Geospatial Technology

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geospatial technology includes three different technologies that are all related to mapping features on the surface of the Earth for environmental management. They are geographical information systems (GIS), global-positioning systems (GPS), and remote sensing (RS). This is also synonymous with spatial information technology. Together, the three components of geospatial technology can track, map, analyze, and disseminate environmental management information. RS technology helps survey the entire Earth with unprecedented regularity, thus any environmental change can be noticed. Global atmospheric conditions are monitored on an hourly basis by weather satellites. RS imagery provides information on drought, vegetation, flood damage, forest fires, deforestation, and other natural disasters. GIS provides the tools to accurately map this information in both global and local perspectives. GPS technology accurately tracks the position of environmental fallout.

Geospatial information technology can play a vital role in global warming research by helping to make a connection between climate change and individual people. It is best achieved by mapping the impact of climate change at the local level through the use of satellite imagery. Thus, the public will be aware of the actual impact of global warming. Through the use of Web GIS, a virtual globe can be created and presented with environmental change information such as atmospheric, societal, and ecological changes occurring around the world. Virtual globes are a new medium for conveying information; one example available to the public is through Google Earth and Map.

Geospatial technology provides resource managers, as well as general public, with the insight and ability to react to climate change. One can monitor, map, and share the effects of: El NiƱo Ocean warming and La Nina ocean cooling; tropical forest depletion; the melt down of sea glaciers in Antarctica or at the poles; vegetation monitoring through detailed knowledge of soils, erosions rates, nutrient cycles, and local agricultural practices; and water resources management through weather monitoring. With GIS, the global temperature pattern is mapped and shared among users. Researchers are using geospatial technology to quantify the carbon amount in biomass and using that information in carbon sequestration. Researchers at The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) with ESRI software have developed a Carbon Management Geographic Information System for the United States in order to capture, integrate, manipulate, and interpret data relevant to CO2 capture and sequestration. Precipitation

One way geospatial technology can help make individuals more aware of the impact of climate change is via satellite imagery.

and rainfall pattern changes are consequences of global warming. These patterns are mapped and analyzed locally and globally.

Geospatial technology helps in understanding and mapping the patterns of vulnerability with planning climate adaptation strategies. Vulnerability analysis, or the degree to which people or the environment may be harmed, requires integrating three types of information about society and environment interactions, including: patterns of exposure to hazards, sensitivity, and resilience. Sensitivity includes the amount of damage expected from a particular event such as coastal flooding, a hurricane, or an excessive heat wave; and resilience includes the capacity to recover from the vagaries of climate change. Researchers use the spatial information technology to prepare society to withstand the challenges. Hotspot identification and analysis is a prime tool of geographic information sciences. Through geospatial technology use, governments can identify factors and hotspots responsible for global warming and climate change and locate areas affected by them. Governments can then act accordingly to save vulnerable populations. Thus, the use of geospatial technology can help in mitigating global warming problems and aftereffects.

SEE ALSo: Climate Models; Computer Models; Measurement and Assessment.

BIBILIoGRAPHY. K. Dow, "Steps Toward Mapping Vulnerability to Climate Change," Directions Magazine (July 2005); A. Falconer and J. Foresman, eds., A System for Srvival: GIS and Sustainable Development (ESRI Press, 2002); Howard Herzog, et al., Development of a Carbon Management Geographic Information System (GIS), Massachusetts Institute of Technology, http://sequestration.mit.edu/research/gis. html (cited November 2007); R.W. Klaver and A. Singh, "Global Forest Fire Watch: Wildfire Potential, Detection, Monitoring and Assessment," presented at the First International Conference on Geospatial Information in Agriculture and Forestry, Orlando, Florida (1998); A. Ramachan-dran, et al., "Carbon Sequestration: Estimation of Carbon Stock in Natural Forests Using Geospatial Technology in the Eastern Ghats of Tamil Nadu, India," Current Science (v.92/3, 2007).

SUDHANSHU SEKHAR PANDA Gainesville State College

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