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Archives: 2007 and older
New Chapters by Former Postdoc Address Communicating Sea Level Rise Risks

January 31, 2020

Two handbooks recently published by Springer include chapters on communicating the risks of sea level rise, written by former CIESIN Fulbright scholar Saleem Khan, with CIESIN co-authors. The Handbook of Climate Services, edited by Walter Leal Filho and Daniela Jacob, features the chapter, “COREDAR: A Coastal Climate Service Framework on Sea-Level Rise Risk Communication for Adaptation Policy Planning.” CIESIN director Robert Chen and associate director for science applications Alex de Sherbinin contributed. The Handbook of Climate Change Resilience, edited by Filho, includes the chapter, “Building Resilience of Urban Ecosystems and Communities to Sea-Level Rise: Jamaica Bay, New York City,″ co-authored with GIS programmer Kytt Macmanus and geographic information specialist Jane Mills. Khan was a Fulbright-Nehru postdoctoral scholar at CIESIN 2015–16. He is currently based at the Indian Institute of Technology Madras in Chennai, India.


Seven New Members Appointed to SEDAC User Working Group

January 31, 2020

Seven scholars from diverse disciplines have joined the User Working Group (UWG) of the NASA Socioeconomic Data and Applications Center (SEDAC) operated by CIESIN. The UWG provides strategic guidance to SEDAC on user needs and priorities for interdisciplinary data and services that support research and applications on human-environment interactions. The new members are: Sara Curran, director of the Center for Studies in Demography and Ecology at the University of Washington; Keith Garrett, senior geographer with the Geospatial Operational Support Team at the World Bank; Laura Kurgan, director of the Center for Spatial Research (CSR) at Columbia University; Stefan Leyk, associate professor of geography at the University of Colorado; WenWen Li, head of the CyberInfrastructure and Computation Intelligence Lab at Arizona State University; Julie Sweetkind-Singer, interim assistant university librarian for Science and Engineering Resources (SERG) at the Stanford University Libraries; and Danielle Wood, lead of the Space Enabled Research Group at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Media Lab. The new members are expected to serve for four years. The UWG is chaired by Barbara Ryan, former executive director of the Group on Earth Observations, and currently includes ten other members from the public and private sectors. Nancy Searby of NASA′s Applied Sciences Program recently became SEDAC′s program scientist.

See: SEDAC User Working Group


POPGRID Data Collaborative Updates Web Site, Announces Webinar

January 24, 2020

screenshot of POPGRID Home page

The POPGRID Data Collaborative, an initiative launched by CIESIN in 2017 to improve the quality, access, and use of global-scale spatial data on human population, settlements, and infrastructure, has recently updated its Web site and announced an international Webinar to be held February 4 in collaboration with Geospatial World.

The POPGRID Web site helps users learn about the many different gridded population data sets now available, providing detailed background information and documentation, and direct links to the data and data sources. In addition, the POPGRID Viewer lets users easily compare different data products for their specific regions of interest. The updated site now includes links to recent publications and recorded Webinars about gridded population data, together with updated information from the data providers. POPGRID is collaboratively managed by CIESIN, the Thematic Research Network on Data and Statistics (TReNDS) of the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network, and the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data, and is supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and NASA. More than 20 different groups from both the public and private sectors are active in the POPGRID Data Collaborative. The POPGRID Viewer was developed by the NASA Socioeconomic Data and Applications Center (SEDAC) operated by CIESIN.

On February 4, CIESIN director Robert Chen and Maryam Rabiee of TReNDS presented the Webinar, “Leaving No One Off the Map: Gridded Population Data for Decision Making,″ in coordination with Geospatial World. It attracted 150 participants from around the world. The Webinar focused on how gridded population data can help decision makers and other applied users improve efforts to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) adopted by the international community in 2015, and in particular to help reach those who might otherwise be left behind. Recent advances in mapping make it possible to better determine the location and characteristics of human settlements and households, allowing for more effective and efficient assistance, e.g., for vaccination campaigns, development assistance, and humanitarian relief. However, the proliferation of different data sets utilizing different methods and sources may confuse users about which data sets are the most appropriate to use in different situations. The Webinar discussed ongoing efforts by the POPGRID Data Collaborative to address this issue, and ways in which the geospatial community can both benefit from, and participate in, POPGRID activities. A recording is available here.

See: POPGRID Data Collaborative Web Site


New Postdoctoral Scientist Joins CIESIN to Work Collaboratively on Flood Risk

January 22, 2020

photo of Carolynne Hultquist

Carolynne Hultquist has joined CIESIN’s Science Applications division as a postdoctoral research scientist beginning January. Hultquist specializes in the fusion and validation of spatial data sources to better understand complex environments, especially during disasters. Her current research focuses on developing computational methods to assess flood risk. She is working collaboratively with Alex de Sherbinin, associate director of the division; Marco Tedesco of the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory (LDEO); and Andrew Kruczkiewicz of the International Research Institute for Climate and Society (IRI). Hultquist has a PhD from the Pennsylvania State University in geography and social data analytics, and previously worked as a postdoctoral scientist with Prof. Guido Cervone at the GeoInformatics and Earth Observation Lab. Cervone is a member of the User Working Group (UWG) of the NASA Socioeconomic Data and Applications Center (SEDAC) operated by CIESIN.


Earth Science Information Partners “Put Data to Work” at Winter Meeting

January 10, 2020

CIESIN senior digital archivist Robert Downs traveled to Bethesda, Maryland, January 7–9 for the winter meeting of the Earth Science Information Partners, a nonprofit, volunteer, and community-driven organization that advances the use of earth science data. The ESIP theme for 2020 is “Putting Data to Work,” focusing on the importance of building public-private partnerships to increase resilience and enhance the socioeconomic value of data. During a session organized by the ESIP Disaster Cluster, Downs presented “Global and Local Population Data for Community Lifeline Decision Making,” co-authored with CIESIN director Robert Chen, who participated remotely. Downs also presented the poster, “Meeting Evolving Practices for Sharing and Managing Earth Science Data.” The NASA Socioeconomic Data and Applications Center (SEDAC) operated by CIESIN is a Type 2 member of ESIP, which was established in 1998. Other partners include federal agencies and data centers, government research laboratories, research universities, education resource providers, technology developers, and various nonprofit and commercial enterprises.

See: 2020 ESIP Winter Meeting


New Spatial Data on U.S. Urban Extent and Global Pesticide Use Released

January 3, 2020

The NASA Socioeconomic Data and Applications Center (SEDAC) operated by CIESIN has released two new data sets, one focused on a new approach for assessing urban extent in the continental U.S. and a second that estimates the potential exposure of major food crops around the world to selected chemicals used in pesticides.

Urban Extents from VIIRS and MODIS for the Continental U.S. Using Machine Learning Methods is a highly accurate urban settlement layer at a spatial resolution of 500 meters that is based in part on nighttime lights data from NASA’s Black Marble project. Machine learning methods were used to provide a more consistent, quantitative measure of urban extent, drawing on observations collected at high temporal frequency by the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) and Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) remote sensing instruments. The data set was developed by former CIESIN scientist Xue Liu, now at Harvard University′s Center for Geographic Analysis, together with SEDAC deputy manager Alex de Sherbinin and former staff member Yanni Zhan. The derivation of the data set is described in a recent open access article by Liu et al. in the journal Remote Sensing.

The Global Pesticide Grids (PEST-CHEMGRIDS) data set was developed by Federico Maggi of the University of Sydney and colleagues, to assess human and ecosystem exposure to potential and recognized toxic chemicals, for the purposes of environmental modelling and assessment of agricultural chemical contamination and risk. PEST-CHEMGRIDS includes comprehensive data on the 20 most-used pesticide active ingredients, on six dominant crops and four aggregated crop classes, at 5 arc-minute resolution (about 10 kilometers at the equator), estimated for the year 2015 and projected to 2020 and 2025. The data set includes 200 data quality maps for each active ingredient on each crop. The data set is described in detail in a recent open access paper by Maggi et al. published in the journal Scientific Data. 

These data are distributed as part of SEDAC′s mission to archive and disseminate key socioeconomic and related environmental data sets that either utilize or complement satellite-based remote sensing data, in support of scientific research, applications, and education. Data selection is overseen by SEDAC′s User Working Group (UWG). Data set authors are invited to submit their data for possible SEDAC archiving and open dissemination; for the submission criteria and form, please see the SEDAC Data Submission page.

See: Urban Extents from VIIRS and MODIS for the Continental U.S. Using Machine Learning Methods
       Global Pesticide Grids (PEST-CHEMGRIDS), v1 (2015, 2020, 2025)