Monday, February 27, 2017


With the rise in competition and battle for the top spots in competitive sports such as football, more data is needed. However, with the current state of data there is limited upward movement. This has caused an increase in a need for geo spatial data, that can be concluded by GIS work.

Using tracking data and event data, maps are able to be constructed to represent this data form the game. By first mapping the field itself, you can use spatial elements such as the players, ball, and referees to get spatial data. This blog analyzes that while it is in the beginning phases, the door is open for GIS to model a game more concretely than current practices in the future. The lacking knowledge is how this data can be connected to represent the game as a whole instead of "snapshots" of individual portions.

Kotzbek, G., & Kainz, W. (2014). Football Game Analysis: A New Application Area for Cartographers and GI-Scientists. In Proceedings (Vol. 1, pp. 299-306).

Drug Pricing in the US

An increasingly popular topic in our national news is the pricing of pharmaceutical drugs in North America. Our drug prices increase annually and are drastically higher in almost all categories than most, if not all other developed countries. Access to healthcare and price varies depending on your location in the United States but chronic eye disease does not vary from place to place. According to new Medicare data, the way doctors treat chronic eye disease does differ from location to location and those changes have major effects on personal and US budgets.Steven Rich/The Washington Post
The map above shows the use of Lucentis a drug used to treat eye disease differs from area to area. The brightest reds show places where the vast majority of the money spent in treating the disease is spent on Lucentis; the deepest blues, shows places where most of the money spent treating the disease is spent on its cheaper alternatives.Such variety in treatment calls into question whether doctors are treating patients based on the best available evidence, or other considerations.

Rich, Steven. "These maps tell you everything that’s wrong with our drug pricing system." The Washington Post. WP Company, 11 Apr. 2014. Web. 27 Feb. 2017.

Mapping Micro-Urban Heat Islands using LANDSAT TM and a GIS

In this article, the author discusses how LANDSAT TM satellite data and GIS software were used to map micro-urban heat islands in a portion of Dallas, Texas. Unsupervised classifications were performed on a LANDSAT sub-scene to extract tree cover information which was merged with TM data to make a map showing the location of micro-urban heat islands and wooded areas. Heat islands are generally described as urban areas that produce higher than background surface temperatures associated with rural surroundings.  Major factors leading to the formation of heat islands include; the effects of street canyon geometry on radiation, the effects of thermal properties on heat storage release, and waste heat from residential and other buildings.
The study area within Dallas is named White Rock Lake. It contains both older and newer residential neighborhoods, major highways, shopping centers, a warehouse district, wooded areas, and a large lake, providing variable land cover with contrasting thermal regimes. The methodology for mapping out the area involves LANDSAT TM processing and classification, thermal map generation, and GIS merging and final map production.

In the figure above, the hot spots in the White Rock Lake area exist as heat island patterns with the warmest temperatures in the center and coolest temperatures around the edges.
After examining the maps, it was noted that hot spots throughout this urban area were radiative in nature. The hottest areas were where land use was associated with impervious cover such as a large warehouse district, asphalt parking lots and roads, and a large number of apartment complexes. Also, new neighborhoods were significantly warmer than older neighborhoods. The coolest areas were those with heavy tree cover, including the forested park just north of the lake.

Aniello Cathy, Morgan Ken,  Busbey Arthur, and Newland Leo (1994). Mapping Micro-Urban Heat Islands Using LANDSAT TM And A GIS. Computers & Geoscience. Vol. 21, No.8. 

The effects of deforestation and climate variability on the streamflow of the Araguaia River, Brazil

From the 1970's to the 1990's the Araguaia River in Brazil had a huge increase in water discharge. This large increase was believed to correspond with the deforestation seen in the area.

In Brazil the Araguaia watershed has seen massive amounts of deforestation. The amount of deforestation in the twenty year study period was estimated to be as high as 55%. This amount of deforestation leads to dramatic hydrological changes in the area, such as increased runoff .
The conditions created by the deforestation has lead to a nearly 25% increase in water discharge from the river. This increase is even more astounding when compared to a increase of only 2.5% precipitation. Computer simulations of the changes over the years point to 2/3's of the increase come directly from Deforestation.

Effects of increased runoff.

  • Larger river outputs 
  • Increased erosion of sediment 
  • Increased pollutants in the water 
  • Increased vulnerability of flash flooding   
As a result of this the Brazilian Government has increased protection over deforestation. Proper management of the area along with protecting the area from deforestation will lead to a decline in the increase of runoff, and could even lead to a overall reduction of discharge.

 Coe, M. T., Latrubesse, E. M., Ferreira, M. E., & Amsler, M. L. (2011). The effects of deforestation and climate variability on the streamflow of the Araguaia River, Brazil. Biogeochemistry105(1-3), 119-131.

The Power of Naming

This article addresses the effects of racial commemoration on segregation. This study discusses how whiteness permeates into every seemingly colorblind facet of life. When places are named after African-American leaders, the neighborhoods around those monuments or areas tend to be more racialized. Since individuals are typically commemorated in the areas where they lived and died, those areas tend to be minority communities already. Unfortunately, these places tend to receive derogatory names and associations with violence and poverty, making them less desirable for individuals who associate these qualities with race to move to the areas. The article uses mapping technology to study places named after African-Americans and the result of unintentional segregation. Furthermore, places and things named after African-American leaders tend to be located in already majority minority places, creating a self-fulfilling prophecy of segregation in neighborhoods, regardless of colorblind policy. 

These figures showcase the positive correlation between commemorating African-Americans and the percentage of African-Americans in counties. States where there is a high  African-American population, tend to have more commemorations for African-Americans as well, however, the counties tend to be highly segregated, with a correlation to the commemoration policy. 

Tretter, E. M. (2011). The power of naming: The toponymic geographies of commemorated African Americans. The Professional Geographer63(1), 34-54.

Mapping Micro-Urban Heat Islands Using LANDSAT TM and a GIS

In this article, we look at a study that uses Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and LANDSAT TM (satellite data) to identify Micro-Urban Heat Islands (MUHIs) in Dallas, Texas, and to compare the spatial distribution of these MUHIs and tree density. Micro-Urban Heat Islands are "isolated urban locations that produce 'hot spots' within a city." Often these heat islands lead to a change in the climate of the area, and "most urban areas around the world with populations greater than 100,000 have heat islands that are 1-4.5 degrees (celsius) warmer than rural temperatures." One idea that has been suggested to reduce this effect of heat islands is to add more tree cover to urban areas.

The study mapped the MUHIs in the White Rock Lake area of Dallas using LANDSAT TM processing and classification, thermal map generation, and finally, a process of merging with GIS to produce the final map. Using LANDSAT TM, those conducting the study were able to create a thematic map which showed different pixel clusters, which were then grouped together to identify roads, bodies of water, buildings, grass, etc. Using the GIS layer that showed tree cover/density, the LANDSAT TM data was merged with tree cover to create the final map showing the distribution of tree cover compared to heat islands.

The figure above shows tree cover and MUHIs. This study concluded that heat islands are 5-11 degrees (celsius) warmer than surrounding areas by midmorning. The coolest areas within this area of Dallas were those with more tree cover, which suggests that increasing the density of trees within urban areas may be effective in decreasing the climate changes that come from MUHIs.

Aniello, C., Morgan, K., Busbey, A., & Newland, L. (1995). Mapping micro-urban heat islands using LANDSAT TM and a GIS. Computers & Geosciences,21(8), 965-969. doi:10.1016/0098-3004(95)00033-5

Tweet Me Your Talk: Geographical Learning and Knowledge Production 2.0

Nadine Schuurman argues that with the rise of internet use, our learning styles are rapidly changing. She describes this as a negative change, representative of our inability to understand previous forms of information. Brains and the way that they function are constantly changing (brain plasticity), and advances in technology/increases in use of technology have certainly affected our brains (Schuurman 1). 

One of the primary negative effects that technology use has had on our brains is a decrease in our attention span; we cannot focus as easily or for as long as we used to (this is particularly prevalent in developed countries where the internet is more commonly accessed) (Schuurman 2). We are not as skillful when it comes to reading large amounts of information on print, rather, we excel at finding key pieces of information quickly. 

Schuurman supports her argument by showing the ways in which the academic sphere caters to this type of learning in the format various resources (e.g. journal formats, academic reviewing, & academic social networking) --as pictured below. Schuurman argues that not only has our method of learning changed, we have started to cater to this new type of learning. 

Schuurman, Nadine. "Tweet Me Your Talk: Geographical Learning and Knowledge Production 2.0." 
The Professional Geographer 65.3 (2013): 369-377.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

A GIS-Based Football Stadium Evacuation Model

Sporting events and the sport industry are a billion dollar industry. With the rise of such popularity and with almost 50,000,000 people in attendance at NCAA football games in 2008, these events come at the risk of terror attacks.

The purpose of this article and study was to develop a GIS based evacuation model for Southern Mississippi University in the unfortunate event of something happening.

The three major objectives were:
  1. Identify the number of evacuees and their potential origins and destinations
  2. Identify evacuation routes connecting origins and destinations based on shortest travel time
  3. Compute the total evacuation time of the stadium starting when the evacuation order is issued and ending when the last evacuee exits the evacuation zone
Even though this 33,000 seat stadium is smaller and would probably not be attacked, the structure and flow are the same of a larger stadium and can be applied and scaled. 

To compute travel time within the stadium from different sitting areas to exit places, an audience layer was created by evenly distributing students and non-students within their respective sections of the stadium.

The second stage of the model included the evacuation of the stadium audience from the parking lots and mobile locations to their potential final destinations, which included nearby road networks and road intersections.

The last stage of the model was performed to estimate evacuation times and routes.

This photo shows a GIS based map for locations of mobile triages and parking lots.

From this study they found the fastest route for injured and uninjured attendees and found that the football practice field was the closest and optimal location for the ambulance to arrive at. Because of this in case of emergency USM has the optimal route and location for the fastest and easiest evacuation to get people to safety. 

Zale, J. J. & Kar, B. (2012). A GIS-Based Football Stadium Evacuation Model. Southeastern Geographer 52(1), 70-89. The University of North Carolina Press. Retrieved February 27, 2017, from Project MUSE database.

Farmers' Market Variations 

Today in society it has become a popular trend for people to shop organically. We now know in more detail what kinds of things are going into our foods, and more and more people choose to shop at farmers' markets to get organic, environmentally friendly, produce. Contrary to popular belief, "research has shown that food at farmers’ markets costs less than the same item in supermarkets and growers can gain higher returns compared with selling via wholesalers, distributors or retailers to whom a share of profits would accrue" (Tong). Locations and times of different markets within local areas (within city limits for this article) are tested and mapped in order to see where and when they are chosen to take place. 

Interestingly, within the city it shows that all of the markets are held within the northern part of the county line. It is also shown that the markets are being held mostly within the afternoon and evening times, with only two weekend options. This would make it very difficult for a person who lives in the southern portion of the city limits who works a 9-5 job. Commuting and rushing to get to their local market might just take more energy, gas, and traveling that would have the opposite effect of doing good for the environment. The article concludes tat much work is needed to plan and hold famers' markets in order to create a space for all people of the county to be able to attend more easily. 

Tong, D., Ren, F., & Mack, J. (2012). Locating farmers’ markets with an incorporation of spatio-temporal variation. Socio-Economic Planning Sciences46(2), 149-156. 

GIS-Based Irrigation Water Management for Precision Farming of Rice

This article presents the GIS capability to explore the view of irrigation strategy with special reference to precision farming of rice. The GIS-based water management model was developed for the scheduling daily irrigation water deliveries and regular monitoring of irrigation delivery performance. The “Scheduling”program computes the right amount of irrigation deliveries based on crop water requirements. The “Monitoring”program gives information on the uniformity of water distribution and the shortfall or excess. The displayed results allow the manager to view maps, tables and graphs in a comprehensible form to ease decision making that where the irrigation amount will be delivered as the season progresses. GIS was used as a useful tool to assist the irrigation water management program in the context of precision farming.

Different methods were used to calculate this data: Water balance model in a rice basin, Cumulative Rainfall Water Supply and Ponding Water Index. Together, these factors determined a system that workd for rice irrigation.

The information from all interacting sources is essential to assess crop water status and to efficiently irrigate rice crop as well as for improving water management. GIS user-interface technique linked with water management model can greatly assist to improve water management based on feedback of field information. The study can assist irrigation managers to improve the decision-making process in the operation and management of the irrigation system and can improve the management of water allocation systems, monitoring water distribution system in existing schemes. This study has indicated that improvements in irrigation system management based on feedback of field information can satisfy the role of the precision farming.

Kamal, R. M. (2010). GIS-based irrigation water management for precision farming of rice. International Journal of Agricultural and Biological Engineering3(3), 27-35.