Friday, September 21, 2012


In GIS, i.e. developing or running a GIS, the focus is most often on the hardware or software. One or both is often expensive, large, complicated ... and therefore creates our sense of achievement when we get them. The current iPhone/ iOS6 debacle illustrates that in any information system the DATA are of equal or greater value. (Surely Apple® makes great hardware and software? So the problem can't be that). And this is not to riducule TomTom®, as the provision of a global dataset is a mammoth task. It is to highlight the lesson that natural resources managers, disaster response organisations, etc., that are buying or running a GIS, should stay focused being able to create decent quality, usable data for solving their real world problems.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Connecting Grassroots to Government for Disaster Management: A Policy Roundtable

My sincerest apologies for the late posting:

From the Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars - Commons Lab: Kudos to Dr. Lea Shanley and her team!

The Commons Lab is hosting the following symposium: “ Connecting Grassroots to Government for Disaster Management,” being held here at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. Please visit the center at

By harnessing the collective power of citizens and engaging communities in their own response and recovery, new technologies and methods, like social media, crowdsourcing, and “crowd-mapping,” have the potential to transform disaster management. Yet many challenges – including characterization of reliability, guidelines for use, and demonstration of value – must be addressed before federal agencies can take full advantage of these approaches. Early uses of social media and crowdsourcing methods in disasters have raised a number of questions: Can citizens generate inputs to critical decisions faster and perhaps more accurately than traditional methods? What is the research telling us, and how are the best ideas being translated into practice? How have agencies successfully navigated potential roadblocks to the use of citizen-generated information, such as privacy and procurement or the Paperwork Reduction Act? When and how is it possible to innovate through open and participatory design with citizens and communities?

The Commons Lab of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars (The Wilson Center), the National Alliance for Public Safety GIS Foundation, the International Association for Information Systems for Crisis Response and Management, ESRI, NetHope, and University of Colorado Boulder’s Project EPIC are honored to host a policy roundtable titled, “Connecting Grassroots to Government for Disaster Management.” In recognition of National Preparedness month, this meeting will take place on September 13 and 14, 2012 in the 5th floor Conference Room at the Wilson Center in Washington, DC.
This meeting will allow members of the research, practitioner, policy, and “digital volunteer” communities to discuss the questions posed above and expand the list, as needed. The objectives are to build a community of interest, prioritize key issues, and identify possible solutions. On the first day of the workshop we will showcase some of the new and innovative projects currently in development by federal agencies, humanitarian and disaster management NGOs, and others.

Several documents have been uploaded for your perusal before discussions commence. To access these documents, please visit

To follow the discussion via the web To watch the live webcast of the Open Innovation Keynote on Friday, September 14th at 1:00 PM US Eastern, please visit TechChange's DG2G Event Page

Follow the live webcast discussion on Twitter using hashtag: #DG2G

Email your questions for the panelists before and during the live webcast: DG2G [at] TechChange [dot] org

To watch live webcasts of the other workshop sessions Sept 13-14,  as well as download copies of the agenda and background materials, please visit the Wilson Center's DG2G Event page

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Remote Sensing of the Forests of Belize 2012

The recent Aug 2012 report 'Forest Cover and Deforestation in Belize, 2010-2012' (6pg PDF) by CATHALAC in collaboration with the Forest Department of the Ministry of Forestry, Fisheries, and Sustainable Development of the Government of Belize, Lancaster University, and the Environmental Research Institute of the University of Belize is interesting in several ways. It estimates Belize's forest cover as recently as of May 2012 (61.64%), and the rate of deforestation over the last two years (0.8%). And following the 2010 study of deforestation in Belize, it demonstrates the successful and consistent application of high-tech methods to natural resources management in a CARICOM/ LAC country. Apparently field verification continues, but Belize must be complimented on this up-to-date delivery. I expect one benefit of these data and the process that generated them will be to place Belize's REDD+ activities on a firm decision making foundation, though clearly that country is taking a considered approach to REDD+.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Six Things

Food for thought from GIS Lounge: Six Things You Should be Doing to Enhance Your GIS Career. 'GIS is not a static field and neither should your ongoing professional development be'. Thanks Liesbeth & Jonny.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Farewell Edsel

Greatly saddened to hear of my good friend Edsel Daniel's passing. Remembered as a professional who advanced GIS in the Caribbean and the cheeriest of personalities. Sincere condolences to his friends and family in St. Kitts & Nevis. His many friends around the world miss him greatly. (Edsel on the left in red, on a relaxed and simple evening of good company in 2006)

Monday, August 27, 2012

Caribbean GIS Conference - Early Registration

Early Registration for the 6th URISA Caribbean GIS Conference starting Nov 12, 2012 in Montego Bay, Jamaica is now available through Monday, September 10, 2012. Take advantage of great discounts.

Thursday, July 19, 2012


Accuracy and Precision in regional data is premised in part upon the density, integrity, and sustainability of its observation systems.  The desired outcome of such systems form part of our regional public good directly facilitating an enhanced decision making process.

From the Caribbean Climate Change Centre
The Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC) hereby advises interested parties that the deadline for submission of “Tender for the Supply of Sixty (60) Weather Stations” has been extended from August 02, 2012 to September 04, 2012.

URISA Caribbean GIS Conference


URISA's 2012 Caribbean GIS Conference

URISA is pleased to announce its Sixth Caribbean GIS Conference taking place November 12-16, 2012 at the Hilton Rose Hall in Montego Bay, Jamaica. The inaugural URISA Caribbean Conference took place in Montego Bay and we are excited to be going back to where the first conference occurred! Previous conferences have taken place in Jamaica (2001), Barbados (2004), the Bahamas (2006), the Cayman Islands (2008) and Trinidad and Tobago (2010).

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Sustainable Development in Africa & Satellites

An unusual publication, Sustainable Development in Africa & Satellites, discussing as its subtitle says 'Technologies and Wisdoms', is available as a free e-book that may be enjoyed in any browser. Thanks Jorge.

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

A Vision

The UN initiative on Global Geospatial Information Management (GGIM) has produced a summary of thoughts on the future from a number of 'experts and visionaries across a wide range of aspects of the geospatial community'. It predicts that:
'In ten years, there will be a clear dividing line between winning and losing nations, dependent upon whether the appropriate legal and policy frameworks have been developed that enable a location-enabled society to flourish'. 

It says that 'National Mapping Agencies are likely to find it difficult to justify the costs of traditional data maintenance mechanisms as their products are used in increasingly niche areas ... and as their monopolies in spatial data (provision) are eroded', and that spatial literacy will become broad-based spatial awareness. 

Examples to my mind of the increasing spatial awareness of the citizen, cited elsewhere in the GGIM vision document, is that 'citizen and voluntary groups have seized the opportunity of new technology to develop initiatives such as Open Street Map and MapAction to complement and even challenge traditional data providers'. Thanks Alex. Disclosure: I'm a member of MapAction.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Water Resources Course

McGill University is offering an 8-week, online course in Integrated and Adaptive Water Resources Planning, Management and Governance. It starts on Oct 1, 2012 and CARIWIN is sponsoring selected candidates from each of its partner countries of Grenada, Guyana, and Jamaica.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Caribbean Waves

From the organisers: This second edition of the Caribbean Waves Conference will be a great opportunity for geophysicists, geologists, geographers, oceanographers and coastal engineers to discuss together about marine natural hazards (tsunamis, swells, surges, flooding) and their generation modes (earthquakes, eruptions, landslides, cyclones, etc.) within the Caribbean with a special attention on the Lesser Antilles islands. All aspects from the description of historical events, results of field surveys and numerical simulations of past and potential events, prediction and mitigation of possible events, risk assessment and early warning systems will be in the framework of the conference. Further discussions about general tectonic, geology, coral reef protection, mangroves rehabilitation processes, etc., are directly concerned. A special session concerning the production of electricity using the waves' energy as a sustainable method is also planned.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Hurricane Science

A special series of 1-hour webinars on hurricanes with top scientists is being offered by the University of Rhode Island Graduate School of Oceanography. The 'target audiences are instructors of high school and undergraduate level courses and informal science educators'. The next seminar on 'Hurricane History; Climate Change & Hurricanes' at 7pm EST on Apr 25, 2012 will have presenters from MIT, and NOAA's NHC and GFDL. Registration is free. Thanks Bruce.

Friday, April 06, 2012

Caribbean Tsunami Hazard

A regional scale estimate for tsunami hazard across the Caribbean has been published by the Norwegian Geotechnical Institute and others. It includes an interesting summary of past tsunamis in the Caribbean - and it's surprising to learn that there have been '85 tsunamis and that more than 15,000 people have perished due to tsunamis since 1498, which means that the number of tsunami casualties in the Caribbean exceeds that of the U.S. West Coast, Hawaii and Alaska combined'. There may also be more localised and detailed studies in the future. Thanks Bruce and Carl.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Quantum Leap

Quantum GIS has published several interesting case studies. Though a small set, I see an already wide variety of GIS applications: a study of green spaces by high school students in Argentina, wildlife conservation in Tanzania (with glow-in-the-dark elephant photos here) and government SDI for the state of Jalisco Mexico (pop. 7.3M). Has Open Source GIS become ready for heavy lifting? Thanks Nick M..

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Mangroves a Mundo

A study completed by Chandra Giri, E. Ochieng, Larry Tieszen and others at the USGS has mapped the world's mangroves by analysing about 1,000 LandSat scenes along with GIS, GE and other ancillary data. The researchers estimate that the 'total mangrove forest area of the world in 2000 was 137,760 sq. km', less than estimated by the previous global study, and about '0.7% of total tropical forests of the world'. Browse the results, download the data and/ or read the published paper (440KB PDF).

Tuesday, February 21, 2012


A fantastic List of Data Repositories by Karen Payne, from the Carl Vinson Institute of Government in Athens, GA, USA is now online - and anyone may contribute their knowledge directly to it as well. It's designed largely for work in the humanitarian response sector, so please consider adding data sources about your country. Thanks Kate. And thanks Dr. Payne.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Where to Go

DNRGPS 6.0 became available five days ago and it's a free download. Minnesota DNR says  it is
... an update to the popular DNRGarmin application ... and that it will be released as Open Source software with the intention that the GPS user community will become stewards of the application, initiating future modifications and enhancements.

It works with ArcGIS 10 and above. DNRGarmin is still a useful, somewhat standalone, part of my toolkit, so I'll be checking out this new incarnation. And way to go Minnesota DNR!


A wonderful compilation of historical maps of the Caribbean by Wm (Bill) C. Found of Canada's York University is now available. Thanks Bruce. And thanks Prof. Found.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Ocean Bathymetry Training

The Nippon Foundation of Japan has provided funding for 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. Applications are now sought for entry onto the course, starting in August 2012. The positions are fully funded and the closing date for applications is 31 March 2012. Thanks GSDI.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

LA Geospatial Forum

The 2nd Annual Latin American Conference & Exhibition on Geospatial Information, Technology & Applications (LAGF 2012) will take place on August 14-17, 2012 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, together with the Conference on Geospatial for Defense and Homeland Security Geointelligence Latin America. There's a Call for Papers. Thanks C.N. Aguirre

Friday, January 20, 2012

6th Caribbean GIS Conference

The 6th URISA Caribbean GIS Conference will take place on 12-16 Nov, 2012 at the Hilton Rose Hall in Montego Bay, Jamaica. The 2012 event is themed "Spatial Technologies - Critical Thinking for Critical Times". The deadline for responding to the Call for Presentations is 2 April, 2012.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Fugro Career Opportunity Visit to Puerto Rico February 8, 2012

Polytechnic University of Puerto Rico, San Juan Campus
Presentations & Interviews February 8th
Contact: Professor Marisol Rodríguez

Come out and meet:
Kevin Spain – Human Resources - Fugro Companies
Vanessa I. Torres-Mendoza, - S.I.T Survey Analyst
John Chance Land Surveys, Inc. 
Pedro J. Báez-Rivera - Offshore Survey Technician
Fugro Chance, Inc. 

All interviews and presentations will be held in English. This opportunity is open to students, alumni and professionals. Please call 787-622-8000 x 377 for details and reservations.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Tsunami Warning

The MetEd program of the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR) located in Boulder, Colorado has just released the 2nd edition of the online training module Community Tsunami Preparedness. This module is designed to help emergency managers prepare their communities for tsunamis. MetEd also provides training modules on Emergency Management, Tropical Meteorology, Numerical Modelling, etc.. All the MetEd courses are free. A great resource. Thanks Bruce.

Friday, January 13, 2012


The GEYSED (Geoinformatics and Digital Signals) Development Center, from the University of Information Sciences (UCI) in Cuba invites professors, students, specialists and researchers in the field of Geoinformatics to participate in the First Geoinformatics Workshop, inside the VI Scientific Conference UCIENCIA 2012, on Feb 20-22, 2012 in Havana, Cuba. Scope: To congregate institutions and professionals that research in the field related to the application of computers to earth sciences, to socialize, learn, establish cooperation and for multilateral exchange. Topics: Algorithms and techniques for processing geographical information, Applied geoinformatics, Cartography and Spatial Databases, Geoinformatics and Education, Spatial Data Infrastructure, Geographical Information Systems. Thanks Kate.

Thursday, January 05, 2012

One for the Little Guy

Came across this inspiring account of a dedicated individual winning the Cartography and Geographic Information Society (CaGIS) Best of Show Award for 2010. The CaGIS competition is open only to North American mapmakers but it is still very motivating for all mappers to see that a single professional can produce quality work that ranks alongside that of the well-endowed NGS or US Government agencies. Thanks Bruce.