More than 24,000 Earth scientists and other experts traveled to Washington DC December 9-14 for the annual American Geophysical Union (AGU) fall meeting, held at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center. The meeting provided a unique opportunity to showcase recent developments in research, data, and tools developed by CIESIN and its partners and to network with a diverse community of scientists, policy experts, and practitioners. CIESIN director Robert Chen organized and co-chaired two sessions highlighting innovations in mapping human settlements, population, and infrastructure, and gave three presentations on the integration of socioeconomic and remote sensing data in support of sustainable development research and applications, including a “flash talk” at NASA′s exhibit booth. Senior digital archivist Robert Downs co-chaired sessions in the Earth and Space Science Informatics (ESSI) and Education tracks, and co-authored a number of oral, “e-lightning,” and poster presentations on various data management topics. He also served as a judge for student papers in the ESSI track. GIS programmer Kytt MacManus described CIESIN′s decision support tools for flood and sea level rise planning and presented a poster on the geoprocessing services and Web mapping tools available from the NASA Socioeconomic Data and Applications Center (SEDAC) operated by CIESIN. Associate research scientist Sylwia Trzaska described her work on climate adaptation planning and as leader of a new project under way to map hard-to-reach populations in rural mangrove areas of West Africa. Greg Yetman, associate director for geospatial applications, presented the latest results from CIESIN′s collaboration with Facebook on high resolution population mapping, and contributed to a number of other presentations by CIESIN staff members and partners.
The meeting also provided the opportunity for CIESIN to hold an informal side meeting of the POPGRID Data Collective December 14 at the Henley Park Hotel. The meeting brought together more than 20 experts from the Washington DC area to review progress and develop plans for the next phase of POPGRID, which has received additional funding support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.