Socio-spatial secondary data source for all over the world

In this post I want to echo this fantastic source of socio-spatial data, perfect for your GIS analysis in most of the countries all over the world

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Socio-economic analysis with nighttime light series. Step 1: downloading shapefile of the study area

Context: we analyze economic changes in Colombian municipalities between 1993 and 2020.

We need to download ArcGis, a geographic information system (GIS) for working with maps and geographic information maintained by the Environmental Systems Research Institute (Esri). It is used for creating and using maps, compiling geographic data, analyzing mapped information, sharing and discovering geographic information, using maps and geographic information in a range of applications, and managing geographic information in a database. Particularly important for the purpose of this post is ArcMap, one of the applications, which is primarily used to view, edit, create, and analyze geospatial data. In the absence of license for this software, you can use free software such as GVSig.

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Socio-economic analysis with nighttime light series: downloading nighttime images

Context: we analyze economic changes in Colombian municipalities between 1993 and 2020.

In this post, we focus on how to download our “raw data”, i.e. the nighttime light data for Colombia.

Step 1: Download nighttime light series from NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI). Particularly Version 4 DMSP-OLS Nighttime Lights Time Series (DMSP) – The DMSP annual composite data contain average radiance values of cloud-free coverages, reflecting the persistent lights from cities, villages, and roads, with a spatial resolution of about 900m, and a temporal coverage of 1992 to 2013 – and VIIRS data which is available from 2013 on and with is a finer spatial resolution of 450m approximately. We will later do a post on the particularities of VIIRS, here we focus on DMSP.

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Socio-economic analysis with nighttime light series: uploading nighttime light file to a GIS software

Context: we analyze economic changes in Colombian municipalities between 1993 and 2020.

After having downloaded nighttime images from NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI), and install ArcGIS or any other GIS software in our computer, we proceed now to upload nighttime files for our analysis.

NOAA provide images covering the whole world which can be difficult to manage in terms of size. For that reason, we will only upload the images corresponding to our study are, i.e. Colombia. To do that, make sure you have uploaded first the map of the study are, here Colombia (see previous post)

Continue reading “Socio-economic analysis with nighttime light series: uploading nighttime light file to a GIS software”

What UTM Zone am I in ? Nice tool


Click on the map or use the Geolocate button to find out which UTM zone you are in.

Understanding Public Perceptions of a New Pit Lake in As Pontes, Spain

The introduction of coal mining in the 1940’s transformed the landscape and economy of As Pontes, Spain. Industrialisation created successive waves of economic and population booms, but when the mining slowed in the 1990s, the region experienced economic depression. Real and perceived social divisions and environmental abuses on the part of the mining company remained entrenched in people’s memories. This paper provides an overview of the factors that likely affected community acceptance of the new pit lake in As Pontes, Spain. Pit lakes are often attractive closure options for companies, and community opinion of pit lakes can influence pit end use. Community perceptions of the pit lake before, during, and after filling were assessed using case studies, interviews, and focus groups, and by tracking news events and analysing internet forums. The results broadly indicated high community acceptance of the pit lake by people residing in the town. However, interviews revealed that acceptance of the pit lake was influenced by previous experiences with the mining company; company employees and local politicians were more likely to be positive about the benefits of the lake, whereas those not directly affiliated with the lake (long-term residents, remote villagers, school teachers) were more likely to have a negative view of it. Thus, technical success is not the only factor that influences community acceptance of pit lakes and company closure plans. Unresolved social issues can also influence the way certain people perceive the new landscape, regardless of ecological and aesthetic impacts.

See full article

Landscape value

Landscape value corresponds to an attachment or emotional bond that people develop with places. There are strong cultural ties to landscapes and feelings for the visual beauty of mountains, lakes, coasts, forests, etc., which are a common bond among people or social groups of a given region. Arguments related to landscape values are commonly heard in Europe from opponents to the construction of wind farms for example. Landscape values may also be important for the tourism industry and landscapes can therefore be managed as a key component of tourism infrastructure.

Landscape value often has an association with environmental and natural resource values. The values that people appreciate in a landscape may often also be important ecologically. Landscape values can be divided into use and non-value, the former of which provides tangible benefits (such as economic value through, for instance, tourism, or recreation value) and the latter of which provides spiritual, identity or ecological value.

For further reading

Penning-Rowsell, E. C. (1981) Fluctuating fortunes in gauging landscape value. Progress in human geography, 5(1), 25-41.

Zografos, C., & Mart, J. (2009). The politics of landscape value: a case study of wind farm conflict in rural Catalonia. Environment and Planning A, 41(7), 1726-1744.

This glossary entry is based on contributions by Julien Francois Gerber

EJOLT glossary editors: Hali Healy, Sylvia Lorek and Beatriz Rodríguez-Labajos

“Large-scale mining developments’ 7 capital sins” Documentary (in Spanish)

Federico Guzman documentary on megamining in Zacatecas, Mexico. See also his thesis book.

http://rimd.reduaz.mx/7Pecados2019.mp4?fbclid=IwAR1r9nAn3t9TCFzipu7IVPRXgpPnGFkoXZcAsQU0RniHCf-NSOqb4peQECY

‘Swarm Electrification’ in Bangladesh Lets Neighbours Swap Solar Electricity

For decades, families had little choice but to use kerosene. Now they’re swapping solar electricity.

Ten households in Shakimali Matborkandi, a village in the Shariatpur district of Bangladesh, have seen a dramatic change over the past year in the way they light their homes and charge their mobile phones.

For decades, these families had little choice but to use kerosene, the most popular fuel in tens of millions of homes in the developing world. But in September 2015, a Bangladeshi company, ME SOLshare, introduced them to what it calls “swarm electrification”.

In a fresh twist on the sharing economy popularized by Uber and Airbnb, ME SOLshare’s pilot project enables the residents of Shakimali Matborkandi to trade electricity among themselves, free of any contact with a local utility.

Bangladesh is the world leader in the number of installed solar home systems, which makes them a natural testing ground for rural peer-to-peer electricity trading. Image: ME SOLshare 

More than four million homes in Bangladesh are already equipped with solar panels. But, starting with the Shakimali Matborkandi pilot project, ME SOLshare aims to go a step further. With the help of a black box called a SOLbox and a mobile phone connected to the largest mobile banking network in the country called bKash, each family can buy solar electricity from their neighbours when they need it, and sell when they have a surplus.

If anyone on the grid needs electricity, they add credit to their mobile wallet, switch their SOLbox to ‘buy’ mode, and trade the credit for power. Similarly, those who have excess power, or simply want to make some extra money, set the box to ‘sell’ mode. They can then use the credit on their mobile wallet to buy products at any local store.

Electrical engineer from UBOMUS installs a solar home system. Image: ME SOLshare

This system, known as peer-to-peer electricity trading on a nanogrid, is already making inroads in some industrial countries, such as the Netherlands, New Zealand, Germany and the US. But its introduction to Bangladesh could revolutionize the use of electricity in impoverished and remote communities that up to now have never known any source of power apart from kerosene and batteries.

Read More: An Indie, Off-the-Grid, Blockchain-Traded Solar Power Market Comes to Brooklyn

What’s more, in countries prone to armed conflict and natural disasters, such as Bangladesh, where floods affected 3.2 million people and damaged over 250,000 homes this past summer, swarm electrification can keep the lights on even if there is extensive damage to the utility power grid.

Sebastian Groh, ME SOLshare’s managing director, said in an interview that the technology inspires a new way of thinking. “It inspires entrepreneurship. You are not just focused on your needs.” He added that “people are encouraged to use energy efficient appliances and the latest LED lights to reduce consumption” so that they can sell surplus power to their neighbors.

Groh came up with the term “swarm electrification” because, he said, “in a swarm of fish, there is no central intelligence and the fish work together to create unity.” He added that, “if a shark attacks a swarm, it may take out one or two fish, but the rest keep on swimming.”

SOLshare SOLbox Video. Video: Me SOLshare/YouTube

Another advantage of the technology is the low cost and reduced environmental impact. In rural Bangladesh, the average household spends $2 USD a month on kerosene for lighting but, as Nasir Uddin, executive director of Bangladesh-based nonprofit UBOMUS, one of the leading installers of solar home systems in the country, put it: “You can’t charge your mobile phone with kerosene.”

The SOLbox itself costs $30, which consumers pay in installments over 24-36 months. After that, they own the box. Mr. Uddin said: “There are thousands of places in remote Bangladesh where this kind of project may be implemented.”

He added that for the same cost as kerosene, the SOLbox enables consumers to have access to bright, clean lighting, and they can also charge their mobile devices.

In Bangladesh, about 20,000 new solar systems are installed each month. According to Groh, ME SOLshare plans to install another 200 SOLboxes by February 2017.

Beneficiary from Shakimali Matborkandi village stands next to her new SOLbox. Image: ME SOLshare

The potential of swarm electricity extends far beyond Bangladesh. According to the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), more than 6 million solar home systems are in operation worldwide, and their cost has dropped by over 80 percent since 2010. As prices continue to drop, the number of solar home systems will continue to rise, with the Climate Change Group estimating that five million solar homesystems will be sold in India alone between 2014 and 2018.

The challenge that the technology faces in reaching this wider market will be in finding the right sites. For efficiency reasons, the nanogrid uses direct current as opposed to alternating current, which means the lines carrying the electricity cannot extend far without significant energy loss. Only areas with high population density are candidates for this technology. Bangladesh makes a perfect guinea pig with a population of over 160 million people squeezed into an area roughly the size of New York state.

ME SOLshare’s technology won the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Momentum for Change award this year. According to Nawal Al Hosany, an expert on energy innovation and a member of the UNFCCC award advisory panel, ME SOLshare’s technology “could make secure, sustainable and healthy energy access a reality to many millions of people across the globe who currently live day-to-day without it.”

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Durkheim theory in 7 minutes video