Heather Chamberlain of WorldPop and Flowminder visited CIESIN March 8 in Palisades, New York to give an informal talk on high-resolution population mapping in Afghanistan. Chamberlin is a geographer based at Southampton University in the UK working on humanitarian applications of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and remote sensing. She discussed methods used to create population estimates for Afghanistan using statistical models, geographic correlates, and survey data. CIESIN is a partner with WorldPop and the University of Louisville on the project, “Global High Resolution Population Denominators,″ supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. WorldPop is also participating in the POPGRID initiative, which seeks to expand and coordinate the international community of data providers, users, and sponsors of georeferenced data on population, human settlements, and infrastructure.
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A talk given by CIESIN director Robert Chen, “Who’s at Risk? Rapid Mapping of Potential Hazard Exposure,” has been released online by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) as part of its inaugural PrepTalks series. PrepTalks seek to promote conversation and innovation on issues facing emergency managers through a video presentation, discussion guide, and other information resources. Chen’s presentation features a range of hazard mapping tools and data developed by the NASA Socioeconomic Data and Applications Center (SEDAC) and other groups useful for assessing exposure and vulnerability to a variety of natural hazards. Eight PrepTalks were recorded at George Washington University in Washington DC in January 2018, including presentations by Dennis Mileti of the University of Colorado, Francis Ghesquiere of the Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery, and Amanda Ripley of the Emerson Collective.
Chen also presented “Mapping the Human Planet: Integrating Settlement, Infrastructure and Population Data to Leave No One Behind” in a panel on geospatial information for addressing inequalities and safeguarding public health, organized by the World Health Organization (WHO). The panel was part of the Statistical-Geospatial Integration Forum side event held March 5 in conjunction with the 49th session of the United Nations Statistical Commission at United Nations headquarters in New York City. Marie Haldorson of Statistics Sweden, who co-chairs the Working Group on Geospatial Information of the Inter-agency and Expert Group on SDG Indicators (IAEG-SDGs), moderated the panel, which also included Lisa Bersales of the Philippines Statistical Agency, Rifat Hossain of WHO, and Lawrence Friedl of NASA. The Forum was broadcast live on UN WebTV and is available on demand.
More than 40 experts on mapping of human settlements, infrastructure, and population from a range of organizations participated in the second “POPGRID″ working meeting, held at the Lamont campus February 28–March 1 and at the Population Council in New York City March 2. Organized by CIESIN with support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) and the Earth Institute, the meeting focused on the rapidly growing number and variety of georeferenced data products aimed at improving understanding of human settlement patterns, population distribution, and associated built infrastructure. New mapping approaches are being developed that take advantage of new sources of data such as radar, night-time lights, and high-resolution remote sensing. More information about these data and how they compare is needed to support not only scientific research, but also a variety of critical applications in sustainable development, disaster risk management and response, public health planning, and resource management.
Participants in the meeting came from organizations in both the United States and Europe, including the European Commission′s Joint Research Centre, the German Aerospace Center, the Group on Earth Observations, the Oak Ridge National Laboratory of the U.S. Department of Energy, and the U.S. Bureau of the Census. Private companies such as Esri, Facebook, and Google were also represented. Increased collaboration among these groups, and between both producers and users of these data, will improve data quality and usability, reduce duplication, facilitate data access and sharing of resources, and improve the impact and effectiveness of the data for both research and applications.
A new POPGRID web site has been released that brings together information about the different data products currently available and that will serve as an access point for the growing number of tools that provide visualization and analysis tools for the different data sets. Three POPGRID scientific sessions were held at the fall American Geophysical Union meeting in New Orleans in December 2017, and several additional sessions are scheduled April 14 at the annual meeting of the American Association of Geographers, also in New Orleans.
CIESIN is leading or participating in several new projects aimed at improving integration of human settlement, population, and environmental data in sustainable development efforts. CIESIN director Robert Chen is the principal investigator for the three-year project, “Population and Infrastructure on Our Human Planet: Supporting Sustainable Development through Improved Spatial Data and Models for Human Settlements, Infrastructure and Population Distribution Based on Earth Observations.” The project team will work with national statistical offices and other agencies in several developing countries to better utilize population and related data in sustainable development monitoring and decision making. Partners include experts from the University of Louisville, ImageCat, Inc., NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC), Baruch College, and Yale University. Funding is being provided by the NASA Applied Sciences program, as part of its support of the Human Planet Initiative of the Group on Earth Observations (GEO).
Senior research associate Xue Liu has also received NASA funding as part of a three-year effort to estimate total carbon in coastal and freshwater peatland forests. The project is led by Lola Fatoyinbo, research scientist with the Biospheric Sciences Laboratory at GSFC, and includes collaborators from the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, the University of Maryland, and the U.S. Forest Service.
Kytt MacManus, GIS programmer, is co-investigator of a third project, led by Miguel Román of GSFC, which is focusing on validation of global night-time environmental products, commonly known as night-time lights data. MacManus is leading the evaluation of daily night-time light data for developing near real-time population estimates as well as for improving existing population data products. The project will carry out validation activities in areas such as Puerto Rico, South Dakota, and Bangladesh.
NASA has also funded the project, “Mapping the Missing Millions,” led by Jamon Van Den Hoek of Oregon State University. Alex de Sherbinin, associate director for Science Applications, is a collaborator on the project, together with experts from DevSeed and the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team. The project aims to improve mapping of approximately 250 million refugees, displaced persons, and other people living in informal settlements, using crowdsourced data, machine learning, and multi-sensor satellite imagery.
Waldo Tobler, world-renowned geographer and cartographer and Professor Emeritus at the University of California, Santa Barbara, passed away February 20 at the age of eighty-eight. Among his many accomplishments, Tobler created the first global gridded population data set, working with colleagues, Uwe Deichmann, Jan Gottsegen, and Kelley Maloy. Tobler also formulated the so-called first law of geography: “Everything is related to everything else, but near things are more related than distant things.” He was an early pioneer in applying digital technologies and mathematical methods to geographic research and visualization, inventing new map projections, reallocation methods, and spatial analysis techniques.
In 1994, Tobler was a key participant in the Global Demography workshop held in Saginaw, Michigan, organized by the Science division of what was then the Consortium for International Earth Science Information Network. CIESIN supported Tobler′s development of the initial version of the Gridded Population of the World (GPW) data set, which was based on population and administrative boundary data for about 19,000 administrative units. CIESIN has continued to refine and improve GPW for more than two decades, recently releasing version 4.10 through the NASA Socioeconomic Data and Applications Center (SEDAC).
Tobler was a member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, recipient of the O.M. Miller Cartographic Medal of the American Geographical Society (AGS), and winner of Esri's Lifetime Achievement in GIS Award, among other honors. For more information about Tobler's work and the planned memorial service, see his department′s Web site.
Greg Yetman, CIESIN associate director for Geospatial Applications, and Robert Chen, CIESIN director, gave three talks in the Washington DC area January 25–29 as part of events organized for three different U.S. government agencies. On January 25, Yetman gave an invited presentation at the MapTech GEO seminar at the U.S. Bureau of the Census in Suitland, Maryland. His presentation, “Integration and Transformation of Census Data: Modeling Population on Raster Surfaces,″ described a range of approaches to modeling population distribution utilized in different data products, including CIESIN's new Gridded Population of the World version 4.10 (GPWv4.10) data set, the High Resolution Settlement Layer (HRSL) data developed in collaboration with Facebook, and other datasets produced through collaborations with the WorldPop project and the European Commission's Joint Research Center (JRC).
On January 25-26, Chen attended a two-day workshop, “Creating and Implementing Sustainability Plans for Data Repositories,” organized by the Ecological Society of America on behalf of the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF). The workshop, held in Alexandria, Virginia, near NSF′s new headquarters, brought together more than 30 managers of digital data repositories, data science experts, and NSF staff members to explore challenges and opportunities in increasing the long-term sustainability of valuable scientific data archives and services given changing technology, user needs, funding environments, and business models. Chen gave a plenary talk about the NASA Socioeconomic Data and Applications Center (SEDAC), which he has managed for more than two decades. The chair of the SEDAC User Working Group, Myron Gutmann of the University of Colorado, was a member of the workshop's organizing committee.
Chen returned to the Washington DC area January 29 to give a presentation as part of the PrepTalks Symposium organized by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). The Symposium, held at George Washington University, featured eight speakers showcasing cutting-edge research and relevant experience of value to emergency managers. Chen gave the presentation, “Who's at Risk: Rapid Mapping of Potential Hazard Exposure,″ featuring a range of data and tools from SEDAC and other NASA data sources useful in emergency planning and response. The PrepTalks are recorded on video and subsequently posted to YouTube as an online resource for the emergency management community.
Air quality is the leading environmental threat to public health, according to the 2018 Environmental Performance Index (EPI) released January 23 at the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. The biennial report, which ranks 180 countries on 24 performance indicators across 10 issue categories covering environmental health and ecosystem vitality, was produced by the Yale Center for Environmental Law & Policy (YCELP) and CIESIN. Switzerland is ranked first in environmental performance, followed by France, Denmark, Malta, and Sweden. In 2016, France and Sweden also made the top five.
In spite of strong scores on sanitation and air quality, the United States places only 27th in the 2018 EPI, thanks to weak performance on deforestation and greenhouse gas emissions, among other issues. This puts the United States near the back of the industrialized nations, behind France (2nd), the United Kingdom (6th), Germany (13th), Japan (20th), and Canada (25th).
Of the large emerging economies, China and India rank 120th and 177th respectively, due to pressures on the environment from high population densities and rapid economic expansion. “The strain on resources from past and current population growth, and the challenges of raising two billion people out of poverty, has meant that these countries face particular challenges,” according to co-author Alex de Sherbinin, associate director for science applications at CIESIN. “From nitrogen pollution, inadequate waste water treatment, air pollutant emissions and concentrations, China and India face severe environmental challenges.”
In addition to rankings, the EPI identifies important environmental trends. For example, the report finds that fisheries continue to deteriorate in most countries, and air pollution—a problem largely “solved” in advanced developed countries—is still a critical problem in many developing countries, especially in India, China, and Pakistan. And some countries are failing to address critical problems. Deforestation, for example, has been a significant issue for Indonesia, Malaysia, and Cambodia for the past five years, reflecting broad policy failures, according to the report.
Five staff members who joined CIESIN a decade ago were among those honored at a luncheon January 18 recognizing employees for ten years of service at Columbia University. The event at the Confetti Restaurant in Piermont, New York was hosted by Sean Solomon, director of the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory; Lisa Goddard, director of the International Research Institute for Climate and Society; and Robert Chen, director of CIESIN.
Susana Adamo began at CIESIN as an associate research scientist in the Science Applications division, and was promoted to research scientist in July 2015. A demographer, she focuses on georeferenced population data; migration, environment, and climate change; and livelihoods and social vulnerability. Adamo also serves as an adjunct assistant professor in Columbia's Department of Ecology, Evolution and Environmental Biology (E3B), teaching “Human Populations and Sustainable Development.”
Kytt MacManus started at CIESIN as a research assistant in the Geospatial Applications division, where he attained the positions of staff associate and later senior staff associate. In 2014 he transferred to the Information Technology division as a geographic information systems programmer. MacManus has been an adjunct lecturer at Columbia's School of international and Public Affairs (SIPA) since 2010 and has taught in E3B since 2014.
After working as a part time research assistant at CIESIN beginning in 2005, Valentina Mara joined the Science Applications division as a staff associate in 2007. She was promoted in 2010 to senior staff associate, focusing on urbanization, climate vulnerability, and environmental performance metrics. Mara also serves as adjunct faculty in SIPA and the School of Professional Studies, co-teaching courses in data analysis and visualization.
James Carcone and Frank Pascuzzi joined CIESIN as senior system analysts and programmers in CIESIN's Information Technology division. They have developed and implemented a wide range of server-side and web-client applications to support the dissemination, visualization, and analysis of scientific data and information. A key focus of their work has been the use of open, standards-based technologies to facilitate interdisciplinary integration and delivery of geospatial data to diverse users, e.g., through interactive web mapping tools and mobile applications.
The 2018 winter meeting of the Earth Science Information Partners (ESIP) was the focal point for a set of co-located meetings in Bethesda and Gaithersburg, Maryland, January 8–12 to which several CIESIN staff members contributed. Senior digital archivist Robert Downs participated in the Enabling FAIR Data Project: Targeted Adoption Group Workshop January 8, part of a new initiative recently launched by the American Geophysical Union to develop standards to connect researchers, publishers, and data repositories in support of the Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, and Reusable (FAIR) data principles. At the ESIP winter meeting, Downs served on the plenary panel, ‟Wildfires, Hurricanes, and Drought, Oh My!,” describing hazard-related data and tools available from the NASA Socioeconomic Data and Applications Center (SEDAC) operated by CIESIN. He also gave presentations on data management training, information quality, and data risk factors in a number of other sessions. Downs was re-elected as the Type 1 Representative to the ESIP Governance Committee during the business meeting.
Two other joint meetings were held January 11. Alex de Sherbinin, associate director for Science Applications, participated in the General Assembly of the EarthCube Council of Data Facilities, a federation of existing and emerging geoscience data facilities supporting the National Science Foundation′s EarthCube community. He represented the International Council for Science (ICSU) World Data System (WDS) in his capacity as a member of the WDS Scientific Committee, and gave a presentation, “Certification for Open and Trustworthy Data Repositories.″ CIESIN director Robert Chen also attended the ESIP winter meeting, participating in an all-day joint meeting with the All Hazards Consortium (AHC) focused on operational readiness of data and data services for emergency response to disasters. The AHC supports industry, government, and other stakeholders in their efforts to coordinate restoration of power and other utilities after hurricanes and other major disruptions. Chen gave a short presentation, “Operational Readiness of SEDAC Data and Services,″ at the session, “Operational Readiness Levels: Measuring the Benefit of Trusted Data for End Users,″ organized by the ESIP Disaster Cluster. The SEDAC Population Estimation Service is an element of the AHC Multi-State Fleet Response Working Group GeoCollaborate service.
Downs also attended the 8th Working Group/Interest Group Collaboration meeting of the Research Data Alliance (RDA) January 11–12 at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in Gaithersburg, Maryland. He represented the Repository Platforms for Research Data Interest Group, which he co-chairs.
NASA has recently released the 2017 edition of Sensing Our Planet, free in print or for download at the Earthdata Web site. The publication highlights the use of earth science data in a range of scientific research areas, from hazard prediction to public health to water resource management. One of this year′s articles, “Zika Zone,” focuses on mapping the spread of the Zika virus. Researchers Moritz Kramer from the Harvard Medical School and Janey Messina from the University of Oxford combined environmental data about the Zika virus—for example, preferred habitat, temperature and rainfall requirements, and need for stagnant water to lay eggs in and heavily populated urban environments—with population data to create maps showing environmental suitability for the transmission of the virus. Data sources included the Gridded Population of the World (GPW) data collection from the NASA Socioeconomic Data and Applications Center (SEDAC) operated by CIESIN and a vegetation index based on Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) data from the Land Processes Distributed Active Archive Center (LP DAAC). Mapping the transmission in this way let the scientists estimate the number of people globally at risk—more than two billion—and anticipate areas of potential Zika outbreaks, helping to inform public health decisions. GPW data were also used together with gravity and radar data and land surface models from several other DAACs to assess groundwater resources in Mexico, as described in the article, “Closed Season.″
Sensing Our Planet highlights data from the twelve DAACs of the NASA Earth Observing Data and Information System (EOSDIS). The publication has been produced since 1994 by the Snow and Ice DAAC at the National Snow and Ice Data Center at the University of Colorado Boulder.
CIESIN staff and colleagues have capped the end of 2017 and launched 2018 with several new publications on a range of topics. Senior research associate Pinki Mondal is a lead author of a study on long-term changes in mangrove extent in Sierra Leone. The West African country lost 25% of its mangroves between 1990 and 2016, the span of the analysis. Using remote sensing data, the study focuses on four estuaries—Scarcies, Sierra Leone, Yawri Bay, and Sherbro—to provide insight into mangrove management strategies that can support local livelihoods. Sylwia Trzaska, associate research scientist, and Alex de Sherbinin, associate director for Science Applications, are co-authors. The work was funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and conducted in collaboration with Tetra Tech. The paper appears in the journal Sensors, as part of a special issue, “Remote Sensing of Mangrove Ecosystems,” edited by Chandra Giri, an alumnus of CIESIN now with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Alex de Sherbinin is also co-author of a new global study of heat waves appearing in Environmental Research Letters, among the first research to include humidity as a critical factor in assessing heat stress impacts. The lead authors are Ethan Coffel and Radley Horton of Columbia University and the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS). The study utilizes data available from the NASA Socioeconomic Data and Applications Center (SEDAC) operated by CIESIN—Global Population Projection Grids Based on SSPs, v1 (2010 – 2100)—to quantify the number of people who may be exposed to extreme heat stress in the latter half of this century under different scenarios of development (Shared Socioeconomic Pathways, or SSPs).
Senior digital archivist Robert Downs has three new publications on various data management topics. He authored the chapter, “Enabling the Reuse of Geospatial Information,” in the book, GeoValue: The Socioeconomic Value of Geospatial Information, edited by Jamie B. Kruse, Joep Crompvoets, and Francoise Pearlman and published in November 2017 by CRC Press. He is also a co-author, with Devan Ray Donaldson, Ingrid Dillo, and Sarah Ramdeen, of a peer-reviewed article in the International Journal of Digital Curation on the perceived value of acquiring “data seals of approval,” an international standard for trusted digital repositories. Finally, he has authored the conference paper, “Implementing the Group on Earth Observations Data Management Principles: Lessons from a Scientific Data Center,” in The International Archives of the Photogrammetry, Remote Sensing and Spatial Information Sciences. This was based on his presentation at the 37th International Symposium on Remote Sensing of Environment in Tshwane, South Africa in May 2017 about how the emerging set of data management principles developed by GEO applies to interdisciplinary data management at SEDAC.
Alex de Sherbinin, CIESIN associate director for Science Applications, chairs a session December 12 on advances in the use of remote sensing in applications for social science, public health, and air quality at the 2017 American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting.
Four CIESIN staff members joined nearly 24,000 earth scientists and other experts in New Orleans at the fall meeting of the American Geophysical Union (AGU) December 11‒15: director Robert Chen; associate director for Science Applications Alex de Sherbinin; senior digital archivist Robert Downs; and associate director for Geospatial Applications Greg Yetman. In total, they gave eight different oral presentations, authored or co-authored three posters, and convened and/or co-chaired seven scientific sessions. A session organized by de Sherbinin, "People and Pixels 20th Anniversary: Advances in the Use of Remote Sensing in Social Science, Public Health, and Air Quality Applications I," highlighted progress in utilizing remote sensing approaches in social science and public health research and applications in the two decades since the 1998 publication of the seminal National Research Council report, People and Pixels: Linking Remote Sensing and Social Science. Chen and Yetman, together with Andrea Gaughan of the University of Louisville and Budhendra Bhaduri of Oak Ridge National Laboratory, organized two oral sessions and one poster session, “Where We Live and Work: Improving Data and Models for Human Settlements, Infrastructure, and Population Distribution.″ These three sessions brought together both data developers and data users from the public and private sectors to highlight recent advances in monitoring and modeling the distribution of population around the world, now and in the future.
CIESIN staff members also contributed to a number of special events associated with the AGU meeting. As part of a late breaking session on the societal impacts of the 2017 Atlantic hurricane season, de Sherbinin presented “Race, Income Inequality, and Impervious Surfaces in Relation to Flooding Associated with Hurricane Harvey,” authored with senior research staff assistants Jane Mills and Olena Borkovska. At the NASA booth in the AGU Exhibit Hall on December 11 and 13, Downs demonstrated interactive hazard mapping tools from the NASA Socioeconomic Data and Applications Center (SEDAC), and on December 13 Yetman gave a flash talk, "Where We Live and Work: New Human Population and Settlement Data from SEDAC.” That evening, Chen joined eight other presenters at the Ignite@AGU event at the Audubon Aquarium’s Entergy Giant Screen Theatre, organized by NASA’s Applied Sciences Program in partnership with AGU’s Earth and Space Science Informatics (ESSI) group and the ESIP Federation. He described why knowing where we live and work matters, in a presentation on the Aquarium′s Imax screen to more than 100 attendees. Downs also served as a judge for the AGU’s Outstanding Student Paper Awards.
The AGU fall meeting is the largest earth and space science meeting in the world. It provides a venue not only for scientific presentation and exchange, but also for interactions with program managers, partner organizations, stakeholder groups, students, and the international community.
This image showing Central Park in New York City contrasts the impervious surfaces in dark blue, surrounding the park, which in lighter blue. Screenshot from the Data Visualization and Access Tool, which was developed to use with the data sets Human Built-up and Settlement Extent (HBASE) and Global Man-made Impervious Surface (GMIS).
With more than half of the world’s population living in urban areas today, the mapping and monitoring of urbanization are critical to better understanding development patterns, and their potential impacts. Addressing this need are two new high resolution data sets released through the NASA Socioeconomic Data and Applications Center (SEDAC) operated by CIESIN that map global, man-made impervious surfaces and urban extents in unprecedented detail. The companion data sets, Human Built-up and Settlement Extent (HBASE) and Global Man-made Impervious Surface (GMIS), are among the first global, 30-meter spatial resolution data sets of their kind that are derived from the 2010 Global Land Survey (GLS) free Landsat archive. The data sets are expected to have a broad range of uses for those wishing to study the fine details of the urban fabric from local to global scales at full resolution, and those modeling climate and environmental impacts of man-made surfaces at continental to global scales. The production of HBASE and GMIS resulted from a collaboration between the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center and the Department of Geographical Sciences at the University of Maryland and was funded through the NASA Land Cover Land Use Change Program. The data sets are available for free download, with four representative maps illustrating the data layers.
Using the Data Visualization and Access Tool, users may view and download the GMIS and HBASE data sets by country, tile, shapefile, rectangle or polygon. Data are available at 30m, 250m, and 1km resolutions in either geographic or UTM projection. Users may also explore map layers from the GMIS and HBASE data sets, including the uncertainty layers, in a four-panel map view. Different map layers may be compared, or different areas of the same map layer. Features include the ability to zoom in to the native data resolution of 30-meters; to query pixel values; to display a layer full-screen; and more.
A diverse group of experts from space agencies, private industry, academia, and nongovernmental organizations contributed to a “Discovery Day″ at United Nations headquarters in New York December 6. The all-day event highlighted the use of geospatial approaches, tools, and data to accelerate sustainable development in such areas as disaster risk reduction, damage assessment, social protection, and water resource management. CIESIN director Robert Chen participated in a panel on training and capacity building, together with Ana Prados of NASA’s Applied Remote Sensing Training (ARSET) program and Danielle Wood from NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, who is joining the faculty at the Media Lab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology next month. Chen discussed the need to more systematically develop and integrate data on human settlements, infrastructure, and population in support of the interlinked Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) adopted by the international community in 2015. His presentation was co-authored with Greg Yetman, CIESIN associate director for Geospatial Applications, who also attended the event. The Discovery Day was organized jointly by the United Nations Office of Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP).
More than 100 scientists and stakeholder representatives who focus on the use of NASA satellite data to help solve real-world public health and air quality problems gathered at the Columbia University Lamont campus in Palisades, New York, November 28–29 for the third meeting of the NASA Health and Air Quality Applied Sciences Team (HAQAST3). Launched by the NASA Applied Sciences Program in 2016, the core HAQAST team consists of thirteen air quality and public health scientists from across the U.S., led by Tracey Holloway of the University of Wisconsin-Madison. The HAQAST3 meeting included data users and other stakeholders from local, state, and federal agencies and from the public health and policy communities, as well as scientific collaborators and data managers. CIESIN director Robert Chen gave a short presentation co-authored with associate director Alex de Sherbinin, “Assessing Population Exposure and Vulnerability for Health Applications.” He highlighted relevant population, infrastructure, and air quality data and indicators from the NASA Socioeconomic Data and Applications Center (SEDAC), as well as ongoing efforts to coordinate the data, documentation, and services for georeferenced population and infrastructure data from a range of sources. CIESIN remote sensing scientist Xue Liu was a co-author of the poster paper, ‟Impact of Long-Range Wildfire Smoke Plumes on NYC Air Quality,” by Weihong Han of the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory (LDEO) and others. HAQAST3 was hosted by LDEO and co-sponsored by the New York State Energy and Research Development Authority (NYSERDA). The next HAQAST team meeting is planned for summer 2018 in Madison, Wisconsin.
India currently has a population of about 1.3 billion, about one-sixth of the total world population and second in size only to China. Improved understanding of the population, land use, agriculture, and food security of India−past, present, and future−is therefore vital not only to sustainable development of India, but also to the overall sustainability of the region and the globe. With this in mind, the NASA Socioeconomic Data and Applications Center (SEDAC) has launched a new India Data Collection aimed at improving access to high-quality, georeferenced socioeconomic, environmental, and land use/land cover data useful for a range of research activities and practical applications. The first data set to be released as part of the collection, India Annual Winter Cropped Area, v1 (2001–2016), contains annual estimates of the area planted with winter crops for most of India (not including the northeastern states) from 2000–2001 to 2015–2016. These data are based on measurements from the Enhanced Vegetation Index (EVI) for the winter growing season (October through March), derived from NASA′s Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS). The data were developed as part of a research project documented in a recent paper in the journal Remote Sensing, authored by Meha Jain of the University of Michigan, CIESIN senior research associate Pinki Mondal, Gillian Galford of the University of Vermont, Greg Fiske of the Woods Hole Research Center, and Professor Ruth DeFries of the Columbia University Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Environmental Biology. The research received support from NASA, the U.S. National Science Foundation, Google Earth Engine, and Planet. The data are available in both GeoTIFF and NetCDF formats at 1-kilometer resolution, together with the source code used to create the data. A second data set, India Village-Level Geospatial Socio-Economic Data Set, v1 (1991, 2001), is in development.
Participants in a town hall offered by the Population and Environment Research Network (PERN) October 31, 2017 at the International Population Conference (IPC) include Landy Sanchez (third from the left), chair of the PERN Steering Committee, and CIESIN research scientist Susana Adamo, co-coordinator of PERN (sixth from the right).
Cape Town, South Africa, was the site of the 28th International Population Conference (IPC) of the International Union for the Scientific Study of Population (IUSSP), hosted October 29–November 4 by Statistics South Africa on behalf of the Republic of South Africa. CIESIN research scientist Susana Adamo and deputy director Marc Levy joined approximately 2,000 other population experts and practitioners at the conference, which is held every four years. At the University of Cape Town October 29, Adamo gave the lecture, “Mapping populations: Gridded Population of the World version 4 (GPW4),” for a pre-conference workshop on combining satellite, survey, census and cellphone data to provide small-area estimates. During the IPC, she presented the poster, ‟Urban Growth and Water Access in Least Developed Countries: Progress, Challenges, and Emerging Research Directions,” based on a 2015 cyberseminar offered by the Population Environment Research Network (PERN). She also co-authored the paper, ‟Assessing the Regional Context of Migration in Brazilian Legal Amazonia through Spatial Regression Modeling,” in a session on spatial methods in demography. Adamo served as a discussant in a session on population, consumption, and the environment and hosted a PERN “town hall″meeting for members attending the IPC. Levy also participated in the pre-conference workshop, reporting on a new project to build African geospatial capacity supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the United Kingdom's Department for International Development.
PERN is a scientific panel of IUSSP, established in 2001 and hosted by CIESIN, with support from the NASA Socioeconomic Data and Applications Center (SEDAC). The IUSSP is an individual membership association open to all scientists and professionals working in the field of population.
Greg Yetman, associate director for geospatial applications at CIESIN, highlighted a range of new geospatial data products on human settlements and population distribution at three recent meetings in London, England; Dublin, Ireland; and Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE). He first participated in the workshop, “Satellite Applications for Sustainable Development,” organized by Satellite Applications Catapult at the Royal Aeronautical Society in London October 30-31. There he highlighted the population, environmental, and infrastructure data available from the NASA Socioeconomic Data and Applications Center (SEDAC) operated by CIESIN, as well as ongoing population modeling research projects at CIESIN. The workshop convened researchers and professional staff from United Kingdom government agencies and universities, the World Bank, and several United Nations agencies to identify opportunities for using satellite data streams to help achieve the Sustainable Development Goals adopted by the international community in 2015.
In Dublin November 2–3, Yetman attended the 10th European Forum for Geography and Statistics (EFGS), where he presented a poster describing new population distribution estimates by age category and gender for the year 2010, soon to be released as part of the SEDAC Gridded Population of the World version 4 (GPWv4) data collection. Yetman also represented CIESIN at the Global Forum for Geography and Statistics council meeting held during the conference. GPW was featured in the opening session remarks by the president of the EFGS, and CIESIN’s contributions to the Global Human Settlement Layer population model (GHSL-POP) were also acknowledged during the Forum.
Yetman subsequently travelled to Dubai, where the United Nations Office of Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) and the UAE Space Agency jointly organized a High-Level Forum, “Space as Driver for Socio-Economic Sustainable Development,” November 6–9. He participated in a side meeting November 6–7 to discuss development of the Global Partnership for the Coordination of the Development, Operation and Utilization of Space related Infrastructure, Data, Information and Services in support of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
Two journal articles by CIESIN scientists have been published recently focusing on climate vulnerability mapping and on urban growth and water access in Africa. Alex de Sherbinin, associate director for science applications, is lead author of a paper in The Geographical Journal, “Mapping the Future: Policy Applications of Climate Vulnerability Mapping in West Africa.” Co-authors are Alex Apotsos and Jeremy Chevrier of the United States Agency for International Development. The paper documents the development of climate vulnerability maps for three Sahelian countries―Mali, Burkina Faso, and Niger―and for coastal West Africa. It focuses on the way the maps were designed to meet decision-making needs and their ultimate influence and use in policy contexts.
The paper, “Urban Growth and Water Access in Sub-Saharan Africa: Progress, Challenges, and Emerging Research Directions,” appears in the journal, Science of the Total Environment. Lead author Stéphanie dos Santos of the Institut de Recherche pour le Développement, Laboratoire Population-Environnement-Développement (IRD/AMU) in Marseille, France, was an expert contributor to a Population-Environment Research Network (PERN) online seminar on water and population dynamics held in October 2015. Co-authors of the paper include de Sherbinin and CIESIN research scientist Susana Adamo, who are the co-coordinators of PERN. The paper reviews empirical knowledge of urban dynamics and water issues in sub-Saharan Africa and provides research recommendations.
Geographic information specialist Linda Pistolesi, Adamo, and senior research staff assistant Olena Borkovska have also published a short article in the “Data Points″ section of the Fall 2017 issue of PAA Affairs, the quarterly newsletter of the Population Association of America. The article describes mapping of the subnational total dependency ratio (TDR) using the forthcoming global age and sex structure grids from the Gridded Population of the World version 4 (GPWv4) data collection.
Susana Adamo and Alex de Sherbinin, CIESIN experts in environmental migration and displacement, attended a workshop of the Advisory Committee of the Platform on Disaster Displacement (PDD) October 23‒24 in Bogis-Bossey, Switzerland. Workshop participants assessed progress in implementing recommendations from the Advisory Committee's first meeting in 2016 and the PDD Workplan for 2016‒2019. Adamo and de Sherbinin participated in the PDD Data and Knowledge Working Group and in discussions on regional priorities for Africa and the Americas. Approximately 90 representatives from Advisory Committee organizations, including representatives from the United Nations Office of High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM), attended the workshop.
Prior to the workshop, Adamo had attended an expert meeting on "Slow onset effects of climate change and human rights protection for cross-border migrants," organized by UNHCR October 5 in Geneva. She served as the opening discussant in a session on "Protection needs: Understanding the intersecting factors that cause or exacerbate vulnerability in the context of slow onset events."
Adamo, who is a research scientist at CIESIN, and de Sherbinin, who is associate director for science applications, were invited in 2016 by the Government of Germany to serve on the PDD Advisory Committee. The PDD continues the work of the Nansen Initiative, supporting implementation of the 2015 recommendations of the Nansen Initiative Agenda for the Protection of Cross-Border Displaced Persons in the Context of Disasters and Climate Change, known as the Protection Agenda. The Advisory Committee provides expert strategic input to the PDD's chair and steering group, and helps implement PDD activities. CIESIN, together with the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law at Columbia, are two of the Advisory Committee organizations. Based in Geneva, Switzerland, the PDD is supported by the governments of France, Germany, and Switzerland and the MacArthur Foundation.
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