Center for International Earth Science Information Network (CIESIN) Columbia University
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The Center for International Earth Science Information Network (CIESIN) is a center within the Earth Institute at Columbia University. CIESIN works at the intersection of the social, natural, and information sciences, and specializes in on-line data and information management, spatial data integration and training, and interdisciplinary research related to human interactions in the environment.

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CIESIN Teams with Facebook to Develop Open, Improved Settlement Data
New high-resolution population data will help us understand better how people are distributed in many countries throughout the world—as part of Facebook’s goal to connect people everywhere to the Internet.

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In the Spotlight

New Ways to Visualize and Work with Geospatial Data Released

4-window view of data layers from SEDAC data holdings, via the updated SEDAC Map Client

The NASA Socioeconomic Data and Applications Center has recently released new versions of several different interactive mapping tools that provide users with new ways to visualize, analyze, and utilize geospatial data on population, environment, hazards, and related topics. These tools enable users to compare different data sets at local to global scales, to identify the number of people exposed to natural hazards or environmental extremes, and to utilize their mobile devices to assess their location relative to recent hazard events.

Version 2 of the SEDAC Map Viewer now implements an innovative four-window map view to make it easier to compare data layers from SEDAC’s diverse data holdings. Users may arrange the windows to show different maps for the same geographic region, focus in on different parts of the world for a single map layer, or illustrate changing spatial patterns over time. For example, a user could compare current population, land use, and urban expansion potential across Europe or Asia, visualize air quality levels in different urban areas around the world, or utilize the Anthropogenic Biomes data collection to visualize long-term land use change over three centuries, 1700–2000. The viewer supports toggling between the four windows and a more traditional single-window view, as well as direct links to download data for interest.

The SEDAC Population Estimation Service, which provides estimates of the number of people residing in an area of interest without having to download and analyze large amounts of spatial data, has been updated with data from the new Gridded Population of the World Version 4 (GPWv4) data set, including estimates for the years 2000, 2005, 2010, 2015, and 2020. The SEDAC Population Estimator Web App enables users to draw a polygon or circle around an area of interest, and then calls on the Population Estimation Service to obtain an estimate of the population in 2015 living in that area. Those who develop their own mapping tools are free to access and utilize the Service through open international standards.

SEDAC′s mobile application for iOS devices, the Hazards and Population Mapper (HazPop), has also been updated with GPWv4 data. The app displays recent data on hazards such as earthquakes, tornados, and fires, and selected remote sensing imagery from NASA satellites, in conjunction with population and infrastructure data. It also supports location-based services such as estimating the total population near a user′s current location, a recent hazard event, or other point of interest or setting monitoring areas and proximity alerts. HazPop version 1.3 is available free of charge through the Itunes store.

See: SEDAC Mapping Tools
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In the Media