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New Year Brings New Staff and Interns to CIESIN

January 22, 2021

CIESIN is pleased to start the new year with several new staff members and interns. Hasim Engin has joined the Geospatial Applications Division as a geographic information specialist. He is supporting the Geo-referenced Infrastructure and Demographic Data for Development (GRID3) program, assisting with data development, analysis, services, and programming. Previously he worked at the Institute for Demographic Research of the City University of New York with former CIESIN research scientist Deborah Balk. He also interned with GRID3. Engin has an MS in geographic information systems from Lehman College, as well as an MA and a BA in geography education from Marmara University in Istanbul.

Nick Mehmel has joined the Science Applications Division as a data analyst. He is supporting the GRID3 data team in data processing and visualization and development of Web mapping services. Nick recently received an MS in geology from Oregon State University with a graduate certificate in information systems. He has a BS in earth science from Columbia University.

New GRID3 interns include Priska Marianne and Lily Li, who will be performing a range of data-related tasks under the supervision of GRID3 program manager-data lead Jolynn Schmidt. Both are current graduate students majoring in urban planning at Columbia's Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation. Marianne is helping with data visualization and the production of an atlas of cholera risk in Zambia. She received a BA in fine art from Academy of Art University. Li, who has a BE in landscape architecture from Tongji University in China, is supporting data processing for the Democratic Republic of Congo.


2020 Human Planet Atlas Showcases Diverse Applications of Global Human Settlement and Population Data

January 22, 2021

The Joint Research Centre (JRC) of the European Commission has released the 2020 edition of the Atlas of the Human Planet, focused on open geoinformation for research, policy, and action, under the auspices of the Human Planet Initiative of the Group on Earth Observations (GEO). This year′s Atlas features more than 30 applications of the georeferenced human settlement and population data in four thematic areas: disaster risk management, urbanization, development, and environment and sustainability. Two of the applications showcased were developed by CIESIN: the Global COVID-19 Viewer operated by the NASA Socioeconomic Data and Applications Center (SEDAC), in “Mapping the COVID-19 Pandemic and Potential Risk Factors,″ and a summary of an update to a 2007 data set available from SEDAC, in “New Estimates of Global Population and Land in the Low Elevation Coastal Zone Using GHSL-based Data Sets.″ The first showcase was prepared by CIESIN director Robert Chen, GIS programmer Kytt MacManus, and associate director for Science Applications Alex de Sherbinin. The second was authored by MacManus, former SEDAC project scientist Deborah Balk of Baruch College, staff associate Hasim Engin, UK demographer Gordon McGranahan, former research staff assistant Rya Inman, and intern Alexandra Hayes.

The JRC organized a virtual launch event January 21 that drew more than 90 participants. The event included 4 short presentations on selected applications, including the Global COVID-19 Viewer example, described by Chen. The Viewer, developed and enhanced in 2020, helps users visualize a range of data on COVID-19 cases and mortality in relationship to spatial data on demographic and environmental factors that may affect exposure and vulnerability, such as age structure, degree of urbanization, air quality, and elevation. Chen and Martino Pesaresi of the JRC are co-leaders of the GEO Human Planet Initiative.

See: Atlas of the Human Planet 2020


New Earth Network Established on Climate Mobility

January 21, 2021

In late 2020, the Earth Institute selected four new “Earth Networks” to facilitate interdisciplinary collaboration across Columbia University and develop fresh approaches to research, education and impact on themes related to climate, sustainability and the future of the planet. The Climate Mobility Network, co-led by Ama Francis, climate law fellow with the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law and Alex de Sherbinin, CIESIN's associate director for Science Applications, seeks to catalyze research insights and data in order to guide the development of program and policy responses to climate mobility. The Network will build capacity to teach, think, and develop policy about climate mobility, which encompasses both voluntary and forced migration influenced by climate variability and change and challenging issues surrounding internal displacement, refugee flows, managed retreat, and planned relocation. The Network will build on ongoing work with the World Bank, United Nations Development Programme, the Platform for Disaster Displacement, The UN Refugee Agency, and the International Organization of Migration, as well as the Columbia Global Centers Committee on Forced Migration. During its initial 3-year phase, the Climate Mobility Network plans to develop a trans-disciplinary course, teaching aids and tools to help build curriculum and pedagogy on climate mobility. It will sponsor an interdisciplinary reading group, facilitate working groups on specific topics, support blog posts and opinion pieces in major media outlets, and engage with relevant national, regional and international organizations. It is anticipated that the Network will serve as an exemplar for interdisciplinary research and practice in the new Columbia Climate School being established in 2021.

See: Climate Mobility Network