Poster Tech Talk Demo Talk

Tech TalkPoster Coastal Resilience: An Ecosystem-Based Coastal and Marine Spatial Planning Framework

George Thomas Raber, Zach Fredana

Coastal Resilience is an ecosystem-based coastal and marine spatial planning framework that utilizes sea level rise, storm surge, ecological, and socioeconomic spatial information to identify and implement ecosystem-based adaptation strategies Starting in Long Island in NY, the Coastal Resilience team has worked with local communities to map sea level rise and other coastal hazards alongside natural resources and human communities at risk. Communities are able to visualize this information via a web-based spatial decision support tool and identify potential impacts and adaptation options that can be implemented within their existing planning and regulatory frameworks. The Coastal Resilience project has expanded to multiple sites around the United States, including in the Gulf of Mexico, where it is now being used in the Gulf Restoration Decision Support tool ( to help identify coastal habitat restoration sites (i.e. oyster reefs, salt marshes) that best benefit human communities. To date, three related but distinct web applications have been developed with similar goals, interface and architecture that all share a common code base. The individual sites are hosted on the Amazon cloud and utilize Esri’s ArcGIS server technology. The client interface relies on the ArcGIS Javascript API, and has been developed in a modular, data driven approach. For example, in those Coastal Resilience applications that contain future sea-level rise and/or storm surge data, tools for analyzing and visualizing this data are automatically added to the web application via the application code base, relying on the data and services by utilizing a specific data model. When additions or modifications are made to the data the changes are posted to the site without modifying the code base. This is true for a number of other tools including a restoration analysis dashboard. The technical talk will focus on the architecture, data model and the project background.

Tech TalkPoster Balancing Need with Numbers: Assessing Need by Downscaling and Weighting Vulnerability Data with Population Density

John J. Boos

Hurricane Katrina showed Americans and the world that disasters can happen wherever there are people and clearly illustrated that being poor, old (or young), a minority, or a female puts one at greater risk to suffer negative short- and long-term impacts, with people with more than one of these characteristics having even an higher risk (Laska and Morrow 2006). In other words, belonging to these groups makes one more vulnerable. Hurricane Katrina also illustrated how actionable information on the degree of vulnerability must be balanced with the numbers of people affected. In other words, in order to maximize the effectiveness of public resources, it may sometimes be necessary to focus on more densely populated areas with lower rates of social vulnerability because, due to the sheer number of people, there are actually more vulnerable people located in these areas than in areas with high rates of vulnerability and lower population densities. This research mathematically weights vulnerability data with 90 meter residential gridded population data from LandScan USA (Bhaduri et al. 2007) to create a dataset that provides more actionable information to local authorities who need to balance rates of need with the number of individuals affected to ensure an efficient use of limited resources. The methods explored by this research successfully integrate vulnerability data with high resolution gridded population data. Based on the analyses it can be stated that the resulting population-weighted vulnerability data is significantly different from the unweighted vulnerability data and selectively different from the population data depending upon population density. More importantly, the method explored by this research allows for the combination of vulnerability and population density (two factors that are often examined separately) to create a surface with very high spatial resolution (90m) that shows where the greatest need is based both upon the levels of vulnerability and the number of people who are affected.

Tech TalkPoster Interior Space GIS: A Foundation for Campus-wide Planning and Management

Peter Sforza, Thomas Dickerson, Jason Shelton

Virginia Tech is in the process of integrating building floor plans into an enterprise GIS to improve campus planning and management. Although Virginia Tech has maintained separate mapping of interior and exterior features for many years, the completion of this project will mark the first time the campus has combined these in a unified viewing environment. By updating the format of the interior space mapping and placing it in a geospatial context, new modes of interaction, analysis, and visualization will be possible. Examples of ways the interior space GIS may be used include: space accounting and management, fixed asset and hazardous substance mapping, precise E-911 response and situational awareness, wayfinding and evacuation routing, visualization of campus populations by day and time, and links to other documentation stored in the digital plans library or work order management system. The interior space GIS will be a generalized depiction of interior spaces based on existing floor plans. As Building Information Model (BIM) files become available for newly constructed buildings, and interior space surveys improve the mapping of existing buildings, the accuracy of interior space GIS will improve.

Tech TalkPoster Global Climate Change and Human Health Impacts: Investigation and Analysis in the Classroom Using Innovative Technologies

Sneha Rao, Mark Becker, Amy Work

The objective of the NASA Global Climate Change Education (GCCE) project is to provide educators at the elementary, secondary, and undergraduate levels the tools and resources to access NASA climate information and related Earth system information, in order to engage students in critical thinking about global climate change and the potential impacts on human health across the planet.
This project incorporates NASA climate change information and other Earth system information related to human health into NASA World Wind, an open source 3-D visualization tool. World Wind uses OGC-compliant Web Coverage Services (WCS) and Web Map Services (WMS) that allow zooming in from satellite altitude to any location on the Earth’s surface. Student lessons will use climate data made available through the enhanced NASA World Wind interface to explore potential impacts on human health in areas of food security, water security, and infectious disease. Two existing Web-based resources, the Climate Mapper tool from IAGT and the Population Estimation Service from SEDAC, will be merged and made available through a customized NASA World Wind interface that will launch from the Web.
This merger of two NASA-supported tools will allow the technical component and parametric statistics to be applied to additional climate- and human health-related data sets from CIESIN, such as world population grids, malnutrition levels related to changes in temperature and precipitation that would impact staple food production, population displacement related to rising sea levels, and spatial epidemiology of vector-borne diseases and population access to a public health infrastructure.

Tech TalkPoster Hazus Risk Assessment Software Has Integrated into Federal Geospatial Planning

Eric Berman

Hazus-MH is FEMA's powerful regional loss estimation methodology and software application that enables users to quantify losses from earthquakes, hurricanes, and floods. In Hazus, current scientific and engineering knowledge is coupled with the latest GIS technology to produce estimates of potential loss of life and property (i.e. critical facilities, economic loss, and displaced households). Hazus has evolved from a "community-centric" tool that has been used for state and local risk assessments and mitigation planning to a geospatial tool that has been widely integrated into the mainstream of federal geospatial planning and consequence assessments. Hazus program manager, Mr. Berman will discuss the recent advances made in Hazus technology, including the development of the Comprehensive Data Management System (CDMS) geospatial web portal to support integration of mapping statewide data. Mr. Berman will also discuss how Hazus has been utilized by other federal agencies, including the U.S. Geological Survey, in an ongoing effort to develop a robust, scientifically-based model with inventories that are mission critical to federal and state users. Hazus is also major component of the DHS Geospatial Concept of Operations (GeoCONOPS), a multi-year initiative to promote the application of geospatial technologies to support federal response and recovery under the National Response Framework.

Demo TalkPoster Rolling Thunder Demo using WorldWind for Java

Anthony Dale Anecito

Rolling Thunder is a Service Oriented Architecture based Information System that uses Java technology. The Service features include but not limited to 3D mapping, Video, Testing, Internet search and browsing. The development started over 10 years ago and continues to evolve today. Special focus was given to 3D mapping using NASA WorldWind for Java library and is downloaded daily by Universities, Government agencies, Companies and individuals from all over the world. Unique capabilities were added such as being able to run a filter against the 3D map and making a layer semi-transparent to name a few. Web Service support for mapping meta-data and lists were added several years ago and are evolving monthly. With the current features such as support for over 13 video formats including web cams and built-in browser support expect to see unique and highly valued combination of information for 3D mapping to be available soon for Demos.

Tech TalkPoster Development of an ESRI ArcToolBox for Semi-Automated Building Modeling from MultiPatch Features

Marvin D. Watts, Elizah S. Dasari, Shahrouz K. Aliabadi

This paper briefly describes the development of an ESRI ArcToolBox that leverages commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) software for the semi-automated generation of Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) CityGML standard level of detail one (LoD1) and two (LoD2) building models from high resolution imagery and digital elevation models (DEM) for use in blast analysis applications. The ArcToolBox consists of Overwatch Systems Feature Analyst (v4.2), ESRI ArcGIS (v9.2) ModelBuilder, and the Safe Software Feature Manipulation Engine (v2010). This work is part of an on-going project to improve the blast damage predictions and calculation of evacuation distances for explosions in urban environments through development of a fast-running, easy-to-use desktop tool that would combine updated correlation modeling for urban blast and fragmentation with improved semiautomated geometry modeling techniques.

Tech TalkPoster 3D City Site Model Extraction through Point Cloud Generated from Stereo Images

Bingcai Zhang, William Smith

It is a grand challenge to automatically extract 3D city site models from imagery. In the past three decades, researchers have used radiometric and spectral properties of 3D buildings and houses to extract them in digital imagery with limited success. This is because their radiometric and spectral properties vary considerably from image to image, from sensor to sensor, and from time to time. The locations and shapes of 3D buildings and houses are invariant and painfully obvious in a terrain-shaded relief image generated from a point cloud. Based on this observation, we have developed AFE (Automatic Feature Extraction) that can automatically extract 3D city site models from a point cloud which is automatically generated from stereo images. Point cloud generation from stereo imagery is a key technology which has been used in the geospatial industry for more than two decades. We have developed NGATE (Next Generation Automatic Terrain Extraction) that matches every pixel across all selected stereo image pairs. For each XY location, an array of Z coordinates are computed from a number of different stereo image pairs using a voxel 3D grid. The voxel 3D grid is statistically filtered for outliers and weighted averaging is used to generate a very dense and accurate point cloud. The AFE algorithms consists of the following components: identify and group 3D building and house points into regions; separate buildings and houses from trees; trace region boundaries; regularize and simplify boundary polygons; construct complex roofs.

Tech TalkPoster WorldMap: A Strategy to Allow Researchers to Scratch Their Itches Online Thereby Improving Data Access for All

Benjamin Lewis

The Center for Geographic Analysis is building WorldMap, an open source, cloud-based platform to promote collaboration around geospatial information ( Despite the plethora of ways in which research materials can now be shared on the web, geospatial information lags despite enormous potential for creating new knowledge through its unique ability to cut across disciplines.
The reasons for the lag are many and interconnected: 1) lack of a platform which supports even basic real time geospatial collaboration, 2) lack of a platform that is easy to obtain and install, 3) the sparse implementation of standards for geospatial interoperability, 4) the size and complexity of geospatial datasets, 5) the lack of an incentive for researchers to upload geospatial datasets to a system that supports eventual sharing.
Taken together these factors are recipe for stagnation despite the arrival 6 years ago of the Google Maps API and KML. Where is the Apache of the spatial world to spur a grassroots geoweb and bring it to the broad range of public, private and non-profit organizations that need it, and to non-GIS trained researchers wherever they may be?
WorldMap is an attempt to nudge the ball forward in theory and practice. The concept is to allow anyone to upload and publish data to the web, control how data is represented, and to control access to one’s data. Users will also have a range of data exploration tools and eventually online annotation, editing, and analysis. By letting researchers use the system to “scratch their own itch” we hope to take a page from successful attempts to crowdsource the development of other complex public goods such as collections, software, and encyclopedias. The reason so much valuable geodata resides on personal hard drives is not people don’t want to share, it is because because doing so does not appear to be useful, easy, or fun.
This talk will demonstrate the functionality of the current version of WorldMap as a potential collaboration platform, then will talk about ideas for future enhancements, and solicit feedback on the platform and how it could be improved.

Demo TalkPoster A Multi-Tenant Cloud-based Full-function GIS

Eamon Walsh

Cloud computing in itself is not sufficient be provided GIS as an on-line service at low cost to organizations ranging from individuals to thousands of users. “Multi-tenancy” is a technology that allows cloud computing resources to be shared amongst multiple organizations so as to offer full-function GIS on-line at low cost to organizations ranging from individuals to thousands of users. This presentation will cover:
1. How multi-tenancy works, and how it differs from hosting existing web / server GIS in the cloud. How it makes it possible to (1) Provide at a low cost GIS functionality equivalent to desktop GIS to organizations of scales ranging from individuals to thousands of people; and (2) Make GIS solutions instantly available “on demand” to new adopters.
2. This will have a critical business impact of this technology on GIS by dramatically lowering cost, reducing start-up time, and increasing flexibility compared with traditional GIS and with simpler cloud hosting approaches.
3. A working multi-tenant cloud-based GIS can be demonstrated, from creation of a service for a new organization, through loading data and adding users, to GIS use. Experience of deploying this technology shows new types of users starting with GIS as a Service, with high expectations of ease of use and of an instantly availability.

Tech TalkPoster Processing LiDAR Data to Visualize Soil Erosion and Analyze Slope Stability

Ashraf Ghaly

LiDAR data can be used in many engineering applications. These applications include, but are not limited to, highway engineering, land development, pipeline mapping and leak detection, power line mapping, cell tower mapping, forestry, mining, flood study, coast erosion, etc. The State of New York (NYS) has collected LiDAR data that cover significant area of the state. This data is made available for educational and research purposes. Data that covers the Mohawk River spans a number of counties and involves areas of the river where there has been significant meander migration and bank erosion. Due to the unstable nature of the soil forming the riverbanks and the considerable steepness of slopes at many locations, displacement, settlement, yielding, and even failure, of the foundations of some structures have been recorded. The goal of the present study was to use the LiDAR data provided by NYS to map the slopes along the banks of the Mohawk River and to detect areas where steep slopes could critical indicators of imminent failure. The data was also used to identify sections of the river where, due to sharp bents, erosion may be accelerating resulting in faster meander migration. Detecting these phenomena at early stage is key toward the prevention of catastrophic failure that can result in loss of life and property.

Tech TalkPoster Natural Resources Data Management System (NRDMS) – A Suite of Web-Accessible Geo-Spatial Data Processing Tools for E-Governance in India

P.S. Acharya, S.K. Ghosh, S.C. De Sarkar

The National e-Governance Plan (NeGP) of India aims at making all government services accessible to the citizens through common service delivery outlets. It also seeks to ensure efficiency, transparency, and reliability of such services at affordable costs. A huge nationwide ICT infrastructure comprising of more than one lakh Common Service Centres (CSCs) for approximately six lakh villages, Statewide Area Networks (SWAN) for network connectivity to the lowest administrative levels, and State Data Centres (SDCs) for hosting state level e-Governance applications and data are thus being set up. Government departments, like, Land Records, Police, Property Registration, Agriculture, Employment, Watershed Management, Disaster Management, and local level elected bodies like Panchayats (village clusters) and Municipalities etc. involving geographic information, geo-spatial data and processing tools assume significance.

Tech TalkPoster Finding the Farm: Postal Address-Based Building Clustering

Christopher Eby, Alice Armstrong

Geocoding, the act of mapping place names and addresses to locations on digital maps, is an important feature of many geographical information systems. Yet, traditional geocoding algorithms can be very inaccurate, especially in rural areas. Land plot maps maintained by local governments can be used to increase accuracy but are not always available. A constraint satisfaction method proposed by Michalowski and Knoblock has the potential to greatly increase accuracy by exploiting two widely available datasets, phone book addresses and building locations derived from aerial photographs, but it may still be inaccurate when the number of buildings does not correspond to the number of addresses. Therefore, this research investigates the accuracy of a method of taking addresses and building locations and grouping the buildings into clusters where each cluster contains the buildings present at a single address. The k-means, complete-link, and a minimum spanning tree-based clustering algorithm are all tested on building locations gathered from aerial photographs of predominantly rural Fulton County, PA, to determine which method creates the most accurate clusters. A secondary hypothesis is tested to find whether geolocating to a cluster centroid or to the building within the cluster that is closest to the road produces locations closer to the address locations provided by Fulton County. If the results of these two experiments yield accurate results, they can be used as an important preprocessing step in a geocoding system based on Michalowski and Knoblocks method.

Tech TalkPoster Biodiversity Conservation GIS: Using Geographic Information Systems To Support Conservation Management Decisions

Samira MOBAIED, Nathalie MACHON, Bernard RIERA

Global changes threaten natural ecosystems that are collapsing and even completely disappearing. Their conservation is a priority to halt the biodiversity loss, and is currently assured by conventions and programmes that aim at maintaining and restoring natural habitats. Different management methods have to be used to keep them in a favourable state of conservation, like the control of the natural succession and of the physical structure of the vegetation. The European heathland habitat is a typical example of such an active management. We present here the results of three studies that have been developed using GIS to support and improve heathland conservation management.

Tech TalkPoster GPS-Tagged Images Define the Trail of an Interdisciplinary Miniterm in Egypt

Ashraf Ghaly

Egypt has one of the oldest civilizations of the world. Its history is rich with events and its land still hides a lot of mystery. With the Mediterranean Sea to the north and the Red Sea to the east, Egypt enjoys a strategic location on the map of the world. Furthermore, for its beautiful nature, mild weather, endless beaches, and rich history, Egypt is a major tourist attraction. A three weeks miniterm has been developed to introduce students to many of the major features of ancient and modern Egyptian civilization. Visits to many ancient and modern places including temples and monuments all over Egypt introduced the students to places of historical significance. Using a GPS-enabled camera made it possible to link visited locations with points on the map of the world. This approach added to students’ excitement as it was noticed that students developed greater sense of appreciation of the visited places as they become part of a photo taken at a given place. Such a map-linked photo personalizes students’ relationship with the visited location. The major goal of the miniterm was to help the students appreciate history/culture, as well as engineering/architecture of various noteworthy monuments. Students’ interest in, and enthusiasm for this type of study were remarkable.

Keywords: Digital images, GPS-tagging, GPS camera, Image display

Tech TalkPoster Ceiling Vision based Localizer for Mobile robot

Seung-Hun Kim, Changwoo Park, Sewoong Jun

When mobile robots perform their missions, the self-localization needs basically. Several past researches established how to obtain their location information from the environment by using a distance sensor or a camera. However, these methods have map-making problem when the environment changes and localization problem while the robot moves from sensing features has typical affine and occlusion characteristics. This paper presents a localizer for mobile robot that travels around indoor environments. Our module uses the only one sensor, a single camera looking up the ceiling. There is no efficient enough SLAM algorithm working on embedded system. The initial difficulty of vision based SLAM is computational complexity to acquire reliable feature on their algorithm. To reduce the computational complexity, we use the ceiling segmentation to extract line features of ceiling area. Line features are extracted from the boundaries between the ceiling and walls. The line features have advantages over point features for its robustness to environmental variation and structural information helpful to data association. Extended Kalman Filter is used to estimate the pose of a robot and build the ceiling map with line features. The experiment is practiced in our indoor test bed and the proposed algorithm is proved by the experimental results.