Tools and Data

Web technologies for environmental Big Data

Vitolo C, Elkhatib Y, Reusser D, Macleod CJA, Buytaert W. Web technologies for environmental Big Data. Environmental Modelling & Software [Internet]. 2015 ;63:185 - 198. Available from: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1364815214002965
Freely available?: 
Yes
Summary available?: 
No
Type: Journal Article

Recent evolutions in computing science and web technology provide the environmental community with continuously expanding resources for data collection and analysis that pose unprecedented challenges to the design of analysis methods, workflows, and interaction with data sets. In the light of the recent UK Research Council funded Environmental Virtual Observatory pilot project, this paper gives an overview of currently available implementations related to web-based technologies for processing large and heterogeneous datasets and discuss their relevance within the context of environmental data processing, simulation and prediction. We found that, the processing of the simple datasets used in the pilot proved to be relatively straightforward using a combination of R, RPy2, PyWPS and PostgreSQL. However, the use of NoSQL databases and more versatile frameworks such as OGC standard based implementations may provide a wider and more flexible set of features that particularly facilitate working with larger volumes and more heterogeneous data sources.

Tools for Landscape-Level Assessment and Planning: A Guide for the North Pacific Landscape Conservation Cooperative

Crist P, Maybury K, Carr S, Hak J. Tools for Landscape-Level Assessment and Planning: A Guide for the North Pacific Landscape Conservation Cooperative. Arlington, VA: NatureServe; 2014. Available from: http://www.natureserve.org/biodiversity-science/publications/tools-landscape-level-assessment-and-planning
Freely available?: 
Yes
Summary available?: 
No
Type: Report

The heart of this Guide is the Matrix of 100 tools, divided into user categories (general public, resource manager, and technical expert) and subject areas. So whether you are a community planner who wants to see the potential cost/benefits of building a sea wall or a forest scientist who wants to work on species connectivity for many species simultaneously, you can quickly look up which tools might be appropriate for you.

All 100 tools are described in detail following the Matrix.

Things to note:

  • We use a broad definition of tools, including anything that facilitated: 1) gathering and distributing relevant data (e.g. regional databases that support queries and downloads); 2) conducting analyses and modeling (e.g. vulnerability assessments); 3) visualizing data and analysis/modeling results (including current and potential future conditions); and, 4) integrating information into planning for conservation, land use, and land management.
  • We place an emphasis on tools currently in use within the region.
  • We do not include products that were simply guidelines, frameworks, or processes (but the Appendix does include some that seemed especially useful; for example, see TESSA).
  • We mostly avoid tools that were geared to one state or province and those that could not be readily utilized throughout the region.
  • We do not include tools that are more accurately described as services—in other words, those that required extensive and expensive—personalized set-up or customization.
  • We avoid tools that were no longer maintained as well as most tools still under development. Because tools often become obsolete and new ones frequently emerge, this guide should be updated periodically.

The Background section of this guide lists the Necessary and Desired Attributes of the tools included in the Matrix.

We have selected 11 tools from the Matrix that we describe as a “toolkit” that can support many of the NPLCC’s needs. Each of these tools also had widespread interest among NPLCC partners and/or applicability to multiple functions in the Matrix. This guide takes an in-depth look at these 11 Featured Tools, covering  what they do best, how they work, their data requirements, key outputs, computer and software requirements, training requirements, and costs. A “snapshot” of each featured tool gives a brief description, examples of use, and an “at-a-glance” table that shows the tools in a matrix format.

We chose four tools to explore further via Case Studies. These are here to provide a more nuanced look at how tools have actually been applied, especially where the application experience yielded important Lessons Learned and Helpful Hints. The case studies from the region will also promote national and international awareness of NPLCC work on landscape-level conservation in the face of climate change.

Finally, the Appendix lists other potentially useful resources that did not qualify as one of our “Matrix tools” but that may assist you with your work—for example, by helping you use the tools more effectively.

Marine conservation of multispecies and multi-use areas with various conservation objectives and targets

Schmiing M, Diogo H, R. Santos S, Afonso P. Marine conservation of multispecies and multi-use areas with various conservation objectives and targets. ICES Journal of Marine Science [Internet]. 2015 ;72(3):851 - 862. Available from: http://icesjms.oxfordjournals.org/content/72/3/851.abstract
Freely available?: 
No
Summary available?: 
No
Type: Journal Article

Marine spatial management is an important step in regulating the sustainable use of marine resources and preserving habitats and species. The systematic conservation planning software “Marxan” was used to analyse the effect of different conservation objectives and targets on the design of a network of marine protected areas around two islands of the Azores archipelago, Northeast Atlantic. The analyses integrated spatial patterns of the abundance and reproductive potential of multispecies, the vulnerability of fish to fishing, habitat type, algae biotopes, and socio-economic costs and benefits (including fishing effort and recreational activities). Three scenarios focused on fisheries-related objectives (“fisheries scenarios”, FSs) and three on multiple-use and biodiversity conservation objectives (“biodiversity scenarios”, BSs), respectively. Three different protection targets were compared for each set, the existing, minimum, and maximum levels of protection, whereas conservation features were weighted according to their biologically/ecologically functioning. Results provided contrasting solutions for site selection and identified potential gaps in the existing design. The influence of the conservation objective on site selection was most evident when minimum target levels were applied. Otherwise, solutions for FSs and BSs were very similar and mostly shaped by the protection level. More important, BSs that considered opportunity cost and benefits achieved conservation targets more cost-efficiently. The presented systematic approach ensures that targets for habitats with high fish abundance, fecundity, and vulnerability are achieved efficiently. It should be of high applicability for adaptive management processes to improve the effectiveness of existing spatial management practices, in particular when fishing and leisure activities coexist, and suggest that decision-makers should account for multiple users’ costs and benefits when designing and implementing marine reserve networks.

Coastal Services: October/November/December 2014

Anon. Coastal Services: October/November/December 2014. 2014 ;17(4):16.
Freely available?: 
Yes
Summary available?: 
No
Type: Newsletter

Table of Contents

  • From the Director
  • Resilience: One Louisiana Community’s Comeback from a Two-Hurricane Punch
  • Massachusetts Ocean Plan Gets High Marks Following First Approved Project
  • West Maui Initiative Connects the Dots between Everyday Actions and Coral Reef Health
  • Smart Devices are Helping Create Estuarine-Smart Kids in Florida
  • Online Atlas Documents Coastal Land Cover Changes over Time
  • End Note

Modelling of ship engine exhaust emissions in ports and extensive coastal waters based on terrestrial AIS data – An Australian case study

Goldsworthy L, Goldsworthy B. Modelling of ship engine exhaust emissions in ports and extensive coastal waters based on terrestrial AIS data – An Australian case study. Environmental Modelling & Software [Internet]. 2015 ;63:45 - 60. Available from: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S136481521400262X
Freely available?: 
No
Summary available?: 
No
Type: Journal Article

A model is developed to calculate and spatially allocate ship engine exhaust emissions in ports and extensive coastal waters using terrestrial Automatic Identification System data for ship movements and operating modes. The model is applied to the Australian region. The large geographical extent and number of included ports and vessels, and anomalies in the AIS data are challenging. Particular attention is paid to filtering of the movement data to remove anomalies and assign correct operating modes. Data gaps are filled by interpolation and extrapolation. Emissions and fuel consumption are calculated for each individual vessel at frequent intervals and categorised by ship type, ship size, operating mode and machinery type. Comparisons of calculated port emissions with conventional inventories and ship visit data are favourable. Estimations of ship emissions from regions within a 300 km radius of major capital cities suggest that a non-negligible percentage of air pollutants may come from ships.

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