What Do Maps Reveal in the Fight to Eradicate Polio?

Esri logoThe World Health Organization and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will share their stories at the 2014 Esri User Conference.

Dr. Bruce Aylward from the World Health Organization (WHO) and Dr. Vincent Seaman from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will share their stories with an audience of more than 16,000 attendees at the Opening Session of the 2014 Esri User Conference (Esri UC) on Monday, July 14. As experts in the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, they will describe the challenges and opportunities involved in bringing fundamental healthcare to impoverished regions. They’ll also talk about the importance maps have in pinpointing where help is needed most around the world.

“Polio, a terrible disease, is almost completely eradicated, but ‘almost’ isn’t good enough with a disease slated for complete eradication,” said Aylward.

Most of the world hardly remembers polio, which has been reduced by over 99 percent in the past generation by vaccination. However, the disease survives in parts of just a few countries, and has repeatedly spread back from these places to polio-free areas worldwide. The urgency of preventing such spread and protecting the polio-free world led the WHO Director-General to declare a public health emergency of international concern on May 5, 2014.

“The polio eradication program is an international effort to reach the most vulnerable people in the world, irrespective of geography, poverty, culture, and conflict,” said Aylward.

The Esri UC, to be held July 14–18, will bring together thousands of people from more than 90 countries, all unified by their use of Esri’s geographic information system (GIS) technology. Of particular interest to Esri UC attendees will be the use of GIS in the Global Polio Eradication Initiative. Aylward will explain how the people working at WHO identify where there are new outbreaks in the world, how the disease spreads, and where it has been eradicated. Seaman will share how the polio program uses GIS-based maps and analyses in high-risk areas to plan vaccination campaigns targeting every child under the age of five and to provide better tools to assess the effectiveness of these efforts.

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“At the Esri UC Plenary Session, we like to feature innovative people doing important work around the world,” said Esri president Jack Dangermond. “Dr. Aylward and Dr. Seaman certainly qualify. We are honored to welcome them and excited that GIS can help fulfill the mission of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative as the teams of humanitarians use maps to understand and solve problems.”

About the Esri UC Plenary Keynote Speakers

Dr. Bruce Aylward is a Canadian physician and epidemiologist and the assistant director-general for the WHO’s Polio and Emergencies cluster. He began his career with the WHO in 1992 as a medical officer with the Expanded Program on Immunization. Aylward worked in national immunization programs in developing countries, primarily those focusing on polio, and took assignments in Afghanistan, Cambodia, Egypt, Iraq, and Myanmar. After six years in the field, Aylward returned to the WHO in Geneva, Switzerland, in 1997 to lead the Global Polio Eradication Initiative.

Dr. Vincent Seaman is an American health scientist, educator, and a senior program officer for the Polio Country Support Team at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Before that, Seaman was a Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention secondee to the WHO in Nigeria for nearly 3 years, where he provided technical support to the Expanded Program on Immunization and worked on the polio eradication effort. He began his career at CDC as a Presidential Management Fellow in 2006, and continued on as an epidemiologist in the areas of environmental public health and vaccine-preventable diseases. In addition to leading health investigations at various Superfund sites in the U.S., Dr. Seaman supported the HIV/AIDS program in Mozambique in 2009, and was a STOP Polio volunteer in Liberia in 2010.

For more information about the Esri UC, visit esri.com/uc.

[Source: Esri press release]

“Our Oceans Challenge” – Driving Sustainability through Industry Leadership and Innovation

World Ocean CouncilBusiness Plan Competition Seeks Entrepreneurs and Solutions for Advancing Responsible Ocean Industry Operations

The World Ocean Council (WOC) is part of a growing coalition of maritime leadership companies, industry organizations and knowledge institutes that has launched “Our Oceans Challenge” – a competition for innovation and solutions to address key issues affecting responsible ocean industry operations.

One of the newest WOC members, Heerema Marine Contractors, has catalyzed Our Oceans Challenge (OOC) – a business idea competition to solicit ideas from entrepreneurs, offshore experts, scientists and others. WOC is working with the OOC alliance to provide a global platform for outreach to ocean industry stakeholders and entrepreneurs around the world.

The deadline for submitting initial ideas in the first OOC phase is 18 July 2014. Ideas are submitted to the online platform at www.ouroceanschallenge.org.

A jury of OOC experts will select the most promising concepts for further development in the competition. OOC will connect entrepreneurs and start-ups with corporations, expertise and investors. By the end of 2015, the entrepreneurs behind the first round of selected ideas will present their business plans to a panel of investors.

The initial themes of “Our Oceans Challenge” include key ocean industry issues and opportunities:

  • Addressing the need for port reception facilities.
  • Optimizing the use of vessels and structures for collecting ocean data.
  • Avoiding or minimizing the impact of marine sound from construction and industry operations.
  • Avoiding or minimizing the impact of sedimentation from seabed disturbance due to construction, dredging or mining.

Ocean industry stakeholders are invited to submit ideas to the challenge competition and to circulate information on OOC. Interested parties are encouraged to register the at the OOC online platform at www.ouroceanschallenge.org and consider participating as experts and commentators on the solution ideas that are posted.

[Source: World Ocean Council  press release]

Spatial Analysis of Cattle and Shoat Population in Ethiopia: Growth Trend, Distribution and Market Access

SPSpringerPlus, 2014, 3:310

By Samson Leta and Frehiwot Mesele

“The livestock subsector has an enormous contribution to Ethiopia’s national economy and livelihoods of many Ethiopians. The subsector contributes about 16.5% of the national Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and 35.6% of the agricultural GDP. It also contributes 15% of export earnings and 30% of agricultural employment. The livestock subsector currently support and sustain livelihoods for 80% of all rural population. The GDP of livestock related activities valued at 59 billion birr. Ethiopian livestock population trends, distribution and marketing vary considerably across space and time due to a variety of reasons. This study was aimed to assess cattle and shoat population growth trend, distribution and their access to market. Regression analysis was used to assess the cattle and shoat population growth trend and Geographic Information Systems (GIS) techniques were used to determine the spatial distribution of cattle and shoats, and their relative access to market.

Proximity to major livestock market center and all weather roads.

Proximity to major livestock market center and all weather roads.

“The data sets used are agricultural census (2001/02) and annual CSA agricultural sample survey (1995/96 to 2012/13). In the past eighteen years, the livestock population namely cattle, sheep and goat grew from 54.5 million to over 103.5 million with average annual increment of 3.4 million. The current average national cattle, sheep and goat population per km2 are estimated to be 71, 33 and 29 respectively (excluding Addis Ababa, Afar and Somali regions). From the total livestock population the country owns about 46% cattle, 43% sheep and 40% goats are reared within 10 km radius from major livestock market centres and all-weather roads. On the other hand, three fourth of the country’s land mass which comprises 15% of the cattle, 20% of the sheep and 21% of goat population is not accessible to market (greater than 30 km from major livestock market centres). It is found that the central highland regions account for the largest share of livestock population and also more accessible to market. Defining the spatial and temporal variations of livestock population is crucial in order to develop a sound and geographically targeted livestock development policy.”

Spatial Distribution and Risk Factors of Influenza in Jiangsu Province, China, based on Geographical Information System

ghGeospatial Health, Volume 8, Number 2, May 2014, Pages 429-435

By Jia-Cheng Zhang, Wen-Dong Liu, Qi Liang, Jian-Li Hu, Jessie Norris, Ying Wu, Chang-Jun Bao, Fen-Yang Tang, Peng Huang, Yang Zhao, Rong-Bin Yu, Ming-Hao Zhou, Hong-Bing Shen, Feng Chen, and Zhi-Hang Peng

“Influenza poses a constant, heavy burden on society. Recent research has focused on ecological factors associated with influenza incidence and has also studied influenza with respect to its geographic spread at different scales. This research explores the temporal and spatial parameters of influenza and identifies factors influencing its transmission.

Spatial clusters of annual incidence of influenza (hotspots) in Jiangsu province, P.R. China, for the years 2004 (a), 2 006 (b), 2009 (c) and 2011 (d).

Spatial clusters of annual incidence of influenza (hotspots) in Jiangsu province, P.R. China, for the years 2004 (a), 2006 (b), 2009 (c) and 2011 (d).

“A spatial autocorrelation analysis, a spatial-temporal cluster analysis and a spatial regression analysis of influenza rates, carried out in Jiangsu province from 2004 to 2011, found that influenza rates to be spatially dependent in 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2008. South-western districts consistently revealed hotspots of high-incidence influenza. The regression analysis indicates that railways, rivers and lakes are important predictive environmental variables for influenza risk. A better understanding of the epidemic pattern and ecological factors associated with pandemic influenza should benefit public health officials with respect to prevention and controlling measures during future epidemics. ”

Machine Learning Approaches to Coastal Water Quality Monitoring using GOCI Satellite Data

GISRSGIScience & Remote Sensing, Volume 51, Issue 2, 2014 — Special Issue: Coastal Remote Sensing

By Yong Hoon Kim, Jungho Im, Ho Kyung Ha, Jong-Kuk Choi, and Sunghyun Ha

“Since coastal waters are one of the most vulnerable marine systems to environmental pollution, it is very important to operationally monitor coastal water quality. This study attempts to estimate two major water quality indicators, chlorophyll-a (chl-a) and suspended particulate matter (SPM) concentrations, in coastal environments on the west coast of South Korea using Geostationary Ocean Color Imager (GOCI) satellite data. Three machine learning approaches including random forest, Cubist, and support vector regression (SVR) were evaluated for coastal water quality estimation. In situ measurements (63 samples) collected during four days in 2011 and 2012 were used as reference data. Due to the limited number of samples, leave-one-out cross validation (CV) was used to assess the performance of the water quality estimation models. Results show that SVR outperformed the other two machine learning approaches, yielding calibration R2 of 0.91 and CV root-mean-squared-error (RMSE) of 1.74 mg/m3 (40.7%) for chl-a, and calibration R2 of 0.98 and CV RMSE of 11.42 g/m3 (63.1%) for SPM when using GOCI-derived radiance data. Relative importance of the predictor variables was examined. When GOCI-derived radiance data were used, the ratio of band 2 to band 4 and bands 6 and 5 were the most influential input variables in predicting chl-a and SPM concentrations, respectively. Hourly available GOCI images were useful to discuss spatiotemporal distributions of the water quality parameters with tidal phases in the west coast of Korea.”

A Combined Biophysical and Economic GIS Framework to Assess Sugarcane Cropping Potential in Brazil

Transactions in GISTransactions in GIS, Volume 18, Issue 3, pages 449–463, June 2014

By Letícia de Barros Viana Hissa and Britaldo Silveira Soares Filho

“Recently, the increasing demand for biofuels triggered a new phase for the sugar-alcohol sector. In Brazil, as well as in other tropical countries, this process raised worries regarding the possible direct and indirect effects of the crop’s expansion on the conversion of native vegetation coverings. Therefore, the modeling of spatial-economic surfaces, representing the potential rent variation in its spatial component, for economic activities, may be a useful tool in the decision-making process. Hence, here we propose and present the results of a combined framework composed of two modules using the modeling platform Dinamica EGO.

Sugarcane crops estimated rentability for the harvest year 2005–2006 according to real (S1) and maximum (S2) rentability scenarios.

Sugarcane crops estimated rentability for the harvest year 2005–2006 according to real (S1) and maximum (S2) rentability scenarios.

“The first module simulates sugarcane’s growth, calculating the daily response of the crop to environmental conditions during the stages of the plant’s development. The second module estimates rents for sugarcane cultivation in Brazil, identifying areas where this activity would bring higher economic return, looking at simulated productivity, production costs and selling prices in a way that is spatially explicit for Brazil. Two different scenarios for production costs were tested, and results ranged from negative values to maxima of R$/ha 929 and R$/ha 1176 for standard and efficient costs of production, respectively. The model successfully indicated non-profitable and profitable areas, and regions where high expected economic return overlaps endangered ecosystems.”

Integrating the Huff Model and Floating Catchment Area Methods to Analyze Spatial Access to Healthcare Services

Transactions in GISTransactions in GIS, Volume 18, Issue 3, pages 436–448, June 2014

By Jun Luo

“Analysis of spatial access to healthcare services is critical for effective health resource planning. Gravity-based spatial access models have been widely used to estimate spatial access to healthcare services. Among them, the floating catchment area (FCA) methods have been proved to be informative and helpful to the designation of Health Professional Shortage Areas (HPSAs). This article integrates the Huff Model with the FCA method to articulate population selection on services. Through the proposed approach, population demand on healthcare services is adjusted by a Huff Model-based selection probability that reflects the impacts of both distance impedance and service site capacity.

Spatial patterns of the census tracts' spatial access to healthcare services for each distance impedance coefficient. Note: β is the distance impedance coefficient

Spatial patterns of the census tracts’ spatial access to healthcare services for each distance impedance coefficient. Note: β is the distance impedance coefficient

“The new approach moderates the over- or under-estimating of population demand that occurred with previous methods. Furthermore, the method uses a continuous distance impedance weight function instead of the arbitrarily defined subzones of previous studies. A case study of spatial access to primary care in Springfield, MO, showed that the proposed method can effectively moderate the population demand on service sites and therefore can generate more reliable spatial access measures.”