Saturday, October 10, 2009

Using GIS & Remote Sensing to Measure Urban Sustainability

The environmental impact of human activity on irreplaceable natural resources has set off a national chain of events and a need to evaluate feasible sustainability solutions.

Issues that were once scholarly debates are now urgent concerns, from global warming caused by greenhouse gases to energy conservation, people the world over are taking notice and learning what they can do to reduce pollutants and waste, and tap into renewable energy sources to preserve our precious natural resources.

Smart growth and urban sustainability are such hot topics that they are now becoming part of public policy and stimulus money is being used for green initiatives. Many of these initiatives are focused on renewable energy resources, green jobs, green cities, and energy efficiency. However, talk has only just begun on how States, County and local governments will go about creating and implementing “green” action plans, determining baseline conditions and land use, and collecting the geospatial data necessary to determine the costs of such action plans.

However, not much has been said about how and where powerful new geospatial technologies can help to achieve these goals. We would like to share how we can be of service to those of you who are trying to align your purpose with many others now investing in their own green cities.

See NCDC's new capabilities brochure here.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

A Question of Sustainability

Jason San Souci, GISP (left) and Dr. Jane Goodall, founder of the Jane Goodall Institute
and UN Messenger of Peace (right) at Map World Forum in Hyderabad, India.

"Why is the most intelligent creature living on earth destroying it's own home, " asked Dr. Jane Goodall of the gathered geospatial community at Map World Forum in Hyderabad, India (February 10-13, 2009). This, one of the most important questions questions posed at the conference, got everybody thinking. Many about the different ways in which GIS is helping preserve the future of out planet.

The main theme of Map World Forum, a biennial event now held for the second time in the southern Indian capital of the state of Andhra Pradesh, was "Geospatial Technologies for Sustainable Planet Earth." Dr. Goodall, who currently travels the world for 300 days a year to raise awareness of this issue, was alerted to the significance of GIS by visualization of the tremendous effect of deforestation on Gombe National Park in Tanzania. NCDC Imaging was responsible for the QuickBird satellite image processing and forest composition analysis for this project. Not only did GIS raise her personal awareness, 3D models made it easier for the villagers around the park to understand what had happened to their natural living environment.

Delegates failed to come up with an answer to the seminal question posed by Dr. Goodall, but the theme was everywhere.