July 23, 2006

C5 Landscape Database API 2.0


C5 Landscape Database API 2.0
An Open Source GIS API for Digital Elevation Model processing and performance

C5, in association with Futuresonic 2006, is proud to release the C5
Landscape Database 2.0 API to the public, in celebration of ten years of

*New Release*
C5 Landscape Database API 2.0

New Features in version 2.0:

   * Virtual Hikers
   * Support for GPS data such as track logs and waypoints
   * Ability to image GPS data onto dem data
   * Java3d support
   * Ability to read land use data (CTG files)
   * New analytic capabilities for landscape searching

 Version 1.0.3 features:

   * DEM input packages
   * RDBMS packages for DEM data
   * Support for processing DEM data dynamically
   * Analytic table support for landscape searching
   * Simple GUI (demtool) for viewing DEMs
   * Support for data export and management

(c) C5 corporation 2002-2006, under the GNU Lesser Public License (pre-2.0
libraries) and C5/UCSD AESTHETIC USE LICENCE (2.0 libraries: see source
code for details)



May 13, 2006

Thousands Flee From Active Volcano in Indonesia


via NYTimes: 

Thousands Flee From Active Volcano in Indonesia
Published: May 13, 2006
Filed at 7:43 a.m. ET

JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) -- Indonesia on Saturday ordered the immediate evacuation of thousands of people who for weeks have refused to heed the ominous rumblings of Mount Merapi and the burning lava oozing from its mouth.

Hundreds of people began fleeing the 9,700-foot peak after authorities put the region on highest alert, having observed two days of steady lava flow. Bambang Dwiyanto, head of the region's volcanology center, said an eruption may be imminent.

''Because there has been constant lava flows that cause hot gases, we have raised the status to the highest level,'' Dwiyanto said.

The crater had been relatively quiet for years until it began rumbling and spewing clouds of black ash a few weeks ago. On Saturday, experts recorded 27 volcanic tremors, said Ratdomo Purbo, who heads an observation post on Merapi.

He said the mountain belched hot ash at least 14 times over the course of the day and that lava flows reached nearly a mile down the slopes.

Officials were using buses and trucks to relocate women, children and elderly to shelter in schools and government buildings elsewhere in the densely populated province of Central Java. Merapi, about 250 miles southeast of the capital Jakarta, is about 20 miles from Yogyakarta, a city of 1 million.

Many people had been evacuated from homes closest to the crater prior to Saturday, but thousands who live further down the fertile slopes refused to leave. Officials have said as many as 7,000 people still needed to go.

Even after the latest warning, some farmers insisted on staying, reluctant to leave previous livestock and crops. ''We will not leave soon,'' vowed one cattle farmer who declined to give his name.

Merapi is one of at least 129 active volcanoes in Indonesia, part of the Pacific ''Ring of Fire'' -- a series of fault lines stretching from the Western Hemisphere through Japan and Southeast Asia.

Many people who live in the mountain's shadow believe that spirits watch over the peak and will warn them of an eruption.

Although most Indonesians are Muslim, many also follow animist beliefs and worship ancient spirits. Often at full moons, people trek to crater rims and throw in rice, jewelry and live animals to appease the volcanoes.

Merapi last erupted in 1994, sending out a searing cloud of gas that burned 60 people to death. About 1,300 people were killed when it erupted in 1930.


May 07, 2006

Planet in Peril: Atlas of Current Threats to People and the Environment

 reBlogged via >> mind the __ GAP* ?

mapping the planet in peril

Posted: Wednesday 12 April 2006

Le Monde Diplomatic just published the introduction for the new atlas Planet in Peril: Atlas of Current Threats to People and the Environment

Written by an international team of specialists, these pages from the Atlas illustrate through text and maps, graphics and diagrams the interplay between population and the world’s ecosystems and natural resources both in the short and long terms. It brings together a wealth of information from the most up-to-date sources on such key issues as climate change, access to water, exploitation of ocean resources, nuclear energy and waste, renewable
energy, weapons of mass destruction, causes of industrial accidents, waste, export, hunger, genetically modified organisms, urban development, access to health care and ecological change in China.

That is a good opportunity to point also to its listing of political maps and for those who have access to the article of P.Rekacewicz Confessions of a map-maker:

Earlier this year, Le Monde diplomatique published the second edition of its atlas, and the United Nations Environmental Programme, in partnership with the paper, published a translation of the part of it that focuses on environmental issues. It’s a difficult business being a mapmaker. Maps, as mere visual representations of the idea of the world, are just as subject to diplomacy, border disputes and international struggles as real geopolitical territory.
… (continue on Le Monde Diplomatic - sorrily a password is needed)

April 14, 2006

Artistic Disasters / 65 Seconds that Shook the Earth BAMPFA


From the Pacific Film Archive Berkeley:

THU APR 6 2006 - SUN APR 9 2006

This April marks the hundredth year since the Bay Area was clobbered by a devastating quake along the San Andreas Fault. To mark this centenary milestone, PFA presents a weekend-long film series with a wallop, five faulty programs guaranteed to shake you up. Look for Earthquake, the first Sensurround film with enough bass to meet your bottom line; an illustrated lecture by Gray Brechin about the 1906 destruction, with archival newsreels galore; John Wayne wandering the ruins of the Barbary Coast; and the late-fifties disaster flick The Night the World Exploded, with an on-site seismologist to tell us about its unsound science. We hope you'll be not just shaken but stirred.

Steve Seid

Rare photographs and paintings of the 1906 earthquake and its aftermath are on view in the BAM exhibition The Bancroft Library at 100.

Click titles to view full film notes

THU APR 6 2006

5:30  Artistic Disasters: Works by George Kuchar, Christina McPhee, Dolissa Medina, Bill Morrison, and Semiconductor (Free Screening!)
Artists commandeer nature's ineluctable forces-fire, flood, and tectonic turmoil. Works by George Kuchar, Christina McPhee, Dolissa Medina, Bill Morrison, and Semiconductor.

FRI APR 7 2006
8:00  Earthquake
Super Sensurround Simulation by Meyer Sound! Charlton Heston, Ava Gardner, George Kennedy, and Geneviève Bujold are among the victims of a massive temblor that devastates Los Angeles in the first and greatest of the Sensurround spectacles. Our presentation will rock the theater with waves of bodacious bass. Are you ready to rumble?

SAT APR 8 2006
7:00  Disaster at Dawn: San Francisco and the Great Quake of '06
Illustrated Lecture by Gray Brechin. San Francisco historian Brechin will guide us through the debris-strewn devastation of post-quake S.F., presenting a rare collection of archival footage recorded while the fires still raged.

SAT APR 8 2006
8:45  Flame of Barbary Coast
Love's a disaster: cowboy John Wayne pursues Ann Dvorak, the darling of the San Francisco demimonde, until that earth-shattering day in April '06. “The most edifying screen cataclysm since the Barbary Coast was razed in Metro's San Francisco.”-N.Y. Times

SUN APR 9 2006
6:00  The Night the World Exploded
Peggy Hellweg in Person. A massive quake in Los Angeles sets off a series of global seizures in this late-fifties disaster epic. Our guest from the Berkeley Seismological Laboratory will examine the film's faulty science.

Presented with the support of the UC Berkeley 1906 Earthquake Centennial Alliance. 

January 19, 2006

Glaciers + Volcanoes: Signs of Unrest in Iceland


An eruption caused a jokulhlaup, or outburst flood. Courtesy of Magnus Tumi Gudmundsson

via NYTimes: 

With Glaciers Atop Volcanoes, Iceland Zooms In on Signs of Unrest
Published: January 17, 2006

SKAFTAFELL, Iceland - The terrain in southern Iceland is as gritty as burned toast, pockmarked by glacial craters and sprinkled with boulders that can be as big as dump trucks. Keep driving, and you come upon fields of bumpy lava blanketed with moss. Hot air rises off the blackened plains like distant fumes.

These flood plains, known as sandar, extend some 800 square miles. Parts of the southern coast were formed some 9,000 years ago, when meltwater spilled out from under Iceland's cloak of glacial ice and galloped forward in violent surges called jokulhlaups, or glacial outburst floods. But jokulhlaups (pronounced YOKE-uhl-howps) are no geologic remnant of the distant past. They occur with almost predictable regularity today, and they may pose great risks to life and property in Iceland.

Glacial floods occur in many regions of the world where mountaintop glaciers sit on top of volcanic regions, as they do here. Fluids, gases and steam from active volcanoes continuously melt the overlying ice, creating pools of water sandwiched by glacial ice. Some of this water drains off at intervals, at times trickling out and other times leading to floods.

Courtesy of Magnus Tumi Gudmundsson
An Icelandic volcano that erupted in November 2004.

But the most potent type of glacial flood is caused by an erupting volcano. Glacial ice cloaks 10 percent of Iceland, a country that straddles the mid-Atlantic ridge and is a simmering cauldron of geothermal and volcanic activity.

Nearly 60 percent of volcanic eruptions in Iceland occur beneath glacial ice.

That is what worries scientists. Katla, one of Iceland's most notorious volcanoes, has erupted five times since 1721, at intervals ranging from 34 to 78 years. The last one was in 1918, so an eruption may be overdue.

"Basically everything you see to the east of Reykjavik is a wall of mountains formed in eruptions under glaciers," said Magnus Tumi Gudmundsson, a professor of geophysics at the University of Iceland, who added, "Katla has been showing signs of unrest over the last few years."

To head off catastrophe, geologists and civil engineers here have developed an extensive, exquisitely sensitive monitoring system intended to provide early warnings of floods. It has issued 16 accurate forecasts since 2001, though it has yet to contend with a major eruption.

When the birth pains of an eruption begin, pressurized magma oozes toward the surface of the volcano, leaving boiling groundwater in its path. Glacial ice acts as a lid on a giant pressure cooker: the thicker the ice, the more force with which it presses back against the erupting lava.

When a volcano erupts, magma as hot as 2,200 degrees Fahrenheit meets ice and boiling water, sending vast plumes of steam and rock particles rocketing upward in what Matthew J. Roberts, a glaciologist with the Icelandic Meteorological Office, compares to a classic mushroom cloud.

That is not all. Steam combines with tiny particles raining out of the eruption to create high static charges, causing lightning strikes several times a second. The 1918 eruption of Katla is said to have killed hundreds of heads of livestock grazing nearby - by electrocution.

Then come the jokulhlaups. "An eruption beneath a thick glacier often leads to a hazardous glacial flood that can begin within minutes to several hours after the eruption has started," Dr. Roberts said.

Floods after a volcanic eruption are a mixture of water, ash, mud and ice; they tend to leave the surrounding countryside covered in ash.

Records from floods in the 1800's indicate that icebergs of Titanic proportions were seen drifting near farmhouses. And one flood is thought to have heaved ice blocks for miles. Geologists are still uncovering this ice, which was buried by so much insulating debris that it is still there more than 150 years later.

In 1996, an eruption beneath the Vatnajokull ice cap, Europe's largest ice mass, led to a jokulhlaup that forced sediment, meltwater and ice out along the 12-mile stretch of the glacier's edge. The flow of water out of the glacier created a river to rival the Amazon in size, at least for a few minutes. It demolished a bridge and added almost three square miles to the area of Iceland. (The flood did not reach nearby settlements, and no one was killed or injured.) [read full article]


January 14, 2006

4,134-foot Augustine Volcano Erupts 3 Times in a Week

Alaska Volcano Observatory
Augustine Volcano in Alaska has been erupting ash and steam for two days. 

via NYTimes: 

Alaskan Volcano Erupts for the Third Time in a Week
Published: January 13, 2006
Filed at 8:18 p.m. ET

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) -- A volcano on an uninhabited island 180 miles from Anchorage erupted three times Friday, sending plumes of ash more than six miles into the sky.

Airplanes were warned to keep at least five miles away from 4,134-foot Augustine Volcano.

The National Weather Service warned about 16,000 residents of Kenai Peninsula and Kodiak Island to the south -- an area that includes the city of Kodiak -- about the ash cloud. But the Alaska Volcano Observatory said it did not expect a heavy accumulation of ash.

Some schools on the Kenai Peninsula closed, affecting about 2,500 students.

Anchorage was in no danger.

Ash can pose a health risk -- especially for people with respiratory problems -- and can damage the engines of vehicles on the ground and aircraft that fly through the plumes.

The eruptions occurred around 4 a.m., 9 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. Alaska time, and followed two bursts from the volcano on Wednesday. Those earlier eruptions were the volcano's first in 20 years.

Similar short-lived explosive activity is expected to continue over the next several days or weeks, observatory spokeswoman Jennifer Adleman said, and additional eruptions could occur with little or no warning.


On the Net:

Alaska Volcano Observatory:

Weather Service: