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GeoDesign Summit – Day Two

Monday, January 10th, 2011

Carl Steinitz

 

Carl Steinitz, research professor at the Graduate School of Design, Harvard delivered a keynote on Day Two at the GeoDesign Summit in Redlands. In his bio, it says that Steinitz has “devoted much of his career to improving methods of landscape planning and design.” He has organized and taught numerous workshops on large and complex landscape design change problems. He has been honored as an outstanding teacher by Harvard University.

 

With all that said, I believe Steinitz’ message was a little difficult to grasp, yet like all excellent teachers, he had a profound message.

 

He began by asking, “Why is it when all we measure is quantities we end with bad designs?”

 

He said he thinks that “what is GeoDesign?” is a social question and that GeoDesign is here to answer questions that are not easily defined.

 

“Most of the work we’re doing and demonstrating involves problems that are marginally understood and that we presume to understand.in a framewrok with many actors and views,” said Steinitz. “People need to understand the complexity, because we don’t know everything.”

 

There are four groups- people of the place, design professionals, information technologists, and geographers/scientists involved in this effort. He says we are probably underestimating the difficulty of bringing these all together. 

 

Steinitz says the geographic sciences are premised on the idea of bringing the model built on the past and present into the future. The differences in the cultures of design and science create difficulties in communication between the two sectors.

 

-Designers think a lot about the future but don’t know anything about the present and past.

 

-People who are confident in what they do come together with others and create geodesign.

 

-There is a social system for design – the assumption is the people don’t agree with each other and /or have problem they perceive or don’t perceive.

 

-The designer’s theory is the scientist’s hypothesis.

 

Other observations:

 

- Scale and size matter

-Designers are educated to start small and go big.

-Geographers or scientists start big and go small

 

Steinitz quoted the Norbert Wiener communciation model (Wiener was a contemporary of Marshall McLuhan) by saying,

 

Designers generally believe ‘I have a message with a medium and you are expected to understand the meaning.’

 

Scientists say ‘I’m looking for something in the environment and are you giving it to me?’ The medium is information technology.

 

Steinitz broke down the types of models we use in assessing landscape with questions: 

-How should landscape be described? Representation models

-How does landscape operate? Process models

-Is the current landscape working well? Evaluation models

-How might landscape be altered? Change model

-What predictable differences might the chances cause? Impact models

-How should landscape be changed? Decision model

 

The decision drives the evaluation, he noted.

 

“It would be easier to create a model for someone tomorrow than 20-100 years into the future,” Steinitz pointed out. As a big part of the GeoDesign discussion centers around creating an ontology, Steinitz said everyone has to be in the room to create an ontology.

 

Methods used to do this include: vision or anticipatory, participatory, sequential, combinatorial, constraining, rule-based, optimizing, agent-based.

 

Steinitz summarized by saying that design and geo are complicated – “geodesign is an art, not a science but depends on science.”

 

AECOM

 

AECOM gave a talk about their SSIM Framework methodology for spatial urban design analysis, which begs the question: What makes a plan inherently more sustainable than another?

 

Vishal Bhargava, senior associate, Urban Designer, said that Urban Form is the single largest determinant of GHG emissions.

 

Rather than rely purely on intuitive judgment, the SSIM Framework methodology asks the following questions –

-Which scenario has the least adverse impact on the environment?

-Which scenario has the greatest potential for sustainability?

 

In the conceptual phase, Bhargava said these are areas of importance to the SSIM Framework –

 

-Evaluate alternatives

-Quantification and comparison of performance and plan alternatives

-Conveying the informatin effectively

 

Key performance indicators –

  • Development performance
  • Urban design performance
  • Access and spatial distribution
  • Ecological performacne
  • Resource use
  • Waste output

Their approach is economics driven, and once these benchmarks and strategies are established, then they do a cost analysis.

 

PenBay Solutions

 

Stu Rich, CTO of PenBay Solutions spoke on “Taking GIS Inside Buildings –

Facilities Management and Analysis”

 

Rich asked the question, why GIS for facilities?

 

“We’re seeing tremendous growth in urban environments, tremendous building boom, and witnessing the greatest migrations of humanity the world has ever seen,” said Rich. In 2000, we became a predominantly urban species, more people for the first time living in urban environments than in rural. It looks like we are going to be doing this for a longer time. This takes pressure off our agricultural lands, but the implications for urban infrastructure is profound.”

 

Rich pointed out that 48% of emissions are due to the consumption of raw materials for construction materials. “The greenest building is the one we never build.” 

 

“We need to think about how to address that existing building stock which is unlikely to have the BIM data sets we’ve been talking about,” said Rich.

 

“How do we apply geodesign to that problem?”

 

In a nutshell, Rich said we need to extend our thinking to the interior environment – it’s not just about buildings, it’s about processes.

-We need to think of ways to not have to build a new building

-We need to extend geographic scale to interiors of buildings

 

Lightning Talks

 

There were a number of Lightning Talks offered on Friday as well that spilled over into the afternoon session. Presenters included universities, Azavea, and even Autodesk.

 

I had to catch a flight before the Idea Lab of the afternoon so did not witness the wrap up at the end of the day.

 

 

 

Global geospatial news

Wednesday, November 10th, 2010

Central Pollution Control Board solicited help from the Indian Space Research Organization to create a GIS in order to address pollution monitoring.

 

ISRO’s help sought for preparing environmental database October 27, 2010, ThaiIndianNews

The GIS will guide investors to identify locations for investments.

Gujarat govt launches investor facilitation and support tools   November 08, 2010, IndiaInfoLine

Local GIS news

Wednesday, October 27th, 2010

TFCC Partners with ZOS Communications to Offer Location-Based Notification Technology i-Newswire, October 22, 2010

 

New system helps students feel connected to park October 22, 2010, Winnifred Free Press

 

Clark County’s plats go online October 22, 2010, News and Tribune.com

 FTC ends Google Street View probe without fines Cnet News

 

 

 

 

Global GIS news

Wednesday, October 27th, 2010

Geographic info system for Tiruchi  October, 24, 2010, The Hindu

 

Laku lowers cost and raise efficiency October 23, 2010, Borneo Post Online

China’s Mapping Bureau Launches Online Map Service October 22, 2010, Marbridge Consulting 

Recent GIS awards

Wednesday, October 13th, 2010

Frisco’s GIS team was selected for the Esri President’s Award from more than 300,000 organizations worldwide for its efforts in developing Project SAFER, or Situational Awareness For Emergency Response. The program provides information – including live video – to firefighters, police officers and other first responders about Frisco schools and other public places during an emergency.

- Frisco Blog

Boston – Senate President Therese Murray, D-Plymouth, announced Monday that the town of Kingston will receive a $1,000 grant to help upgrade its geographic information system (GIS) technology. This program is used to help research, develop, and implement urban and regional planning and will improve efficiency in the designing and mapping of neighborhoods and towns.

- $1,000 GIS grant awarded to Kingston.Wicked Local Kingston

 

2010 FIFA World Cup GIS mapping

Monday, July 12th, 2010

Nelson Mandela Bay was the host city for the 2010 FIFA World Cup where Spain’s victory over The Netherlands resulted in a score of 1-0 in the last four minutes of play Sunday. The site features a GIS mapping application that visitors can launch themselves.

 

Nelson Mandela Bay – Port Elizabeth, FIFA World Cup 2010

Update from Houma Incident Command Post (ICP), Louisiana

Tuesday, June 8th, 2010

I got an interesting report from Drew Stephens, Director of the GIS Institute, on his organization’s contribution to GIS at the Houma Incident Command Post (ICP) in Louisiana:

“Shortly after the Deepwater Horizon explosion and sinking, the ICP was established in Houma. As you can imagine, GIS was quickly a major component of the response. Beginning April 30, a team of  “GIS Smoke Jumpers” from across the USA deployed to Houma, LA to build and operate an enterprise-class GIS for the ICP. Waypoint Mapping’s Devon Humphrey served as the initial GIS Team Leader and was transferred to serve as Geographic Intelligence Officer for ICP Houma. Drew Stephens of The GIS Institute was named GIS Unit Lead. Mr. Humphrey served as liaison to Incident Command and NIMS-compliant system architect advisor, while Mr. Stephens recruited and managed a team of GIS professionals to operate the GIS Unit, most having 10-20 years GIS experience.

At first, GIS staff & products were primarily serving US Coast Guard task forces on the water, and overflight / plume mapping. The team quickly migrated away from the fragmented skills, flash drives and personal laptops, to a networked drive with a file geodatabase, then to an Enterprise SDE and ArcGIS Server. ArcGIS Mobile figured prominently into the overall design, and by last Friday, The Louisiana National Guard was posting data directly to a server from the field. There are now over 150 layers of base map and operational data served to users of ArcGIS desktop, a browser-based Flex viewer and a Google Earth app. The system, which would have normally taken a year or more to plan and implement, was fully operational in less than two weeks. Map requests were dominating the GIS staff time, so standardized map products were created on a schedule, each following a data deliverable to the team – for example, the twice-daily airborne SLAR imagery would be followed by a map product available from the document management team.
The range and depth of talent was truly remarkable. As the demand for GIS products and services grew, so did the GIS team, and its ability to deliver. Federal and Intelligence assets were put into play against the spill, as were staff. The GIS lab was a common stop by visiting Admirals, Captains, Colonels, and many others. The team had the honor of meeting various members of the Unified Command, including the outgoing Commandant of the Coast Guard (Admiral Thad Allen), Coast Guard Commandant Admiral Robert Papp, Area Command FOSC Admiral Landry, Admiral Watson, Tom Strickland (Chief of Staff for Interior Secretary Salazar), David Hayes (Deputy Secretary of Department of Interior), Jane Lute (Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security), representatives from the State of Louisiana Governor’s Office, Army National Guard, Air Force, US Fish & Wildlife and many others.

There are now many more senior-level administrators who understand the power of GIS! I just returned from 21 days of service, resting and standing-by to go back…
Also, it’s tough to watch the news these days without being swept-up in the anger and blame – please know, that regardless of your take on all of this, there are many hard-working and passionate oil spill responders working really long hours with no time off in support of this ecological disaster.  Thanks for your support!

PS: if you see this by 5:20PM EDT Friday June 4, Drew will be on 880 AM in Asheville, NC and 880therevolution.com/ – it will be saved as podcast at the site under Local Edge Radio.”

Drew with US Coast Guard Commandant Admiral Robert Papp  Drew with US Coast Guard Commandant Admiral Robert Papp

Drew with US Coast Guard Commandant Admiral Robert Papp Drew with US Coast Guard Commandant Admiral Robert Papp

Jane Goodall Institute Tanzania Awarded $2.7 million (USD)

Friday, January 29th, 2010

“By using geospatial technologies and the Internet, local communities will be able to interact directly with the global carbon marketplace and demonstrate unequivocally the concrete benefits of their efforts to protect the forest,” said Dr. Lilian Pintea, director of conservation science at the Jane Goodall Institute. “As a result, local information will directly inform and influence national and global decisions regarding climate change.”

http://yubanet.com/enviro/Jane-Goodall-Institute-Tanzania-Awarded-More-Than-2-7-Million-USD-by-Royal-Norwegian-Embassy.php

News Bytes

Tuesday, January 26th, 2010

“An investigation into whether more than 39 Bettendorf voters were assigned to the wrong ward or legislative district turned up more than 300 Scott County voters casting ballots in the wrong elections.”

January 3, 2010, Kurt Allemeier, QC Times

http://www.qctimes.com/news/local/article_6b0caf24-f80e-11de-b0a9-001cc4c03286.html

“BANGALORE: The mash-up story is an old but compelling one, particularly when used for advocacy as in Tunisia where exile Sami Ben Gharbiais used a GoogleMaps mash-up to paint a different kind of landscape.

So random net surfers were startled to find the Tunisian map dotted with a string of prisoner’s names, their biographies, and videos of their family members telling the story of the human rights situation in the country.”

“Drawing Maps for Change,” by Deepa Kurup, The Hindu, January 3, 2010

http://www.hindu.com/2010/01/03/stories/2010010355291000.htm

GIS mapping technology is helping underprivileged communities get better services — from education and transportation to health care and law enforcement — by showing exactly what discrimination looks like.

“The Revolution will be Mapped” Public Intelligence Blog, Bob Burtman

http://www.phibetaiota.net/?p=19839

Houston finds a way to consolidate GIS data from city agencies

Tuesday, January 19th, 2010

A shining example of collaboration comes from Max Samfield, deputy director of the Houston Planning and Development Department, who chose a hybrid approach that requires city agencies to add basic data to a new enterprise GIS, but lets them choose whether to publish more specialized data to the system.

The goal was to “create a repository of newly accurate GIS data delivered to end-users from a central server farm. Agencies then use that scrubbed enterprise GIS data as a foundation on which to build more layers of data using their own specialized information.”

Government Technology, January 6, 2010

http://www.govtech.com/gt/736224?topic=117673

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