Mappamondo GIS Newsletter - N°35 December 2012

Welcome to the December 2012 edition! In this newsletter you will find announcements about news, training opportunities, new products, jobs, technical tips and links to resources concerning Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and Remote Sensing. Don't miss the monthly quiz with prizes!

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Featured this month:

  1. Events: Fishery Analyst now online at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science!
  2. The map: Where minerals are
  3. The data source: MODIS Vegetation Continuous Fields
  4. The image: Superstorm Sandy: interactive before and after images
  5. Quiz: where is it?
  6. Training: Not only GIS: What is sustainability?
  7. Job opportunities:
    • Geospatial scientist - Toliara, Madagascar
    • Ocean Ecology Laboratory Chief - Greenbelt, Maryland - USA

Software trial available for download and other products:

  1. Fishery Analyst V2, GeoDB Loader, GPX converter, PANDA, Fishery Analyst Online
  2. Book: Advanced Manual for ArcGIS 9 and 10. Building GIS models with the ModelBuilder (Italian only)
  3. Data collection: Customizable  Mediterranean fauna and flora identification cards
Fishery Analyst now online at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science!

In the interest of dissemination of data products to fisheries management agencies, the fishing community, and the general public the Multispecies Research Group of The Virginia Marine Institute of Marine Science is now providing online access to catch data via an interactive mapping application, Fishery Analyst Online (FAO).  

The web GIS application allows querying the catch data based on species, date, individual length, sex, maturity stage, disease and displaying information about the number of individual caught or the total biomass. Point data can be aggregated in grids of a user defined size. Charts displaying catch by state, research cruise, month and length-frequency histograms are also generated.  

Currently available data are being collected under the Chesapeake Bay Multispecies Monitoring and Assessment Program, ChesMMAP started in 2002 and the NorthEast Area Monitoring and Assessment Program,  NEAMAP started in 2006.  

These programs were developed to assist in filling data gaps, and ultimately to support stock-assessment modeling activities at both single and multispecies scales, maximize the biological and ecological information collected for several recreationally, commercially, and ecologically important species and to quantify geographic and seasonal distribution of these species.  

To access the web GIS application visit the VIMS website:

Fishery Analyst User Interface

Fishery Analyst User Interface

Map of the month: Where minerals are

We have already mentioned the issue of peak conventional oil, but oil is not the only non renewable resource we are consuming at ever increasing rate disregarding the fact that we live in a finite planet with finite resources.

Armin Reller, a materials chemist at the University of Augsburg in Germany, and his colleagues are among the few groups who have been investigating the availability of metals and the data they provide highlights the need to re-think technology and consumption.

He estimates that we have about 10 years before we run out of viable indium, extensively used in making flat screen TVs. Its impending scarcity could already be reflected in its price: in January 2003 the metal sold for around $60 per kilogram; by August 2006 the price had shot up to over $1000 per kilogram.

The same goes for many other rare or becoming "rare"  metals such as platinum, tantalum, antimony and even the more common zinc, copper, nickel and the phosphorus used as fertiliser. Many renewable sources of energy rely on the availability of some of these minerals including fuel cells, solar panels and wind turbines. So just what proportion of these materials have we used up so far, and how much is there left to go round? Getting the exact number is not easy as both annual global consumption and extractable amounts can only be estimated. But the best estimates made with available information by this group of scientists should have drawn some attention.

We here feature a map showing where the main reserves of minerals are located around the world together with the consumption rate by average western citizen and estimated time it will take for the reserve to run out. Resources grabbing has always been at the base of most political tensions and wars.

Read more here

Where minerals are How long mineral reserve will last

Data source: MODIS Vegetation Continuous Fields and improved land-water mask

The Vegetation Continuous Fields dataset provides proportional estimates for vegetative cover types: woody vegetation, herbaceous vegetation, and bare ground as a 250 meters resolution grid.

The product is derived from all seven bands of the MODerate-resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) sensor onboard NASA's Terra satellite.

The continuous classification scheme of the VCF product may describe areas of heterogeneous land cover better than traditional discrete classification schemes.

While traditional classification schemes indicate where land cover types are, this VCF product is great for showing how much of a land cover such as "forest" or "grassland" exists anywhere on a land surface.

Concurrently to the above product, a Global land water mask was created at 250m spatial resolution and released on August 2009. It was generated from remotely sensed data from the Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (SRTM) and data from the MODIS instrument. It represents a vast improvement over the 1km spatial resolution product that proceeded it as it corrects numerous errors in locations of rivers and identifies whole new landscapes of small lakes in the far North.

To download the dataset visit the Global Land Facility website.


Vegetation Continuous Field

The image: Superstorm Sandy's interactive before and after images

Dramatic interactive satellite images to see parts of the north-eastern coastline of the United States before and after the damage caused by Hurricane Sandy were produced by a NOAA and Google collaboration and are available on the ABC news site.

You can hover over each satellite photo to view the before and after comparison.

Superstorm Sandy before and after images

Training, not only GIS: What is sustainability? 

To contribute to its environmental commitment Mappamondo GIS has run in 2012 a series of free seminars on sustainability in the "World Café" open format.

We covered subjects such as natural resources availability, peak conventional oil, energy sources and EROEI (Energy Returned On Energy Invested), the ecological and carbon footprints, fundamental human needs, system resilience, programmed obsolescence, limits of the growth economic model and the GDP index, green washing, industrial agriculture and alternative food production systems including permaculture.

Stay tuned for further news on these subjects!


Dive GIS classroom


Quiz: where is it?

Play Mappamondo GIS quiz! Send the correct answer to . You will enter the monthly drawing to win a 10% discount voucher on any of our products or services! The fastest player to send the answer will be also rewarded. Send your name, surname, email and mailing address with the name of the  capital city depicted in the following satellite image:


December 2012 Quiz

May 2011 quiz

October 2011 edition

Answer: Afar Triple Junction The Afar Triple Junction is a junction of three tectonic rifts (or ridges) centered in the Afar Depression, informally known as the Afar Triangle, of north-eastern Africa. Here, the Red Sea Rift meets the Aden Ridge and the East African Rift. It also represents the junction of the Arabian Plate and the two protoplates which are beginning to form as the African Plate splits apart along the East African Rift. The Afar depression, also known as Danakil Desert, is one of the hottest place on earth and it's characterized by spectacular geological features.

Read more

Winners: Congratulation to Giulia Fruscalzo from Italy for winning the draw among all those that sent the correct answer and to Patricia Moehring from Lebanon to be the fastest player to send the right answer!

Featured jobs

Ocean Ecology Laboratory Chief - Greenbelt, Maryland - USA
Employer: NASA
Expires: January 11, 2013
Description: In addition to supervisory functions, the successful candidate will serve as an expert consultant in planning, monitoring, and administering ocean ecology projects of national or international significance. Specifically, he or she will provide expertise and oversight for the development and testing of advanced ocean color sensors, e.g., the Ocean Radiometer for Carbon Assessment (ORCA) instrument; scientific expertise with respect to the Visible/Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) instrument on JPSS and ocean related areas of NASA's developing Carbon Monitoring system; serving as consultant and scientific lead for ocean color issues related to NASA's PACE mission and the ACE and GEOCAPE decadal survey missions; and providing leadership in the planning and collection of mission validation field data and associated campaigns

Geospatial scientist - Toliara, Madagascar
Employer: Blue Venture
Expires: December 15, 2012
Description: Fundamental to this position is using satellite imagery, together with socioeconomic and biophysical GIS data, to map the distribution of mangrove forests and their carbon stocks, and develop models to quantify the emission reductions achievable through mangrove REDD+.

Software trial available for download

Download our free trials with user manual, tutorial and demo dataset! 

Read more!

Download Buy Now

Fishery Analyst

Fishery Analyst is an ArcGIS 9.x and 10 application developed to effectively analyze and visualize temporal and spatial patterns of fishery dynamics. The main functions are quantitative estimation and visualization of catch and effort and their variation in space and time, analysis of fishing vessel utilization, data quality control, and deriving information on the location of important economic and threatened species. The application provides a user-friendly analysis interface allowing for easy and diverse output production. The interface allows the user to choose the analysis to perform (effort, catch density, catch per unit of effort etc) and to select data on criteria such as year, vessel name and/or size, and fish species caught. The output can be generated as yearly, monthly, quarterly or user-defined date interval plots. Results can be plotted in pre-defined map layouts and saved in quantitative GIS data file formats (raster and vector) or as graphic files and times series animations. The application provides an option to produce non-confidential plots for data protected by confidentiality policies. Click here to read more

Fishery Analyst

GeoDB Loader

The GeoDBLoader is an ArcObjects application for ArcGIS 9.x aiming to automate and speed up the process of converting and transferring spatial data from file based storage formats to a Personal or Enterprise Geodatabase or between Geodatabases. It is suited for both, one time operations, as well as for routine updates of a geodatabase. It allows all the following: Mapping each input dataset (shapefile, featureclass, other spatial format supported by ArcGIS) to a corresponding featureclass in the output geodatabase; Mapping each input attribute to one ore more corresponding attributes in an output featureclass in the geodatabase; Mapping input attribute values to new output values (e.g. to convert input values to standardized values); Creating additional attributes and populate them with new values (constant values or values from an input attribute); Mapping and/or creating joined standalone tables;

GeoDB Loader

GPX converter

The GPX converter is an ArcObjects Application that allows for easy conversion of your GIS data (shapefiles, feature classes in a geodatabase) to GPX format (the GPS Exchange Format). GPX is a light-weight XML data format for the interchange of GPS data (waypoints, routes, and tracks) between applications and Web services on the Internet. The GPX Converter is build for easy integration with ArcGIS and ArcIMS.

GPX screenshot

PANDA: Protected Areas Network Design Application (Free!)

P.A.N.D.A. is a stand-alone application developed using Visual Basic and ArcObjects. It was developed to provide a user friendly framework for systematic protected areas network design to ArcGIS users. Through the use of P.A.N.D.A. the designer can explore different hypothetical configurations of a system of protected areas in the planning area. Conservation achievements and associated costs of each scenario are based on the available data and knowledge. The designer can edit the scenario by interactively modifying the status of the planning units among 4 managed categories (Included, Protected, Available, Excluded). He can then explore the target table to see the resulting changes in conservation achievements of the new scenario and the associated costs. P.A.N.D.A allows interacting with the software MARXAN by providing an easy way to run Marxan over the current scenario and display the results into ArcGIS format. ArcGIS data files are converted to and from Marxan data files in the background. The user can then use P.A.N.D.A. main interface to refine Marxan solutions. Conservation features distribution, cost and Marxan irreplaceability score can be easily mapped by pressing the corresponding buttons. Click here to read more...


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