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ERA staff volunteers for MapAction

Katharina Lorenz attended the International Search and Rescue Advisory Group (INSARAG) Asia-Pacific Regional Earthquake Response Exercise in Ulaan Baatar, Mongolia from 22 - 26 June 2015. INSARAG is organised under the umbrella of the United Nations and comprises representatives from a global network of more than 80 countries and organisations. It aims to establish minimum international standards for Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) teams and helps to develop methods to coordinate international earthquake response. Katharina was one of two MapAction volunteers at the event. MapAction is a British humanitarian charity that provides mapping support in response to disasters world-wide, helping relief agencies to respond in the most effective manner possible.

The exercise was attended by 130 people from more than 20 countries and organisations. The first part of the exercise involved presentations by key members of INSARAG, such as the UN Disaster Assessment and Coordination (UNDAC) and Urban Search And Rescue (SAR) teams. The second part involved an exercise to simulate a massive winter earthquake in Ulaan Baatar. The first 14 days of earthquake response were simulated and condensed into 2 days. MapActions role was to create map products to support response to the simulated disaster.

Katharina delivered a short course on Global Positioning Systems (GPS) to participants in her role as a MapAction volunteer . The course covered the basic theory and use of GPS, with a practical hands-on exercise using handheld GPS units and a demonstration of the integration of GPS data into Google Earth.

Katharina is one of around 70 volunteers for MapAction in the UK who work in the field of mapping, remote sensing, GIS, GPS and spatial data technologies. These volunteers have agreed with their employers arrangements for rapid deployment if called upon in response to emergencies world-wide. Katharina is undertaking extensive training by MapAction to become elegible for deployment in the future.


Important Bird Areas in Antarctica

Together with BirdLife International and a range of leading Antarctic bird specialists worldwide, ERA has completed a report on the Important Bird Areas (IBAs) in Antarctica. A total of 204 IBAs were identified by analysing data on bird breeding populations against criteria established by BirdLife and Antarctic bird specialists. A summary of the results is being presented to the Committee for Environmental Protection at the Antarctic Treaty Consulative Meeting being held in Sofia, Bulgaria, in June 2015.

The project has been supported by the Australian Antarctic Division, Antarctica New Zealand, the New Zealand Department of Conservation, the Norwegian Polar Institute and Nowegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office, the US National Science Foundation, and the Pew Charitable Trusts and British Bird Fair. Further information.

Antarctic Peninsula Wildlife Awareness Map Series: Second Edition

Wildlife Awareness Map Series Sheet 4 extract: James Ross Island

ERA has completed the Second Edition of the Wildlife Awareness Map Series covering the Antarctic Peninsula, South Shetland Islands and South Orkney Islands. The series consists of 6 large-format (A0) and 2 medium format (A1) maps prepared at a scale of 1:250,000. The purpose of the maps is to assist the British Naval patrol vessel HMS Protector in its operations in Antarctica. The map series was originally designed to supplement the FCO Wildlife Awareness Manual, which was primarily to support helicopter ops on HMS Endurance and published by ERA in 2006. While HMS Protector (the successor to HMS Endurance) does not have helicopters, there remains the need for up-to-date maps showing key features, including as an aid for sound environmental management.

The new edition includes updates to the topographic basemap and the addition of bathymetric data, as well as updates to wildlife, protected areas, historic sites and infrastructure data. The 'Important Bird Areas' recently identified in a project by ERA and BirdLife International are also included. The update was commissioned by the Polar Regions Department of the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office. Owing to printing costs, the series has a limited distribution and copies may only be obtained by special order to ERA.

New Ellsworth Mountains to South Pole map prepared for Antarctic Logistics and Expeditions

ALE Ellsworth Mountains to South Pole Map

Antarctic Logistics and Expeditions (ALE) operate a camp at Union Glacier, Ellsworth Mountains, Antarctica. Trips offered from the camp include skiing expeditions to the South Pole. This new map was designed as a planning tool and to support field teams during their expeditions to the Pole.

The small scale topographic map at 1: 1 500 000 incorporates elevation data from the Antarctic Digital Database v5 and uses the Landsat Image Mosaic of Antarctica as a background image. The central meridian was customised to 80°W, as this corresponds roughly to the longitude of travel by skiers to the Pole when they start at Hercules Inlet.

Palmer Station, Arthur Harbor map features at ESRI Ocean GIS Forum

ERA's Palmer Station, Arthur Harbor map was exhibited in the map gallery at the ESRI Ocean GIS Forum held at the ESRI Conference Center in Redlands, California, USA from 5-7 November 2014. The forum is a meeting place for maritime professionals using GIS in areas such as coastal management, conservation and restoration, research and exploration and fisheries management amongst other topics.

The 1:15,000 map of Palmer Station was produced for the United States Antarctic Program. The orthoimage map is designed to support science, operations and environmental management in the Arthur Harbor area, Anvers Island, Antarctic Peninsula.

Go to resources for an online zoomable version of the Palmer Station, Arthur Harbor map

Katharina Lorenz excels in University of Twente course in "EIA/SEA using spatial decision support tools"

Katharina Lorenz undertook a six-week distance learning course in Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) using Spatial Decision Support Tools at the Faculty of Geo-Information Science and Earth Observation (ITC) at the University of Twente, Netherlands, in November / December 2013. The course is based on task-based learning,  integrating theory and practice, and covered the fundamental principles of EIA and SEA and a wide range of practical environmental assessment methods. A total of 5 modules were taught covering the topics of EIA concepts, principles, procedures and process; SEA; Impact assessment methods and GIS; Spatial Decision Support tools in EIA & SEA; and Economic valuation of environmental impacts.

One of the assignments involved multi-criteria analysis of a proposed road bypass for Kampala, Uganda. Three road options were analysed by creating an impact matrix identifying the potential effects of the proposed routes. Different policies / visions were applied to rank the routes. The ranking was then tested for robustness in a sensitivity analysis.  A further assignment involved spatial multi-criteria analysis assessing best locations for industry and housing in the Twente conurbation, Netherlands.  An environmental vulnerability assessment was conducted to identify the best locations for new industry based on the themes of Ecology, Water, Soil, Landscape, Culture-history, Quality of life and Mobility using different policy visions.

Katharina achieved an overall grade of A+ in the course, an exceptional achievement in view of the fact that it was undertaken in parallel with meeting her responsibilities at ERA. A Certificate of Competence was awarded by the University of Twente. The course forms part of the Master of Science course in Natural Resources Management. A share of the training was supported by ERA as part of Katharina's professional development.

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Last Update: 4 August 2015