SULAIR Home

Featured Projects

Geographic Impacts of Global Change: Mapping the Stories of Californians by the Stanford Geospatial Center and BIO 128 Class.
Climate Change

Global warming and the effects of climate change pose great risks for Californians. Climate change will result in more frequent and more intense forest fires, more air pollution and deadly heat waves, a significant reduction in the snowpack and state water supplies, sea level rise and erosion along California's long coastline, and billions of dollars in damage to our agricultural, tourism, recreation, and other industries. These impacts have the potential to be hugely disruptive to how local governments operate.

This map was created by the BIO 128 class in collaboration with Felicia Bill of the Stanford Geospatial Center to present how forces of global change are manifested locally throughout California, with the intent to inform the public, businesses and policymakers about the human dimensions of environmental change.

Stanford Campus Mapping Project by the Stanford Geospatial Center.
CBM Screenshot.JPG

The Stanford Geospatial Center, as part of its mission of supporting and enhancing geospatial instruction and research, has created a series of campus web mapping applications that showcase the latest trends in geospatial technology.

These interactive maps will serve as a platform for departments and libraries to make their services and resources available in an intuitive and functional way.

GIS for Good: Applications of GIS for International Development and Humanitarian Assistance, Spring 2014 course.
GIS for Good Map Gallery

This class examined the diverse range of factors impacting refugees and other displaced persons. Students took on a quarter-long, team project in conjunction with UNHCR to assess the physical grounds and social structure in which the refugees live, and proposed measures to improve those conditions and facilitate development during the many years refugees may stay in a camp. For youth and adolescents, this can encompass critical years of development. By forming partnerships with humanitarian organizations, students were able to practice applying the course content in real-world settings.

Read more…

San Francisco Anti-Eviction Story Map, by Jordan Carroll, Caroline Scanlon and Natasha Weiss
Anti-Eviction Mapping Project

This multimedia map aims to bring to life the experience of evicted individuals in San Francisco. Featured are the stories of five former or current residents of San Francisco who were evicted from their homes. The Anti-Eviction Mapping Project uses interactive maps to raise awareness and inspire collective action around the issue of no-fault evictions in the Bay Area.

View the map …


Mass Shootings in America: A Geographic Approach by the Stanford Geospatial Center

This website has been built by the Stanford Geospatial Center for the purpose of understanding the history of mass shootings in the United States over the past few decades. It is hoped that by presenting the data in visual form, patterns may emerge that can be studied to help prevent future tragedies and that this information contributes to the national debate.​​

Read more…

Carleton Watkins Exhibit, Cartographic Visualizationsby the Stanford Geospatial Center.
Watkins Map Image

A cartographic digital accompaniment to the Carleton Watkins exhibit at the Cantor Arts Center. The Stanford Geospatial Center created a series of cartographic visualizations to be used in digital apps and wall mounted displays that bring an additional dimension of geography and location to Watkins amazing images of Yosemite Valley, The Columbia River, and The Pacific Coast. In partnership with Stanford’s Center for Spatial and Textual Analysis, the Bill Lane Center for the American West, the Cantor Arts Center, and Branner Earth Sciences Library.

Read more…

INOGO: The Osa & Golfito Initiative:, facilitated by the Stanford Woods Institute
View Larger Map

The Osa & Golfito Initiative, “INOGO”, is an international collaborative effort to develop a strategy for sustainable human development and environmental stewardship in the Osa and Golfito Cantons of Costa Rica. The effort’s core is a collaboration between people and institutions in the US and Costa Rica, facilitated by the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment at Stanford University. The Initiative members have an extensive range of knowledge — from education to marine ecosystems — permitting a holistic analysis of the issues in the region. Faculty members from Stanford include William Durham (Anthropology), Rodolfo Dirzo (Biology), Larry Crowder (Center for Ocean Solutions), Lynne Gaffikin (School of Medicine), and Martin Carnoy (Education and Economics). For more information please see the INOGO project website or contact Emily Arnold (ebarnold@stanford.edu). For questions specific to our use of ArcGIS Online please contact Eben Broadbent (eben@amazonico.org).

Read more…

Assessment of Climate Change in the Southwest United States — Chapter 9: Coastal Issues by coordinating lead authors Margaret R. Caldwell and Eric H. Hartge
Assessment of Climate Change in the Southwest United States: Coastal Issues

These images are from Chapter 9: Coastal Issues of the Southwest Climate Assessment — a technical advisory report to the National Climate Assessment. These two images represent the change in housing density over thirty year periods in the Southern California region. The high rate of coastal development during the thirty-year period between 1950 and 1980 happened during a period of historically low intensity storm events. The Stanford Geospatial Center contributed significantly to the data acquisition and visual representation of this project.

Read more…

Geosciences

The influence of watershed properties on downstream elemental concentrations in the Sierra Nevada, California, by Blair Burgreen, Valerie Rosen, and Eric Smith
Influence of watershed properties on downstream elemental concentrations in the Sierra Nevada, California

Landscape evolution is often studied by using elemental and isotopic concentrations in stream waters and their deposits as proxies for paleo-weathering and erosion rates. In this study, we test this relationship in a modern drainage system by examining for statistically significant correlations between landscape properties of watersheds and their respective stream water solute concentrations for 14 sample sites in the Feather River drainage system of the Sierra Nevada, California.

Landscape properties examined include watershed area, slope, curvature, and aspect. Modeling results show that watershed properties are unable to explain stream water elemental concentrations, indicating that other factors (such as fluid residence time in the soil) may need to be taken into consideration. Further analysis shows that Fe concentrations have a significant positive correlation with Al concentrations, which may represent the formation of kaolinite in certain areas of the stream profile. This indicates that the model also needs to better account for physical and chemical processes, such as clay formation, that are likely impacting solute concentrations in the stream water.

Read more…

Uplifting resurgent dome in Long Valley, CA
Uplifting resurgent dome in Long Valley, CA

Precise relative gravity measurements conducted in Long Valley (California) in 1982 and 1998 reveal a decrease in gravity of as much as -107 ± 6 microgals (1 microgal = 10-8 meters per square second) centered on the uplifting resurgent dome. A positive residual gravity change of up to 64 ± 15 microgals was found after correcting for the effects of uplift and water table fluctuations. Assuming a point source of intrusion, the density of the intruding material is 2.7 × 103 to 4.1 × 103 kilograms per cubic meter at 95 percent confidence. The gravity results require intrusion of silicate magma and exclude in situ thermal expansion or pressurization of the hydrothermal system as the cause of uplift and seismicity

Read More…

Social Sciences

Predicting School Performance in the Bay Area, by Nicholas Biddle, Nicole Tirado Strayer, Koshlan Mayer-Blackwell and Becca Siegel
Predicting School Performance in the Bay Area

Previous research shows that poverty and other neighborhood risk factors negatively impact childhood academic achievement. Causal mechanisms, however, are unclear. The majority of research modeling the effect of neighborhoods on school performance has been limited to examining correlations census tract data and school level outcomes. Researchers have identified several methodological shortcomings to this approach – shortcoming which we can overcome using spatial analysis tool. For instance, it is difficult to determine complete demographic data for schools without accurate addresses for each study, and that data alone may fail to differentiate between the consequences of poverty in the home versus negative neighborhood effects on a child’s school.

Read more…

San Francisco Anti-Eviction Story Map, by Jordan Carroll, Caroline Scanlon and Natasha Weiss
Anti-Eviction Mapping Project

This multimedia map aims to bring to life the experience of evicted individuals in San Francisco. Featured are the stories of five former or current residents of San Francisco who were evicted from their homes. The Anti-Eviction Mapping Project uses interactive maps to raise awareness and inspire collective action around the issue of no-fault evictions in the Bay Area.

View the map…

Ohio campaign donations, by Dylan Bulkley, Dylan Clayton, and Hannah Rusk
Ohio campaign donations

Ohio always plays a key role in deciding the outcome of presidential elections. Candidates are especially invested in Ohio, with its varying demographics (highly concentrated urban areas juxtaposed with rural farmlands) and substantial number of electoral votes that make it an important swing state. Dylan, Dylan and Hannah evaluated political participation in terms of campaign donations. In addition to looking at the sheer number of donations for a given area they also explored how the size of donations varied over different regions. In this project they looked at the relationship between the total number of donations in each Ohio zip code, the total monetary amount raised by those donations in the 2012 election, and those zip codes’ proximities to a) campaign field office locations, and b) institutions of higher learning.

Read more…

Wildfire History in Western Australia, by Michelle Berry, Caleb Tomlinson, and Rachel Powell
Wildfire history in Western Australia

The Martu aboriginal group is known to use fire as a hunting tool and has had a strong influence on ecological fire regimes in the Western Australian desert. Michelle, Caleb and Rachel used historical aerial photographs from two sites in Martu tribal land to analyze differences in natural and anthropogenic fire regimes. One site contains several waterholes and the other site contains only a few. It has been hypothesized that water sources can be used as a proxy for human activity in severely water-limited ecosystems. GIS analysis demonstrates that there are significant differences in the spatial patterns of fires across the two test sites. However, landscapes within one hunting day’s distance of a waterhole were not significantly patchier than random points. Furthermore, the area of a fire was not well predicted by its distance to nearest waterhole. There is some evidence that distance to modern roads predicts fire size, but more sites need to be analyzed to determine whether either variable is an appropriate surrogate for human habitation.

Read more…

Health

The Effects of UV Exposure on Preterm Birth Rates in the United States, by Dr. Paul Wise, Amy Showen, and Jeff Sweet
Seasonal Variation in UV Exposure

Preterm birth, or birth at less than 37 completed weeks of gestation, is a significant and persistent health problem in the United States and worldwide. In the United States, nearly half a million babies (or more than one out of every ten babies) are born premature each year, and survivors are at increased risk for acute complications and long-term sequelae. The causes of preterm birth are poorly understood, though it is associated with numerous complex and interrelated biological, psychological, and social risk factors. More recently, environmental exposures, such as pollutants and weather patterns, have been considered in attempting to explain the etiology of preterm birth. Sunlight, or more specifically UVB radiation, is an unexplored exposure that may plausibly be implicated in preterm birth due to its critical function in vitamin D synthesis. We used ArcGIS to explore whether different degrees of sun exposure in populations may influence preterm birth outcomes. This project is ongoing and nearing completion.

Read More …

New York state air pollution health effects, by Mariana de Brito, Daniela Hamann-Nazaroff, Megan Klevze, and Marilu Corona
New York state air pollution health effects

Air pollution has serious public health implications causing between 22,000–52,000 premature deaths and countless cases of illness in the United States of America each year (Mokdad et al, 2004). The goal of this project was to estimate the spatial distribution and magnitude of health impacts from air pollution, specifically exposure to fine particulate matter and ozone, over one year in New York State (NYS). Mariana, Daniela, Megan and Marilu hope to provide the population of NYS with a resource to better understand the harmful effects of poor air quality and the motivation to address sources of air pollution.

Pollutant concentrations of ozone (O3) and fine particulate matter (PM2.5) measured by air quality monitors were interpolated over the area of New York using Empirical Bayesian Kriging and averaged over each census block in the state. Based on these interpolated concentrations of O3 and PM2.5, they calculated incidence of asthma, bronchitis, congestive heart failure in elderly, risk of death from cancer, hospital admissions due to pollution exposure, and premature death for each census block’s population. Using data primarily from 2010, they estimated 6,000 premature deaths are attributed to air pollution in NYS annually and thousands of cases of the other health indicators.

They also analyzed the distribution and magnitude of stationary point-source PM2.5 emissions from industrial-scale combustion facilities using a hot spot analysis and ordinary least squares regression. They found no statistically significant correlation between stationary point source emissions and air concentrations, likely due to the high level of uncertainty in our interpolated concentrations which does not capture local variability, as well as the lack of other important factors such as meteorological conditions. Finally, they investigated the correlation between pollution exposure and various demographic groups and at-risk populations, but found no statistically significant difference in exposure among any group. Maps showing air pollution concentrations, potential pollutant sources, populations at risk, and estimated health impacts were created to visualize the results.

Read More…

Riders for Health: a case study on improving health care accessibility via transportation in the southern province of Zambia, by Vincent Chen, Justine Fedronic, Sarah McCurdy, and Tyler Stutzman
Riders for Health

In countries with large rural populations, health care accessibility is largely dependent on transportation conditions. Riders for Health, a UK based NGO, aims to increase accessibility by providing fleet management services, such as training health workers to use vehicles responsibly in the face of the challenging Zambian landscape. To determine whether these services are effective in improving accessibility to healthcare, this paper aims to analyze 1) if Riders for Health has increased service outreach efforts, and 2) if population, precipitation, and accessibility (combing terrain and distance factors) impacts the distribution of service points.

Read More…

Water availability in Kenya, by Jeff Ho and Maeva Fincker
Water availability in Kenya

In order to assess disparities in the accessibility of drinking water in Kenya, Jeff and Maeva created an index of drinking water accessibility based on the quantity of available water, the water supply type, the level of water treatment employed, and the temporal accessibility of water sources. They employed the Demographic and Health Survey (DHS) dataset to georeference data pertaining to water fetch-times, water treatment before drinking, and water supply type. They also employed an annual average of precipitation across Kenya, and assessed proximity to water sources using basemaps with water-body polygons, and hydrologic data on the distribution of groundwater reservoirs and annual yields. The four parameters (quality, type, treatment, and time) were converted to raster datasets, reclassified, then summed using the Raster Calculator to produce a final index of drinking water accessibility (DWAI). Based on their results, while most Kenyan populations have poor to moderate drinking water accessibility, the spatial variation in DWAI is not statistically correlated to variation in wealth, health, education, or distance from major urban centers.

Read More …

Energy

Washington State Renewable Energy: Identifying Optimal Locations, by Lindsay Willman, Michael Galka, Andrea Romano, Danny Stewart
Washington State Renewable Energy: Identifying Optimal Locations

The Solutions Project (http://thesolutionsproject.org) has the mission of accelerating the United States’ transition from fossil fuels to 100% renewable energy on a state by state basis using wind, water, and solar (WWS) technologies. These state plans aim to facilitate the shift away from fossil fuels by informing policy makers about the renewable energy resources in their state and identifying ways they can become a leader in the transition to 100% renewable energy. The 100% renewables plan for the State of California is currently under review for publication in the Energy Policy journal. The current focus is to develop a plan for the State of Washington, as the Washington governor has expressed interest in facilitating the state’s transition to 100% renewable energy and this political support is key to the plan’s adoption.

Identifying the total power capacity of renewable resources in each state is key to promoting the transition to 100% renewable energy; however, many visual representations of renewable resource potential present the existing raw resource potential without taking into consideration other important, state-specific criteria that are key to developing renewable energy projects. Some of these criteria include topographic limitations, land use restrictions, environmental considerations including endangered species, distance to transmission and population centers, and economic factors. This project used GIS modeling techniques to identify the technical potential for WWS technologies in the State of Washington, as well as the best locations for renewable energy development. In addition to onshore wind and solar, our study will also consider offshore wind energy. In 2011, Washington State consumed 103.5 TWh of electricity with 66% of the state’s electricity generated from hydropower, 5% from wind power, and 29% from fossil fuel sources (EIA, 2013). In 2050, electricity demand is projected to increase to 357 TWh as gasoline and natural gas needs are met with electricity through vehicle and natural gas appliance fuel switching. The potential for future hydroelectric development is small because optimal sites have already been developed, so the additional 284 TWh of 2050 projected renewable electricity demand must be met with wind, solar and wave energy resources.

This project analyzed the potential for utility scale wind and solar development in the State of Washington. This involved a suitability analysis based on renewable resource quality, population density, land type, land use, slope, aspect, and distance to transmission lines, roads, and fossil fuel power plants, with consideration of endangered species and marine protected areas. A repeatable method was developed to use the power of GIS to answer the following spatial questions.

Read more…

CALPIRG Energy Outreach, Santa Clara County, by Mona Thompson and Magdalena Kaluza
CALPIRG energy outreach (pdf)

In this project, Mona and Magdalena worked with CALPIRG Energy Service Corps to identify areas in Santa Clara County most suitable for their residential energy outreach programs. Using layers of proximity to college campuses, block group energy ranking, and land use zoning, they calculated the average suitability ranking for the 861 Santa Clara County block groups and assigned each a ranking that represented the efficiency and effectiveness of CALPIRG’s future outreach.

Read more…

Rewiring America: Transmission Line Siting in the United States Designed for Higher Penetration of Renewable Energy, by Leon Zhu, Mei Shen, Shuang Liang, and Randall Holmes
Transmission line siting in the United States

A vital element of transitioning from fossil fuel based energy resources to renewable resources such as solar and wind is the creation of a new electricity transmission grid network that facilitates connection of renewable energy resources to areas of high demand, namely urban areas such as cities with populations over 100,000. The new transmission network must achieve four basic goals: (1) Ensure nationwide connectivity, (2) Facilitate renewable energy integration, (3) Subject the transmission grid to conventional constraints for siting transmission lines, and (4) Ensure a balanced approach that meets as many stakeholder needs as possible. Leon, Mei, Shuang and Randall aimed to make a simplified plan for creation of such a network, using script-based modeling that maximizes convertibility. The model enables flexibility in changing cost layers, connectivity standards and adding extra constraints. They developed two grid siting plans, the first designed to connect 212 urban areas with populations greater than 100,000 to renewable resources, and the second grid siting plan connecting populations greater than 300,000.

Read more…

Building Wind Turbines in Salinas, CA: By Amy Weiner and Kendra Kallevig-Childers
Turbine siting in Salinas (pdf)

Amy and Kendra conducted a site-suitability analysis for wind energy development in Salinas Valley in Monterey County, CA. The purpose of their project was to identify land parcels eligible for wind turbines, specify the location and number of turbines per parcel, rank the parcels for optimal suitability, and perform a visual analysis of the viewsheds of the proposed turbines. They used wind resource data from the National Renewable Energy Lab, U.S. Census data for urban areas and populated places, the 10m resolution NED DEM from the USGS, and data from anemometers in the Salinas Valley georeferenced using Google Earth Pro. By employing the fishnet, buffer, union, and observer point analysis tools, Amy and Kendra were able to create a summarizing site suitability surface. They conclude that there is significant wind energy potential in Salinas Valley, but that prior to turbine construction, there is need for additional electrical substations, and further research to determine which locations would be optimal for new substations.

Read more…

Environment

Wildfire Risk Analysis of Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park, by Katrina Zamudio, Nessarose Schear and Maxine Luckett
Wildfire Risk Analysis of Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park

Fires have always been a part of the natural ecological system of the Sierra Nevadas. Several species, including the lodgepole pine whose cones must be exposed to fire in order to germinate, have evolved with the fire history (Lotan, 1985). However for the majority of the last century the National Park and Forest Service adopted a policy of fire suppression which altered the natural fire cycle (Stephens, 2005). The policy was reversed in 1995, but not before large fuel loads were allowed to accumulate making fires larger and more intense than before.

GIS has been successfully used to map fire potential in many areas. Many studies have used vegetation, fire history, topography, and human structures as layers to analyze fire potential and the vulnerability of human structures (Chou, 1993). A suitability model assigns a numeric value for fire potential based on these layers. An area is assigned to a fire potential category (e.g. low-high) based on this numeric value. The National Fire Danger Rating Model (NFDR) gives information on how different layers affect fire potential (Dar, 1998).

This project will analyze wildfire risk in Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks which make up over 1300 square miles of the Sierra Nevada mountain range in California. We will use GIS tools, along with help from Karen Folger, a GIS specialist employed by Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, to calculate fire risk in the parks and analyze the relationships between extreme risk burn areas and the locations of fire fighting resources. Based on our analysis, we will give recommendations to the parks on where they should focus prescribed burns and better stage firefighting resources.

Read more…

Household Groundwater Stress in India, by Maxwell Dugan, Hannah King and and Melissa Rohde
Household Groundwater Stress in India

India is the poster-child for increasing water scarcity as they struggle to feed 1.2 billion people and support the rural poor who depend on sufficient water to grow food for sustenance and income generation. Although the Indian government currently categorized groundwater stress at the district-level as the ratio between annual groundwater draft and net annual groundwater availability, it has had little impact in advising policy makers on the causal mechanisms that create groundwater stress at the household-level where the impacts are felt first. In this project, we will use household data to map groundwater stress at a more localized level within the Gangeshwar Watershed (a UNESCO G-WADI pilot site) in Rajasthan, India so that we can determine which independent variables (i.e. income, land holding size, slope, access to markets) are more correlated to households experiencing groundwater stress. The larger goal of this project is to provide an analysis of specific household-level indicators that can be used to inform policy makers which targeted policies could alleviate vulnerable households from groundwater stress in data sparse regions.

Read more…

Investigating Movement Patterns of Prime Bull African Elephants in the Associated Private Nature Reserves of Kruger National Park, South Africa, by Patrick Freeman and Lucia Herrero
Investigating Movement Patterns of Prime Bull African Elephants in the Associated Private Nature Reserves of Kruger National Park, South Africa

Partnering with Save the Elephants-South Africa, one of the premier elephant research and conservation organizations in Southern Africa, we will be mapping and analyzing the movements of ten adult, large-tusked bull elephants throughout the network of private reserves that link directly into the great Kruger National Park in South Africa. Understanding the movements of these high-profile, high-risk animals in this protected area network is integral to the successful management of elephant populations in this transboundary ecosystem.

Read more…

Impact of new land and forest laws in the Brazilian Amazon By Brenda Brito do Carmo and Theodora Gibbs-Plessl
Group 13 screenshot.jpg

In 2009 the Brazilian Federal Government passed a new land law (Federal Law 11952/2009) for regularizing the tenure situation for land parcels up to 1500 square kilometers, many of them with deforested areas. Three years later, Congress passed a new forest code decreasing the mandatory size for recovering illegally deforested areas in private properties.

Brenda and Theo evaluated the actual impact of the implementation of these laws on deforestation and restoration at the municipal level in the state of Pará according to the following questions: i) what is the impact of the new forest code on restoration obligation in a selected number of municipalities in Pará?; ii) what were the deforestation rates before and after 2009 on the properties that received land titles due to the 2009 land law?; iii) in the case of deforestation on those properties, what is the impact on restoration obligation of the 2012 forest code law?

Read More…

Application of an Index Model to Predict Dissolved Nitrate Levels in Groundwater in San Joaquin Valley, California By Cheng Chen, Stephanie Chua, Angela Hayes, and Caitlin Scheder-Bieschin
group9screenshot.jpg

Fertilizer is widely used to increase crop yield by farmers in the United States, and one of the main elements used in fertilizer is nitrogen. Although nitrogen helps crop productivity, too much nitrogen can be harmful to humans. As fertilizer use increases, the possibility that it contaminates groundwater also increases and human exposure is more likely to occur. Through research and the use of ArcGIS we wanted to answer the following two questions. Where in the San Joaquin Valley is there a high vulnerability of nitrate contamination of groundwater? How does this relate to measured values of dissolved nitrate in groundwater? The answers to these questions can help educate farmers on their fertilizer use and illustrate where people should be concerned about nitrate-contaminated drinking water.

Read More…

Agricultural Pesticide Use and Exposure in California's Central Valley By Sarah Triolo, Qichang Shen, Katie Smith, and Minh Chau N. Ho
Group 12 screenshot_0.jpg

Agricultural pesticides are a major source of pollution in California’s Central Valley. The goal of this project was to examine the relationship between pesticide usage and both public health and water quality. Our first analysis looked at the relationship between pesticide usage and population density of children under 15 to assess the extent of exposure of this vulnerable population. Our second analysis looked at the relationship between pesticide usage and water quality, using a risk index based on pesticide toxicity. We did not find significant spatial relationships in either case. In the first case, this indicates that populations of children under 15 do not live in areas with high pesticide usage. In the second case, this indicates that distance from pesticide application site is not a good predictor for water quality risk from pesticide pollution. Future studies would incorporate more relevant variables related to pesticide transport in the environment.

Read More…

The negative impacts of commercial shipping in the Gulf of Alaska By Sasha Hardy, Sarah Lummis, and Christine Feng

In their project, Sarah, Christina, and Sasha set out to determine how commercial shipping affects the health of the marine ecosystem in the Gulf of Alaska and to what extent these impacts are concentrated around ports and marine protected areas. To do so, they analyzed marine ecological and shipping lane data from the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (NCEAS), calculating the percentage of MPAs that intersect with shipping lanes and the spatial coincidence of highly impacted areas with MPAs and ports. The study concludes that areas around ports highly impacted in terms of concentrations of pollutants and invasive species, and that MPAs are minimally environmentally impacted despite high shipping traffic.

Read More …

Agriculture

PlantLab Suitability Analysis, by Luke Wirth, Kerrin Seymour, Burjis Godrej
PlantLab Suitability Analysis

The world population is projected to increase to 8.1 billion in 2025 and 9.6 billion in 2050 (UN 2013). Food security, defined by the World Food Summit of 1996 as the state “when all people at all times have access to sufficient, safe, nutritious food to maintain a healthy and active life” will undoubtedly become one of the most pressing global concerns (WHO 2013). This issue will be one of particular importance in regions that already suffer from food insecurity. Our group identified the city of Monrovia, Liberia, as one such region, and we aim to explore its suitability for a vertical farming unit. Vertical farming units are indoor operations that can grow food alongside dense populations while optimizing efficiency of inputs to produce nutritious food for many people. We will evaluate potential locations for a unit by analyzing population densities, proximity to market locations, and projected population growth in different areas of Monrovia.

Read more…

Estimating potential agricultural production on the Hawaiian Archipelago, by Jesse Bateman, Laura Hess, Matt Schneider, and Zach Yohannes
Estimating potential agricultural production on the Hawaiian archipelago

Hawaii is an archipelago in one of the most geographically isolated regions of the world. In part for this reason, regional food security via reduced dependency on imported food has recently been suggested as a public policy goal of the region. The objective of Jesse, Laura, Matt and Zach in this project was to evaluate the potential for Hawaii to produce enough food to feed its current population, in addition to evaluating this potential on a regional basis, by census tract. They identified land suitable for agriculture on the islands using the following factors: slope (derived from elevation), soil class, mean annual precipitation, land occupied by protected areas, and land cover. They then calculated land available for agriculture by census tract. Using this land area, they estimated how many people could be supported, both on the islands overall as well as per census tract, using three different diets: an American diet, a vegan diet based on conventional agriculture (vegan conventional), and a vegan diet based on biointensive agriculture (vegan biointensive). They compared these estimates to current population levels by census tract, to evaluate the sustainability, or potential for food security, given current population levels.

Read More…

Corn and climate change, by Erin Lence, Judee Burr and Casey Maue
Corn and climate change

In this report, Casey, Judee, and Erin sought to identify the regions in the conterminous United States that will need to adjust their current management practices with respect to corn production by the year 2050 due to changing climate. In order to identify these regions, a suitability surface was created for determining the regions currently most suitable for growing corn based on indexed biophysical and climate factors. This surface was then recreated using projections of climate conditions in 2050, and the differences between suitability surfaces was calculated. By comparing the spatial distribution of marked differences in the suitability of regions of the conterminous U.S. for corn production to spatial patterns in the amount of corn currently produced in the U.S., regions that produce a significant amount of corn that will be negatively impacted by climate, as well as regions that produce little corn that will become more amenable to corn production given climate change were identified.

Read More …

Food sourcing in San Francisco, by Alex Luisi, Adelaide Oneal, and Joanna Rosanne-Mirvis
Food sourcing in San Francisco

Using ArcGIS software, Alex, Adelaide and Joanna examined food accessibility in the city of San Francisco, CA. Their study sought to determine the relationship between food accessibility and income level within the city. They employed datasets describing the location of grocers, farmers’ markets, and food banks in San Francisco, in addition to census income data. They employed Network Analyst and Spatial Statistics tools in to determine the areas of the city serviced by these food access points, as well as the correlation between income level and proximity to food access points. Results indicate that there is no significant difference in food access across San Francisco’s income levels.

Read More …

Biology

Geographic Impacts of Climate Change: Mapping the Stories Stanford Geospatial Center and Bio 128, Spring 2014.
Bio132.JPG

A presentation of stories of environmental change throughout California, with the intent of informing all about the human dimensions of environmental change in the state.

Tagging and Biologging Pacific Pelagics
pelagics.JPG

Christopher Perle compared the movements and habitats of two female salmon sharks. His analysis was based on data recovered from tags deployed by the Tagging of Pacific Pelagics program (TOPP). The raw positional data were transmitted to satellites, downloaded via ARGOS, and run through a Bayesian State Space Model to estimate one position and behavior mode per day. Time series from recovered archival tags were decoded and plotted by hour and day, showing depth (meters), temperature or light preferences using MATLAB scripts. Christopher incorporated 4D netCDF biological oceanography data using the Environmental Data Connector extension to ArcGIS. By comparing the migration patterns of the two sharks in three dimensions, oceanographers and marine ecologists can use analysis to enhance marine conservation.

Christopher’s poster received the third place prize of the 2009 BAAMA Educational Scholarship. He is a Phd candidate in Biological Sciences and is based at the Stanford Hopkins Marine Station.

Invasive Argentine Ants in Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve
Invasive Argentine Ants Project

Argentine ants are an invasive species worldwide and have invaded roughly a third of JRBP from disturbed areas near the Preserve’s perimeter. Since 1993, PhD students in Prof. Deborah Gordon’s lab, most recently Nicole Heller and Jessica Shors, have monitored the invasion every May and September by censusing survey points on a 100m grid throughout the accessible parts of the Preserve. The survey consists of recording all species of ants observed within a 20m radius of the survey points.

Read More…

Avian Ecological Monitoring in Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve

The Jasper Ridge bird monitoring program consists of two separate but complementary surveys whose goal is to create a body of data that can be used to detect trends in many aspects of avian ecology, both within specific habitats and for JRBP as a whole. A hallmark of the program is the longterm commitment by a number of expert birders, who conceived the program and have provided consistency and a collective memory.

The transect survey was started over three decades ago and consists of six defined routes that are monitored monthly. These surveys involve teams of several people, all of whom detect, identify, and count individuals along a series of trails. Some transects involve split routes over part of the loop and are best surveyed by teams of four people.

Read More…

Humanitarian

Factors Influencing the Movement of Syrian Refugees into Lebanon, by Justin Brown, Benjamin Diego, Marissa Ferrante and Laura Zehender,
Factors Influencing the Movement of Syrian Refugees into Lebanon

In spring of 2011, a popular uprising in Syria against the government of Bashar al-Assad, as part of the wider Middle Eastern protest movement known as the Arab Spring, grew into a full-fledged civil war. According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNCHR), more than 125,000 people have been killed in the Syrian conflict thus far. As a result, about one in four Syrians have left their homes, with over two million refugees fleeing into neighboring countries and more than five million internally displaced within Syria. As of November 30, 2013, over 800,000 registered Syrian refugees were residing in Lebanon (Syria Regional Refugee, 2013). This crisis in Syria has demanded global attention; in order to better understand the experience of the Syrian refugees and to identify their needed resources, the UNHCR and other agencies have created many spatio-analytical representations of Syrian populations in other countries. This project aims to analyze the spatial correlation between Syrian migration data with the cause and effect data for those migrations. It hopes to lead to a better understanding of the situations of Syrian refugees affected by the crisis.

The project evaluates the impact of the civil war and its effects on Syrian refugee migrations using the following questions:

  • From what sub-districts are the most statistically significant concentration of refugees leaving?
  • What clusters of sub-districts have been most affected by the civil conflict?
  • How are the numbers of refugees (total, women, and children) migrating to Lebanon from different Syrian sub-districts affected by different factors of civil conflict?
  • How a does conflict severity and conflict count affect the number of Syrian refugees migrating to Lebanon?

Read more…

Mapping Dengue Fever Risk in Refugee Camps, by Adrian Berg, Daniel Halford and Emily Williams
Mapping Dengue Fever Risk in Refugee Camps

Dengue fever is the most important mosquito-borne viral disease in the world. Over 2.5 billion people – over 40% of the world's population – are now at risk from dengue fever (World Health Organization (WHO) 2013). Predominantly spread by the Aedes mosquito, the biogeography of the disease has closely followed the expansion of the global endemic range of the mosquito (Knowlton et al. 2009). Outbreaks require both a population susceptible to a particular dengue serotype as well as a large number of vectors (Aedes mosquitoes).

Using the range of the Aedes mosquito as a proxy for the range of Dengue fever, this project aims to:

  • Spatially analyze the different environmental factors that affect the range of the Aedes mosquito to create a risk map for the region.
  • Apply the level of risk to the Refugee camps depending on their geographic location.

Read more…

Refugee Migration Patterns and Environmental Factors, by Christina Zhou, Zhiyun Jiang and Carly Wais
Refugee Migration Patterns and Environmental Factors

The Horn of Africa, comprised of Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Somalia, and Sudan, currently faces both environmental change and significant refugee movement due to various factors. In this area, there are an estimated 7.3 million people of concern to the UNHCR (East and Horn of Africa, 2013). While conflicts and political instability seem to be the most obvious reasons for migration, environmental factors have also played major roles. In April, May, and August in 2013, flooding was the most significant factor responsible for migration in Somalia, displacing 6700, 2000, and 3600 individuals, respectively (Somalia Population Movement Trends). In 2011, famine hit, compounding upon the political situation and resulting in very high levels of migration. Disasters such as these often puts lives and property at risk, forcing migration to occur. In out project, we analyze refugee camps locates in Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia and Somalia. Sudan is also included in analysis as a country of origin for refugees because it constitutes a large portion of the total refugees in the camps.

The project looks to ask:

  • Which environmental factors influence refugee migration in the Horn of Africa?
  • Do environmental factors affect conflict in the Horn of Africa?

Read more…

Livelihood and Security of Urban Refugees in Delhi, India, by Evie Pless, Anne Siders, Lauren Steinbaum and Aiga Stokenberga
Livelihood and Security of Urban Refugees in Delhi, India

In early 2013, UNHCR and Joint Internally Displaced Persons Profiling Service (JIPS) partnered with the Feinstein International Center at Tufts University to conduct a study in Delhi to better understand the living conditions of urban refugees. They surveyed 1,063 households in the NCT of Delhi, including refugees from Afghanistan, Myanmar, and Somalia as well as Indian citizens (JIPS Delhi Report, 2013). The survey did not conduct a random sampling, but rather targeted areas with known refugee populations, identified using UNHCR refugee registration data.

Survey respondents were asked about their experiences in Delhi. Questions particularly focused on four categories, identified by JIPS: employment security, housing security, financial security, and physical safety (JIPS Delhi Report, 2013). Initial statistical analysis conducted by JIPS suggests that urban refugees in Delhi face greater challenges than their Indian neighbors due to discrimination, but that refugee experiences may also differ according to country of origin (JIPS Delhi Report, 2013).

Our goal was to add spatial analysis capabilities in order to better identify and understand geographic patterns related to refugee security. We first created a Livelihood Index (LI) score for each household, based on survey responses to questions in each of the four categories. This enabled spatial analysis of the distribution of high and low LI scores with respect to one another, ethnicity, and proximity to public services.

Read more…

Land-use and Violence: An Analysis of Predictive Factors of Expulsion in Colombia, by Manni Cavalli-Sforza, Andrew Hines and Andrew Mather
Land-use and Violence: An Analysis of Predictive Factors of Expulsion in Colombia

Since 1958, Colombia has existed in a state of military conflict that has persisted until the present day. Started by the largely ethnic rebellion against the Spaniards of two quasi-communist organizations known as The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and the National Liberation Army (ELN), the fight has now developed into a multiple actor struggle between the Colombian military and several rebel and paramilitary groups. The fighting is particularly pronounced near the Ecuadorian, Venezuelan, and Panamanian borders (though fortunately generally not over them), specifically in the departments of Putumayo, Nariño, Antioquia, Choco, and Norte de Santander. Just as when it begun, the conflict continues to be mostly focused on controlling territory and natural resources, with actors generally vying for the geopolitical influence in a region necessary to establish this control. Terror tactics are often used to achieve this, with the aim of scaring villagers in surrounding regions into submission: either to make them laborers on their operations, or to gain the land rights to extract resources from a region by force. Several categories of land-use have been especially associated with this kind of behavior. In particular, drug- farming and mineral mining have been especially identified by NGOs, and government organizations as industries that are supportive of military and rebel organizations in particular parts of the country.

The United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) and its affiliates work to provide aid and policy-initiatives for Internally Displaced Peoples (IDPs) the world over, though their efforts are often hindered by a lack of concrete data. In its work in Colombia, the UNHCR faces a growing IDP problem, confounded by the lack of understanding of trends in displacement, including the actors, movement, and vulnerability of individuals. This project aims to remove these analytical barriers by analyzing whether land-use categories related to violence can be used as predictive factors in displacement, based on municipality-level expulsion data from the year of 2010. At the end of our study, we have found that only two of our investigated land-use factors, were conceivably usable as predictors: at least with the data we were able to find on these factors. These two factors were the number of hectares of illegal cocaine plantations seized by the government and a risk index for violence calculated by researchers at Santo Thomas University and based on the activity of armed groups in a municipality.

Read more…

Solar Cooking Potential in Horn of Africa Refugee Camps, by Travis Edwards, Robert Firme and Hunter Ploch
Solar Cooking Potential in Horn of Africa Refugee Camps

By the end of 2012, approximately 45.2 million persons were forcibly displaced worldwide as a result of persecution, conflict, and human rights violations and some 15.4 million people were considered refugees by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNCHR) (UNHCR 2012). The number of refugees seen in 2012 has reached unseen levels in the last decade, illuminating the reality that refugee camps are becoming increasingly at risk of violence, famine, and resource depletion.

Almost one quarter of all refugees in the world reside in Sub-Saharan Africa, with about 1.9 million refugees residing in East Africa and the Horn of Africa. The vast majority of these refugees cook their meals by combusting biomass inside of their tents or buildings. Traditional cooking methods put refugees at risk in a variety of ways. First, the mass gathering of biomass (wood) in arid regions of the Horn of Africa can lead to deforestation and other environmental degradation. Moreover, the women that venture large distances to collect the biomass required for cooking are placed at higher risk for rape, abuse, and abduction. Second, cooking inside a home is a dangerous activity as high levels of indoor smoke can lead to respiratory illnesses and premature death. Solar cooking, a cooking technique that uses the sun’s energy to cook food, offers a more sustainable, safer, and inexpensive solution to these problems by significantly reducing the need for biomass for cooking purposes.

The study assesses the feasibility of implementing solar cookers in refugee camps located in the Horn of Africa. Factors that will determine “feasibility” vary spatially and include: surface solar radiation, average cloud coverage, average surface wind speed, proximity of camps to biomass, and population demographics within each camp. The goal for this study was to determine which camps in the Horn of Africa Region, specifically camps in Eritrea, Somalia, Ethiopia, and Djibouti, could benefit the most from solar cooking technology.

Read more…

A critical examination of Syrian refugee camps in Turkey, by Jennifer Leather and Sophia Paliza-Carre
Critical examination of Syrian refugee camps in Turkey

In response to the growing need for refugee camps as a result of the crisis in Syria, Jennifer and Sophia performed a site analysis for the already established 16 camps in Turkey in order to determine which ones may be less suitable than others and at higher risk than others, especially as winter approached in 2012. By examining six different factors, they hoped to determine which camps will need more support or resources and additionally which areas near the border may be most appropriate to set up additional camps. Thus the research questions they were most interested in were:

  • Which factors make Syrian refugee camps more risky to live in than others in Turkey and how?
  • Where is the most suitable location for new refugee camps to accommodate incoming refugees?
  • How can we use this analysis to inform the Turkish government as to which camps should receive more funding, resources, and attention?

Read more…

Syndicate content
« Back