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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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.
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 that aims to provide historical and factual perspectives on the week’s news. To hear an excerpt from Adamo’s interview, go here.
Staff at the CIESIN-Earth Institute exhibit booth of the 2012 Association of American Geographers explain research activities and programs to conference attendees. Pictured left to right: Allison Ladue, assistant director, Columbia University's Master of Science in Sustainability Management, and Allison Lacko, research staff assistant, CIESIN.
The Center for International Earth Science Information Network (CIESIN) had a strong presence at the 2012 Annual Meeting of the Association of American Geographers, which drew more than 8,500 participants to New York City February 24–28. CIESIN co-sponsored two booths, one staffed in collaboration with the Earth Institute, and the other showcasing CIESIN’s Socioeconomic Data and Applications Center (SEDAC) together with the Land Processes Data Active Archive Center (LP DAAC), two of NASA’s Earth science data centers. On February 26, senior research associate Alex de Sherbinin was chair and organizer of a panel session, Geospatial and Statistical Data from International Institutions, which included presentations by several different United Nations and World Bank representatives with whom CIESIN collaborates. Senior staff associate Sandra Baptista also organized a session, Frontiers in Spatial Demography and Population Geography, held on February 28 and chaired by Michael Goodchild of the University of California at Santa Barbara. CIESIN staff members participated in several panel and paper sessions: geographic information specialist Malanding Jaiteh was a panelist for Science in Support of Sustainable Development and Human Rights in East Africa, chaired by State Department geographer Lee Schwartz; associate director Mark Becker was a panelist in two sessions, Geospatial Technologies for International Development and Internships and Work-Based Learning as Career Preparation; Earth Institute Fellow Alexandra Morel presented an interactive short paper, “Spatial Analysis of Socio-Economic and Natural Hazard Vulnerability for Haiti, Using GIS and Remote Sensing,” co-authored with senior staff associate Liana Razafindrazay; geographic information specialist Sneha Rao presented the paper, “Exploring Impacts of Climate Change on Human Health in Classrooms Using CHANGE Viewer,” co-authored with senior systems analyst programmer James Carcone, Mark Becker, and Cayuga Community College colleague Amy Work; Alex de Sherbinin presented a paper, “Estimating Global Net Migration by Ecosystem and By Decade: 1970-2010,” co-authored with deputy director Marc Levy, associate research scientist Susana Adamo, geographic information specialist Kytt MacManus, senior research associate Valentina Mara, and Liana Razafindrazay; and he also presented the paper “Environmental Indicators: An Application of Satellite Data Products to Support High Level Decisions for National and International Environmental Protection” co-authored with Marc Levy and Battelle Memorial Institute colleagues Erica Zell and Stephanie Weber. CIESIN welcomed AAG participants at a reception held February 27 and hosted twelve AAG participants on a field trip to the Lamont campus on February 28. CIESIN director Robert Chen’s role as one of three co-chairs of the Local Arrangements Committee was recognized at the AAG opening session on February 24.
Announced at the World Economic Forum held January 25–29 in Davos, Switzerland, the 2012 Environmental Performance Index (EPI) produced by CIESIN and Yale University’s Center for Environmental Law and Policy (YCELP), in collaboration with the World Economic Forum and the Joint Research Center in Ispra, Italy, identifies Switzerland as first in addressing pollution control and natural resource management challenges. Iraq is ranked last. The EPI has been produced every two years since 2006. The 2012 EPI ranks 132 countries, using 22 indicators in ten major policy categories including air and water pollution, climate change, biodiversity, and forest management.
For the first time a complementary index showing country improvement from 2000 to 2010, the Pilot Trend Environmental Performance Index (Trend EPI), was released. Latvia was ranked number one in the Trend EPI, with Russia in last place. The U.S., which is 49th in the EPI, was just 77th in the Trend EPI, implying few recent gains in addressing environmental issues.
Data sets making up the EPI were contributed from the International Energy Agency, remote sensing research groups at Battelle and University of Maryland, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, and other entities. Lack of data in certain areas—in particular, waste management, toxic exposures, agricultural sustainability and water resources—continue to limit the ability of the EPI to contribute towards the understanding necessary to develop policies for safeguarding the environment.
The International Union for the Scientific Study of Population (IUSSP) has named CIESIN associate research scientist Susana Adamo to a new panel exploring the role of population dynamics in climate change. Adamo, a demographer originally from Argentina, will serve with population researchers Leiwen Jiang (China), Wolfgang Lutz (Austria), and panel chair Adrian Hayes (Australia). Through cross-disciplinary research, meetings, and other activities, the panel will aim to expand a network of population researchers working in the area of climate change, contribute to greater understanding of how population processes interact with climate change, and share findings with the research and policy making communities. In addition, panel members will examine conditions for such cross-disciplinary research and what this might mean for demographic training. The panel has been established through 2014.
Screenshot of interactive 3-D World Population Globe showing year 2000 population distribution. CIESIN/Google.
Differences in population density around the world are dramatically illustrated in a new interactive 3-D globe developed by the Google Data Arts Team and available on Google's Chrome Experiment site. Based on the Gridded Population of the World version 3 (GPWv3) data set available from the NASA Socioeconomic Data and Applications Center at CIESIN, the World Population Globe illustrates population distribution and changes between 1990, 1995, and 2000 on a 1-degree latitude-longitude grid. The globe was developed using WebGL, the Web-based Graphics Library, which enables 3-D graphics without the use of a plug-in. Browsers that currently support WebGL include Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox 4, and development releases of Safari and Opera. A compatible graphics card may also be needed.
Combining socioeconomic and environmental data to help prepare for and respond to natural disasters such as landslides is the subject of an article in the 2010 NASA publication, Sensing Our Planet. “On Shaky Ground” examines recent efforts following the January 2010 earthquake in Haiti to improve understanding of human-environment interactions that can affect vulnerability to disasters. Dalia Kirschbaum, a researcher from NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, talks about how she combined satellite rainfall data with land cover maps and CIESIN’s Gridded Population of the World (GPW) data to help identify the areas of highest susceptibility to landslide in Haiti. Alex Fischer, program coordinator for the Haiti Regeneration Project (HRI), discusses how improved understanding of population-environment-disaster linkages has informed planning for a major integrated development initiative in southwest Haiti. Fischer was one of two CIESIN staff members who witnessed the devastation of the Haiti earthquake first hand at the beginning of 2010.
Sensing Our Planet is an annual collection of articles on applications of Earth science data. GPW, now in its third version, is distributed by the NASA Socioeconomic Data and Applications Center (SEDAC) operated by CIESIN.
The Web site for CIESIN’s flagship data product—Gridded Population of the World (GPW), now in its third version—has been enhanced with three new services and tools: the Population Estimation Service, a Web-based service for estimating population totals and related statistics within a user-defined region; and two mapping tools.
Because the Population Estimate Service is accessible through three standard protocols (the Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) Web processing service (WPS) standard, a representational state transfer (REST) interface, and a simple object access protocol (SOAP) interface), it can accommodate a wide variety of map clients and tools and users can quickly obtain population estimates for specific areas without having to download and analyze large amounts of spatial data. Users submit polygons that define an area, then the service returns measures of population, land area, quality measures, and basic parametric statistics. These estimates are based on the gridded population data for 2005 from the GPW v3 data set developed by the NASA Socioeconomic Data and Applications Center (SEDAC) operated by CIESIN.
One of the new mapping tools also released, based on the technology used by Google Maps, demonstrates the Population Estimation Service. It lets users select an area of interest by drawing a polygon on the map and submit the request to the service, and it displays the results. The other tool is a basic mapper that provides previews of the GPW v3 data sets with an overlay of national boundaries, and lets users pan and zoom to an area of interest before downloading the data sets. For more complex visualization and overlay of other data sets, the stand-alone SEDAC Map Client is recommended.
TerraViva! SEDAC Viewer is a map viewer and standalone software application that uses a powerful data-viewing engine and tools to enable the visualization and integration of hundreds of socioeconomic and environmental variables and layers, including a range of satellite-based data. A three-part tutorial that explains how to use TerraViva! is now available through the YouTube Web site. The tutorial was produced by senior research associate Alex de Sherbinin and senior media designer Al Pinto, under the auspices of the NASA Socioeconomic Data and Applications Center (SEDAC) operated by CIESIN.
The Gridded Population of the World (GPW) version 3 data set available through the NASA Socioeconomic Data and Application Center operated by CIESIN is the basis for a new set of grid-based population cartograms for most countries of the world recently released on the interactive Worldmapper Web site. Worldmapper is a collection of cartograms in which a particular thematic variable is substituted for the land area of a map, effectively re-sizing the map. In the case of the population grids, each cartogram provides a distinctive visualization of the internal population variations within a country or region. More-populated areas appear inflated whereas less-populated areas are less prominent. The cartograms have been made available under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Unported license.
A recent art exhibition in Paris made prominent use of data developed by CIESIN. The exhibition, Terre Natale: Ailleurs Commence Ici (Native Land: Stop Eject), by Raymond Depardon and Paul Virilio, was presented at Fondation/Cartier/ pour l’art contemporain from November 21, 2008 to March 15, 2009. As part of the exhibition, professor Laura Kurgan, director of the Spatial Information Design Lab at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation, co-authored a collaborative design of video presentation that immersed viewers with images from a nearly-360 degree projection displayed throughout a circular room. The 30-minute video, which utilizes data from CIESIN’s Gridded Population of the World (GPW) data collection and Global Rural-Urban Mapping Project (GRUMP) available from the Socioeconomic Data and Applications Center (SEDAC), includes a moving globe that dynamically illustrates the economic, political, and environmental causes of global migration. “We translated the gridded population data from pixels into numbers and graphs and then animated it, overlaying many other kinds of data about migration such as displacement from floods, voluntary economic migration as seen through remittances, and refugee flows archived by UNHCR,” explained Kurgan. “The piece communicates to scientific, policy, and general audiences—and from children to NGOs—as a device for expressing complex ideas in simple ways.” The exhibition catalog, published by the museum, is available in both English and French.
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