Ecocitizen World Map Project to Launch at World Urban Forum in Medellín

EcoCitizenWorldMapProjectLogo72-e1387608575887International collaboration delivers tools for sustainable urban development and links community crowdsourced information to national, regional, and global data sets.

A coalition of international partners announced today the launch of the Ecocitizen World Map Project, a powerful online crowd mapping tool designed to explore, understand, and measure holistic urban health from a citizen’s perspective, at the upcoming 7th World Urban Forum (WUF7) in Medellín Colombia, April 5-11th.

Led by non-profit Ecocity Builders USA in collaboration with the Organization of American States, Esri, the Association of American Geographers, Eye on Earth (a partnership of UNEP + Abu Dhabi Environmental Data Initiative) along with local academic partners, NGOs and community organizations, the public-private partnership was developed to facilitate simple individual snapshots of a community’s social and environmental health as well as more sophisticated local and regional training and geospatial analysis.

“As the global community is becoming more aware of the crucial role cities play in mitigating climate change and leading the way toward sustainable development, the importance of understanding and connecting the diverse layers that comprise urban ecosystems cannot be overstated,” says Kirstin Miller, Executive Director of Ecocity Builders.

The Ecocitizen World Map Project consists of two interwoven elements. One enables and encourages citizens to participate directly by taking a short online survey—powered by crowdsourcing platform Ushahidi—ranking their cities and neighborhoods along fifteen conditions outlined by the International Ecocity Framework and Standards Initiative.

Another provides on-the-ground training in pilot cities to students, citizens, and public officials, using Esri’s mobile GIS technology in combination with online tools and educational materials to assess, measure, and plan for increasing the health and resilience of urban systems and to identify barriers to improving quality of life. Inaugural pilot cities include WUF7 host Medellín, supported by a grant from the OAS’ Sustainable Communities in the Americas Initiative, as well as Cairo and Casablanca, supported by a grant from Eye on Earth.

“In order to make informed decisions that benefit all stakeholders equitably and sustainably we have to delve more deeply into as many social, geographical, and environmental areas as possible,” Miller explains the need for charting the progress of cities’ social and environmental sustainability. “And who better to provide that first-hand knowledge than the inhabitants of those microcosms?”

The project will be presented by Ecocity Builders, AAG, Esri, OAS, AGEDI, and the US Department of State at the “Building Resilience and Equity Through Citizen Participation and Geodesign” session on Thursday April 10th, 11am – 12pm, at the UN Habitat City Changer Room. It will also be showcased throughout the conference at the Esri Geospatial Pavilion. A training event entitled “How to use mobile technology to measure urban equity,” presented by ITC-University of Twente, the Netherlands, Esri, and Ecocity Builders, will be held on Wednesday, April 9th at TE7, Room 20.

More information:

URISA Accepting Nominations for GIS Hall of Fame

GIS-Hall-of-fame-logo_compressedThe Urban and Regional Information Systems Association (URISA) is now accepting nominations for its GIS Hall of Fame. Nominations are due by May 1, 2014. URISA’s GIS Hall of Fame honors persons and organizations that have made significant and original contributions to the development and application of GIS concepts, tools, or resources, or to the GIS profession.

Anyone may nominate a person or organization for induction to URISA’s GIS Hall of Fame. To make a nomination, submit a written statement to URISA describing:

  1. The nominee’s achievements, emphasizing significant and original contributions to the development or application of GIS concepts, tools, or resources, or to the GIS profession; and
  2. The significance of the nominee’s contributions, in terms of their enduring impact on the GIS field or profession, and their social benefit.

Hall of Fame laureates are expected to exemplify vision, leadership, perseverance, community-mindedness, professional involvement, and ethical behavior.

The nomination statement may be of any length, but it must be preceded by a one-page stand-alone summary. Nomination statements should be emailed to by May 1. A committee of past URISA Presidents will review all nominations and make recommendations to the URISA Board of Directors by mid-June. Recipients will be honored during GIS-Pro 2014: URISA’s 52nd Annual Conference in New Orleans taking place September 8-11. This honor may not be given every year, and in some years there may be multiple recipients.

URISA’s Hall of Fame laureates include:

  • 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
  • 2012 Inductees: National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Natural Resources Canada, Statistics Canada, United States Census Bureau, and United States Geological Survey

Visit URISA’s GIS Hall of Fame to learn about their path-breaking accomplishments.

[Source: URISA press release]

2014 CalGIS Conference in Monterey to Feature High-Profile Speakers

URISAEach year the four URISA chapters in California, along with the California Geographic Information Association, come together to present the California GIS Conference. This year, the conference will celebrate the milestone 20th annual event in Monterey, California, April 14-16, 2014.

The conference will kick off on Monday with preconference courses and meetings and then feature a full day (Tuesday) of important general sessions and keynote addresses:

  • Mike Migurski, of Code for America, will deliver the opening keynote address discussing “GIS: Leaders from Within”. He’ll discuss Code for America’s work with hundreds of local city, county, and state governments, They have found that GIS departments and data are the unsung heroes of civic hacking and open data. Location data is first out of the gate with government data releases, and beautiful maps and visualizations are the poster children of accessible public data. What are the technologies that got us here, and what future skills and methods will help support the central role that GIS data plays in the civic tech ecosystem?
  • Dylan Lorimer, product development manager for Enterprise Earth and Maps at Google, will discuss “The Changing Nature of Geo” during the mid-morning keynote.
  • Just before a hosted lunch, a powerhouse panel discussion will focus on “The Future of GIS/Geospatial in California: Technology, Collaboration, Innovation”. Panelists will include:
  1. Scott Gregory – State of California GIO Alex Barth – Developer, Open Data Expert – Mapbox
  2. Dylan Lorimer – Google
  3. Jeff Johnson – Boundless
  4. Chris Thomas – Esri
  5. Mark Greninger – County of Los Angeles GIO

The Tuesday afternoon line-up will feature a town hall session on “Geospatial Education, Career Development and Mentoring, where the conference will discuss some critical issues facing the development of the human element critical to GIS success with a goal of generating actionable tasks that can be used to support human resources across the state. A brief look-back at 20 year history of CalGIS conferences will precede Lightning Talks, always entertaining!

Wednesday’s education will feature twelve breakout sessions on a wide range of topics from the environment and modeling to data sharing and Federal programs. The conference will conclude with a powerhouse closing session featuring Eric Gundersen of MapBox, who will discuss open source solutions followed by the closing keynote speaker, Jack Dangermond, President of Esri, dicussing “GIS Technology Trends”.

Always an important part of the conference is the opportunity to visit with exhibitors and sponsors and network with the California GIS community during a number of conference events.

In addition, Esri, gold conference sponsor, is hosting a GeoDev MeetUp on Sunday evening and a Story Map Competition on Monday.

Review the entire conference program online at and register by April 11 in order to save $25.
[Source: URISA  press release]

Pacific Northwest Geodesign Forum: Geodesign for a Sustainable World

UniversityofWashingtonSeattle07 May 2014
8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
University of Washington, Seattle, HUB Lyceum
Registration Information

The Pacific Northwest Geodesign Forum brings together faculty, staff, students, and community partners using geospatial information technologies to create, evaluate, and monitor sustainable solutions to complex problems. Many complex problems involve a mix of social, economic, and ecological considerations that require collaborative efforts to address the challenges at hand. Methods for arriving at sustainable solutions to problems are emerging in the form of geodesign frameworks and concepts implemented using geospatial information tools. The goal of the Forum is to provide participants with a level of understanding about geodesign frameworks and concepts plus geospatial information tools that can implement them for addressing sustainable solutions to complex human-natural-built community problems at varying spatial-temporal scales. Geodesign enables us to change our world through design. Forum discussions include Community-University partnering opportunities for exploring solutions to complex problems.

7:45 a.m. to 8:15 a.m. Registration and Light Refreshments
8:15 a.m. to 8:20 a.m. Welcome, Introductions, Program Overview
8:20 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. Who is in attendance? Sectors-Areas-Attendees Participating
8:30 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. Why Geodesign? Its Character and Benefits with Q & A
9:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. Challenges for the Geodesign Community
10:00 a.m. to 10:15 a.m. Break
10:15 a.m. to 10:45 a.m. A Tour of Geodesign Tools with Q&A
10:45 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. Quick Cases Using Geodesign Tools
12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m. Buffet Lunch with Discussions
1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. Discussion Groups: PNW Geodesign Community of Practice
2:00 p.m. to 3:15 p.m. Report out from CoP discussion groups (3-5 minutes each)
3:15 p.m. to 3:45 p.m. Next Steps Synthesis for PNW Geodesign Forum
3:45 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. Informal networking as we vacate the Lyceum venue – out by 4PM

New UCGIS Fellows Announced

UCGISUCGIS will be awarding Fellow status to three individuals who have contributed significantly to the advancement of geographic information science education and research.  At its upcoming May 2014 Symposium in Pasadena, California, UCGIS will honor Mr. Scott Morehouse, Dr. Hanan Samet, and Dr. John Wilson.

The lead software architect at Esri, Scott Morehouse has had a profound effect on the field of GIScience by having applied his deep knowledge of information systems to the development of Esri software for more than 25 years. Hanan Samet, of the University of Maryland’s Computer Science Department and its Institute of Advanced Computer Studies, is an internationally eminent scholar in the theory and development of spatial data structures. Lastly, Dr. John Wilson, Director of the Spatial Sciences Institute at the University of Southern California, is recognized for both his early research in terrain representation and analysis as well as his leadership at envisioning new directions for GIScience education and research in the 21st century.

The UCGIS Fellows Program was created in 2010 to celebrate the extraordinary record of achievements of individuals in a variety of spatial disciplines and communities of practice that use spatial information. These new Fellows were selected by a review committee comprised of the current UCGIS Fellows and members of the UCGIS Executive Committee.

For more information, please visit or contact Diana Sinton, Executive Director (

[Source: UCGIS Announcement]

Spatio-temporal Analysis of Abundances of Three Malaria Vector Species in Southern Benin using Zero-truncated Models

pnvParasites & Vectors 2014, 7:103 , Published Online 12 March 2014

By Nicolas Moiroux, Armel Djènontin, Abdul S Bio-Bangana, Fabrice Chandre, Vincent Corbel, and Hélène Guis


A better understanding of the ecology and spatial-temporal distribution of malaria vectors is essential to design more effective and sustainable strategies for malaria control and elimination. In a previous study, we analyzed presence-absence data of An. funestus, An. coluzzii, and An. gambiae s.s. in an area of southern Benin with high coverage of vector control measures. Here, we further extend the work by analysing the positive values of the dataset to assess the determinants of the abundance of these three vectors and to produce predictive maps of vector abundance.


Positive counts of the three vectors were assessed using negative-binomial zero-truncated (NBZT) mixed-effect models according to vector control measures and environmental covariates derived from field and remote sensing data. After 8-fold cross-validation of the models, predictive maps of abundance of the sympatric An. funestus, An. coluzzii, and An. gambiae s.s. were produced.


Cross-validation of the NBZT models showed a satisfactory predictive accuracy. Almost all changes in abundance between two surveys in the same village were well predicted by the models but abundances for An. gambiae s.s. were slightly underestimated. During the dry season, predictive maps showed that abundance greater than 1 bite per person per night were observed only for An. funestus and An. coluzzii. During the rainy season, we observed both increase and decrease in abundance of An. funestus, which are dependent on the ecological setting. Abundances of both An. coluzzii and An. gambiae s.s. increased during the rainy season but not in the same areas.



Our models helped characterize the ecological preferences of three major African malaria vectors. This works highlighted the importance to study independently the binomial and the zero-truncated count processes when evaluating vector control strategies. The study of the bio-ecology of malaria vector species in time and space is critical for the implementation of timely and efficient vector control strategies.”

Create Your Own Story Maps, For Free: A Simple Tutorial

You’ve probably been hearing a lot about story maps lately, and you’ve probably seen some pretty cool examples of what people are doing with them. But have you created one yourself?

If you have an ArcGIS Online Organizational account, you’ve already set.  But you don’t need one of those to build a story map. In fact, you can create story maps for free.

So why not start experimenting with story maps yourself and see what you come up with?


You can start here by creating a free account:

01 free public account

Click on “Sign Up for a Free Account”, which brings up this screen:

02 free public account

Click on “Create a Public Account”, which steps you through the account creation process.

Once you’ve created the account, click on “Map” in the top navigation.  Select which basemap you would like to use, but don’t worry about it too much at this point—you can always change this later. Here I’ve selected the National Geographic basemap.

03 basemap

Now save your webmap.  This is the webmap you will use to build you web mapping app, or “story map.”

Now click on “Share”, check the box next to “Everyone (public)”, and then click on “Make a Web Application”.

Now choose a template.  To make things as simple as possible for your first experience building a story map, select the “Map Tour” template (it’s the only template with an interactive “builder” mode right now) and then click “Publish”.

04 template

After you’ve clicked “Save and Publish”, click on “go to the item now”.

05 item

From this details page about your new story map, click on “Configure App” and then click on the b1 button.

o6 advanced options

Next click on “Start a New Tour”.

06 start a new tour

And there you have it.  Your new (but not yet populated) story map.

08 new tour

Now click the “Add” button, which brings up a dialog to add your first item to the map.  The first step is to add your media.  The two options are “Picture” and “Video”.

09 add image

For “Picture”, you simply paste in the URLs of your main image and a thumbnail.  Ideally the sizes should be 1000 x 750 for your main image and 200 x 140 for the thumbnail, but almost any size will work and the app will resize it on the fly (but remember that there is some overhead with that, so a large story map with non-standard sized images can be a little slow).  Another thing to remember is that the main image and the thumbnail can also be two different images—they don’t have to be the same exact image, just at two different sizes.

For “Video”, you can put in the URL for a video hosted on YouTube or Vimeo, then click the  button and the app will automatically create the thumbnail for you.  If your video is hosted somewhere else, select “Other” and then put in the URL of the thumbnail.  An interesting, if undocumented, feature of “Video” – “Other” is that you can actually put in any URL—not just for a video, but for ANY WEB PAGE.  Just be aware that not all web pages will work in this context.

Once you’re done entering information about your Media, click on the “Information” tab and enter a name and a caption for your item.  You can include html in both the Name and the Caption, do that you can bold or italicize text, add links, etc.

10 information

When done entering your information, click on the “Location” tab.  You can pan/zoom and annual mark the location, or you can type in and address or place or longitude, latitude in the search box.

11 location

Once your item has been correctly located on the map, click “Add tour point”. You’ve done it–you’ve added your first item to your story map!  And it should look something like this:

12 webcam

Now add the rest of your items to the map the same way.  Remember to save often.  Once all the points are on your map, you can click on “Organize” and interactively drag and drop items to change the order on the map.


And when you’re all done with your story map and ready for people to see it, make sure to click on “Share”.


There are obviously a lot more things you can do to customize your story map, but this is the most basic way to start.  So try it out, push some boundaries, and most of all, have some fun with story maps!