Winning Web-Mapping Tool Fuses Cancer Data from Various Sources to Create Decision-Utility Map Products
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Winning Web-Mapping Tool Fuses Cancer Data from Various Sources to Create Decision-Utility Map Products

Welcome to GISWeekly! From March 29-April 7, I will be traveling to two conferences, one of them will be the Autodesk 2011 Media Day Event. Keep a lookout for blog entries during the next couple of weeks.

GISWeekly examines select top news, picks out worthwhile reading from around the web, and special interest items you might not find elsewhere. This issue will feature Industry News, Top of the News, Acquisitions/Agreements/Alliances, Announcements,  New Products, Around the Web and Events Calendar.

GISWeekly welcomes letters and feedback from readers, so let us know what you think. Send your comments to me at 

Best wishes,
Susan Smith, Managing Editor

Industry News
Winning Web-Mapping Tool Fuses Cancer Data from Various Sources to Create Decision-Utility Map Products

By Susan Smith

Interview with Tarek Rashed, Ph.D., chief scientist and president, Geospatial Applied Research Experts House (GSAREH).

Tarek Rashed, Ph.D., chief scientist and president, Geospatial Applied Research Experts House (GSAREH) and his colleague, Dr. Naci Dilekli, developed the winning application for the National Cancer Institute’s (NCI) Enabling Community Use of Data for Cancer Prevention and Control Challenge, a part of the Health 2.0 Developer Challenge. held in late 2010. Dr. Rashed worked as a professor before embarking on development of applications. In this interview, Dr. Rashed outlines the goals and expectations of that application, as well as other work his organization is currently involved in.



Above is how the tool looks when it is first launched. If you would like to access cancer maps quickly, click on the buttons highlighted above.

When you click on Mammograms, for example, you will see a geographic distribution map of mammogram use. The data is organized according to counties.


Note that data might not be available for all the counties, as exemplified in the Mammograms map above.

Additional maps can be accessed by “More…” You can try to combine two maps using maps under that button.

GISWeekly: Can you give specifics about how you developed the winning application for the Health 2 Developer Challenges?

Tarek Rashed: The goal of the challenge was to present a wide range of multi-dimensional attributes to the public and decision makers with regard to the multiple facets of cancer data. The basic challenge was to develop a web-based mapping tool that fuses cancer data from multiple sources include NCI Atlas of Cancer Mortality, 1950-1994, National Center for Health Statistics (CDC), Community Health Status Indicators (CHSI) Dataset, 2009 from the US Department of Health and Human Services, the County Health Rankings, 2010 from the Mobilizing Action Toward Community Health (MATCH) project, and the Toxic Release Inventory, 2008 from Environmental Protection Agency.

The basic challenge was to develop, in less than 3 weeks, a tool that can fuse data from the above forces to collect the evidence that underpins policy making and to generate “decision-utility” map products that move data into action to inform policy in a way that policy makers will understand. To accomplish this we adopted a “utility-computing” approach to technology development – what this means is to “think like a politician” when designing the user interface to produce a tool that has enough interactive tools to engage policy makers and public but are provided in manner where strong, “beyond-mapping,” analytical power can be accessed from a simple and user friendly interface.

We used ArcGIS Flex API which enabled us to enhance the usability of the system and tailor it to novice users who with limited exposure to GIS, for example we made efforts to make the main functions as visible as possible in the interface and develop short online tutorials on how to use the application, etc. The range of tools included the ability for the user to compare and contrast cancer data at both state and county levels, facilitate geographic query; ask questions and retrieve results directly on the map, conduct complex queries on multi variables (our tool has over 1000 county-level variables related to cancer), generate different kinds of charts, and produce user customized maps. We plan in the near future to add additional support analysis of longitudinal trends of cancer information over time, enhance map-making functionalities, and provide analytical tools such as statistical modeling tools and environmental exposure analysis.

GISWeekly: What aspects of GeoDesign, if any, might you find useful in your work?

TR: The very basic concept of GeoDesign, as I understand, is to provide an “interplay” or “feedback looping,” coupling mechanisms between the creation of design proposals and their “simulated” impacts in geographic contexts so designers and planners would see on the spot what kind of changes they may bring about to real world or geographic settings through their plans. Although the bulk of applications presented in GeoDesign summits talked about physical urban or rural plans (such as change of land use or impact of new constructions), the concept of GeoDesign extends to include other change drivers such as policy, land use code, and a range of intervention agents. Here where I see the overlap and the value of bringing in GeoDesign principles to our tool. For example, the reasons we are planning to increase the analytical power of the tool and provide statistical modeling tools is to enable policy makers foresee the impact of intervention policy they may pursue (for example, raising awareness campaigning, or reducing the level of toxic release) on cancer levels in short & long terms. This is very analogous to the concept of immediate feedback loop underlying GeoDesign.    

GISWeekly: How does your applied research work now differ from the work you and your colleague did as academics? And how does your background as academics inform the work you do now?

I will start by the 2nd part of the question because I still consider myself as an academic as much as I see myself an entrepreneur, this is allowing me to connect the two dots of .edu and .com in the work I do!  As academics we are as much concerned by new research ideas and cutting edge developments in technology. The basic difference I see from the work I did when I was still a professor and what I do now in R&D as entrepreneur is in the goal underlying my applied research. I am not only focused in developing technology applications that are cutting-edge, but also in creating ones that are useful, customer oriented, and provide a value to operations on a day-to-day real world applications. This translates the meaning of success from the ability of writing an “interesting” publication or generating broader long-term impacts, to a new level that has to do with value creation, meeting customers’ important needs, developing information products that align with the organization goals and does bring positive feedback on the business environments, etc.

GISWeekly: What other applications do you see on the horizon or are you working on now?

TR: We have so far been equally focused on three industries: health informatics, risk and hazards management, and Geospatial Intelligence. We have ongoing development lines in each of these areas that are informed by solutions frameworks we developed in each. Each solution framework is made of small technology components we keep developing based on project by project basis with a vision to integrate all these components into one solution at one point in the future.

GISWeekly: Is this application offered free or is there a charge to institutions?

TR: The Geographic Awareness of Cancer tool is completely free for use by any individual or institution. We intend to keep supporting it and develop further capabilities as long as there is a public interest for it.

GISWeekly: Will your future applications remain in the health care field or will you explore other industry areas that might need similar interfaces to the public?

TR: As I mentioned above, health informatics is one of three main industry lines we are focused on at the moment and I don’t see a change in focus in the short and mid-terms. However, we maintain a level of flexibility to re-use same application logic in other areas if we happen to have the expertise (either in-house or through collaboration) that enables us to extend beyond our expertise areas. For example, I just came from Saudi Arabia where we are about to start developing an integrated risk management system for flash floods that provides a comprehensive solution for decision makers from forecasting & early warning to modeling risk to planning for missions and mitigation measures.  Many of the technology components underlying this new system have developed from previous work we did in earlier projects and we are finally managing to integrate them all into one single solution.      

Top of the News

Esri's new ArcGIS Viewer for Microsoft Silverlight can now be downloaded at no cost from the Esri Beta Community site. The viewer is a ready-to-use, configurable web mapping application built on ArcGIS API for Silverlight/WPF.

The Lincoln Police Department  launched CrimeView Dashboard into full production mode to provide its officers with a geographic information tool that will dramatically increase their awareness and responsiveness to recent crime activity. 



CrimeView Dashboard is the newest Internet browser based application by The Omega Group, Inc. that provides all levels of law enforcement personnel with an interactive display of crime incident data in both spatial and temporal visualizations. 

Trimble will showcase the Trimble MX8 Mobile Spatial Imaging System at the SPAR 2011 International Conference, March 20-24, in Houston.
Each day during SPAR, an ESP Associates, P.A. vehicle showcasing the Trimble MX8 Spatial Imaging System will be available for demo rides outside the conference center.
The Trimble booth will also feature an ongoing presentation of the Trimble MX8 Spatial Imaging System. 

Autodesk, Inc. announced the availability of the AutoCAD 2012 software products and the Autodesk Design Suite 2012 offering. The AutoCAD 2012 products and the Autodesk Design Suite 2012 series are AutoCAD-based design software that give users the flexibility to use AutoCAD in a variety of industries, and the accessibility to stay connected to their work no matter where they are. Equipped with powerful new customization tools in discipline-specific versions, the AutoCAD 2012 products enable architects, engineers and other design professionals to explore ideas, document designs and collaborate with the trusted DWG technology. The 2012 AutoCAD products and Autodesk Design Suite 2012 series are now directly connected to the free* AutoCAD WS web and mobile application.

 Eyes on Japan

Because of the concern about the Japanese earthquake and tsunami catastrophe and the subsequent threat from the nuclear power plants, GISWeekly will devote a portion of this issue to organizations that are providing technology to the relief or emergency response efforts in and around Japan.

Earthquake in Japan: Mapping the Disaster and Aftermath March 21, 2011, Center for Community Mapping – Several interactive maps available, including social media maps, Japan quake map, live footage of the devastation and nuclear impact map.

Everbridge, a leader in incident notification systems,  announced that the company delivered nearly 700 broadcasts to hundreds of thousands of people in the immediate aftermath of the Japanese earthquake and tsunami catastrophe, all while rolling out a major system upgrade. Everbridge's globally redundant infrastructure was relied upon by a large roster of global clients throughout Asia, Hawaii and the West Coast of the United States to successfully deliver critical information.

Everbridge clients reacted quickly to the natural disaster that grew from a massive earthquake into a tsunami -- and later a nuclear threat. Through the Everbridge Aware platform, numerous warnings and messages were sent using a variety of methods and communication devices. Within a matter of minutes, notifications had reached residents, employees, business continuity teams and emergency responders, empowering them to respond quickly to the unforeseen disaster.

Astrium GEO-Information Services is the sole distributor of the Formosat-2 satellite’s imagery. This high resolution satellite is the only satellite, due to its atypical orbit, capable of taking images of the same point every day. This unique ability enables the international community to follow the evolution of the Japanese earthquake disaster day by day. This is why Astrium is making its satellite imagery experts available to provide analysis reports regarding the affected areas.

These experts analyse the images from space on a daily basis, providing vital information to the emergency crews on the ground about the state of roads, bridges, buildings, nuclear and other plants. This interpreted data should assist the ground crews and emergency teams as they tackle the crisis, providing up to date information when undertaking rescue efforts, assessing the damage to infrastructure and coordinating potential evacuations.

A daily report will be produced and available for the next seven days after registering at


Because of the concern about the Libyan unrest in the Middle East, GISWeekly will devote a portion of the Top of the News section to organizations that are providing some form of technology to the relief or emergency response efforts in and around Libya.

Libya Unrest Map

Esri is serving a Libya Unrest map application that disseminates information being sent via Twitter, YouTube, and Flickr. The social media layers allow for custom keyword searches. Streetmap, OpenStreetMap, satellite imagery, and topographic maps are part of the map overlay. The public Ushadihi layer shows mapped reports. Additional map layers added as data becomes available. This map can be embedded in online articles. For more information contact Jesse Theodore, .

Interactive Map of How the Protests Unfolded in Libya March 21, 2011, Government forces maintain their hold on the strategic town of Ajdabiya. The New York Times

Libya: interactive map of the key battle zones March 21, 2011, Interactive map of the key Libyan strongholds and battle zones with yellow points to indicate rebel-held towns and cities. The Telegraph

Acquisitions, Agreements, Alliances

Professional surveyors can download the most detailed and up-to-date UK maps directly into their workflows thanks to a breakthrough partnership between emapsite and Leica Geosystems.  

Under the agreement - the first of its kind between a hosted map provider and a major survey manufacturer - OS MasterMap data is instantly available via a tailored download from emapsite to users of Leica surveying instruments.

TomTom has been recognized at the 2011 International Esri Partner Conference (EPC) for being Esri’s longest standing partner. TomTom (previously Tele Atlas) has been a productive long-time partner with industry giant Esri of Redlands, California.


The Government of Canada  announced funding in support of geomatics, a leading-edge industry that includes surveying, mapping, satellite and remote sensing and navigation. Geomatics technologies enable applications that are important in the daily lives of Canadians in such areas as natural resource management, infrastructure, defense, security and public safety, emergency management, transportation and public health.

ERDAS and data partner Digital Globe are proud to announce another stop on the 11 World Tour in Longmont, CO on March 23, 2011.

During this event, ERDAS and DigitalGlobe will showcase the power of WorldView-2’s 8-band multispectral imagery in ERDAS 2011 products, including ERDAS IMAGINE, LPS, ERDAS APOLLO and ERDAS Extensions for ArcGIS. By exploiting WorldView-2 imagery in ERDAS software, users minimize their pre-processing requirements and utilize sophisticated product capabilities to deliver intelligence and highly accurate terrain, feature and image products.

GEO-11, the UK’s No 1 GEO Event, will host a series of seminars to complement the highly successful trade exhibition and other networking opportunities on offer. Covering hot topics such as the use of Geographical Information System (GIS) tools for planning solar energy installations and the use of laser scanning and other geospatial technologies to resolve ‘right to light’ conflicts, the presentations are free to attend for visitors to the event. The GEO-11 seminar programme will also feature the laser scanning of dinosaur skeletons, the use of GIS to save millions in the public sector and optimising vehicle routing together with a major product launch from one of the event sponsors, Leica Geosystems. 

GEO-11 will take place on the 06 and 07 of April at the Holiday Inn, London, Elstree a new venue for 2011 that offers first class exhibition and conference services and deluxe accommodation and leisure facilities. In addition to the excellent facilities on offer, the new venue also provides free parking and visitors who pre-register can benefit from free refreshments, priority onsite registration and a free trial subscription to industry leading publications. Those wishing to extend their stay can add to their experience with attendance at the event’s Gala Dinner sponsored by KOREC with pre-dinner drinks sponsored by ESRI UK.

For further information visit


VUEWorks, Inc. is pleased to announce that E.J. Prescott, Inc. of Gardiner, Maine, has joined its channel partner program. E.J. Prescott specializes in water, sewer, and storm water solutions, and is a major distributor of waterworks inventory to municipalities. E.J. Prescott will provide sales, implementation, integration services, and training for VUEWorks(R) GIS-integrated asset management solutions to municipal and utility clients throughout New England.

DAT/EM Systems International welcomes Josh Mulkey to its Software Engineering team.
In this position, Mulkey provides software development routines for DAT/EM’s widely used “Capture for AutoCAD” module. Capture for AutoCAD is a mapping production tool that turns a photogrammetric stereoplotter into a 3D ground coordinate digitizer for AutoCAD®. The product operator collects ground features directly into AutoCAD from aerial photographs and satellite imagery.

New Products

American Roamer, the worldwide mapping intelligence source for the mobile and network ecosystem,  announced the launch of MapELEMENTS, the first cloud-based interactive mapping application that aggregates network coverage information for the wireless, cable and telecom ecosystem.

Pitney Bowes Business Insight announced the launch of MapInfo Manager, a revolutionary application that allows GIS managers, IT managers and data stewards to more easily catalog, search and locate geospatial data for anyone within an organization. By ensuring that users are never more than three clicks away from finding their necessary data sets, MapInfo Manager reduces the countless hours spent hunting for data and instead allows more time for data visualization and analysis.

CARIS, with its latest Bathy DataBASE 3.1 software release, continues to solve the demands for robust and scalable data management for the storage and analysis of ever-expanding volumes of sonar and LiDAR data.

Bathy DataBASE now works with Oracle Spatial 11g utilizing the GeoRaster and geo point cloud data structures for storage. Oracle Spatial has been specifically designed to meet the needs of advanced geographic information system applications and is recognized as offering industry-leading security, performance and scalability for mission-critical spatial information assets.

Topcon Positioning Systems (TPS) introduces its patented Fence Antenna technology and expanded channel support in the new GR-5 GNSS receiver. The GR-5 provides industry-leading tracking sensitivity and multipath rejection in a compact and lightweight package.

Cardinal Systems will be demonstrating its VrLiDAR Mapping Software at the SPAR Conference in Houston, TX from March 21-24.

VrLiDAR’s vector collection methods have been characterized by our clients as “revolutionary” and a “game changer” in ’s marketplace.  VrLiDAR offers a solution to problems faced by mapping professionals today by integrating the collection of point cloud data with VR Mapping’s time tested photogrammetric mapping software.

BroadMap, a leading Geographic Information Systems (GIS) data, services and solutions provider,  announced the latest quarterly release of Map Connect™ Enterprise, the company’s flagship enterprise GIS data platform. Based on industry-leading NAVTEQ map data, BroadMap’s user-friendly data platform enables rich map display and superior geocoding functionality right out of the box.

IceWEB, Inc.,  provider of Unified Data Storage and building blocks for cloud storage networks, announced  that it is partnering with TST to offer the Enterprise visualization appliance powered by Google Earth on GSA contract, GS-35F-0084V, Schedule 70, providing government customers the ability to conveniently purchase and deploy the appliance and IceWEB Storage systems. The IceWEB EVA Appliance, announced separately, offers customers high performance, easy to implement and managed enterprise GIS platform coupled with industry leading data storage that provides integrated SAN/NAS functionality on a single platform.

Avenza Systems Inc., producers of MAPublisher cartographic software for Adobe Illustrator and Geographic Imager geospatial tools for Adobe Photoshop, is pleased to announce an updated version of PDF Maps, the popular geospatial PDF reader for Apple iOS devices including the iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch.

Around the Web

GISCafe Today Blog

WVU mapping soils' ability to absorb radiation March 23, 2011, Charleston Daily Mail

ADSIC Receives an Award of Excellence for Geographical Information System Implementation from (GISWORX 2011) March 22, 2011, Zawya

Report shows growth of GIS engineering applications March 22, 2011 SpatialSource

Malaysia to draft Geospatial Information Act March 18, 2011, Asia Pacific FutureGov


24th Annual GIS-T Symposium
Date: March 28 - 30, 2011
Place: Hershey, PA USA

The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials sponsors the annual GIS for Transportation Symposium. It is a chance for persons in government and private industry who are interested in the use of GIS for transportation purposes to get together and share experiences, see state-of-art software, and learn more about this field. The Symposium annually attracts over 400 Symposium registrants in addition to the 50 exhibitors in the technology hall

17th Annual California GIS Conference - Meeting California's Challenges
Date: March 28 - 31, 2011
Place: Radisson Hotel & Conference Center
Fresno, CA USA

CalGIS is definitely the place to be to learn about the Best in California GIS. A comprehensive educational program (for beginners and advanced professionals), networking events and an exhibit hall are all featured at CalGIS. Make plans to attend the 2011 conference in Fresno!

Enterprise Strategies for Location Intelligence
Date: March 30 - 31, 2011
Place: Wyndham , Chicago, IL USA

Join Google, Oracle, ESRI, IBM, Bloomberg, Jones Lang LaSalle, SAP, GIS Cloud, FortiusOne, TeleCommunicationSystems, Netezza and many more top industry leaders. This event is the key meeting place for all location and enterprise professionals who are looking for the best way to monetize their service and get to grips with the leading business models of the future.

GeoDATA 2011
Date: March 30, 2011
Place: The Emirates
London, United Kingdom

GeoDATA is a FREE series of one day educational seminars. It provides the perfect platform for you to come and explore the latest innovative tools and techniques to help you get the most from your geospatial data investment.

Whether you are new to geographic information or simply looking for smarter, more cost-effective solutions and best practice advice, this is the event for you.

MAPublisher training
Date: March 31 - April 1, 2011
Place: New York, NY USA

Whether you are new to MAPublisher, an experienced user or simply thinking about a purchase, MAPublisher training is worthwhile experience. Avenza offers MAPublisher training at hands-on computer labs around North America.

GeoDATA 2011
Date: April 5, 2011
Place: Aston Conference
Birmingham, United Kingdom

GeoDATA is a FREE series of one day educational seminars. It provides the perfect platform for you to come and explore the latest innovative tools and techniques to help you get the most from your geospatial data investment.

Whether you are new to geographic information or simply looking for smarter, more cost-effective solutions and best practice advice, this is the event for you.

GEO-11: a world of geomatics and GIS innovations
Date: April 6 - 7, 2011
Place: Holiday Inn London-Elstree
London, USA

Each year, the No.1 GEO Event combines the UK's only dedicated national geospatial trade exhibition with a packed programme of free seminars, live product demos and, of course, great networking opportunities, including a Gala Dinner of good food, fun and games. The organisers work with the geospatial industry to create an event that attracts visitors through the door year after year.

GeoDATA 2011
Date: April 7, 2011
Place: Park Plaza Hotel
Leeds, United Kingdom

GeoDATA is a FREE series of one day educational seminars. It provides the perfect platform for you to come and explore the latest innovative tools and techniques to help you get the most from your geospatial data investment.

Whether you are new to geographic information or simply looking for smarter, more cost-effective solutions and best practice advice, this is the event for you.

GITA’s 2011 Geospatial Solutions Conference
Date: April 10 - 14, 2011
Place: Grapevine, Dallas, TX USA

Since last year's event, we have overhauled the entire conference – the program, the presenters, the networking opportunities – everything. This effort has been in response to clear feedback from you that our conference must be contemporary, credible and comprehensive. Here is what we have done to address your concerns

Map Middle East 2011
Date: April 11 - 13, 2011
Place: Ritz Carlton Hotel
Doha, Qatar

Middle East - a region known for its world class infrastructure, great trade opportunities, multi-cultural population and willingness to adopt latest technologies is paving a path of sustainable development. In order to capitalize its available human and natural resources, it is adopting advanced technologies and applications serving various verticals. Geospatial technologies are one of the key technologies which are making remarkable contribution towards this effort. It serves as an excellent decision-making tool at various levels of governance and application domains. Geoinformatics has been identified to be vital for improving the economic productivity of a country. Efforts are being made to provide an enabling environment for the uptake of GIT in Middle East by promoting the development of technologies such as Spatial Data Infrastructure, Enterprise GIS, Web GIS, Mapping with Earth Observation Satellites.

JURSE 2011
Date: April 11 - 13, 2011
Place: Munich, Germany

JURSE 2011 intends to be a unique forum for urban remote sensing with respect to the Information Technology and Geoscience community. A continuously increasing amount of multiple sensory data offers opportunities to address new questions and solve existing problems more effectively in urban remote sensing.

“Remote Sensing – the Synergy of High Technologies”
Date: April 13 - 15, 2011
92 Sudakovo, Domodedovo District, Moscow, Russia

You are welcome to the V Anniversary International Conference “Remote Sensing – the Synergy of High Technologies” to be held on April 13 to 15, 2011 in high-class ATLAS PARK-HOTEL near Moscow located in one of the most beautiful and comfortable places of Moscow Region, 15 minutes’ drive from Domodedovo airport (30 km from the Moscow Ring Road)

EOGC 2011
Date: April 13 - 15, 2011
Place: Munich, Germany

The EOGC2011 Conference is jointly organized by the Technical University of Munich (Germany) and the Peking University (China), University of Waterloo (Canada); co-sponsored by International Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing (ISPRS), International Cartographic Association (ICA), International Association of Geodesy (IAG), and International Society for Digital Earth (ISDE). The local host for 2011 is the Technical University of Munich (TUM).

2011 ESRI Petroleum User Group Conference
Date: April 18 - 21, 2011
Place: Houston, TX USA

This unique annual forum gives you an opportunity to gain a more competitive edge in your industry. The conference is chockfull of valuable sessions and activities that foster problem solving and advancing GIS-driven results in your business.

O'Reilly Where 2.0 Conference
Date: April 19 - 21, 2011
Place: Hyatt Regency
Santa Clara, CA USA

Where is business: where people live, where they go, and where, when, and how they spend their money are now key factors in business success. From product development to distribution, marketing, and sales, location technologies help companies identify, understand, and serve their markets far more effectively than ever before.

Field Service 2011
Date: April 26 - 29, 2011
Place: Sheraton Wildhorse Pass Resort & Spa
Chandler, AZ USA

Attend Field Service 2011 and tackle the latest strategies in core service functions including mobility, workforce management, technical support and knowledge management. Additionally be sure to gain as much insight to the new areas hounding service executives all over the world including innovative developments in e-Service, CRM, Data Management, developing service leadership and effective mobile resources management.

Manufacturers: Register now for 3 days or more and receive 25% off your registration with promo code: 10723XZ965BA