Coastal imagery for Connecticut

Recently, imagery available at the Map and Geographic Information Center (MAGIC) here at UConn has been used to map and understand shoreline change in Connecticut. Many different series of historical aerial photographs are available on the MAGIC website, in addition to infrared coastal photography which allows for an easier visual comparison between water and land. View our various indexes here: and an introduction to the imagery by Michael Howser here.


1934 aerial photograph – Bluff Point State Park, Groton


1995 aerial photograph – Bluff Point State Park, Groton











Back in May, WFSB, a local news station, ran a story on Joel Stocker at UConn’s CLEAR (Center for Land Use Education and Research). Stocker & CLEAR are using some of MAGIC’s imagery as well as historic maps to look at shoreline change in Connecticut from as recently as hurricane Sandy all the way back to the 1800s.

Last week, “A MAGICal look at the shore,” an article written by Suzanne Zack in Wrack Lines, the official magazine of the Connecticut Sea Grant program, discussed how using MAGIC’s imagery can inform planning and management decisions by tracking changes in the past.

Another excellent resource in looking at coastline change is NOAA’s Digital Coast, which offers free LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) data that can be downloaded and processed. Pre- and post-Sandy LiDAR datasets are available in LAZ format, the zipped standard for LAS files. LAZ files can be unzipped using LASzip. The LASzip website also allows you to batch download LiDAR files available via Digital Coast, as well as other states like Alaska, Minnesota, Virginia, and others. If you’re interested, here are some basics about LiDAR from ESRI.


Connecticut GIS Day – November 16, 2012 at UConn Avery Point Campus

Mark your calendars! Connecticut GIS Day 2012 – November 16, 2012

This year’s Connecticut GIS Day event is scheduled for Friday, November, 16, from 9 AM to 3 PM at the Marine Sciences Building at the University of Connecticut Avery Point Campus. The keynote speaker will be DANA TOMLIN, credited with the creation of Map Algebra! If you were lucky enough to attend the Spring NEARC event at Smith College and hear his presentation, then you already know that Dana is well worth hearing! This is also a great venue to present a poster or presentation as well as network with GIS users from state agencies, regional planning agencies, municipalities, non-profits, universities, and organizations from across the state of Connecticut. Included below are details on the call for posters, presentations, and table displays:
We are officially launching our call for presentations and posters for GIS Day. The presentations should discuss a GIS project, tool, custom process, or similarly themed topic. We are looking for a 15 minute presentation with 5 additional minutes for questions and answers. Posters are also sought. They must be mounted on some sort of rigid material (i.e. foam board, etc.), approximately 24” x 36” in size (slightly larger will be accepted, but no smaller). Also, NEW this year, we are looking for poster presentations (5 minutes in length) from GIS or related subject students from Connecticut Universities. If you are looking for GISP points, this could be a great way to add to your total!
We are asking for interested parties that wish to host a table to display information. This is open to anyone this year! We ask that your display maintain an educational theme. Show us how you use GIS in your organization or group!

If you are interested in participating or have additional questions, please feel free to Thad Dymkowski at TDymkowski@NewingtonCT.Gov

Connecticut Geographic Alliance Meeting – March 22, 2012 from 4:30-6:30pm

The Connecticut Geographic Alliance (CGA) needs your help.  Are you interested in promoting Geography among Connecticut school children?  Do you look for Professional development opportunities to support your teaching of Geography?  Do you like to collaborate with colleagues about Geography? CGA is looking for individuals who are passionate about Geography, passionate about teaching, and passionate about helping children become Geographically literate in the 21st century.
For the past year CGA has gone through a thorough introspective strategic planning process.  A strategic planning team, with support from CGA’s Steering Committee, collaborated to complete this process.  The goal of this was to reflect on CGA’s work to promote Geographic literacy over the last 20+ years and to see how we could build off of our strengths to continue to promote Geographic literacy for the next 20 years.  During this time we reflected on and amended the organization’s mission, vision, and objectives.  Our website, has been updated to reflect the changes.
Additionally, we worked to restructure the alliance to align with the amended mission, vision, and objectives.  The Steering Committee structure has been altered to a clearly defined five committee structure supporting our new CGA Coordinator, UConn Geography Department Faculty member, Dr. Andrew Ballantine.  This arrangement  will be supported by an Advisory Board as well.   Please review the structure included below:
The Connecticut Geographic Alliance invites you to look at this as an opportunity to participate in the promotion of Geography in Connecticut.  CGA is looking for individuals in each of the areas outlined to serve as committee members and/or leaders.  This is an opportunity to take on a leadership role with something about which you are passionate.
CGA is hosting an informational meeting to see what role you can play in promoting Geography in the state of Connecticut.
This meeting will be held on Thursday, March 22 from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. at the University of Connecticut’s Department of Geography (Room 420) in the CLAS Building on the Storrs campus (215 Glenbrook Road).
Food will be served.  Friends will be made.  And the promotion of Geographic Education in Connecticut will continue in full.

For additional information contact:

Tom Brodnitzki
CGA Co-Coordinator

Climate Impact, Mitigation, and Adaptation (CIMA) – March 26-29, 2012 at UConn Storrs

The University of Connecticut is hosting a series of presentations and events March 26-29, 2012 focused on Climate Impact, Mitigation, and Adaptation (CIMA): A Reflection of Our Future. Included below is a list of events and for more information visit the Climate Impact and Adaptation (CIMA) website at:

 MONDAY – 26 MARCH 2012

Wilbur Cross, North Reading Room
Opening Ceremonies & Signing of Sustainability Commitment (3:00 to 5:00)

  • President Susan Herbst, University of Connecticut
  • Professor Gene Likens, Member of the National Academy of Sciences & Board of Trustees Distinguished Research Professor
  • Commissioner Daniel Esty, CT Department of Energy & Environmental Protection

Konover Auditorium, Dodd Center
Mark Hertsgaard (12:00 to 1:00)
“How ‘Generation Hot’ Can Fight Climate Change … and Win”

Bishop Center, Rooms 7A & 7B
Climate Impact Expo:  Actions for Cool Communities (6:30 to 9:00)
Mark Hertsgaard Featured Speaker
“Inspiring Our Communities To Fight Global Warming”
Interactive Town Discussion:  Local & Regional Climate Adaptation Strategies

Student Union, North Lobby
Interactive Eco-Footprint Exhibit (9:00 to 5:00)

Student Union, South Lobby
Research Presentations by Students & Faculty Members (9:00 to 5:00)

Student Union, Theater
Green Careers & Organic Agriculture Panel Discussion (3:00 to 4:00)

Konover Auditorium, Dodd Center – 4:00 to 5:30
Provost Peter Nicholls
“UConn’s Academic Plan & the Environment”

Dr. Michael Mann
“The Hockey Stick: On the Front Lines in the Climate Wars”

Art Exhibit  – 19 MARCH to 22 APRIL 2012
Sustainability & Environmental Stewardship Art Exhibit – 19 March to 22 April – Stevens Gallery, Homer Babbidge Library

UConn Presentations at AAG 2012 Annual Meeting

Multiple faculty and graduate students from the University of Connecticut’s Department of Geography and the University of Connecticut School of Social Work will be presenting their research at the Association of American Geographers (AAG) Annual Meeting which takes place in New York City from February 24-28, 2012. This week long conference includes over 7,000 geographers from around the globe.

Included below are the poster and presentation topics that will be presented by faculty and graduate students from the University of Connecticut. If you are attending the AAG conference be sure to attend these sessions!

University of Connecticut Presentations Include:

Suburban Typologies and Residential Foreclosures in Phoenix, Arizona

scheduled on Friday, 2/24/2012 at 10:00 AM.
Carol Atkinson-Palombo – University of Connecticut
Brandon Cramer – University of Connecticut

Abstract: The Phoenix metropolitan area in Arizona has been among the
fastest-growing places in the United States over the past 25 years, due in part to Rustbelt-to-Sunbelt migration. As with other rapidly-growing places, the housing market has been hard hit by the foreclosure market crisis and ensuing credit crunch that followed a boom in 2005-2006.  This paper uses land use data from 2005 and census data from 2000 and 2010 to investigate changes that occurred in neighborhoods across this Phoenix metropolitan area over this decade that captured a boom-and-bust cycle in the real estate markets. A typology of neighborhoods in the Phoenix metropolitan area was created from the census and land use data in order
to understand how neighborhood dynamics affected foreclosure rates.
Overall, our analysis indicates that the rates of foreclosure tend to be much higher in Phoenix neighborhoods where the population is predominately Hispanic, Black, and of lower socioeconomic status. Many new lower middle-class subdevelopments also had elevated rates of foreclosure. These results clearly show that the risk of foreclosure for homeowners in Phoenix was dependent on socioeconomic status, ethnicity, and location of residence.

Reconciling the Seemingly Contradictory Story of Declining Migration and Technologically-Based Hypermobility

scheduled on Saturday, 2/25/2012 at 16:40 PM.
Thomas Cooke – University of Connecticut

Internal migration rates in the United States have dropped by roughly one-half over the last quarter century.  A limited body of research suggests that beyond the effects of demographic and economic factors that there has been a more fundamental transformation in migration rates. The source of this shift to secular rootedness has yet to be identified. This research explores several more speculative hypotheses concerning the migration decline and finds that the emergence of information and communication technologies (ICTs) may be an important part of the increase in immobility. Preliminary analysis of individual data from the Panel Study of Income Dynamcs suggest that individuals who use ICTs are less likely to move.

Intelligent Areal Interpolation using Quantile Regression

scheduled on Saturday, 2/25/2012 at 10:00 AM.

Robert G. Cromley, Ph.D. – University of Connecticut
Dean M. Hanink, Ph.D. – University of Connecticut
George C. Bentley, M.A. – University of Connecticut

Areal interpolation has been developed to provide attribute estimates whenever data compilation or an analysis requires a change in the measurement support.  Over time numerous approaches have been proposed to solve the problem of areal interpolation.  Quantile regression is used in this study as the basis of the areal interpolator because it provides estimates conditioned on local parameters rather than global ones.  An empirical case study is provided set in northern New England.  The ancillary data used in the regression model is land cover data, provided by NOAA,with a resolution of 30×30 meters.  The utility of quantile regression as an intelligent areal interpolation method is evaluated against simple averages, areal weighting, dasymetric interpolation, and ordinary least squares (OLS) regression methods.  It is shown that dasymetric interpolation is a special case of quantile regression interpolation and that quantile regression based interpolators produce more accurate results.

The Future of Historical U.S. Census Data: Charting the Course of the New NHGIS

scheduled on Sunday, 2/26/2012, from 8:00 AM – 9:40 AM

Jonathan Schroeder – University of Minnesota
Jonathan Schroeder – University of Minnesota
David Van Riper – University of Minnesota – Twin Cities
Jonathan Schroeder – University of Minnesota
Christopher Boone – Arizona State University
Robert G. Cromley – University Of Connecticut
Lisa Jordan – Florida State University
Peter Nelson – Middlebury College

Session Description:
Since 2006, the National Historical Geographic Information System ( has provided free online access to aggregate statistics and GIS boundary files for U.S. censuses from 1790 through 2000. Over 12,000 registered users have together completed over 58,000 unique data extracts. In the meantime, the Minnesota Population Center has undertaken several major efforts to enhance the system: improving the web interface with a complete redesign; adding data from the 2010 Census, American Community Survey and other sources; updating historical boundary files to align with improved 2008 Census TIGER/Line data; producing generalized boundary files with reduced detail and file size; and constructing time series of spatially and conceptually integrated data. A continual rollout of these new products and features is already underway, having begun with a new NHGIS website in October 2011.

In this session, panelists from the Minnesota Population Center will present an overview of new and planned NHGIS features. Additional panelists—experienced users of the NHGIS site—will provide a critical assessment of the new site and suggest priorities for future work. We will then open the discussion to consider specific development alternatives, solicit new ideas, and identify the most pressing needs for geographic researchers and educators.

Evaluation of SEER*DMS Geocoding System

scheduled on Friday, 2/24/2012 at 16:40 PM.

Curtis J Denton – University of Connecticut
Jeffery P. Osleeb, PhD. – University of Connecticut
Lloyd Mueller, PhD. – Connecticut Department of Public Health
Karyn Backus – Connecticut Department of Public Health

The Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) Program of the National Cancer Institute (NCI) is an authoritative source of information on cancer incidence and survival in the United States. The SEER Program registries routinely collect data on patient demographics, primary tumor site, tumor morphology and stage at diagnosis, first course of treatment, and follow-up for vital status. The accuracy of a geocoding system is an important factor in any address level research.  This project evaluated the geocoding methods used by the (SEER) program. There has been little research evaluating the geocoding completeness and quality associated with the enhancements of the geocoding process of SEER* version 8 compared to the previous version.

This project evaluated the quality of geocoding under SEER*(v8) relative to SEER* version 7 and relative to a Connecticut Gold Standard system created by the Connecticut Department of Public Health.  An outcome of the project was a list of suggestions for improving the geocoding process.  The research identified coding discrepancies in the SEER*DMS geocoding system such as local street and place naming conventions, recent housing growth and data quality limitations that affected the accuracy of the results in SEER*DMS(v7).  Furthermore, it was found that SEER*(v8) took leniencies in address matching that caused discrepancies.  Finally, a methodology for interactive geocoding was developed to increase geocoding accuracy.

The evaluation used all diagnosed cases from the Connecticut Tumor Registry (CTR) between 2007 and 2009 and registered in the CTR as of April, 2010, with a study population of 42,032 cases.

Mapping the Morgan: Maritime Memory Preserved

scheduled on Sunday, 2/26/2012 at 12:40 PM.

Jeffrey J Dunn – University of Connecticut
Jason Hine – Mystic Seaport

The Mystic Seaport Museum is home to the Charles W. Morgan, the last wooden whaleship in the world. The Morgan is currently under restoration and is scheduled for a 38th voyage in 2014.  The museum also holds the Charles W. Morgan’s numerous ship logs with daily entries that include positional information as well as rich attribute information.  Information from these log entries contain attribute information about the weather, number of species sighted, number of species caught, and communications with other vessels.

This poster documents how these information sources were extracted and mapped using a combination of ArcGIS tools, Google Maps, and other techniques to develop an online map mash-up.  Each log entry is accessible by clicking on the ship icon and viewing the resulting pop up balloon.  Currently, the map is a prototype and the finished product will include relevant links to other historical documents, images, and audio from the pop up balloons.  Beyond a visual display of the process and resulting map, this poster outlines experienced and expected challenges, as well as future objectives.  The potential of such an interactive map in discussing and educating individuals about spatial, environmental, and historical topics is great and will provide the Charles W. Morgan a new digital platform to tell its story.

Geographic determinants of American military basing in the Pacific

scheduled on Sunday, 2/26/2012 at 8:00 AM.

Kevin Evringham – University of Connecticut

The past decade has seen significant changes in the security environment of East Asia by nation states not allied with the United States.  The current base structure of American military units in the Pacific does not adequately facilitate the security and power projection needs demanded by these changes in support of American security commitments to the region.  Specifically, domestic political and military concerns in both the United States and Japan have been increasing wary of this new security environment shedding new light on the importance of the United States-Japanese security agreement.  Unfortunately, current basing by United States military units in Okinawa, Japan places strain on this alliance when the need for clear and joint cooperation on the defense of Japan is paramount.  Through an examination of the existing plans for unit movements both within Okinawa and to Guam this paper instead argues for the realignment of a majority of the III Marine Expeditionary Unit to the main islands of Japan.  These actions, available for proposal during the next expected round of Base Realignments in 2014 by the Department of Defense, represents the clearest long term solution in support United States strategic objectives and Japanese self-defense interests.

The Right to the City Alliance: Challenging the Constraints of Contemporary Organizing

scheduled on Sunday, 2/26/2012 at 10:00 AM.

Robert Fisher – University of Connecticut

This paper on the Right to the City Alliance focuses on how the Alliance and its member organizations challenge many of the constraints of contemporary community organizing.  That said, it’s not clear how well the does with a number of critical challenges, including expanding beyond the local.  In terms of vision and analysis the Alliance and its members incorporate both the local and beyond.  But in terms of its organizational scale, for example, its ability to coordinate action beyond the local, it still seems a work in progress.  To develop these concepts, we compare RTTC Alliance organizing to more moderated versions (community building/capacity building) as well as to ACORN, which did not do some things as well as the RTTC Alliance (vision of change, social movement orientation) but did some things much better (national organization/enlarged organizational scale).

Using Social Paths in Transit Service Area Analysis: Evidence from America’s Light Rail Systems

scheduled on Saturday, 2/25/2012 at 12:40 PM.

Patrick Gallagher – University of Connecticut

Pedestrian accessibility remains a much studied topic in transportation literature. Researchers have noted the importance of calculating accurate transit service areas for the purposes of transit ridership projections. Service area analysis has evolved from a simple Euclidean distance measure into more complex, network based approaches. Network based methods have been able to better model the pedestrian environment. However, they only take formal pedestrian paths such as roads and sidewalks into consideration. There is a growing body of literature that examines how pedestrians act within both the formal and informal pedestrian environment. Social paths are informal paths that form from significant footfall over grassy areas. Often times they are formed in response to barriers and other inadequacies in the formal pedestrian environment. This study presents evidence that social paths can help improve the accuracy of transit service area analysis by more realistically modeling both the formal and informal aspects of the pedestrian environment. In addition, social paths can prove to be invaluable in determining the best locations for future pedestrian improvement projects.

Exploring the spatiotemporal trends of obesity-related “tweets” using topic modeling and Geographic Information Science

scheduled on Monday, 2/27/2012 at 8:00 AM.

Debarchana (Debs) Ghosh* – University of Connecticut
Rajarshi Guha – National Institute of Health

Social networking sites like often provide us with large conversational datasets on public-health related topics. The conversations or the “tweets” are also georeferrenced (specific location of the user) and time stamped (specific time/day the tweets are posted by the user). However, public-health related topics are difficult to identify from such large datasets. Even more challenging is the visualization and analysis of the spatiotemporal patterns encoded in tweets. This study, first examines how to model and discover public-health related themes in tweets and second, visualization and analysis of the spatiotemoral patterns of these themes. Obesity is chosen as a test theme to demonstrate the effectiveness of topic modeling using LDA (Latent Dirichlet Allocation) and spatiotemporal analysis using GIS techniques. The dataset is a representative dataset from the United States that is constructed from obesity-related queries such as, ‘food deserts’, ‘high fructose corn syrup’, ‘fast foods’, ‘childhood obesity’, ‘farmer’s market, ‘physical activity’, etc. We anticipate the identification of dominant obesity-related themes, which will help health researchers and practitioners to better understand the level of awareness and concern among a large population for the growing epidemic of obesity in the United States. The spatiotemporal analysis will also show diffusion patterns of a particular theme or a cluster of themes between rural and urban areas, cities and suburbs, northern and southern states, and between coasts and inland states. In the conclusion we will also discuss some of the research-related challenges and issues of using such conversational datasets from social networking sites.

Author Meets Her Critics: Kristina Gibson’s Street Kids, Homeless Youth, Outreach and Policing New York’s Streets

scheduled on Sunday, 2/26/2012, from 12:40 PM – 2:20 PM

Lorraine Dowler – Penn State University
Lorraine Dowler – Penn State University
Lorraine Dowler – Penn State University
Kate Swanson
Don Mitchell – Syracuse University
Stuart C. Aitken – San Diego State University
Kristina Gibson – University Of Connecticut

Session Description:
“Street outreach workers comb public places such as parks, vacant lots, and abandoned waterfronts to search for young people who are living out in public spaces, if not always in the public eye. Street Kids opens a window to the largely hidden world of street youth, drawing on their detailed and compelling narratives to give new insight into the experiences of youth homelessness and youth outreach. Kristina Gibson argues that the enforcement of quality of life ordinances in New York City has spurred hyper-mobility amongst the city’s street youth population and has serious implications for social work with homeless youth. Youth in motion have become socially invisible and marginalized from public spaces where social workers traditionally contact them, jeopardizing their access to the already limited opportunities to escape street life. The culmination of a multi-year ethnographic investigation into the lives of street outreach workers and ‘their kids’ on the streets of New York City, Street Kids illustrates the critical role that public space regulations and policing play in shaping the experience of youth homelessness and the effectiveness of street outreach.”

Meteorological and surficial influences on dust mobilization observed at Mesquite Playa, Mojave Desert

scheduled on Monday, 2/27/2012 at 14:40 PM.

John Andrew Jolly-Ballantine, Ph.D. – University of Connecticut
James Stephen King, Ph.D. – University of Oxford, UK

Atmospheric dust in dryland regions of the American West is responsible for hazards to human health and infrastructure. The vulnerability of dryland surfaces to erosion is dependent on antecedent precipitation, surface sediments, and history of disturbance. We focused our study of dust emissions on the Mesquite Playa on the California/Nevada border to the southwest of Las Vegas, NV because this playa is a source of elevated atmospheric particulate levels in Las Vegas. We used a combination of measurements from field campaigns and existing meteorological records to identify statistical relationships between meteorological conditions, surface conditions, and dust emissions. Field data included images from two semi-permanent cameras set to take images of dust during the period from January, 2008 to May, 2010. We also took periodic measurements of the strength of surface sediments and depth to moisture. The final field measurements involved use of the Pi-SWERL portable wind tunnel to determine threshold velocity for mobilizing dust as well as weight of material mobilized under known conditions. We obtained records of wind speed and precipitation from nearby meteorological stations. Correlations between surface measurements, meteorological measurements, and observed dust events found that more frequent and intense dust events occur during the spring months in and that these events were not associated with wind parameters. Based on these surface measurements and correlations, it is likely that precipitation influences the vulnerability of the surface by stimulating the formation of protective crusts which then break down over a period of months.

The Determinants of Geographical Concentration of Manufacturing Industries in China

scheduled on Friday, 2/24/2012 at 12:40 PM.

Zhiqiang Liu – University of Connecticut

The rapid industrialization and rising social and economic prosperity of China has drawn attention of scholars all over the world. Based on China’s census and industrial survey data, this paper aims to explore  the  determinants  of  geographical  concentration  of manufacturing  activities  at  the county level, which has not be fully explored yet. To achieve this goal, traditional agglomeration
economy  factors,  as  well  as  a  series  of  control  variables,  including  natural  advantage,  local  and foreign  markets,  and  economic  policies,  are  taken  into  account.  The  results  of  OLS  and  spatial error  models  show  that  both  localization  and  urbanization  economies  positively  contribute  to geographical  concentration  of  manufacturing  activities.  In  addition,  local  and  foreign  demands also  imply  positive  effects  on  location  of  manufacturing  industries.  However,  manufacturing industries  in  China  seem  to  be  able  to  escape  the  constraint  of  natural  advantage  in  favor  of other  factors.  Finally, although  some  signs  indicating  the  impact  of  local  economic  policies,  the result on this issue is not clear.

Past and Projected NE US Summer Climate

scheduled on Monday, 2/27/2012 at 14:40 PM.

Cary Lynch – University of Connecticut

Anthropogenically induced climate change is expected to accelerate in the coming decades and understanding how these changes will influence regional scale processes is essential.  To address the issue of global climate change at the regional scale, this study analyzes 20th century and projected 21st century changes in summertime climate for the Northeastern region of the United States (NE US).  The NE US is located in a region dominated by mid-latitude westerlies with transient cyclonic and frontal systems.  In addition, the region is influenced by land-atmospheric interactions and coastal processes.  This study examines 20th century gridded observations and reanalysis output as well as climate model SRESA2 projections from two coupled global climate models, CCSM3 and GFDL-CM2.1, which were selected due to their range in projected precipitation.  Gridded observations of precipitation and surface temperature across the NE US show distinct regional variation resulting from the complex topography and coastal influences. For projected changes, models show agreement on trends in summer temperatures, but summer precipitation and related thermodynamic fields show considerable inter-model variability. Related dynamic and thermodynamic fields from reanalysis output and models are examined to explore the underlying causes of this variability.

Food, Faith, and the Everyday Struggle for Black Urban Community

scheduled on Friday, 2/24/2012 at 8:00 AM.

Priscilla McCutcheon – University of Connecticut

Black religious spaces play important and sometimes contested roles in black urban neighborhoods.  While they serve as sites of worship, they often have multiple functions, such as community centers and organizing sites for community protests.  To varying degrees, some black churches seek to provide services to changing and decaying neighborhoods.  The purpose of this research paper is to interrogate the daily actions of black volunteers at one black church’s emergency food program.  This paper utilizes archival and textual research, extensive participant observation, and semi-structured open-ended interviews with emergency food program volunteers.  Wheat Street Baptist Church is located on Auburn Avenue in Atlanta Georgia, a neighborhood whose prominence is steeped in the Civil Rights Movement.  While past history of racial struggles and progress is memorialized in the landscape through the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic Site, emergency food program volunteers seek to redefine their neighborhood as one with past prominence, but similarly a bright, yet distinct future.  Volunteers acknowledge that the neighborhood has changed over the years, suffering a similar fate of many black urban neighborhoods.  In this vein, Wheat Street volunteers are doing more than providing two meals per week to hungry people.  Instead, they are engaged in place making, using both food and faith along with a vivid place memory to define a new Auburn Avenue.  Through everyday talk, volunteers work to recreate a feeling of home for people coming in to be served.  Ultimately, volunteers hope for a future neighborhood that has affordable housing for all.

River Terraces and Incision in Southern New England

scheduled on Saturday, 2/25/2012 at 16:40 PM.

William Ouimet – University of Connecticut

Terraces are ubiquitous features in the river and stream valleys of New England that attest to the various climatic and geomorphic processes driving landscape evolution in the northern Appalachian region.  The most common type of terraces along these rivers are alluvial fill and cut-fill terraces.  Less frequently, in the higher relief portions of the landscape, bedrock strath terraces sit perched above active river valleys. Despite their abundance in the New England landscape, and even though they have been appreciated by geologists and geographers since the time of William Morris Davis over 100 years ago, most of these terraces have not been extensively studied.  Here, I present a preliminary analysis of a subset of these terraces in southern New England.  High fill terraces (up to 10-15 m above modern river levels) along the Connecticut River and its major tributaries dissecting the Berkshires and Western Connecticut Highlands (Deerfield, Westfield and Farmington Rivers), as well the Housatonic River, reflect incision into higher, glacial meltwater terraces. These terraces highlight the timing and style of post-glacial incision throughout the Holocene related to base-level controls on these river systems and post-glacial isostatic rebound.  More recently, sediment aggradation and subsequent incision in river valleys where humans have constructed and abandoned mill-ponds has led to the formation of low fill terraces in some valleys (<1-2 m above modern river levels), and low terraces along some upland, lower order streams can be tied to land clearing from the 18th to early 20th century.

Climatic Vulnerability: Sea Level Rise and Communities on Martha’s Vineyard

scheduled on Saturday, 2/25/2012 at 12:40 PM.

Jonathan Pollak – University of Connecticut

This poster investigates the spatial distribution of vulnerability on Martha’s Vineyard, an island of approximately 90 square miles in size which is located less than 5 miles from Woods hole, Massachusetts.  This research uses GIS to analyze the impacts of changing global climatic variables on the island’s socio-demographic, cultural, and physical landscapes.  The island has a long history of commercial fishing, but more lately caters to affluent seasonal tourists.  With both economic activities heavily reliant upon the ocean as a resource, sea level rise poses a particularly important risk that could result in loss of land, damage to infrastructure, as well degradation of economic opportunity.

Supermarkets, Small Grocers & Convenience Stores: A Critical Geography of the Urban Food Retail Environment

scheduled on Friday, 2/24/2012 at 8:00 AM.

C. Patrick Heidkamp – Southern Connecticut State University
Scott E. Russell – University of Connecticut

Discussions of urban food deserts have reached a new level of mainstream media and public attention. The means by which cities “solve” food deserts has been dominated by a state/corporate hegemony united in promoting the supermarket as the pinnacle of answers to the lack of access to healthy and affordable foods that plague residents of food desert neighborhoods. Alternative to the supermarket solution, academics and activists alike have taken the diametrically opposite position of the need for local alternative food systems—centered on urban food production schemes and reinvigorated consumer-producer relationships (e.g., farmers markets)—to address the injustice and lack of sustainability integral to the global-industrial food system. There is, however, an emerging body of research that not only questions the ability of alternative food systems to challenge the dominant supermarket model of urban food provision but also seeks to contribute significantly to alleviating urban food desert conditions. In this paper, we argue that urban food systems may instead be built around a diverse array of small- and medium-sized grocery stores, which are often better integrated into the social infrastructure of the cities and neighborhoods they serve.  By reflecting on previous empirical studies of the food systems of two Connecticut cities—the long-standing urban food production system of Hartford and the retail food environment of New Haven—we acknowledge their limitations while highlighting the elements of an alternative market structure based on multiple, independent and complementary retail sources.

Public hearings and environmental impact assessments in Russia

scheduled on Monday, 2/27/2012 at 14:40 PM.

Nathaniel Trumbull – University of Connecticut

Procedures for public hearings and environmental impact assessments present difficulties to stakeholders, and are often implemented only nominally.  Adherence to international environmental frameworks and best management practices continue to face serious challenges.  Environmental non-government organization activity often play only marginal roles in influencing decision-making.

Towards automatic search of geospatial features for disaster and emergency management

scheduled on Tuesday, 2/28/2012 at 8:00 AM.

Chuanrong Zhang – University of Connecticut, Department of Geography and Center for Environmental Sciences and Engineering
Tian Zhao – Department of Computer Science, University of Wisconsin
Weidong Li – University of Connecticut, Department of Geography

Although the fast development of OGC (Open Geospatial Consortium) WFS (Web Feature Service) technologies has undoubtedly improved the sharing and synchronization of feature-level geospatial information across diverse resources, literature shows that there are still apparent limitations in the current implementation of OGC WFSs. Currently, the implementation of OGC WFSs only emphasizes syntactic data interoperability via standard interfaces and cannot resolve semantic heterogeneity problems in geospatial data sharing. To help emergency responders and disaster managers find new ways of efficiently searching for needed geospatial information at the feature level, this paper aims to propose a framework for automatic search of geospatial features using Geospatial Semantic Web technologies and natural language interfaces.Wefocus on two major tasks: (1) intelligent geospatial feature retrieval using Geospatial Semantic Web technologies; (2) a natural language interface to a geospatial knowledge base and web feature services over the Semantic Web. Based on the proposed framework we implemented a prototype. Results show that it is practical to directly discover desirable geospatial features from multiple semantically heterogeneous sources using Geospatial Semantic Web technologies and natural language interfaces.

Residential Rain Garden Training Course from CLEAR

A practical 1.5 day short course for
landscapers, designers, maintenance care providers and volunteers  
rain garden drawing
Have you been hearing the buzz about rain gardens? Come to this workshop to learn what they are, how they work, and how to install them. This 1.5 day workshop will start with a classroom session, then conclude with an actual installation of a rain garden. Instructors are from the University of Connecticut NEMO program and the University of Rhode Island Outreach Center.
Thursday, March 29 (classroom)  8:30 am – 3:00 pm
Friday, March 30 (field installation) 8:30 am – 12:30 pm
Kelly Middle School, 25 Mahan Drive, Norwich, CT
Private sector                                                  $25                
Municipal/nonprofit/private citizen              $20
Don’t wait!  
Seating is limited, so please register by Friday March 23, 2012.
Or contact Michael Dietz at, 860-345-5225 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting            860-345-5225      end_of_the_skype_highlighting

Rain gardens are vegetated areas designed and built to accept stormwater runoff from surfaces including rooftops, roads and compacted soils. Rain gardens are increasingly being used by homeowners and municipalities to reduce the impact of stormwater on local waterways and the Long Island Sound.

CLEAR 2012 Webinar Series – Registration now available!

Our colleagues at the University of Connecticut Center for Land User Education and Research (CLEAR) have recently opened registration for the first 3 webinars of 2012. These webinars are part of a FREE monthly webinar series that covers new and noteworthy topics from the UConn Center for Land use Education and Research’s (CLEAR’s) research, geospatial training and outreach programs.

An Introduction to “Buildout” Analyses
ArcGIS Buildout image
DATE: February 28th, 2012
TIME: 2:00 – 3:00 PM
A “buildout” analysis is a planning tool that can provide insight into the possible future impacts of a town’s current land use regulations. But what does a buildout really tell you? In the first half of the webinar, we’ll explain what a buildout is and isn’t, go over common misconceptions about buildouts, and review several different types of buildouts and what type of data are needed for each. In the second half we’ll illustrate some of these concepts with two case studies – one done in 2008 for the CT Office of Policy and Management and in partnership with the Central Naugatuck Valley Council of Governments, and a recently completed buildout done in partnership with the Town of Kent. And of course, we’ll (attempt to) answer your questions. After spending this hour with us, you may not be able to do a buildout using your iPhone and a pocket calculator, but you will be able to ask good questions about the need for, uses, and types of buildouts that might apply to your community.

LID in Connecticut: a Virtual Tour of Where It’s Working
DATE: March 13th, 2012
TIME: 2:00 – 3:00 PM
No need to get on the bus for this tour! Join us for a virtual tour of Low Impact Development (LID) around the State of Connecticut. Dave Dickson and Mike Dietz will use NEMO’s LID Atlas, a cutting-edge web tool powered by Google Maps, to highlight LID projects around the state. At each stop you’ll learn the background of each site, get to see pictures, learn about obstacles, and successes. Different types of LID practices will be covered, from rain gardens to porous pavements. At the end, we’ll demonstrate the use of the Atlas so that you can take your own tour, not only around Connecticut but the entire U.S. Perhaps some of these sites will inspire you to initiate an LID project in your town? Come find out! A User-Friendly Tool for Creating Maps Online
DATE: May 8th, 2012
TIME: 2:00 – 3:00 PM
Interactive web maps are powerful tools for organizing and disseminating information for public consumption. For years, Google has led this revolution in online mapping by making it easy for practically anyone (even you) to create a custom web map of their own using Google Maps and Google Earth. But Google isn’t the only game in town anymore.
ESRI, the creator of the most popular desktop GIS software, has recently launched, a free web based tool for creating web maps and mapping applications. It allows a user to create customizable maps with built-in functions including the ability to: connect to a wide variety of base maps and mapping services, import existing GIS data, customize how information is displayed, edit data using a simple interface or smartphone, collaborate with others, create online galleries of web maps, establish public or private map groups, add new data, and more. This webinar will provide an overview of ESRI’s new website. Many of the functions listed above will be covered through discussion and live demonstration and will include examples of how towns and land trusts might use the technology to meet their online mapping needs.

Questions about how webinars work?  See CLEAR’s:

Geography Awareness Week Kickoff Event – November 3, 2011 @ UConn

Geography: The Adventures in Your Community
Thursday, November 3, 2011 4:45-8:00pm
Thomas J Dodd Research Center at UConn
Storrs, Connecticut
The heart of this year’s theme will revolve around a series of topics that encourage individuals or teams of students, families, or friends to explore their own communities through geographic eyes, and challenge them to look at things from a geographic perspective.
Program Agenda
4:00-4:30 Pre-conference tour of UConn Libraries – MAGIC
4:30-4:45 Registration – Thomas J. Dodd Research Center
4:45-5:00 Welcome – Bill DeGrazia & Tom Brodnitzki, CGA Co-Coordinators
5:00-6:00 Keynote Speaker – Arthur Bakis – U.S. Census Bureau Boston Regional Office
6:05-6:55 Buffet Dinner and Remarks
7:00-7:50 Breakout Sessions
I – Elementary Teachers – Allyson Lubs, Professional Development CGA
II – Middle & High School Teachers – Kristie Blanchard, NE Geography Teacher of the Year
III – Exploration of American Community Survey (ACS) –
Michael Howser, Connecticut State Data Center
7:50-8:00 CEU Records and Drawings

Participation Fee: $25 (add $10 if you would like to be awarded .3 CEUs upon completion of the program). The fee includes registration and a light dinner. Checks should be made payable to “Connecticut Geographic Alliance.
Pre-Service Teachers receive a reduced registration fee of $10 and currently enrolled UConn Students receive free admission.
This workshop is a collaboration of the Connecticut Geographic Alliance, University of Connecticut Department of Geography, University of Connecticut Libraries Map and Geographic Information Center (MAGIC), and the Connecticut State Data Center.
To register for this event download the Registration form.

New American FactFinder Workshops at Stamford and Torrington Campuses

Are you interested in learning more about using the New American FactFinder to access data from the 2010 U.S. Census? The Connecticut State Data Center is offering a series of workshops across the state to provide users with an opportunity to learn more about the New American FactFinder in a hands-on workshop environment. Included below are the upcoming workshops, and we will be offering additional workshops at more locations soon.

Locating Census 2010 Data using the NEW American FactFinder

The U.S. Census Bureau introduced a NEW American FactFinder online Census data tool with enhanced searching and data display capabilities in conjunction with the release of 2010 Census data. In this workshop you will learn how to use the new American FactFinder to locate and download data – and create thematic maps – from a wide variety of population, economic, and housing information in the 2010 and 2000 decennial Censuses. From information on individual neighborhoods or zip codes, to state- or national-level data, the new American FactFinder is a powerful tool for navigating the vast amounts of data made available by the U.S. Census Bureau. The new American FactFinder will also soon replace the legacy American FactFinder as the platform for retrieving data from the American Community Survey (the ongoing Census program which produces data on educational attainment, income, occupation, marital status, and other detailed social and economic characteristics), and will also deliver data from the Economic Census. Join us to learn more about how to effectively navigate the NEW American FactFinder.

University of Connecticut Stamford Campus

Wednesday 07/06/11 11:00 AM to 12:30 PM Stamford Campus – Computer Lab 306 12 4 Register

Wednesday 07/06/11 1:00 PM to 2:30 PM Stamford Campus – Computer Lab 306 12 2 Register

University of Connecticut Torrington Campus

Monday 07/11/11 11:00 AM to 12:30 PM Torrington Computer Lab (Room 126) 25 4 Register

Monday 07/11/11 1:00 PM to 2:30 PM Torrington Computer Lab (Room 126) 25 2 Register

More workshops coming soon!

To keep current on the latest Census, Mapping, and Workshop offerings check out the Connecticut State Data Center’s website ( and follow our blog (  

June 10, 2011 – CT GIS User to User Network Meeting on the 2010 U.S. Census

The Connecticut GIS User to User Network will hold its quarterly meeting on June 10, 2011 at the University of Connecticut’s Greater Hartford Campus from 9am – 12 pm. This meeting will focus on topics related to GIS and the 2010 U.S. Census and will feature presenters from the U.S. Census Boston Regional Office. This meeting will be held in the Information Technology Building Room 104 at the University of Connecticut Greater Hartford Campus. Included below is a tentative outline:

Tentative Outline

9:00-9:15am – Introductions

9:15 – 9:45am – Locating 2010 Census Data using the New American FactFinder

9:45 – 10:00am – Tips and Tricks

10:00 – 10:15am – Networking

10:15 – 10:45am – Using 2010 Shapefiles and joining data from the 2010 Census

10:45 – 11:00am – Break

11:00 – 11:45am – American Community Survey and comparing ACS with 2010 Census data

11:45am – 12:00pm – Question and Answer Session

Parking and Navigating Campus

Parking is available for free in the visitor lot at the corner of Ayslum Ave and Trout Brook Drive in West Hartford, CT. Once on campus, the Information Technology Center is a short walk from the Parking Lot. The following link includes a campus map that includes details on each building:

For Driving directions to the University of Connecticut Greater Hartford Campus, visit the following website:

Can’t Make it? Attend this meeting Virtually!

For those that are unable to attend this meeting in person, a live web stream from this meeting will be offered. If you are interested in attending this meeting virtually via a live web stream, please complete the following form so we can be sure to provide you a link to attend the meeting virtually:

GIS Tips and Tricks

CT GIS User to User Network would also like to encourage participants to bring a GIS related tip to share with meeting participants. These tips could include a favorite extension, script, and time saving resource that would be useful to other meeting participants. Feel free to bring your tip on a sheet of paper to share with other meeting participants.

We look forward to seeing you physically or virtually for this meeting on the June 10, 2011!