,” said Birch. “We need to establish how much debris came down from the mountain and was deposited in the Town. The LiDAR will help to reestablish new watersheds and hydrological assessments and will also be helpful in applying for relief funds from federal and provincial governments.” “We used a Bell 206B helicopter to allow us to fly low and slow over the survey area in mountainous terrain to provide a very high accuracy data set of both LiDAR and imagery data,” said Tony Tubman, president, LSI. “We are very pleased to be able to respond to the Town of Canmore and its residents on such short notice in their time of need …there has been a lot of devastation as a result of the2013 Alberta flood …and we are happy to be a part of the relief effort.” LSI has expedited processing of the LiDAR and imagery data to get it to the Town of Canmore as soon as possible. Turning around the delivery of such huge volumes of collected data which normally takes several weeks to days is a testament to the commitment LSI has made to Canmore.

The aerial LiDAR survey deliverables include LiDAR point clouds classified to Ground, DTM Keypoints, Low Vegetation and High Vegetation classes; Bare Earth and Full Feature grids at 1 m spacing; Greyscale hillshades of Bare Earth and Full Feature surfaces at 1 m pixel resolution; and Ortho-mosaicked color digital imagery mapped at a 10 cm pixel resolution. The Town of Canmore has a full-time population of 17,000 but that can double during the winter ski and summer tourist seasons. TheTown attracts world-class athletes to its Nordic Centre. Officials are now conducting an overall assessment in the area to determine the full extent of the damage. With the local state of emergency in Canmore lifted, attention is turning toward ways to fix up Cougar Creek — the small but powerful stream that has breached its banks for the second time in two years – as well as several other stream courses entering Town.

[Source: LiDAR Services International Inc. press release]