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UCGIS part of new National Science Foundation Convergence Accelerator Award

UCGIS is a partner in a $1 million grant from a new interdisciplinary NSF program to foster building an "open knowledge network" for spatial decision support technologies. The inspiration for this type of network comes from Tim Berners-Lee's (best known founder of the World-wide Web) vision for the "semantic web," which applies tags with relationships to information on the Internet, allowing computers to do basic reasoning for improving search results and answering questions. Apple's Siri, Amazon's Alexa, and Google's Assistant all use these technologies.

Individuals from UCGIS’s leadership group are members of a team of 13 researchers and practitioners from 10 different institutions and organizations who are collectively focused on spatial decision support (SDS) systems, a systematic approach that improves access to tools for analyzing geographic data. Despite many successful applications, SDS contributions are limited by challenges in integrating information across complex organizational networks and across an array of data and tools developed for narrow (often disciplinary) applications. The project is being led by PI Sean Gordon, research faculty at Portland State University, which is a UCGIS member institution. "The proliferation of online mapping technologies has greatly increased access to and utility of these kinds of tools, and a logical next step is increasing our ability to find the appropriate data and tools for your problem and link these together for more complex analyses," says Gordon. Through engaging stakeholders in three applied case studies (the management of wildland fire, water quality, and biodiversity conservation), the interdisciplinary project team will develop and test participatory and automated methods for finding and sharing decision-relevant information using semantic web technologies.  

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Set of CaGIS Journal Open-Access articles

Papers in Cartography & Geographic Information Science, available for free (open-access) but only through Thursday, May 31, 2018. Thank you, Taylor and Francis publishers.

  • Marc P. Armstrong (2017) How large is Aroostook County? Exploring the historical mutability of US county area measurements, Cartography and Geographic Information Science, DOI: 10.1080/15230406.2017.1370392
  • Sarah E. Battersby, Daniel “daan” Strebe & Michael P. Finn (2017) Shapes on a plane: evaluating the impact of projection distortion on spatial binning, Cartography and Geographic Information Science, 44:5, 410-421, DOI: 10.1080/15230406.2016.1180263
  • Barry J. Kronenfeld (2018) Manual construction of continuous cartograms through mesh transformation, Cartography and Geographic Information Science, 45:1, 76-94, DOI: 10.1080/15230406.2016.1270775
  • Lawrence V. Stanislawski, Kornelijus Survila, Jeffrey Wendel, Yan Liu & Barbara P. Buttenfield (2018) An open source high-performance solution to extract surface water drainage networks from diverse terrain conditions, Cartography and Geographic Information Science, 45:4, 319-328, DOI: 10.1080/15230406.2017.1337524
  • Waldo Tobler (2018) A new companion for Mercator, Cartography and Geographic Information Science, 45:3, 284-285, DOI: 10.1080/15230406.2017.1308837
  •  Xinyue Ye, Qunying Huang & Wenwen Li (2016) Integrating big social data, computing and modeling for spatial social science, Cartography and Geographic Information Science, 43:5, 377-378, DOI: 10.1080/15230406.2016.1212302

Issues with the Geospatial Data Act of 2017

The Geospatial Data Act of 2017 has been making news in the geospatial community since its introduction in May of this year by Senator Orrin Hatch of Utah. You can find the full text available at https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/senate-bill/1253.  As of early August, the bill had been introduced in the Senate, and referred to the Commerce, Science and Transportation committee.  Earlier this summer the organization NSGIC (https://www.nsgic.org/) posted on their site that they were supporting the bill and had assisted in drafting some of the language in the text.  The stated goal is focused on strengthening efforts at building the National Spatial Data Infrastructure (NSDI) and to reduce duplicated efforts by various agencies in authoring geospatial data.  While these are certainly goals that are shared by many in the wider geospatial community (including UCGIS), several organizations, such as COGO and AAG, have noted that some of the language in the bill is unnecessarily vague and may be interpreted to exclude many institutions and individuals currently producing geospatial data for the government.

More specifically, the bill assigns “geospatial data” with the same definition as “survey and mapping” and then provides a very broad use of the definition as it relates to the Geospatial Data Act.  The definition language used in the bill is based on the Brooks Architect-Engineers Act (cite) that requires that work falling under the definitions above are awarded exclusively to A&E firms with professionally licensed staff.

Some examples included in the Geospatial Data Act include:

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new GIS&T Body of Knowledge website

The digital version of the Geographic Information Science & Technology Body of Knowledge (BoK) is now online at gistbok.ucgis.org! This dynamic, digital platform supports more innovative and applied uses of this knowledge. We have put in place a stable information architecture  combined with robust strategies for content management and curation.The Editorial Team invites subject matter experts with interests in writing or reviewing Topics to contact them.