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Government plans steep cuts in solar

BBC Science/Nature - Thu, 2015-08-27 09:42
The government says it plans to significantly reduce subsidies paid to small scale green power installations.
Categories: NEWS

New Sea-Level Rise Handbook Highlights Science and Models for Non-Scientists

USGS News - Thu, 2015-08-27 09:29
Summary: Coastal managers and planners now have access to a new U.S. Geological Survey handbook that, for the first time, comprehensively describes the various models used to study and predict sea-level rise and its potential impacts on coasts

Contact Information:

Tom Doyle ( Phone: 337-266-8647 ); Gabrielle Bodin ( Phone: 337-266-8655 );



Coastal managers and planners now have access to a new U.S. Geological Survey handbook that, for the first time, comprehensively describes the various models used to study and predict sea-level rise and its potential impacts on coasts.

Designed for the benefit of land managers, coastal planners, and policy makers in the United States and around the world, the handbook explains many of the contributing factors that account for sea-level change. It also highlights the different data, techniques, and models used by scientists and engineers to document historical trends of sea level and to forecast future rates and the impact to coastal systems and communities.

“Our goal was to introduce the non-expert to the broad spectrum of models and applications that have been used to predict environmental change for sea-level rise assessments,” said Thomas Doyle, Deputy Director of the National Wetlands Research Center in Lafayette, Louisiana, and the lead author of the guide. “We provide a simple explanation of the complex science and simulation models from published sources to help inform land management and adaptation decisions for areas under risk of rising sea levels.”

The scope and content of the handbook was developed from feedback received at dozens of training sessions held with coastal managers and planners of federal, state, and private agencies across the northern Gulf of Mexico. The sessions aimed to determine what tools and resources were currently in use and to explain the broad spectrum of data and models used in sea-level rise assessments from multiple disciplines, including geology, hydrology and ecology. Criteria were established to distinguish various characteristics of each model, including the source, scale and quality of information input and geographic databases, as well as the ease or difficulty of storing, displaying, or interpreting the model output.

“A handbook of this nature was identified as a high priority need by resource managers,” said Virginia Burkett, USGS Chief Scientist for Climate and Land Use Change. “[The handbook] will serve as a practical guide to the tools and predictive models that they can use to assess sea-level change impacts on coastal landscapes.”

The handbook can be found at online, while a presentation on the handbook can be found online.

The work was supported by the Department of Interior Southeast Climate Science Center, which is managed by the U.S. Geological Survey. The center is one of eight that provides scientific information to help natural resource managers respond effectively to climate change.

Knut polar bear death riddle solved

BBC Science/Nature - Thu, 2015-08-27 09:02
Scientists say Knut, the famous polar bear that drowned at Berlin Zoo in 2011, had a type of autoimmune inflammation of the brain that is also recognised in humans.
Categories: NEWS

VIDEO: Check-ups for homeward-bound orangutans

BBC Science/Nature - Thu, 2015-08-27 06:16
Thailand has been carrying out health checks on 14 orangutans, in preparation for their repatriation to Indonesia.
Categories: NEWS

The washing away of Cajun culture

BBC Science/Nature - Thu, 2015-08-27 03:16
Why Cajun culture is being washed away
Categories: NEWS

10 Years Ago on Spatially Adjusted – “Being Open Doesn’t Guarantee Success”

James Fee's Blog - Wed, 2015-08-26 17:37

I never “celebrated” 10 years of Spatially Adjusted mostly because I forgot about it.  I was cleaning up the site earlier this week and noticed there was some good content back then, it definitely had a different tone but hey, I’m 10 years older now.  I’m going to post a “best of” link every week to a 10-year-old article for the rest of the year.  Some of it will be thought-provoking1 and some of it will be laughable.  At any rate 10 years ago this week there were a couple posts about hurricane tracking that were interesting given that it was about Katrina, but this one caught my eye.

Being Open Doesn’t Guarantee Success

All the openness in the world won’t make any product successful, but listening to your customers will. The feeling that I’ve gotten from ESRI over the past year is that they have finally begun to realize that their road to continued success is supporting users like us. Don’t confuse the hype surrounding Google Maps/Earth with them being open and listening to their customers. There is no company that likes to hide behind their logo more than Google and they will do whatever it takes to not have to be open. There is a reason people are beginning to realize that Google is the next Microsoft (while Microsoft seems to have becomethe next IBM). Believe me, ESRI has a LONG WAY TO GO before they are as open as we’d all like them to be, but they do listen to their customers and that is a start.

Well the whole post is sort of like that, me claiming that Esri has been more open than Google or others.  The context with this is they started allowing their employees to blog and contact people directly, it was a big shift from the traditional call a phone number support.  So we were all so excited to see Esri employees blogging and responding to our articles.  Well eventually it all collapsed into a corporate marketing blog cycle but at that moment it looks like we felt like Esri was changing.

  1. disclaimer: probably not

GaaS: The Future That Wasn’t

James Fee's Blog - Wed, 2015-08-26 14:40

Years ago in the Arc/Info world, we used to perform most of our geoprocessing in ArcInfo Workstation on Windows.  But when we needed to really get work done, we’d use a HP-UX beast of a server to handle some of the more complex geoprocessing.  It was really easy to do right, Esri even use to have some tools to help you accomplish this.  I remember thinking that very soon we’d be able to offload most geoprocessing on remote constellations and then just get back the results.  My personal workstation wouldn’t be bogged down with processing and the server would be doing what we paid good money for.

Well we didn’t know what we were talking about at the time was “GIS as a Service”.  Mostly because we didn’t think of clouds anything more than rain makers.  But the idea of offloading our geoprocessing was something to a person we’d wager would be built into GIS by now.  Of course products like ArcGIS Server and FME Server can run processing remotely but it is not built into workflows.  You have to go out of your way to author scripts that can handle this. I’m curious why things worked out this way.

It could be that with Arc/INFO on Unix going away there wasn’t servers that could handle geoprocessing.  Or it could be that workstations these days are so fast that you don’t need to remote process.  Maybe I’m just old and stuck in my ways that I want to use an Unix server for processing, maybe put a couple of Perl scripts in there and call it a day.  But I think I’m disappointed that we just haven’t seen that much uptake on remote geoprocessing.  The only workflow I’ve used this on that was supported by the software is authoring on FME Desktop and running those workbench scripts on FME Server.


I guess we always assume there will be flying cars and houses on the moon but we’re left with airport departure TVs that show the blue screen of death, smartphones that can be hacked with SMS and our credit cards being stolen left and right.  The reality of GIS in 2015 is it is still enterprise work being done in a workgroup fashion.  GIS isn’t taken seriously by IT because we don’t take ourselves seriously.  Hiding in a corner “doing GIS” is how we’re seen by others.  Time to break the mold.

Invasive bug 'could spread in UK'

BBC Science/Nature - Wed, 2015-08-26 13:02
An invasive caterpillar that feeds on hedges is starting to spread from its established base in London across the UK.
Categories: NEWS

Hawking: Black holes store information

BBC Science/Nature - Wed, 2015-08-26 08:06
Black holes preserve information about the things that fall into them, according to Prof Stephen Hawking.
Categories: NEWS

Thousands of microbes in house dust

BBC Science/Nature - Tue, 2015-08-25 19:02
The dust in our homes contains an average of 9,000 different types of fungi and bacteria, a study suggests.
Categories: NEWS

Aphantasia: A life without mental images

BBC Science/Nature - Tue, 2015-08-25 19:00
Scientists identify the condition aphantasia, in which people cannot create images in their head
Categories: NEWS
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