A Novel Electronic Data Collection System for Large-Scale Surveys of Neglected Tropical Diseases

PLoS ONE 8(9): e74570, 2013

By Jonathan D. King, Joy Buolamwini, Elizabeth A. Cromwell, Andrew Panfel, Tesfaye Teferi, Mulat Zerihun, Berhanu Melak, Jessica Watson, Zerihun Tadesse, Danielle Vienneau, Jeremiah Ngondi, Jürg Utzinger, Peter Odermatt, and Paul M. Emerson

Background: Large cross-sectional household surveys are common for measuring indicators of neglected tropical disease control programs. As an alternative to standard paper-based data collection, we utilized novel paperless technology to collect data electronically from over 12,000 households in Ethiopia.

Capturing the identification number from a barcode-labeled stool specimen

Capturing the identification number from a barcode-labeled stool specimen

Methodology: We conducted a needs assessment to design an Android-based electronic data collection and management system. We then evaluated the system by reporting results of a pilot trial and from comparisons of two, large-scale surveys; one with traditional paper questionnaires and the other with tablet computers, including accuracy, person-time days, and costs incurred.

Principle Findings: The electronic data collection system met core functions in household surveys and overcame constraints identified in the needs assessment. Pilot data recorders took 264 (standard deviation (SD) 152 sec) and 260 sec (SD 122 sec) per person registered to complete household surveys using paper and tablets, respectively (P = 0.77). Data recorders felt a lack of connection with the interviewee during the first days using electronic devices, but preferred to collect data electronically in future surveys. Electronic data collection saved time by giving results immediately, obviating the need for double data entry and cross-correcting. The proportion of identified data entry errors in disease classification did not differ between the two data collection methods. Geographic coordinates collected using the tablets were more accurate than coordinates transcribed on a paper form. Costs of the equipment required for electronic data collection was approximately the same cost incurred for data entry of questionnaires, whereas repeated use of the electronic equipment may increase cost savings.

Distance between the recorded location of a surveyed household and the cluster centroid

Distance between the recorded location of a surveyed household and the cluster centroid

Conclusions/Significance: Conducting a needs assessment and pilot testing allowed the design to specifically match the functionality required for surveys. Electronic data collection using an Android-based technology was suitable for a large-scale health survey, saved time, provided more accurate geo-coordinates, and was preferred by recorders over standard paper-based questionnaires.”

Population Ecology of Free-Roaming Cats and Interference Competition by Coyotes in Urban Parks

PLOS_ONEPLoS ONE 8(9): e75718, 2013

By Stanley D. Gehrt, Evan C. Wilson, Justin L. Brown, and Chris Anchor

“Free-roaming cats are a common element of urban landscapes worldwide, often causing controversy regarding their impacts on ecological systems and public health. We monitored cats within natural habitat fragments in the Chicago metropolitan area to characterize population demographics, disease prevalence, movement patterns and habitat selection, in addition to assessing the possible influence of coyotes on cats. The population was dominated by adults of both sexes, and 24% of adults were in reproductive condition. Annual survival rate was relatively high (S=0.70, SE=0.10), with vehicles and predation the primary causes of death.

Spatial overlaps between cats and coyotes using the same urban park

Spatial overlaps between cats and coyotes using the same urban park

“Size of annual home range varied by sex, but not reproductive status or body weight. We observed partitioning of the landscape by cats and coyotes, with little interspecific overlap between core areas of activity. Coyotes selected for natural habitats whereas cats selected for developed areas such as residences. Free-roaming cats were in better condition than we predicted, but their use of natural habitat fragments, and presumably their ecological impact, appeared to be limited by coyotes through intraguild competition.”

Geospatial Services in the Cloud

Computers & GeosciencesComputers & Geosciences, Published Online 23 October 2013

By Konstantinos Evangelidis, Konstantinos Ntouros, Stathis Makridis, and Constantine Papatheodorou


  • Geospatial services in the Cloud for both spatial data acquisition and processing
  • Interaction UML diagram representing requests for and responses from OGC services
  • Multi tier architecture with open source software and OGC standards implementations
  • Challenge: to specify potential geospatial processes for future WPS implementations
  • From desktop and proprietary web applications to open GIS systems in the Cloud

“Data semantics play an extremely significant role in spatial data infrastructures by providing semantic specifications to geospatial data and enabling in this way data sharing and interoperability. By applying, on the fly, composite geospatial processes on the above data it is possible to produce valuable geoinformation over the web directly available and applicable to a wide range of geo-activities of significant importance for the research and industry community. Cloud computing may enable geospatial processing since it refers to, among other things, efficient computing resources providing on demand processing services. In this context, we attempt to provide a design and architectural framework for web applications based on open geospatial standards. Our approach includes, in addition to geospatial processing, data acquisition services that are essential especially when dealing with satellite images and applications in the area of remote sensing and similar fields. As a result, by putting in a common framework all data and geoprocesses available in the cloud, it is possible to combine the appropriate services in order to produce a solution for a specific need.”

Call for Papers — Geodesign: Changing the World, Changing Design

Landscape and Urban Planning (LAND)Guest Editors: Frederick R. Steiner and Allan W. Shearer, School of Architecture, The University of Texas at Austin

Geodesign is an emerging, interdisciplinary field that has evolved from Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and encompasses digital, two-, three-, and four-dimensional representation tools developed in the environmental design disciplines. Over a relatively short span of time, Geodesign has gone from a neologism to the topic of international professional conferences to the focus of research centers to the premise for new classes at many institutions of higher learning and degrees at leading universities. Yet, despite so much activity—or, perhaps, because of it—there is no commonly agreed upon definition for the word.
The purpose of the special issue of Landscape and Urban Planning (LAND) is to provide a basis for common understanding of what Geodesign is by asking what Geodesign does. We seek papers that examine how questions of environmental change have been posed in Geodesign and that demonstrate how the answers allow for, or demand, new models of design practice and education.
We welcome such investigations in the forms of review articles, research articles, case studies, and discussions about research needs and pedagogy. We anticipate submissions that draw upon the disciplines of geography, computer science, and the environmental sciences, as well as landscape architecture, community and regional planning, and architecture.

Abstract and Manuscript Submission
An abstract of 800 words or less, specifying title, author(s), affiliation and e-mail address, should be sent to Dr. Allan W. Shearer (ashearer@austin.utexas.edu) by 15 February 2014. Abstracts will be shortlisted by the editorial panel against the criteria of originality, methodological quality, and relevance. Authors of abstracts demonstrating clear scholarly merits will be invited to submit a full manuscript.
Invited manuscripts should be should be between 4,000–8,000 words and submitted through the LAND website by 15 June 2014. All papers submitted for this Special Issue will undergo the usual LAND peer review process. Details on article type and format are available from the LAND journal website at: http://www.journals.elsevier.com/landscape-and-urban-planning