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Experts Conduct Talks, Workshops and Demonstrations in San Francisco, April 17-21


NOTE: USGS experts will be available in the exhibition hall at booth #707 to answer your questions and help you reach USGS authors and presenters at the 2007 Meeting of the AAG. For a complete listing of all USGS presentations, demonstrations and workshops at AAG, please visit

Using GIS to Visualize Community Vulnerability to Tsunamis: Studies suggest that an earthquake along the Cascadia subduction-zone (which stretches from mid-Vancouver Island to northern California) has the potential to generate tsunami waves that would impact more than 1,000 km of coastline on the west coast of the United States and Canada. Although the predictable extent of tsunami inundation is similar for low-lying land throughout the region, population size and use of the hazard-prone land varies. To better understand the variations, USGS scientists turned to Geospatial Information Systems (GIS). By integrating tsunami-hazard data and landcover information derived from remotely sensed imagery (e.g., Landsat Thematic Mapper imagery), they were able to describe hazard-prone land in 26 communities along the Oregon coast. To find out more, contact Nathan Wood at (360) 993-8951 or

Paper Session 2236: Perspectives on Assessing Societal Vulnerability to Natural Hazards. Wednesday, April 18, 10:00 - 11:40 a.m. – Union Square 13, SF Hilton.
New USGS Technique Makes Mapping More Realistic: A critical first step in planning for natural disasters is determining where people are located during different hours of the day to gauge who is at risk at any given time. USGS scientists have researched techniques for mapping population density relative to residential land-use to provide a more statistically accurate visual representation. Find out how the rapid population growth in the San Francisco Bay region, from 6 million in 1990 to 6.8 million in 2000, influenced the development of a mapping technique that can be applied to other geographic areas to conceptualize urban growth patterns essential for land-use planning and urban growth modeling. Learn how the technique is being used for estimating other populations exposed to natural disasters. The results of work completed for the San Francisco Bay Area, 1990-2000, and an ArcGIS extension used to automate the dasymetric mapping process are available to download as geospatial products at For more information, contact Rachel Sleeter at (650) 329-4373 or

Paper Session 2236: Perspectives on Assessing Societal Vulnerability to Natural Hazards. Wednesday, April 18, 10:00 - 11:40 a.m. – Union Square 13, SF Hilton.
New USGS Land Cover Visualization and Analysis Tool: A new research tool will allow users to analyze, in specific detail, how land cover has changed over time. It is designed for both novice and expert users. The web-based system provides an intuitive interface enabling users to selectively view and analyze land cover data. More information is available and new users are welcome to preview release of the application at Associate Director for Geography Barbara Ryan will be at the USGS Exhibit Booth (#707) to demonstrate the new tool on Wednesday at 11:00 a.m. “An easy-to-use Web-based application that delivers national land information assets to a wider audience and clearly demonstrates how our environment is changing broadens opportunities to incorporate land cover data in decision making,” she said. For more information, contact Paul Hearn at (703) 648-6287 or

Live Demonstration: Land Cover Visualization and Analysis Tool. Wednesday, April 18, 2007 at 11:00 a.m. – USGS Exhibit Booth (#707), Grand Ballroom, Salon B, SF Hilton.

Global Project – Effects of Sea-level Rise on Population: During the last century, scientists say the ocean rose one to two millimeters per year. They also say that within the next century, if nothing is done to modify New Orleans’ existing infrastructure, some areas of the city that did not flood as a result of Hurricane Katrina will likely flood in a future storm due to subsidence and sea-level rise. This isn’t just a local problem. Complete melting of the Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets could lead to a sea-level rise of about 80 meters, while melting of all other glaciers could lead to a sea-level rise of only half a meter. Scientists are running simulations that provide information on global trends of rising water that help us to identify broad areas where large numbers of people could be affected. USGS scientists are modeling the effects of global sea-level rise on human population using new map techniques. To learn how it works, check out, or contact E. Lynn Usery at (573) 308-3837 or

Paper Session 3105: Spatial, Ecological and Environmental Marketing. Thursday, April 19, 8:00 - 9:40 a.m. – Continental Ballroom 5, SF Hilton.
The LANDSAT Mission and the Future of Land Imaging: LANDSAT 7 has been hampered by a flaw in its scanner. This satellite has provided some of the world’s most compelling land cover and land change images, assisting in the assessment of wildfires, droughts and climate change. It has provided mapmakers with powerful tools that are now compromised by data flaws. What is the future of land remote sensing? How can the next generation of land imaging satellites be better, stronger and faster than their predecessors? How can they help us answer the landscape-level questions that face us in the 21st Century? Join USGS Assistant Director for Geography Barbara Ryan and other USGS experts as well as Gene Whitney from the White House Office of Science & Technology Policy in a panel discussion of LANDSAT Mission and Data Continuity. For more information, contact Jon Campbell at (703) 648-4180 or

Panel Session 3216:The Landsat Mission and Data Continuity. Thursday, April 19, 10:00 - 11:40 a.m. – Yosemite C, SF Hilton.
USGS Director, Experts Discuss National Risk Strategy: The Director of the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), Mark Myers, will participate in a panel discussion on the need for about the importance of a national research agenda for risk reduction. A panel of experts will discuss a national framework to get scientific information to decision-makers nationwide at the federal, state and local levels who can use it to reduce and manage risk. Science is critical to understanding the seriousness and frequency of natural hazards, and it often holds the keys to manage and reduce risk in America’s communities. Every year, natural hazards cost hundreds of lives and billions of dollars in damage. We cannot eliminate risk, but we can prevent a natural disaster from becoming a catastrophe. Also participating in the panel will be Dr Lucy Jones, coordinator of the USGS Multi-Hazards Pilot Project for Southern California and chief spokesperson for the Dare to Prepare campaign, and USGS economists Rich Bernknopf and Carl Shapiro. For more information, contact Jon Campbell at (703) 648-4180 or

Session 3318: A Panel on A National Framework for Natural Hazards Risk Reduction and Management: Developing a Research Agenda. Thursday, April 29, 11:50 a.m. - 2:40 p.m. – Imperial Ballroom A, SF Hilton. Geospatial Technology — Reconstructing the Human Environment as a Response to Humanitarian Crises or Natural Disasters: Geospatial Technology and data have aided, or could be used to aid, the process of reconstruction in many post-disaster situations. USGS scientists will discuss the particularities of reconstruction projects in the United States, the Middle East, and Central America, focusing during 20-minute-talks, on the requirement for reliable, accessible, and current data in order to deal with the complexities of the human environment. Case studies address the use of Geospatial Technology in both natural disasters, such as earthquakes and hurricanes, and humanitarian crises, as in Iraq and Afghanistan.
-Improving the Accessibility to Earthquake Data, Geologic Hazard Maps and Post-Earthquake Damage Information in the San Francisco Bay Area Using Google Earth,
-Development of Geospatial Datasets for Natural Resource Assessments and Reconstruction Activities in Iraq
-Digital terrain modeling of the projected water level increase at the Kajakai Reservoir, Afghanistan,
-Evaluation of Challenges to Sustainable GIS Technology in Post Hurricane Mitch Central America,
For more information, contact Emily Phillips at (703) 648-6047 or, or Scott Haefner at (650) 329-4854 or

Paper Session 3441: Geospatial Technology in Reconstructing the Human Environment as a Response to Humanitarian Crises or Natural Disasters. Thursday, April 19, 1:00 - 2:40 p.m. – Union Square 18, SF Hilton
Way Down Upon the Suwannee River… an Information Gateway: The Suwannee River is a great place to live, canoe, or play folk music. However, due to an increasing population and pressure on water resources the basin and its estuary in the eastern Gulf of Mexico are threatened. The Suwannee Information Gateway (SIG) was developed to bring together data from Federal, State and local authorities to provide tools for modeling natural and human-induced changes in the basin. Coordinated research and management is needed to address increasing urbanization, water demands, contamination and cross-jurisdictional issues. Find out what the gateway is doing to raise awareness of the Suwannee watershed, and learn more about the visualization and mapping tools that are available to the general public. To access the gateway go to or contact Ellen Raabe at (727) 803-8747, x 3039 or

Poster Session 3621: GIS and Remote Sensing in Physical Geography. Thursday, April 19, 5:00 - 6:40 p.m. – West Lounge, SF Hilton.
A New Way to Monitor Border Settlements along the U.S.-Mexico Border: Colonias, unincorporated border settlements in the United States, have emerged in rural areas without the governance and services normally provided by local government. Colonia residents often live in poverty and lack adequate health care, potable water and sanitation systems. By 2001, more than 1400 colonias were identified in Texas. Cooperation with the Offices of the Texas Attorney General, Secretary of State and the Texas Water Development Board has allowed the USGS to improve colonia Geographic Information System (GIS) boundaries and develop the Colonia Health, Infrastructure and Platting Status (CHIPS) tool. CHIPS is part of a larger project involving scientists from the United States and Mexico who are merging landscape and demographic data from both countries in hopes of developing nationally integrated datasets to assess environmental health issues along the U.S.-Mexico border. To view the interactive Web maps, documentation and links, visit For more information, contact Delbert Geronimo Humberson at (512) 927-3567 or or Jean W. Parcher at (512) 927-3523 or

Illustrated Paper Session 5215: Political/Economic/Urban. Saturday, April 21, 10:00 - 11:40 a.m. – Yosemite B, SF Hilton.
New Decision-Support Tool – Reducing Society’s Risks from Natural Hazards using Financial Theory: USGS scientists are using a new kind of investment portfolio —one to reduce losses from the many natural hazards that threaten communities in Ventura County, Calif. They have developed an interactive, GIS-based decision-support system that combines the mathematics of financial-portfolio theory with geospatial natural-hazard, land-use, and socioeconomic data. The system, known as the Land Use Portfolio Model, allows users to analyze, visualize, and compare policies for reducing the risks posed by natural hazards. Regional decision makers can evaluate their investment choices on the basis of the estimated distributions of risk and return for each choice. The model considers information on hazard-event probabilities, planning-time horizons, community assets at risk, spatial-damage probabilities, and the costs and effectiveness of possible risk-reduction strategies. To learn more, see, or contact Laura Dinitz at (650) 329-4953 or

Paper Session 5525: Spatial Analysis of Risk and Risk Management. Saturday, April 21, 4:00 - 5:40 p.m. – Union Square 2, SF Hilton)


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