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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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The Changing Face of Air Quality
Looking at regional differences in PM2.5 concentrations gives us a sense of the changing face of air quality throughout the world.

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In the Spotlight

SEDAC Hazards Mapper Estimates Population Near Hazards and Infrastructure

screenshot of SEDAC Hazards Mapper

A new online mapping tool, the SEDAC Hazards Mapper, enables users to easily display recent natural hazard data in relationship to population, human settlements, major infrastructure, and satellite imagery. Hazards data include the location of active fires over the past 48 hours; earthquake alerts over the past seven days; flood and tornado warnings in the U.S. in near real-time; and yesterday′s air pollution data measured from space. The mapper shows the location of major dams and nuclear power plants and provides more detailed information and imagery for these facilities where available. By drawing a circle or polygon around a point or area of interest on the map, users can obtain an estimate of the total population and land area enclosed within.

Developed by the NASA Socioeconomic Data and Applications Center operated by CIESIN, the SEDAC Hazards Mapper combines layers from various sources including NASA's Land, Atmosphere Near real-time Capability for EOS (LANCE) and Global Imagery Browse Services (GIBS), the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Esri, and others, using a variety of open Web mapping services. The population and settlement data are based on SEDAC′s Gridded Population of the World, version 3 (GPWv3) data for 2005 and the Global Rural Urban Mapping Project (GRUMP) data collection. The custom population estimates are provided by the SEDAC Population Estimation Service (PES). SEDAC plans to add more hazard and infrastructure layers and update the population data in early 2016.

The mapper is designed to be used by disaster risk managers, humanitarian response organizations, public health professionals, journalists, and others needing a quick assessment of the potential dangers posed by a major hazardous event or developing emergency. For example, a disaster response agency can obtain a rough estimate of the population and major facilities near a recent earthquake or a predicted flood as an input into response planning. Journalists or students can explore the location of recent wildfires relative to human settlements, dense populations, roads, terrain, and water bodies. Due to the coarse resolution and varying quality of some of the data, the mapper is not intended to support in-depth risk assessment or location-specific response needs.

See: SEDAC Hazards Mapper
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