In addition to sudden natural disasters such as hurricanes or flash floods, slow-moving climate change events such as drought can cause displacement and migration, explains CIESIN research scientist and demographer Susana Adamo in an interview for the radio show, “The Briefing Powered by Dartmouth,“ broadcast on SiriusXM Insight Channel 121. Speaking with the host, Mike Mastanduno, Dartmouth College dean of faculty and an expert in international relations, Adamo discusses current research and concerns about climate change and human migration. The program is airing Saturday, February 18, at 8 am EST with re-broadcasts February 19 at 6 am and 7 pm. “The Briefing” is a new weekly satellite radio show radio show that aims to provide historical and factual perspectives on the week’s news. To hear an excerpt from Adamo’s interview, go here.
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Greg Yetman, associate director for geospatial applications, joined more than 4,000 federal geospatial technology professionals at the 2017 Esri FedGIS Conference, “GIS–Improving Our Nation,” February 13–14 in Washington, D.C. He gave an invited presentation, “Population Data for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs),” as part of the session, “GIS Data for the SDGs.” His presentation focused on the implications of using different population data sets for developing indicators linked to the SDGs, which were adopted by the international community in September 2015. Drawing on recent discussions at an expert meeting on geospatial settlement, infrastructure, and population data organized by CIESIN February 1–3, Yetman highlighted differences among several global population distribution data sets to illustrate the issues surrounding the selection of input data sets in developing indicators for any of the SDGs.
CIESIN staff members and a former visitor have authored several new papers on diverse topics. Senior digital archivist Robert Downs and director Robert Chen are co-authors of the chapter, “Curation of Scientific Data at Risk of Loss: Data Rescue and Dissemination,” in the book, Curating Research Data Volume One: Practical Strategies for Your Digital Repository. They document efforts by the NASA Socioeconomic Data and Applications Center (SEDAC) to rescue data from the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, a major international assessment of the world′s ecosystems, conducted 2001–2005. The book is edited by Lisa Johnston and published by the American Library Association.
Alex de Sherbinin, associate director for science applications, has authored the chapter, “Remote Sensing and Socioeconomic Data Integration: Lessons from the NASA Socioeconomic Data and Applications Center,” in the CRC Press book, Integrating Scale in Remote Sensing and GIS. The chapter highlights a range of examples in which remote sensing data have been combined with other environmental and socioeconomic data to produce new products designed to support both interdisciplinary research and applications.
Information scientist Xiaoshi Xing and de Sherbinin are co-authors of an article on historical land use change in China published in Nature Scientific Reports. The lead author, Yuanyuan Yang of the Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, visited CIESIN in 2013‒2014 while a doctoral student in land use management at Jilin University in China. The article describes a spatially-explicit modeling framework for reconstructing historical land use change in Zhenlai County in northeastern China.
Participants on day two of the meeting on settlements, infrastructure, and population data, organized and hosted by CIESIN at Columbia's Lamont campus February 1–2.
Understanding where people live and where their buildings and other infrastructure are located is critical to improving health care and other essential services, reducing vulnerability to hazards, expanding access to markets, and supporting other aspects of sustainable development. Numerous public and private sector organizations around the world are working to produce geospatial data on human settlements, the built infrastructure, and population distribution, drawing on a growing array of data sources including satellite-based radar, night-time light sensors, and high-resolution imagery. Following up on an initial meeting held at SciDataCon 2016 in Denver last fall, CIESIN invited more than 25 experts from academia, private companies, international organizations, and development agencies to the Columbia University Lamont campus in Palisades, New York, February 1–2 to compare methods, explore opportunities to collaborate, and assess how to make data more usable for a range of applications. The group then met February 3 on the Morningside campus with more than 15 representatives of stakeholder organizations, to identify user needs and priorities from the perspective of United Nations agencies, development organizations, funders, and other interested parties.
Participants in the meeting agreed to collaborate on an intercomparison study in Nigeria, to improve understanding about the advantages and limitations of different settlement, infrastructure, and population data sets and their appropriateness for different applications. There was also strong support for efforts to better coordinate data access and documentation, improve consistency and transparency of data and methods, and share data, computing resources, and expertise. Recognition is clearly growing among users and other stakeholders of the importance of these data as an essential foundation for monitoring and decision making with respect to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and as a unique resource to enable better integration of data across boundaries, time periods, and the public and private sectors.
The meeting was supported by a Cross-Cutting Initiative grant from the Earth Institute and by the NASA Socioeconomic Data and Applications Center (SEDAC) operated by CIESIN. Participants included experts from Facebook, Google Earth Engine, Esri, ImageCat, the European Commission's Joint Research Center, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, the U.S. Bureau of the Census, the World Bank, the WorldPop project, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the United Nations Committee of Experts on Global Geospatial Information Management, and several different universities in the United States, United Kingdom, and China.
When major storms or other extreme events occur, key organizations such as emergency management and utilities, transportation, and communication networks must mobilize quickly to activate and position resources and make a range of decisions to ensure public safety, reduce the severity of impacts, and improve recovery times. Representatives of a diverse set of Federal, state, and local agencies, public and private utilities, and other business groups met January 26 in Philadelphia for the second Data Driven Decision Making (D3M) workshop, held to examine how improved access to diverse earth science and socioeconomic data could help improve disaster decisionmaking in specific use cases related to flooding, power restoration, and regional situational awareness. During the meeting, CIESIN director Robert Chen gave presentations on a range of decision support tools and data sets relevant to these use cases, including the Hazards Mapper and HazPop mobile app available from the NASA Socioeconomic Data and Applications Center (SEDAC), as well as data on building footprints, critical infrastructure, impervious surfaces, and social vulnerability. CIESIN is working with StormCenter Communications, Inc. to incorporate the SEDAC Population Estimation Service into StormCenter′s GeoCollaborate tool, which provides a disaster data Daily Dashboard for the Fleet Response Working Group (FRWG). The FRWG is a public-private working group of the All Hazards Consortium (AHC), co-organizer of the D3M workshops with the ESIP Federation.
The return on investment (ROI) of scientific data repositories was the subject of a workshop at the Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability at Arizona State University in Tempe, Arizona, January 25‒26. Representatives from a diverse group of repositories participated in the workshop, including Robert Downs, CIESIN senior digital archivist. Participants examined current approaches for evaluating the ROI of scientific data repositories, and explored potential methodologies for measuring and reporting the ROI in various settings. Downs gave presentations on approaches for measuring the value of scientific data centers and evaluating their impact, drawing on CIESIN′s long experience in operating the NASA Socioeconomic Data and Applications Center (SEDAC). The workshop was funded by the National Science Foundation.
CIESIN, in collaboration with the City University of New York (CUNY) Institute for Demographic Research and the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK), has begun an innovative modelling project for the World Bank that aims to develop scenarios of future population distribution taking into account climate impacts in key socioeconomic sectors. The project will contribute to the World Bank report, “Climate Change, Migration and Securing Resilience: An Evidence-Based Approach for Action,” to be published in late 2017. The work builds on existing spatial population projections that do not incorporate climate impacts. Alex de Sherbinin, associate director for science applications, is co-leading the project. He travelled to Washington DC January 25–26 to participate in the project kickoff meeting at the World Bank.
While in DC, de Sherbinin also joined food security experts for the January 26 panel, “Ending Famines, Creating Food Security, and Fostering Thriving Livelihoods in a Changing World,” sponsored by Tetra Tech and the Wilson Center Environmental Change and Security Program. Panelists offered insights on innovative initiatives to increase food security and bolster resilience to climate-related disasters in the world’s food insecurity hotspots. Comments by de Sherbinin focused on the use of geospatial data and analytics to study the factors contributing to past crises, to address crises as they unfold, and to build resilience for the future.
Photo by IISD/ENB | Kiara Worth
CIESIN director Robert Chen (left) with Talip Kilic senior economist, Development Data Group, The World Bank, at the Cape Town International Conference Center, UN World Data Forum, Jan 16, 2016.
The first United Nations World Data Forum brought together more than 1,000 experts on sustainable development data and monitoring from approximately 100 countries to Cape Town, South Africa, January 15–18 to consider data challenges and opportunities associated with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. In order to achieve the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) adopted by the international community in September 2015, significant improvements are needed in the breadth, quality, and timeliness of a diverse set of socioeconomic and environmental data and indicators, not only to support monitoring of the SDGs, but also to facilitate effective sustainable development decision-making from local to global scales. With this in mind, the UN Independent Expert Advisory Group on the Data Revolution for Sustainable Development (IEAG) recommended the establishment of the World Data Forum in its 2014 report, A World That Counts. CIESIN director Robert Chen, who served as a member of the IEAG, was invited by the UN Statistics Division to join the Forum’s Programme Committee in July 2016. He coordinated more than six different sessions dealing with open data principles, technical standards and best practices, applications of geospatial and remote sensing data, and development of new data tools and services. He also gave a presentation on legal interoperability of data, based on the work of the Legal Interoperability Interest Group of the Research Data Alliance (RDA) and Committee on Data for Science and Technology (CODATA), which he co-chairs.
The Forum also served as a venue for several side events and activities. On January 19, Chen participated in the Third UN Data Innovation Lab workshop, organized by the UN World Food Programme and UN Global Pulse. He gave a presentation to mid-career staff from various UN and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) on CIESIN′s partnership with Facebook and the World Bank in developing new high resolution settlement layer (HRSL) data, and ongoing efforts to develop a broader “data collaborative″ for georeferenced population, settlement, and infrastructure data. Chen also participated in January 15 and 19 meetings of the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data (GPSDD), a global network of governments, NGOs, and businesses working together to mobilize data in support of sustainable development. CIESIN is an Anchor Partner of the GPSDD and also works closely with other members such as the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network (UNSDSN) and the Group on Earth Observations (GEO).
The UN World Data Forum was hosted by Statistics South Africa at the Cape Town International Convention Center. The next Forum will be hosted by the United Arab Emirates in 2018.
The Federation of Earth Science Information Partners (ESIP) held its winter meeting January 11–13 in Bethesda, Maryland, bringing together a diverse group of producers, managers, distributors, and users of earth science data around the theme, “Strengthening the Ties Between Observations and User Communities.” Greg Yetman, CIESIN associate director for geospatial applications; Robert Downs, senior digital archivist; and John Scialdone, Data Center Services manager, represented the NASA Socioeconomic Data and Applications Center (SEDAC), an ESIP “Type 1” member, at the meeting. Yetman gave a presentation as part of a panel “.Earth Science Data for Informing Decisions,” and Downs co-chaired a session, “Measuring the Value of Data,” with Ruth Duerr of the Ronin Institute. Downs also presented a poster, “Adoption of the Group on Earth Observations System of Systems Data Management Principles at a Scientific Data Center.” At the ESIP Assembly Meeting January 12, Downs was elected to the ESIP Governance Committee as the Type 1 representative. ESIP now includes more than 180 partners working cooperatively on the collection, stewardship, and use of earth science data, information, and knowledge in ways that are responsive to societal needs.
About 70 experts from academic, government, and private sector organizations met December 14‒17, 2016, at the Pench Tiger Reserve in Madhya Pradesh, India, for the Central Indian Landscape Symposium (CILS). Pinki Mondal, senior research associate at CIESIN, was a co-organizer of the 2016 Symposium, which focused on the theme, “Reconciling Development, Livelihoods and Conservation Goals.” She also co-chaired the session, “The Future of Water, Climate, and Agriculture,” and gave an oral presentation, “Implications of Agricultural Intensification for Diet and Nutrition in Central India.” The Symposium concluded with a presentation by Praveen Pardeshi, principal secretary in the Chief Minister’s Office in Maharashtra. Local partners in organizing the Symposium included the World Wildlife Fund-India and the Satpuda Foundation.
Building on more than 20 years of effort to improve mapping of human population, the fourth version of the Gridded Population of the World (GPWv4) data collection has been released. This new version provides scientists, applied users, and the general public with a more detailed and consistent view of the spatial distribution of population over two decades, designed to support interdisciplinary understanding and analysis of the interactions between human and environmental systems.
GPWv4 includes population estimates and projections at five-year intervals from 2000 to 2020 at a higher resolution than previous versions: 30 arc-seconds, or approximately 1 kilometer (0.6 miles) at the equator. GPWv4 reflects data from the 2010 round of national censuses, which occurred mainly between 2005 and 2014. The NASA Socioeconomic Data and Applications Center (SEDAC) operated by CIESIN collected and carefully matched population and boundary data for more than 13 million subnational administrative units, a 31-fold increase over version 3. Improved data were obtained for more than 100 countries including many small-island nations.
Grids of population counts and density, land area, water area, and data quality indicators are available for free download. Two different sets of population grids have been produced, one reflecting population totals reported by each country and another adjusted to national statistics developed by the United Nations (UN). Files may be downloaded for use in Geographic Information System (GIS) software or other analysis packages. The collection also includes a data set of the central point locations for subnational administrative units, for users needing tabular or vector (point) data.
In addition, SEDAC offers a range of map services and clients to visualize and access GPWv4 data, including the SEDAC Map Viewer, the Population Estimation Service, and the Hazards and Population (HazPop) mobile app for iOS devices. Several of these clients enable users to estimate the population residing within a user-defined circle or polygon, based on GPWv4 data for the year 2015.
GPWv4 is unique in characterizing population distribution based only on national census results, which enables it to be compared and combined with other types and sources of data. Other gridded population data products such as those available from the WorldPop project, the European Commission′s Joint Research Centre (JRC), and the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) utilize additional data layers to model population distribution, which may preclude their use for some research and applications. CIESIN has been collaborating with the JRC, Facebook′s Connectivity Lab, WorldPop, and other groups to produce complementary gridded products consistent with GPWv4, such as the Global Human Settlements Population Grid (GHS-POP), the High Resolution Settlement Layer (HRSL), and the planned WorldPop global layer. Gridded population products are useful in diverse applications such as estimating population exposure and vulnerability to natural and technological hazards, determining accessibility to markets or services, and managing land, water, and ecosystem resources.
SEDAC is working to add additional gridded variables to the GPWv4 data collection, including data on age structure, gender, and urban vs. rural population, which should be available by mid-2017. GPWv4 data are made available openly at no cost under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC-BY-4.0). Users are asked to register using a NASA Earthdata login when downloading data from the SEDAC site. SEDAC is one of the Distributed Active Archive Centers (DAACs) in NASA's Earth Observing System Data and Information System (EOSDIS), and has the mission to develop and operate applications that support the integration of socioeconomic and earth science data and to serve as an “Information Gateway″between the earth and social sciences.
Alex de Sherbinin, CIESIN associate director for Science Applications.
Alex de Sherbinin, CIESIN associate director for Science Applications, was recently made an associate member of the Hugo Observatory on Environment and Migration at the University of Liège in Belgium and a member of the editorial board of the Geographical Journal (GJ). The Hugo Project is a new research enterprise focused on the study of environmental change and migration, funded through the European Union Horizon 2020 Programme for Research and Innovation. The GJ, one of five journals produced by the Royal Geographical Society and the Institute of British Geographers, covers the entire scope of human and physical geography, with particular reference to public debates, policy-oriented agendas, and public relevance. The GJ has an impact factor of 3.206, ranking fifth out of 77 geography journals in 2015, according to the Institute for Scientific Information (ISI) Journal Citation Reports. A geographer by training, de Sherbinin has published widely on human interactions in the environment, including climate change and migration, climate vulnerability mapping, and urban climate resilience. At CIESIN, he serves as deputy director of the NASA Socioeconomic Data and Applications Center (SEDAC) and co-coordinator of the Population-Environment Research Network (PERN).
The annual fall meeting of the American Geophysical Union (AGU) in San Francisco December 12—16 was an opportunity for more than 24,000 geoscientists and other experts to analyze and discuss past and current changes in environmental and human systems, and their causes and future prospects. CIESIN director Robert Chen and senior digital archivist Robert Downs participated in a range of AGU events, including scientific sessions on natural hazards, science education, interdisciplinary data management, and sustainable development. Chen gave an oral presentation, “Harmonizing Settlement, Infrastructure, and Population Data to Support Sustainable Development,″ reporting on an ongoing initiative to coordinate efforts by many different groups around the world to improve global-scale georeferenced data on human population, settlements, and the built infrastructure. Downs gave an invited presentation, “Rescuing Data from International Scientific Assessments: A Case Study,″ which described CIESIN′s efforts over the past decade to preserve access to key data resources from the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) assessments.
Downs and Chen were also co-authors of a paper presented by Steven Uzzo, chief scientist with the New York Hall of Science (NYSCI), “Connected Worlds: Connecting the Public with Complex Environmental Systems.″ Uzzo summarized the development of NYSCI′s innovative, immersive exhibit, Connected Worlds, which grew out of an educational research project at NYSCI involving CIESIN, funded by the National Science Foundation. In addition, Downs and Chen presented several different poster papers, demonstrated new SEDAC mapping tools at the NASA exhibit booth, and attended the Sixth Annual Stephen Schneider Award event December 15 organized by Climate One. The fall AGU meeting also provided a venue for working meetings of the NASA data centers and the AGU′s Earth and Space Science Informatics community, as well as for networking with CIESIN partners and alumni. The next AGU meeting will be held in New Orleans in December 2017.
CIESIN Senior research associate Sandra Baptista showcases the National Priorities List Superfund Footprint Mapper at the Sensors and Technologies Fair, held December 6 as part of the EHS FEST that took place in Durham, North Carolina December 5–8.
As part of its 50th anniversary celebration, the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) held the Environmental Health Science Facilities, Engagement, Science, and Training (EHS FEST) event at the Durham Convention Center in Durham, North Carolina, December 5–8. CIESIN senior research associate Sandra Baptista was one of more than 1,200 attendees, including NIEHS grantees, trainees, investigators, community partners, and government collaborators. Baptista, co-principal investigator for the Columbia University Superfund Research Program (SRP) Research Translation Core, participated in the SRP grantee meeting December 5 and showcased the National Priorities List (NPL) Superfund Footprint: Site, Population, and Environmental Characteristics Mapper at the Sensors and Technologies Fair December 6. NIEHS is one of 27 institutes and centers of the National Institutes of Health, a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The NIEHS SRP supports university-based multidisciplinary research on human health and environmental issues related to hazardous substances. The Columbia University SRP seeks to obtain new knowledge, facilitate the translation of these findings into policy applications, and train multidisciplinary pre- and post-doctoral students concerning the health effects, geochemistry, and remediation of arsenic and manganese, with a particular focus on groundwater. The NPL Superfund Footprint Mapper is maintained by the NASA Socioeconomic Data and Applications Center (SEDAC).
David Wrathall of Portland State University on the left, and Bryan Jones of Baruch College-The City University of New York on the right, during a break on day one of a workshop on migration modelling, held at Sciences Po in Paris, December 5–6, 2016.
Twenty-five experts from around the world met at Sciences Po in Paris December 5–6 to assess the data and methods needed to model migration associated with future climate change. The workshop addressed the challenge of predicting who may migrate as a consequence of a changing climate, with the goal of comparing methodologies and defining a clear research agenda for improving scenarios and predictions of future population movement. Alex de Sherbinin, CIESIN associate director for Science Applications, co-organized the workshop with François Gemenne of the Politics of the Earth programme at Sciences Po and Richard Seager of the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, with funding from the Alliance Program. With Gemenne, de Sherbinin was a facilitator of the session, “Big Picture Questions,” and gave a presentation on climate vulnerability hotspots mapping in a session chaired by research scientist Susana Adamo. She also gave a presentation on survey and other data sources on subnational stocks and flows, in a session chaired by Seager. Marc Levy, CIESIN deputy director, also participated. The Alliance Program is a transatlantic joint-venture between Columbia University and three French institutions: the École Polytechnique, Sciences Po, and Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne University.
The implications of the rapidly growing deluge of environmental and socioeconomic data for managing natural resources and the environment were the subject of a two-day congress organized by the Renewable Natural Resources Foundation (RNRF) at the American Geophysical Union Conference Center in Washington DC. The congress opened December 6 with three plenary talks given by Lucas Joppa of Microsoft Research, Ruth Duerr from the Ronin Institute for Independent Scholarship, and CIESIN director Robert Chen. Chen emphasized the need for integrated approaches to data access, analysis, and visualization in support of sustainable development, and highlighted examples of current efforts involving both public and private sector groups to integrate and apply diverse data in support of decision making. The RNRF is a consortium of scientific, professional, educational, design and engineering organizations advancing science, education, and applications in managing and conserving renewable natural resources.
CIESIN staff helped host a range of visitors to Columbia recently, addressing different aspects of scientific data access, management, and application. On November 16, CIESIN director Robert Chen and associate director for Science Applications Alex de Sherbinin met with Kazuhiro Hayashi, Senior Research Fellow with the Japan National Institute of Science and Technology Policy (NISTEP), together with two analysts from Mitsubishi UFJ Research and Consulting Co., Ltd., to discuss policy trends in research data management and infrastructure in support of open science. The visit was part of a study commissioned by the Japan Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT). On November 30, Chen and associate director for Geospatial Applications Gregory Yetman hosted Prof. Hiromichi Fukui, director of the International Digital Earth Applied Science Research Center (IDEAS) at Chubu University in Japan. The meeting provided the opportunity to discuss areas of collaboration related to Digital Earth and the use of geospatial data and remote sensing in support of sustainable development research and applications.
In support of collaboration between the NASA Distributed Active Archive Centers (DAACs), Lindsey Harriman and Robert Quenzer of the Land Processes DAAC (LP-DAAC) at the Earth Resources Observation & Science (EROS) Center spent two days at the NASA Socieconomic Data and Applications Center (SEDAC) operated by CIESIN on November 30-December 1. The technical visit, hosted by CIESIN associate director for Information Technology Sri Vinay, who also serves as the SEDAC System Engineer, focused mainly on ways to better integrate SEDAC data, tools, and services with the LP-DAAC Application for Extracting and Exploring Analysis Ready Samples (AρρEEARS), a new data access, subsetting, and visualization tool. Also on December 1, CIESIN staff met with Sam Wear, assistant chief information officer (Geographic Information Systems) for Westchester County, New York, and colleague Anjali Sauthoff, an alumna of the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, addressing common interests in developing and improving geospatial data for New York State.
The Columbia University Libraries and CIESIN hosted a visit December 5 by Margaret Levenstein, the new director of the Interuniversity Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR) at the University of Michigan. Levenstein met with senior Library managers as well as staff from the university′s social science and digital research units, and gave a guest lecture in a class at Teachers' College, on managing education data. The visit focused on ways of improving access to and use of ICPSR research data holdings at Columbia and potential areas of collaboration with ICPSR. Chen is a member of the ICPSR Governing Council.
The NASA Socioeconomic Data and Applications Center (SEDAC) has released two new data sets, the Global Urban Heat Island (UHI) Data Set, v1 (2013) and the Global Summer Land Surface Temperature (LST) Grids, v1 (2013). The UHI data set maps average summer day-time maximum and night-time minimum LSTs for urban areas, as well as the LST difference between urban areas and 10-kilometer buffers surrounding the urban areas. The latter represents a measure of the urban “heat island” effect, the temperature difference between urban and surrounding rural areas stemming from differences in land cover (e.g., buildings and asphalt versus trees and grass). The LST grids are derived from the Level-3 Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) Version 5 global daytime and nighttime LST 8-day composite data (MYD11A2) from the NASA Aqua satellite. The UHI and LST data sets are useful for research and applications related to human health, weather extremes, and environmental change.
Alex de Sherbinin, associate director for Science Applications and deputy manager of the NASA Socioeconomic Data and Applications Center (SEDAC), presented the NASA Earthdata Webinar, “Remote Sensing-Derived Environmental Indicators for Decision Making,” November 21 and again on November 28. He summarized results from a NASA-funded pilot study to develop policy-relevant indicators from remote sensing data in three issues areas: ambient air pollution, coastal eutrophication, and biomass burning. The Webinar included description of indicator criteria relevant to policy and technical audiences as well as a review of the underlying satellite data and methodologies. Several SEDAC data sets derived from satellite data were also highlighted, including time series global grids of PM2.5 (particulate matter at 2.5 microns), a global urban heat island (UHI) data set, and a forthcoming time series global NO2 (nitrogen dioxide) grid. The Webinar, part of a NASA series, was repeated on November 28 due to the high level of interest, attracting at least 180 participants during the two sessions.
New high-resolution population data has been released, that will help us understand better how people are distributed in many countries throughout the world. The High Resolution Settlement Layer (HRSL) data set was developed by Facebook, CIESIN, and the World Bank as part of a larger effort by Facebook’s Connectivity Lab to develop technologies to connect people in rural areas to the Internet. First, state-of-the-art computer visioning techniques identified buildings from high-resolution commercial satellite images. The data was then combined with census data to generate population estimates, and the results were validated. Data are now available for five countries: Ghana, Haiti, Malawi, South Africa, and Sri Lanka, with data for additional countries expected in the coming months. To download the data, and for more information, go to http://ciesin.columbia.edu/data/hrsl/.
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