University of California
Informatics and GIS Program

Posts Tagged: urban

Berkeley Food Institute's new grants announced

The new Berkeley Food Institute has released its crop of funded projects from its first seed grant program. Our project Making the Road by Mapping: Informing Food System Transformation through Participatory Mapmaking was selected for seed funding. This project, led by Kathryn DeMaster includes graduate students Adam Calo (ESPM) and Sarah Van Wart (Information), Darin Jensen (Geography), Tapan Parikh (Information), Kaley Grimland-Mendoza (Agriculture and Land-Based Training Association), Amber Sciligo (Post-doc, ESPM), Christy Getz (ESPM), and Jennifer Sowerwine (Jepson Herbaria). We look forward to digging in.

Our participatory mapping research project has four primary purposes: First, we explore participatory mapping as a way to collaboratively generate new food system knowledge with scholars, practitioners, and producers. Second, through a process we term “communitysourcing,” we aim to illuminate overlooked caches of community-based knowledge and engage community members, agricultural producers and scholars in collaborative efforts to map a particular food system supply chain (small-scale organic strawberry production in the Salinas Valley). Third, we aim to integrate the interdisciplinary community-based participatory research with specific understandings of the way that certain agricultural policies either facilitate or restrict sustainable small-scale organic strawberry production in the Salinas Valley (with a particular focus on water quality and food safety policy/regulations). Fourth, we will present our findings in novel, innovative, and visually captivating ways that will: (a) Inform specific policies/regulations and; (b) Provide small-scale producers with easily accessible caches of community generated knowledge to inform their practices.

Posted on Saturday, February 15, 2014 at 4:49 PM
Tags: collaboration (26), food (5), urban (4), webgis (11)

Dense cities contribute less GHG

A CoolClimate Map of the SF Bay Area's carbon footprint by zipcode tabulation area shows a pattern typical of large metropolitan areas: a small footprint (green) in the urban core but a large footprint (orange and red) in surrounding suburbs.According to a new study by Dan Kammen and graduate student Christopher Jones at UC Berkeley, population-dense cities contribute less greenhouse-gas emissions per person than other areas of the country, but these cities’ extensive suburbs essentially wipe out the climate benefits.

Dominated by emissions from cars, trucks and other forms of transportation, suburbs account for about 50 percent of all household emissions – largely carbon dioxide – in the United States.

The study uses local census, weather and other data – 37 variables in total – to approximate greenhouse gas emissions resulting from the energy, transportation, food, goods and services consumed by U.S. households, so-called household carbon footprints.

A key finding of the UC Berkeley study is that suburbs account for half of all household greenhouse gas emissions, even though they account for less than half the U.S. population. The average carbon footprint of households living in the center of large, population-dense urban cities is about 50 percent below average, while households in distant suburbs are up to twice the average.

Interactive carbon footprint maps for more than 31,000 U.S. zip codes in all 50 states are available online at

A link to their paper in Environmental Science & Technology is here: Spatial distribution of U.S. household carbon footprints reveals suburbanization undermines greenhouse gas benefits of urban population density (ES&T, 2014)


Posted on Wednesday, January 8, 2014 at 1:21 AM
Tags: carbon (2), energy (2), urban (4)

Helsinki wants feedback on its new urban plans

From Greg Brown.

Helsinki, Finland is developing a new city plan for the future ( Helsinki becomes possibly the first major world city to use PPGIS to inform its comprehensive city planning process.   The PPGIS website was developed by Mapita (, a software company founded by Prof. Marketta Kytta and others at Aalto University.  The website launched several days ago and has already had over 5500 participants map places and preferences for the future of Helsinki.
You can visit the website here: (There is an option to try out the website without having your map markers or survey responses included in the results…see option below the “Begin” button that says ”Try without saving answers”).


Posted on Wednesday, November 6, 2013 at 2:33 AM
Tags: urban (4), webgis (11)

Some cool images showning the power of lidar and cartographic power

From Martin Isenburg, the brain behind LAStools.

Using LAStools, ArcGIS, and Photoshop, GRAFCAN has produced a LiDAR-derived digital suface model (DSM) that is seriously doped up: a synthetic map providing an intuitive understanding of the landscape. The product combines standard hillshading with a height and feature based color-coding that enables the viewer to "see" where trees are tall and to grasp height differences between buildings. The new product is available at a resolution of 2.5 meters/pixel via the GRAFCAN Web viewer and also as a WMS service. More info and pics here:

Comparison between bare earth DTM and DSM with cartography.


Check out the greenhouses, which ppear as “low planar vegetatation”. They are made out of coarse maze fabric (instead of glass) that lets the laser through and does not deflect it (like glass would).

Posted on Tuesday, November 5, 2013 at 5:54 PM
Tags: cartography (10), lidar (8), urban (4)
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