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geospatial matters

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Tuesday
Jan212014

California Water Blog talks about our future

Boat slips in Folsom Lake in a drought (1976). The reservoir was at 18 percent of capacity on Tuesday (Jan. 7, 2013). Source: California Department of Water ResourcesAs a follow-up to this disasterous news about California's water situation, here is a very thought provoking blog about California's water future. They list their 10 predictions for our changed future, including:

  • Parts of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta will permanently flood.
  • The Tulare Basin and San Joaquin River regions will have less irrigated agriculture.
  • Urban areas will use less water per capita, reuse more wastewater and capture more stormwater.

Check out the California Water Blog - Resistance is futile: Inevitable changes to water management in California.

http://californiawaterblog.com/2014/01/07/resistance-is-futile-inevitable-changes-to-water-management-in-california/.

Friday
Jan172014

NASA Shows Just How Bad The California Drought Is and Jerry Brown declares a state of emergency in California

One image from NASA shows just how severe the California drought is click here for more about this image

Governor Jerry Brown officially declared a drought emergency in California, asking residents to voluntarily reduce their water use by 20 percent and committing to bolster the state's dwindling water supplies with better management and federal assistance. Read more here

Thursday
Jan162014

Spring 2014 GIF workshop schedule

UC Berkeley's Geospatial Innovation Facility (GIF) is offering 10 training workshops this semester that use a hands-on approach to help you get started using spatial analysis to enhance your research.  

GIF workshops are available at a subsidized rate of $84 each for all UC students, faculty, and staff, and $224 each for all non-UC affiliates.  View the GIF website to learn more about the following workshops and to register.

  • 1/31, 12-4 pm. Intro to Geographic Information Systems (GIS): Environmental Science Focus
  • 2/7,  12-4 pm. Intro to Geographic Information Systems (GIS): Social Science Focus
  • 2/21, 12-4 pm. Intro to Global Positioning Systems (GPS): Working with Garmin receivers=
  • 3/7, 12-4 pm. Intro to Remote Sensing: Understanding digital imagery
  • 3/14, 12-4 pm. Intro to Remote Sensing:Pixel-based analysis
  • 3/21, 12-4 pm. Intro to Remote Sensing: Land cover change analysis
  • 4/11, 12-4 pm. Intro to Remote Sensing: Object-based image analysis (OBIA)
  • 4/18, 12-4 pm. Intro to Open Source GIS: Working with Quantum GIS (QGIS)
  • 4/25, 12-4 pm. Creating your own web maps
  • 5/2, 12-4 pm. Intro to species distribution modeling
Monday
Jan132014

Summary of IGIS Survey (from 2013)

In 2013, the IGIS team developed the Survey of Informatics and GIS Needs, Knowledge and Data Availability that ran from January 14 – March 15. It was a short and comprehensive survey that helped us to evaluate the level of Informatics and GIS expertise and use of geospatial tools and data in ANR. The results are assisting the IGIS team to design and provide tools, analysis, and training to ANR personnel.

Our conclusion from the survey is that IGIS can play a large and new role in training, analytical support, and databasing across ANR. We can fill a need with IGIS: 79% of respondents are not getting assistance from ANR, yet across the board, ANR personnel need Informatics and GIS assistance - over 70% of respondents need GIS work or analytical support on their projects. While 81% have not taken ANR provided GIS training, 80% would take ANR provided GIS training. Also, despite the ability for ANR personnel to use the UC Davis site license, nearly half of respondents do not think they have access to GIS software.

We received 112 unique responses from across ANR. Respondants came from across ANR, and included:

  • Academic Administrators    2
  • Academic Coordinators   2
  • Administrators    4
  • AES Faculty    6
  • Lab Staff    3
  • Office Staff    5
  • Other    10
  • REC Directors    2
  • UC Researchers    3
  • UCCE Advisors    32
  • UCCE Specialists    15
  • UCCE Statewide Program Staff    2

We are looking at doing another survey in 2014, to continue to understand GIS needs in ANR.

Monday
Jan132014

Conference at UCB on Digital Privacy and Surveillance - March 6

Pan-Optics: Perspectives on Digital Privacy and Surveillance

March 6, 10:30 a.m.-4 p.m. 310 Sutardja Dai Hall, Banatao Auditorium

bit.ly/pan-optics2014

Featured Speakers: Rebecca MacKinnon, Senior Research Fellow, New America Foundation; Trevor Paglen, Artist, Social Scientist, and Author

Advances in drone aircraft, networked cameras, and recent disclosures about the NSA’s international and domestic surveillance activities have stimulated public protests, outrage from activists, and new policy discussions among elected leaders. This symposium will highlight emerging perspectives on visual privacy and consider the state of the art from a variety of disciplines and professions, including technology, journalism, filmmaking and the arts.

Though traditionally considered separate domains, visual and digital surveillance practices are being combined as machine vision, facial recognition and other technologies become more sophisticated and interoperable. Institutional surveillance by semi-autonomous drones and remote cameras, citizen video monitoring, and incessant photo-sharing and tagging on social networks enable perpetual documentation. The same tools can be used for both transparency and repression.

This symposium will bring together scholars and practitioners from a range of disciplines to discuss privacy protections, surveillance methods, and modes of resistance in a digital age. The program will feature two keynote addresses and two panel discussions that will explore emerging surveillance technologies and applications across a range of contexts, and then turn to resistant strategies employed by individuals and organizations in response.

Registration required: $20 General Admission,  $10 Faculty or Staff,  $5 Students

Thursday
Jan092014

Citizen science: key questions explored in a new report

In a recent article published in the Guardian, Michelle Kilfoyle and Hayley Birch discuss the widespread use of citizen science initiatives. They recently produced a report (pdf) for the Science for Environment Policy news service, in which the authors review a number of citizen science case studies, and explore the potential benefits of citizen science for both science and society, especially given the advent of new mobile technologies that enable remote participation. They also ask interesting questions about who really benefits the most from these developments: the amateurs or the professionals?

Key questions addressed and highlighted in this report include:
  1. How could new and developing technologies help citizen science projects feed into environmental policy processes?
  2. Is environmental data produced by citizen scientists as accurate as environmental data produced by professional scientists?
  3. How can citizen science benefit environmental monitoring and policymaking?
Thursday
Jan092014

Big Data for sustainability: an uneven track record with great potential

An interesting position piece on the appropriate uses of big data for climate resilience. The author, Amy Luers, points out three opportunities and three risks.

She sums up:

"The big data revolution is upon us. How this will contribute to the resilience of human and natural systems remains to be seen. Ultimately, it will depend on what trade-offs we are willing to make. For example, are we willing to compromise some individual privacy for increased community resilience, or the ecological systems on which they depend?—If so, how much, and under what circumstances?"

Read more from this interesting article here.

Tuesday
Jan072014

Dense cities contribute less GHG

A CoolClimate Map of the SF Bay Area's carbon footprint by zipcode tabulation area shows a pattern typical of large metropolitan areas: a small footprint (green) in the urban core but a large footprint (orange and red) in surrounding suburbs.According to a new study by Dan Kammen and graduate student Christopher Jones at UC Berkeley, population-dense cities contribute less greenhouse-gas emissions per person than other areas of the country, but these cities’ extensive suburbs essentially wipe out the climate benefits.

Dominated by emissions from cars, trucks and other forms of transportation, suburbs account for about 50 percent of all household emissions – largely carbon dioxide – in the United States.

The study uses local census, weather and other data – 37 variables in total – to approximate greenhouse gas emissions resulting from the energy, transportation, food, goods and services consumed by U.S. households, so-called household carbon footprints.

A key finding of the UC Berkeley study is that suburbs account for half of all household greenhouse gas emissions, even though they account for less than half the U.S. population. The average carbon footprint of households living in the center of large, population-dense urban cities is about 50 percent below average, while households in distant suburbs are up to twice the average.

Interactive carbon footprint maps for more than 31,000 U.S. zip codes in all 50 states are available online at http://coolclimate.berkeley.edu/maps.

A link to their paper in Environmental Science & Technology is here: Spatial distribution of U.S. household carbon footprints reveals suburbanization undermines greenhouse gas benefits of urban population density (ES&T, 2014)

From: http://newscenter.berkeley.edu/2014/01/06/suburban-sprawl-cancels-carbon-footprint-savings-of-dense-urban-cores/

Thursday
Dec192013

Graduate 
Certificate
 in 
GIS approved for UC Berkeley

 Great news! 

The UC Berkeley Graduate 
Certificate 
in
 Geographic 
Information 
Science 
and
 Technology
 (GIST)
 has been approved. This certificate will provide
 an 
academic
 structure 
for 
an 
interdisciplinary 
exchange 
of
 ideas 
around
 geospatial
 information 
and 
analysis. 

 Certificate
 students 
will
 not 
only
 participate 
in
 a 
cutting‐edge 
program 
and
 receive
 explicit
 recognition
 of 
specialization 
in
 GIST
 by 
virtue 
of
 the
 Graduate
 Certificate 
but
 will 
be
 well
 positioned
 to
compete
 for 
the
 most
 desirable 
jobs 
in 
geospatial
 technology,
 both 
in
 academia
 and 
in 
industry.

Requirements include at
 least 
three 
courses, 
or 
a
 total
 of
 90 
hours
 of
 instruction, 
and
 earn 
a
 minimum 
grade
 of
, and participate in a GIST Roundtable (such as the geolunch series from the GIF). More details to be posted in the spring at GIS@Berkeley.edu.

Thursday
Dec052013

Help to Validate Global Land Cover with GeoWiki and Cropland Capture

Courtesy of the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis

This creative project from GeoWiki seeks to get croudsourced feedback on crop types from participants around the world. They say: 

By 2050 we will need to feed more than 2 billion additional people on the Earth. By playing Cropland Capture, you will help us to improve basic information about where cropland is located on the Earth's surface. Using this information, we will be better equipped at tackling problems of future food security and the effects of climate change on future food supply. Get involved and contribute to a good cause! Help us to identify cropland area!

Oh yeah, and there are prizes!

Each week (starting Nov. 15th) the top three players with the highest score at the end of each week will be added to our weekly winners list. After 25 weeks, three people will be drawn randomly from this list to become our overall winners. Prizes will include an Amazon Kindle, a brand new smartphone and a tablet.

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