ISPRS Int. J. Geo-Inf.2014, 3(3), 1003-1022; doi:10.3390/ijgi3031003 - published online 21 July 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
ISPRS Int. J. Geo-Inf.2014, 3(3), 980-1002; doi:10.3390/ijgi3030980 - published online 21 July 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Sustainable development is a key component in urban studies. Earth Observation (EO) can play a valuable role in sustainable urban development and planning, since it represents a powerful data source with the potential to provide a number of relevant urban sustainability indicators. To this end, in this paper we propose a conceptual list of EO-based indicators capable of supporting urban planning and management. Three cities with different typologies, namely Basel, Switzerland; Tel Aviv, Israel; and Tyumen, Russia were selected as case studies. The EO-based indicators are defined to effectively record the physical properties of the urban environment in a diverse range of environmental sectors such as energy efficiency, air pollution and public health, water, transportation and vulnerability to hazards. The results assess the potential of EO to support the development of a set of urban environmental indicators towards sustainable urban planning and management.
ISPRS Int. J. Geo-Inf.2014, 3(3), 968-979; doi:10.3390/ijgi3030968 - published online 17 July 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Being cleaner and climate friendly, wind energy has been increasingly utilized to meet the ever-growing global energy demands. In the State of Nebraska, USA, a wide gap exists between wind resource and actual energy production, and it is imperative to expand the wind energy development. Because of the formidable costs associated with wind energy development, the locations for new wind turbines need to be carefully selected to provide the greatest benefit for a given investment. Geographic Information Systems (GIS) have been widely used to identify the suitable wind farm locations. In this study, a GIS-based multi-criteria approach was developed to identify the areas that are best suited to wind energy development in Northeast Nebraska, USA. Seven criteria were adopted in this method, including distance to roads, closeness to transmission lines, population density, wind potential, land use, distance to cities, slope and exclusionary areas. The suitability of wind farm development was modeled by a weighted overlay of geospatial layers corresponding to these criteria. The results indicate that the model is capable of identifying locations highly suited for wind farm development. The approach could help identify suitable wind farm locations in other areas with a similar geographic background.
ISPRS Int. J. Geo-Inf.2014, 3(3), 942-967; doi:10.3390/ijgi3030942 - published online 16 July 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Shortly after the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster in 2011, the Federal Government of Germany decided to change the structure of the country’s energy supply system by ending nuclear energy conversion and strongly promoting the development of renewable energies. In order to politically set the course for sustainable energy supply in this time of transition, it is important to analyze the factors influencing the future development of renewable energies. This work contributes to this purpose in the field of onshore wind electricity generation by displaying the temporal development of areas suitable for wind energy use. The availability of such areas is crucial to the extension of sites for wind energy plants. In our approach, the current potential area is determined by excluding areas unsuitable for this kind of electricity generation. For the determination of potential areas of the future, assumptions are made based on the expansion of settlement and traffic areas, and the occupation of protection areas. According to various scenarios, a decline of potential areas between 3% and 8% between 2011 and 2030 is indicated.
ISPRS Int. J. Geo-Inf.2014, 3(3), 929-941; doi:10.3390/ijgi3030929 - published online 16 July 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Short rotation woody crops (SRWC), such as hybrid poplar, have the potential to serve as a valuable feedstock for cellulosic biofuels. Spatial estimates of biomass yields under different management regimes are required for assisting stakeholders in making better management decisions and to establish viable woody cropping systems for biofuel production. To support stakeholders in their management decisions, we have developed a GIS-based web interface using a modified 3PG model for spatially predicting poplar biomass yields under different management and climate conditions in the U.S. Pacific Northwest region. The application is implemented with standard HTML5 components, allowing its use in a modern browser and dynamically adjusting to the client screen size and device. In addition, cloud storage of the results makes them accessible on any Internet-enabled device. The web interface appears simple, but is powerful in parameter manipulation and in visualizing and sharing the results. Overall, this application comprises dynamic features that enable users to run SRWC crop growth simulations based on GIS information and contributes significantly to choosing appropriate feedstock growing locations, anticipating the desired physiological properties of the feedstock and incorporating the management and policy analysis needed for growing hybrid poplar plantations.
ISPRS Int. J. Geo-Inf.2014, 3(3), 914-928; doi:10.3390/ijgi3030914 - published online 14 July 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: This article first introduces oblique aerial imagery, then describes how vertical distances can be measured once the pixel distances of the original pictures are known. The calculations require that, not only all camera settings be known, but also that one relies on the availability of detailed digital terrain and digital surface models (DSM and DTM), in order to provide the necessary ground level for calculating vertical distances. The algorithm is finally implemented in an online viewer.