Monthly Archives: September 2014

USGS Releases Pedestrian Evacuation Analyst

USGS has released a nifty little tool for estimating the amount of time taken for a pedestrian to evacuate out of a hazardous zone, taking into account elevation and landcover. This tool, called the “Pedestrian Evacuation Analyst”, has been released as an ArcGIS extension. For more details, and to download:

http://geography.wr.usgs.gov/science/vulnerability/tools.html

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Unusual Winter Phytonplanton Blooms along the Pakistan Coast

Today I came across this interesting news report on how there is an unusual phytoplankton bloom taking place in the last few years along the Pakistan coast. The study, published in Nature Communications a few days ago, shows how the phytoplankton blooms are getting increasingly strong in the winter. Possible reasons for this could be the changing weather patterns in the region, or the increasing domestic and industrial waste coming straight into the Arabian Sea from land. We may think of phytoplankton as being always useful, because they set up a food chain, allowing for increased fisheries. This article serves as a good reminder that phytoplankton blooms can also be harmful, such as red tide or the blooms reported in this study, which may disrupt the ecological system along the Pakistan coast. Reports indicate that jellyfish are one of primary sea creatures thriving on these blooms. Jellyfish come with their own hazards and are known to disrupt local ecosystems. Here is an interesting article from the Smithsonian magazine about how jellyfish like to take over ecosystems.

For more details, see this detailed post by the Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory. The news article by the New York Times is here. The Nature Communications scientific paper can be accessed here.

Hello World, Hello Earth

Hi,

Waqas here. This is the first post and the launch of this blog. I’ve been meaning to launch this blog since the past few months, and finally I’m here. This blog stems from the fact that there are very few blogs around in the developing world, which actually foster discussions about remote sensing and earth observation, and are not just news resources. This is especially true for the developing world and the South Asian region.

In the near future, I hope to engage colleagues and friends who work in related disciplines to join this blog, either as partners, or through guest posts. I invite you to subscribe, welcome your comments, and hope we can foster some discussions here. If you think there is a specific story or event that should be focused on this blog, please do let me know.