Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Atlas of Change

UNEP has released the Latin America & the Caribbean Atlas of Our Changing Environment documenting deforestation, urbanization, pollution of water bodies and other environmental changes in the Region with satellite imagery. The visual information is striking and easy to understand. This follows the global Atlas of Our Changing Environment (UNEP's most popular publication) and the Africa Atlas of Our Changing Environment.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Success in GIS

A survey of 18 African countries, published by the RICS in 2009, found that the serious constraints to Making GIS Work in Developing Countries were (i) lack of support for GIS from their senior managers and decision makers, (ii) the lack of awareness from these people of the benefits that GIS could provide and (iii) the lack of personnel with appropriate skills and training. The lack of data was also identified as a serious or very serious hindrance. IMHO this seems to be the case with the Caribbean as well.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Caribbean Marine Atlas

The Coastal Zone of every Caribbean country from Bermuda to Suriname (an interesting geography question) and most Latin American ones is an important economic area. Many countries are of course particularly concerned about the effect of possible sea level rise due to Climate Change on their economic activity and their very survival.

The Caribbean Marine Atlas (CMA) Pilot Project began as a joint initiative of 9 countries in the Caribbean region including Barbados, Cuba, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, Saint Lucia, Trinidad and Tobago, and Turks and Caicos Islands. The purpose of the CMA is to identify, collect and organize available geo-spatial datasets into an atlas of environmental themes for the Caribbean region as a support service to the sustainable development and integrated management of marine and coastal areas in the region. Clearly, this would serve the Caribbean well.

UNESCO's International Oceanographic Commission (IOC) has made available IOC Workshop Report No. 235, containing the reports of the 2010 CMA Review and Planning Workshop and the Saint Lucia Coastal Atlas Stakeholders Event.

The effort began in 2007, and one impression from the report is that it seems to be stumbling into the low wall of data - overlooked by higher decision-makers and those in charge of budgets and policies, but a wall to progress nonetheless - that characterises the Caribbean. A comparison between the Oregon Coastal Atlas and the CMA reveals the distance between the two efforts. Whilst the comparison may seem unfair, I do so to contrast the two data environments and their effect, and to ask the CMA and higher national and regional decision-makers whether the citizens of the Caribbean will ever truly have and benefit from the intended decision support tool?

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Lessons from Haiti

The recent Oct 2010 International Conference on Crisis Mapping (ICCM2010) was devoted to assessing the experiences of the 2010 Haiti Earthquake response. Presentations from this conference are now online as 5-6 minute videos - note that this link is not permanent to these videos.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Belize Savannah Ecosystem Map

A project by Edinburgh University, Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, the University of Belize, Belize Botanic Gardens, Programme for Belize and other institutions is completing a Map of Savannah Ecosystems in Belize. The team combined SPOT and ALOS PALSAR data together in a Definiens workflow and also utilised IKONOS and LandSat imagery. Field checking is still ongoing and the final revision is expected out in Mar 2011, but the 1st and 2nd links mentioned above provide details of the work and results. The project is also building up local capacity in GIS in Belize, and a variety of resources should also become available for GI professionals to access in the coming year. This project follows one by the EEO in 2008 estimating carbon sequestration using radar imagery. It bears repeating that these EEO projects and those by CATHALAC on mangroves and forests are going to provide a Belleza body of current, quantitative work on remote sensing in the neotropics. Thanks Neil Stuart.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Radar & Carbon Storage

Correction Nov 14, 2010: Edinburgh Earth Observatory assessed the use of Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) for assessing biomass of savannah woodlands and thereby estimating carbon content of these areas. A report explaining the methodology, which included ground-truthing, and results, is available on the RICS website - in summary, vegetation could be detected and its extent estimated but vegetation height was underestimated using radar imagery. The high plant biodiversity, differences in forest structure, wetness and cloud cover make the application of remote sensing in the tropics a different animal from that applied in higher latitudes, and this project and others in Belize, which have used remote sensing to assess mangroves and forests, are creating valuable knowledge about the application of the technology. Thanks Neil Stuart.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Recovery in Saint Lucia

It seems that Saint Lucia has set about getting broken infrastructure and other problems caused by Hurricane Tomas fixed. But I'm sure they could still use any assistance that can be offered - so contact the Saint Lucia NEMO and get maps of the situation on the MapAction website.

Friday, November 05, 2010

PhD Scholarship in Marine & Coastal Management

The Call for Applications for the Erasmus Mundus PhD in Marine and Coastal Management 2011-2014 edition has been announced. The deadline is 01 December 2010. Thanks GSDI.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Last Chance

Lots of trouble in the neighbourhood at the moment - Tomas has whacked Barbados, St. Vincent & the Grenadines and Saint Lucia and is potentially taking aim at Jamaica, Haiti, Dominican Republic, Cuba and the Bahamas. However, here's a small reminder that tomorrow is the last day to get a registration discount for the URISA 2010 Caribbean GIS Conference scheduled for Dec 6-10 in Trinidad.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Mr. T?

Whilst Tropical Storm Shary aims towards Bermuda, at the other end of the Caribbean we're looking in amazement (and with some amount of concern for ourselves and los amigos in Venezuela and Trinidad) at the potential formation of another off the coast of the Guianas.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Mangroves in Belize

An authoritative remote sensing study of Mangroves in Belize (4.53MB PDF) has published its results. The authors have provided a report and data online. One of the things I like in the report is the unvarnished assessment of previous work and the plain description of the pros, cons and choices made when conducting this remote sensing study, e.g. in terms of choice of imagery and techniques. It provides a realistic account of doing such work and this, in addition to the scientific results and data, make this a highly-recommended read for students, professionals and decision-makers in the Region. Further details below. Thanks E. Cherrington.

October 14, 2010 – Panama City, Panama - CATHALAC study, financed by WWF and facilitated by SERVIR system, provides crucial glimpse into important component of the world’s second largest barrier reef complex

The Water Center for the Humid Tropics of Latin America and the Caribbean (CATHALAC), recently completed a World Wildlife Fund (WWF)-financed study of the mangrove ecosystems which are a crucial part of the Belize Barrier Reef Complex – the world’s second largest coral reef system – and part of the broader Mesoamerican Reef Ecoregion. The study, “Identification of Threatened and Resilient Mangroves in the Belize Barrier Reef System,” found that Belize’s national mangrove cover had remained at 3.4% over the 30-year period from 1980-2010, even as mangrove cover declined from 76,250 to 74,684 hectares during that period. The assessment made use of the Regional Visualization & Monitoring System (SERVIR, see www.servir.net), which is jointly implemented in Mesoamerica and the Dominican Republic by CATHALAC, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), NASA, and other partners.

Belize’s mangroves have been protected since 1989 under the country’s Forests Act, which requires legal permission for altering areas with mangroves. The clearing of some 1,566 hectares of mangrove from 1980-2010 translated to an average loss of 53.6 hectares per year, or an annual rate of loss of 0.07%. Based on a previously determined baseline, it was also estimated that as of early 2010, Belize’s mangroves covered 96.7% of their original domain. An analysis of the ‘hotspots’ of clearing showed that almost 90% of all mangrove clearings occurred in four zones near major coastal settlements: Belize City, the Placencia peninsula, San Pedro Town, and Dangriga. Destruction of mangroves – largely for the development of urban- and tourism-related infrastructure – was also found to have caused the fragmentation of 2.1% of the country’s mangrove ecosystems.

While the assessment examined all of Belize’s mangroves – i.e. not just the ones which interface with the coral reefs and seagrass which are also a part of the barrier reef complex – it was found that over 90% of mangroves lost over the 30-year period possessed connectivity with coral and seagrass. Those types of mangroves were also estimated to contribute US $3-4 million per year to Belize’s fisheries sector alone and a total of US $174-249 million per year to the national economy, according to a 2009 World Resources Institute assessment.

Belize’s low rate of mangrove clearing nevertheless stands in stark contrast to recently published estimates of global mangrove destruction. The 2010 World Mangrove Atlas, for instance, indicates that a fifth of the world’s mangrove ecosystems have been destroyed since 1980. The findings of a recently released USAID-supported study of deforestation in Belize, implemented by CATHALAC and NASA in collaboration with Belize’s Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment, also contrasts with the WWF-funded mangrove study. Over the last 30 years, Belize’s annual rate of mangrove clearing was merely one-ninth of the country’s annual deforestation rate of 0.6%.

The study utilized Landsat satellite imagery from NASA and the U.S. Geological Survey, and ASTER imagery from the Japanese Space Agency (JAXA) and NASA. This work also complements a European Commission-funded regional-level study that CATHALAC is currently undertaking of land cover change across all of Central America, and which will also examine changes in mangrove cover. The results of this study have also been integrated into an index of coastal development which is included in the soon to be released 2010 “Report Card for the Mesoamerican Reef.”

Belize’s only previous effort at specifically mapping the country’s mangroves is a national map of mangroves’ cover in 1990. The present effort thus provides decision-makers with a current panorama of the situation of the country’s mangroves. In terms of follow-up, while it is anticipated that the study’s results are highly accurate due to the image processing approach used, in the next few months WWF and its local partners will conduct intensive field verification activities as well as with comparisons to aerial photography that has recently been taken of Belize’s entire coastline. They will also undertake biological surveys to assess both ecosystem health of and the biodiversity within Belize’s mangroves.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Water World

The Caribbean is about 90% water, so today on Blog Action Day 2010, I'm pointing attention towards the discussion about Water. It's important. Even in the Land of Many Waters where I live, (that's the translation of the name in English), this issue needs attention.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Up In The Air

The Cayman Islands Lands & Surveys Department is considering updating aerial imagery for the Cayman Islands. There may be the possibility that if other jurisdictions join the project, all may be able to negotiate better costs than doing such an exercise independently. If this interests any government departments or anyone else in fact, please contact:

Alan Jones
Director, Lands & Survey Department
PO Box 1089, Grand Cayman KY1-1102, Cayman Islands

Tel: (345) 244 3421
Fax: (345) 949 2187
Email: Alan.Jones at gov.ky

Thursday, September 30, 2010


The FAO Working Paper Good Governance and Natural Resources Tenure in the Caribbean (Aug 2010) by Dr. Charisse Griffith-Charles of UWI's Faculty of Engineering discusses this issue which affects all Caribbean nations and citizens. Dr. Griffith points out that 'land governance policy in the Caribbean is currently conflicted between internally led pro-poor programmes such as housing provision and lax land tax and squatting enforcement on the one hand, and externally initiated economic directives from international banks such as advice to divest state held lands and to improve land tax recovery on the other'. Overall it seems that few success stories in good governance practice were found, with the exception of Saint Lucia. Though brief (30 pages) the Paper alerts us to the fact that issues such as crime and violence, corruption and national governance are interlinked with land governance. Can land administration/governance be a barometer of good national governance itself? The author also advocates for family land tenure and that 'communal and participatory mechanisms can be used to distribute the efforts and capacities required for sound management of land' - though pointing out that this may be contrary to modern administration. Thanks Peter Rabley.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

X Games

For this one you don't have to do a double twist with back flip whilst riding something with wheels in a half-pipe. But, it still leads to disaster. Check out X24. The organisers describe it as a two-day international collaborative multidisciplinary exploration of recent low-cost or free humanitarian assistance and disaster relief tools and technologies to support communication, logistics coordination and response. It starts at 10:00hrs Caribbean Time (in most countries) - 7:00hrs PST tomorrow Fri 24 Sept, 2010.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

How to find a Hurricane (again)

A year ago I mentioned the excellent visualisation provided by MSNBC's Hurricane Tracker. Here's another: IbisEye, which seems to have been built by the Sarasota (USA FL) Herald Tribune newspaper. Nice presentation and good use of current GOES imagery. Of course there's also the Weather layer in Google Earth 5.2 which also provides a realistic presentation. These online tools synthesizing current and available data don't take away the role of your normal weather service; but with the first Category 4 hurricane (Earl) of the Atlantic season underway and another storm(s) (Fiona) formed/forming they are quick and informative ways to stay informed. Thanks N. Woof.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Friday, August 06, 2010

Remote Sensing of the Forests of Belize

CATHALAC and NASA in collaboration with the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment of Belize have completed a remote sensing-based assessment of deforestation and forest cover dynamics of Belize (1.26MB PDF). The study has been validated, and covers 1980 through 2010 (it includes mapping of 1980, 1989, 1994, 2000, 2004, and 2010).

The abovementioned technical paper provides pretty detailed instructions on how to go about doing such a study, and the source and the output data as well as the spectral signatures generated and used in this study are also available. Theoretically, if the forests of other parts of the Caribbean reflect light in similar ways to Belize's forests, the self-same spectral signatures can be used for mapping elsewhere in the Caribbean, for instance.

CATHALAC intends to continue collaboration with Belize's Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment (specifically specialists at the Land Information Centre and the Forest Department), to catalyze regular, sustained space-based monitoring of Belize's forests. CATHALAC also hopes that the technical paper stimulates the interest of other folks in the Caribbean to pick up something like this - they show that the barriers to conducting such studies are small. Thanks E. Cherrington.

Update: (Thanks K. Lance) Based on this analysis of Landsat satellite imagery for 1980, 1989, 1994, 2000, 2004, and 2010, the validated, national-level assessment indicates that Belize's forest cover has declined from 75.9% in 1980 to 62.7%. Average annual deforestation was estimated at 0.6%, equaling the clearing of some 24,835 acres (9,982 hectares) of forest per year.

Friday, July 09, 2010

Disastrous Questions

An UNDAC Team member is trying to find out more about the best methodologies for the capture and use of geodata in an emergency scenario. His survey - a single page of 22 multiple-choice type questions - is easy to do and will help UNDAC help others.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Caribbean GIS Conference - Call for Presentations

The 5th URISA Caribbean GIS Conference Call for Presentations is now available. The deadline for submissions is August 20, 2010. The Conference will take place in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad on Dec 6-10, 2010.
Update: Corrected deadline for abstract submission. Thanks Nicholle Frontin.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

GIS and Censuses

Here's an interesting site (blog) on censuses and census cartography - GeoCensos. It is an initiative of Latin American & Caribbean experts in geo information and census cartography created under the auspices of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean. (ECLAC) Members of the blog exchange experiences and information and may be interested in exchanging news or press reports on censuses of their own country and geo information subjects for the 2010 Census round. They have worked together since the completion of the 1st ECLAC workshop on Census Cartography in Dec 2008 in Santiago of Chile. They presently produce news and analysis of the censal reality in the region. Many blog members are bilingual - if you wish to write them - and GeoCensos can be found on the social networks Facebook and Twitter.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Who Are You?

Dear Reader, The planning for the URISA Caribbean Conference in Dec 2010 is heating up. We're working on refining relevant conference tracks. Out of this I wondered about the level of interest in GIS amongst non-GIS persons per se, e.g. government administrators, disaster management personnel, business owners, health professionals, NGOs, etc.. So, please tell me - there's a poll on the right - Are you a GIS practitioner? Thank you.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Remember December

The 5th URISA Caribbean GIS Conference will take place at the Cascadia Conference Centre in Port-of Spain, Trinidad on Dec 6-10, 2010. It's highly recommended as the biggest gathering of GIS professionals and interested persons from within and outside of the Caribbean, in the Caribbean. And Trinidad is an excellent destination for food, drink, culture and an enjoyable time. More details and the Call for Papers will be posted as soon as these are available, but I anticipate already that there will be presentations regarding (i) GIS and Electric Utilities and (ii) GIS and Disaster Management on the programme. See notes about previous conferences in this successful series here.

Monday, June 07, 2010

Marine GIS in the Grenadines

From Mon, June 7 to 11, 2010, primary and secondary school teachers from across the Grenadines [Grenada and St. Vincent & the Grenadines] will receive hands-on training in the use of a cutting-edge technology used to create the Grenadines Marine Resource and Space-use Information System (MarSIS), the first of its kind underwater mapping information system in the Caribbean. The Grenadines MarSIS is a GIS which has been created to integrate a range of existing scientific information together with a variety of local knowledge of the Grenadines marine resources (i.e. reefs, seagrass beds, mangroves) as well as areas important for conservation (i.e. turtle nesting beaches, fish nursery areas) and livelihoods (i.e. fishing, tourism, shipping, recreation) as well as hundred of underwater pictures and videos across the Grenadines. This information system has been collaboratively developed over the past 5 years with a range of community members within each Grenadine Island in order to provide easy access to marine environmental information and allow for more informed decision-making and ultimately promote sustainable marine resource management across the Grenadines.

The first workshop will take place in Carriacou at the Multi-Purpose Centre in Hillsborough on Jun 7; the second will take place on Jun 8 in Union Island at the Sustainable Grenadines Project office; the third workshop at the Canouan Government School on Jun 9; the fourth workshop in Mustique on Jun 10; and the final workshop will be held at the Bequia Community High School on Jun 11. More than 50 teachers are expected to attend this week-long series of workshops.

Thanks to Kimberly Baldwin and Bruce Potter for the information; and kudos to Kimberly and all involved with MarSIS for staying the course for the five years it has taken to get to this stage.

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Where Are You?

The first in a series of new and improved GPS satellites (GPS IIF) has been launched by the U.S. Air Force. It should come into active (healthy) service at the end of Aug 2010. The satellites in the new series will offer improved position accuracy and have a stronger signal for better reception - good news for users in dense tropical rain forests, for example.

Previous reports had pointed to the issue with the ageing GPS (Navstar) fleet. The GPS constellation is now reported to have 30 operational satellites; and with Russia's GLONASS, the European Union's Galileo, China's Beidou-1 and Compass, India's IRNSS and Japan's QZSS at various stages of operation, upgrade or development, that popular question might just become even more prevalent.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Risky Business

The World Bank and various partners are hosting a conference on 'Understanding Risk - Innovation in Disaster Risk Assessment' today through Sunday 6 Jun 2010. And you can attend this one online. The Atlantic hurricane season officially started yesterday and is projected to be a busy one, so it might be timely and interesting to hear what bright minds have to say at this conference. The conference is 'designed to promote innovative partnerships', and 'Best Practice' notes on conference topics will be produced. Thanks L. Renders.

Friday, May 28, 2010

NOAA GOES to South America

It's low-resolution (1-4km) imagery from an old sensor with an ageing propulsion system, but nonetheless, according to the US National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), weather forecasters in South America should now be able to get 'more imagery and data to track dangerous storms – including tropical cyclones – and the storms that can trigger potentially deadly mudslides'. This is because NOAA has shifted the GOES-12 satellite to a geostationary orbit at 60 degrees West longitude - a position over Brasil and a tad south of Guyana - to cover South America. It became operational on May 10, 2010. For those more interested in the other end of the remote sensing spectrum, resolution-wise, see this previous post.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

NGOs of the World Unite!

NGOs, put yourselves on the map. Or at least put yourselves on a map. Have a look at this great idea by the National Geographic Society (NGS) - Global Action Atlas. It's a website showing the locations and profiles of projects managed by nonprofits around the world in the areas of conservation, humanitarian affairs, cultural preservation, climate change, exploration, and energy.

Frank Biasi of the NGS says that it's being built 'to give the nonprofit community a rich platform to promote their work and attract supporters, and to use National Geographic's brand and reach to engage a large audience of inspired individuals to take action'. I also think that because this facility is open and accessible to all, it will serve a useful purpose when one needs to reach able organisations in an emergency such as a natural disaster.

For instance, we can all still remember the confusion and the need to reach organisations through which assistance could be channeled in the days and weeks following the Jan 2010 earthquake and the Sep 2008 flood in Haiti. By the way, only three of the 300 or more projects that I know exist in Haiti are represented, so far. This beta release does seem to choke once in a while as it loads VirtualEarth and other components along with its own data, but come on Caribbean NGOs, get yourself listed.

Friday, April 02, 2010

OS OpenData

Today, Ordnance Survey opened free access to some of its data. The 1:50,000 and better vector and raster data may be downloaded at your convenience via OS's OpenData portal. This is quite a departure from the OS's well known charge-for-everything approach to one that is more civilian-centered. Will the OS see a drop in revenue from this move? Yes. Will the UK gain invention and better services for society and a more varied and resilient economy when these data are put to use by more brains than the OS or the UK government can afford to pay for? I think, yes! (The way we all benefited when this Brit invented the World Wide Web).

What will the National Mapping Agencies (NMAs) in this Region think of this, I wonder. Many, in the Anglophone parts, follow in the 100-year old footsteps of a UK institution, and are very protective of their data. Will the heads of these agencies or their governments change their policies likewise now? When they do, one benefit will be better disaster-preparedness in that country. I.e. It will be easier to plan and deliver humanitarian assistance to citizens in the aftermath of natural disasters.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Coastal Management Special Issue

The EU Directorate-General for Environment News Service has put out an interesting Special Issue on Coastal Management (377KB PDF). It summarizes the EU experience with Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM) including costing economic benefits, the importance of participatory approaches and strategic planning and the use of GIS. (Thanks J. Townend)

Friday, March 12, 2010

Ocean Bathymetry Training

GEBCO/Nippon Foundation Training Programme 2010
(Courtesy K. Lance, GSDI)

The Nippon Foundation of Japan has provided funding for the General Bathymetric Chart of the Oceans (GEBCO) to train a new generation of scientists and hydrographers in ocean bathymetry. The 12-month course, leading to a Postgraduate Certificate in Ocean Bathymetry (PCOB), has been held at the University of New Hampshire, USA, since 2004.

GEBCO produces bathymetric charts and digital grids of the world ocean by collating, interpreting and contouring, with the aid of directional fabrics revealed by satellite gravity, single and multibeam soundings collected by surface ships, submarines and other underwater vehicles.

Students for the PCOB will be selected by a competitive application process. Minimum qualifications for acceptance are a four year undergraduate degree in a related science or engineering discipline, and proof of ability to successfully complete graduate level courses conducted in English. The selection process will aim at choosing candidates from a wide geographic distribution of coastal countries.

There's certainly room for more knowledge and understanding about this vast area of the Region. The positions are fully funded and the Caribbean Sea is apparently an area of interest for GEBCO.

The closing date for applications is 22 March 2010.

Monday, February 08, 2010

GIslands 2010

Calling all Coastal Zones! The University of the Azores has launched the 1st International Summer School on Geotechnologies Applied to Marine Spatial Planning (MSP) - GIslands 2010. The course is a 6-day exercise (7-12 August 2010) in the Azores with resource persons in MSP, Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM), GIS, Remote Sensing, Environmental Modelling and Spatial Data Infrastructure (SDI). The course is free but applicants are subject to evaluation and must cover their own costs. Application deadline: 4 April 2010.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Open Source Rolls On Again

It's probably obvious from previous posts that I think Open Source software provides an interesting avenue for the Region to develop its information systems and that even commercial GIS software companies should consider porting their excellent packages to run on Open Source systems. Today, the owners of Symbian, which powers hundreds of millions of devices around the world (e.g. many Nokia phones) announced that their software is now Open Source. By doing so Symbian is now tapping into creative energy and development talent from around the globe.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Earthquake Real-Time Data

As many know already, there was a Magnitude 6.1 earthquake in Haiti early this morning. The ESRI GEOSS/GEO Viever and perhaps others can help you visualize this. For those who might want to learn more about this earthquake and quakes in general, the USGS Earthquake Hazards programme provides lots of current information and of interest to GIS-ers, the data are also available for download or via webfeeds.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Haiti GIS Viewer

With the dire situation in Haiti there's a lot of spatial data including hi-resolution satellite imagery and from-the-ground vector data being generated to support the emergency humanitarian effort. The ESRI GEOSS/ GEO Viewer mentioned in the previous post is doing a great job of updating what it offers and providing an integrated view from the flood of data. It's a little slow, but I understand that it's had to make the leap from demonstration prototype to operational resource in a hurry; so full credit to the people behind it for doing so.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Earthquake in Haiti via GeoRSS feed

The scale of the humanitarian crisis caused by the earthquake in Haiti is now beginning to be understood. One source of information is the new GEOSS Viewer. Its use of up-to-date data, via RSS feeds, and its smooth interface makes it an excellent visualisation tool for both GIS Specialists and wider users such as the news media. It is a website that allows for the search of data across multiple data portals and has analytical capabilities, such as population estimations. It is currently focused on the disaster area of Haiti. There is a GeoRSS feed that will show the locations of the earthquakes there – from the USGS Earthquake data. The site is being enhanced with additional data and imagery to support humanitarian response operations.

The site is built using the ArcGIS Server API for Flex Sample Viewer, which is a free API for non-commercial use – which any organization can download and use from here: http://resources.esri.com/arcgisserver/apis/flex/. Additional widgets are available from the code gallery here: http://resources.esri.com/arcgisserver/apis/flex/index.cfm?fa=codeGallery.
Thanks to Carmelle Terborgh for the details.