NOAA and Esri Agreement to Broaden Understanding of Environmental Change

noaa_whiteNOAA’s New GIS Platform Will Increase Availability of Ocean and Weather Data and Applications

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) recently signed an enterprise license agreement with Esri, the world leader in GIS technology.

The agreement enables NOAA to continue building its GIS platform while maintaining data quality in bathymetry, climate and weather data, navigational charting, fisheries protection, natural resource management, marine planning, and other areas of its mission.

“NOAA now has the ability to increase access to Esri software and services that provide additional options for making NOAA data and applications available to all our constituencies and partners,” says Tony LaVoi, NOAA geospatial information officer. “We’re looking forward to the opportunities this presents to continue to grow our geospatial programs in NOAA.”

All NOAA employees now gain unlimited access to select Esri desktop and server products, including the powerful ArcGIS for Desktop, ArcGIS Spatial Analyst and 3D Analyst extensions, and ArcGIS for Maritime. In addition, NOAA staff members gain unlimited access to Esri’s Virtual Campus for online training, discounts on Esri technical support and classroom training, and complimentary passes to annual Esri user and developer conferences.

Another benefit of the agreement is a subscription to Esri’s ArcGIS Online. This benefit allows NOAA to quickly create interactive maps and applications and share these with the rest of the organization and the public.

“The agreement provides a foundation for the development of an enterprise geospatial program for NOAA, which will likely result in increased efficiencies across the organization, enhanced access to NOAA data and services, and a streamlined acquisition process,” states Joe Klimavicz, NOAA’s chief information officer (CIO).

NOAA’s mission is to understand and predict changes in the earth’s environment, from the depths of the ocean to the surface of the sun, and to conserve and manage our coastal and marine resources.

For more information about enterprise license agreements, visit esri.com/ela.

[Source: Esri press release]

A Simple Story Map-based Real-Time Dashboard for the H.J. Andrews Experimental Forest in Oregon

Located in the Willamette National Forest in Oregon, H.J. Andrews Experimental Forest supports research on forests, streams, and watersheds, and fosters strong collaboration among ecosystem science, education, natural resource management, and the humanities. The Forest is administered cooperatively by the USDA Forest Service’s Pacific Northwest Research Station, Oregon State University, and the Willamette National Forest.

As a charter member of the National Science Foundation’s Long-Term Ecological Research (LTER) Program, the site contributes to the collection of long-term datasets to support research on ecological issues that can last decades.  Using Esri’s story maps technology, a simple map-based dashboard was developed to let researchers, administrators, and the general public view real-time data from 125 different sensors including webcams, stream gauges, and weather stations deployed throughout the forest.

H.J. Andrews Experimental Forest Dashboard

H.J. Andrews Experimental Forest Dashboard. Click to view the live dashboard.

“The dashboard is a really nice way to see all these data streams in their spatial context” said Mark Schulze, HJ Andrews Experimental Forest Director.  “Being able to look at all these sensors in real time is hugely helpful for making interpretations about how our climate/weather functions in the Andrews Forest,” added Julia Jones, Geosciences Professor at Oregon State University.

View the dashboard:  www.esriurl.com/hjandrews

Global Forest Watch Maps Now Available on ArcGIS Online

Data from Global Forest Watch, an online forest monitoring and alert system is now available on Esri’s ArcGIS Online GIS cloud service. By using a portal on Esri’s platform to access GFW Global Forest Watch satellite data and crowd-sourced information, people can add powerful maps, datasets, and applications to their forest projects and better analyze indicators of forest change.

Global Forest Watch, a partnership of more than 40 organizations led by the World Resources Institute, uses GIS maps and data to promote sustainable forest management and policy. Esri, the world leader in GIS, strongly supports the GFW mission to empower people everywhere to better manage forests.

“Thanks to dramatic advances in technology, we can, for the first time, see what is happening in forests in near real-time,” Dr. Nigel Sizer, director of the global forest initiative World Resources Institute said. “GIS helps us take very powerful data and make sense of it. The analytical capabilities of GIS enrich our understanding of the earth’s forests of not only where but why and how.”

On February 20, World Resources Institute launched the Global Forest Watch website. In tandem with the launch, Global Forest Watch data went live on ArcGIS Online, extending the GIS cloud platform to Global Forest Watch data users. People can use the service to track deforestation throughout the world.

“Monitoring forest health and designing sustainable solutions is a challenging task, but an essential one,” Esri president Jack Dangermond said. “The Global Forest Watch initiative demonstrates the capacity of open data, shared systems, and platform technologies to bring many experts together to design solutions for a universal problem.”

To promote transparency in forests around the world, Global Forest Watch combines near real-time satellite monitoring technology, forest management and company concession maps, protected-area maps, mobile technology, crowd-sourced data, and on-the-ground networks. Within ArcGIS Online, users can now access Global Forest Watch data and add it to a basemap. They can also draw from Esri’s massive data collection, such as Landsat, to get a more comprehensive perspective about complex problems. In addition, they have access to Esri’s premium content as well as content added to the service by users every day.

Esri, along with more than 40 organizations, participated in creating the strategic vision and implementation of Global Forest Watch’s online tool at globalforestwatch.org. Esri’s application extends the analytical capabilities of this data. The Global Forest Watch platform is intended for use by stakeholders in the world’s forests, including concerned citizens, government leaders, buyers, and suppliers of sustainable forest products who seek to better manage forests and improve local livelihoods.

[Source: Esri news release]

Esri Recognized by Nation’s Governors for Partnership with New Hamsphire

National Governors AssociationThe National Governors Association (NGA) honored c with its annual Public-Private Partnership Award today during the opening session of the 2014 NGA Winter Meeting. The award, in its eighth year, recognizes NGA Corporate Fellow companies that have partnered with a governor’s office to implement a program or project that positively affects the state’s citizens.

Esri, one of the world’s largest suppliers of Geographic Information System (GIS) software, was recognized for their work with New Hampshire aimed at improving Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) education. The partnership allowed students in every public and private school in the state unprecedented access to Esri’s state-of-the-art GIS tools for education and research.

The partnership has now expanded beyond the Department of Education. The agreement has enabled the New Hampshire Department of Fish and Game to expand its ability to support teachers to use GIS to gather, display, analyze and share data about the state’s natural resources.

“I am thrilled to honor Esri for its innovative public-private partnership in our state,” said New Hampshire Gov. Maggie Hassan. “To keep New Hampshire’s economy moving forward and fill good jobs at growing businesses, we must build a strong workforce and ensure that we are encouraging more of our young people to pursue education in the STEM fields. Efforts such as those by Esri are critical to building a stronger, more innovative New Hampshire.”

“To have our work supporting education across the country and the world recognized by the National Governors Association is truly humbling,” said Jack Dangermond, president of Esri. “We thank Gov. Hassan for the nomination and are proud to encourage greater participation in STEM education among students. The network of teachers in New Hampshire are a model for all. They are unquenchable in their thirst for GIS skills, passionate and tireless in sharing these with kids and other educators, and exceptional in their collaborative spirit. It’s a pleasure to watch kids work on amazing projects with GIS where they merge science with maps through technology and solve problems.”

The Corporate Fellows Program, established in 1988, promotes the exchange of knowledge and expertise between the private sector and governors on public policy issues affecting business and states.

For more information about the NGA Corporate Fellows Program, visit www.nga.org/cf.

[Source: National Governors Association news release]

Integration of Spatial Analysis for Tsunami Inundation and Impact Assessment

JGISJournal of Geographic Information System, Vol.6 No.1, February 2014

By Abu Bakar Sambah and Fusanori Miura

“Disaster mitigation and reconstruction plan due to tsunami can be implemented with various actions. An integration of spatial analysis through Geographical Information System (GIS) application and multi-criteria analysis through Analytical Hierarchy Process (AHP) is one of the methods for tsunami inundation and impact assessment. In this study, vulnerability, inundation and impact assessment due to tsunami hazard in Ofunato city, Iwate Prefecture, Japan was carried out. Appropriate input parameters were derived from Digital Elevation Model data, and satellite remote sensing and field data were analyzed through GIS. We applied the parameter of elevation and slope created from of Aster GDEM version 2, coastline distance created from vector map of the study area and vegetation density created from ALOS ANVIR-2 image. We applied AHP process for weighting the parameter through pair-wise comparison using five iterations of normalized matrix.

Tsunami vulnerability map of Ofunato area.

Tsunami vulnerability map of Ofunato area.

“Five classes of vulnerability were defined and analyzed for tsunami inundation mapping. We used weighted overlay through spatial analyst in GIS to create the final map of tsunami vulnerability. The assessment results indicate that 7.39 square kilometer of the study area was under the high vulnerability zone due to tsunami, and 8.13 square kilometer of building area was under the inundation area. Our result showed good agreement with the observed data and historical map. The result presented here can aid as preliminary information for the coastal zone management related to disaster mitigation and for the evacuation process and management strategy during disaster.”

New Maps Highlight Habitat Corridors in the Tropics

Habitat CorridorsA team of Woods Hole Research Center (WHRC) scientists created maps of habitat corridors connecting protected areas in the tropics to incorporate biodiversity co-benefits into climate change mitigation strategies. Drs. Patrick Jantz, Scott Goetz, and Nadine Laporte describe their findings in an article entitled, “Carbon stock corridors to mitigate climate change and promote biodiversity in the tropics,” available online in the journal Nature Climate Change on January 26.

Climate change and deforestation are changing tropical ecosystems, isolating organisms in protected areas that will change along with climate, threatening their survival. Nearly every animal and plant species requires travelling some distance for nutrition, reproduction and genetic diversity, but few conservation or climate mitigation strategies take the connections between conserved lands into account. These habitat corridors are essential for longer-term biodiversity conservation, while also providing opportunities for climate change mitigation in the form of carbon sequestration and avoiding emissions from deforestation.

According to lead author Dr. Jantz, “Maintaining connectivity of forest ecosystems provides ecological and societal benefits ensuring long-term species survival and providing room for ecosystems to reorganize in response to climate change and protecting ecosystem services that people depend on.” Co-author Dr. Goetz sees corridors as “avenues for migration of flora and fauna” needed for their survival “under the climate change we’re already committed to.”

The team used a high-resolution data set of vegetation carbon stock (VCS) to map 16,257 corridors through areas of the highest biomass between 5,600 protected areas in the tropics. For Dr. Jantz, “the VCS corridor approach informs global frameworks for land management based climate change mitigation by showing which forests contain significant carbon stocks and are important for tropical biodiversity.”

Part of the study focused on the Legal Amazon, where the team used economic and biological information combining species richness and endemism with economic opportunity costs and deforestation threats to prioritize optimal corridors. For Dr. Goetz, “Conserving tropical forests ultimately requires prioritizing the services they provide to people in a local setting. Identifying lands locally valuable for agriculture or other high-value uses, considering biodiversity and the threat of deforestation, our analysis provides both maps and a framework for realistic conservation planning.”

Dr. Laporte adds, “Because it is unlikely all remaining tropical forests can be protected, the corridors defined by this study provide a way to prioritize lands in the context of the multiple benefits of tropical forest conservation.”

According to Dr. Thomas E. Lovejoy, a Senior Fellow at the United Nations Foundation, “This represents a significant step towards the kind of integrated planning and management essential for sustainable development.”

This work was made possible through the support of NASA, the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, the Packard Foundation, and the Google.org Foundation.

Full citation for the Nature Climate Change article: Jantz, P., S. Goetz, and N. Laporte. 2014. Carbon stock corridors to mitigate climate change and promote biodiversity in the tropics. Nature Climate Change. doi: 10.1038/NCLIMATE2105

WHRC is an independent research institute where scientists collaborate to examine the drivers and impacts of climate change and identify opportunities for conservation around the globe.

[Source: Woods Hole Research Center press release]