State of the Planet

News from the Columbia Climate School

Undergraduates Will Develop Green Geodatabase for University

An undergraduate course in the Sustainable Development Program recently received a Course Support grant from the Earth Institute to conduct a special fieldwork project to develop the Columbia University Green Geodatabase. The grant provides support to acquire some of the equipment and a daily stipend for students enrolled in SDEVW3450 Spatial Analysis for Sustainable Development during the fall 2015 semester. The course is taught by Giovani Graziosi, lecturer in ecology, evolution and environmental biology.

GISSince fall 2013, students in the course have been working with the City of Doral in Miami-Dade County, Fla., to develop a variety of vector and raster datasets using Geographic Information Systems and remote sensing technologies. These datasets have been used by many SDEVW3450 students in their spatial models to analyze the city’s urban tree canopy and other sustainable development themes. Graziosi plans to extend research activities to include Global Positioning Systems technology to collect in-situ data to populate the green geodatabase.

Using the university as a laboratory, students will combine Geographic Information Systems, remote sensing, and Global Positioning Systems methods and tools to assess the location and general characteristics of the rich variety of natural and other related elements that coexist within the different ecosystems around the university. In fall 2015, they will begin the project by modeling the green coverage using existing and newly collected geospatial data for the Morningside and Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory campuses.

This project will provide hands-on training for students enrolled in SDEVW3450 to gain firsthand experience with the use of geotechnologies to collect and develop geospatial data out in the field. It is expected that students enrolled in this course will gain valuable expertise and to learn to integrate Geographic Information Systems, Global Positioning Systems and remote sensing data, while mastering the technical and analytical skills needed to conduct spatial analysis for sustainable development and environmental management.

To obtain more information about the Sustainable Development Program, contact Jessica Sotomayor at

For more information about the Columbia University Green Geodatabase or SDEVW3450-Spatial Analysis for Sustainable Development, contact Graziosi at

To register for the GIS Day @ Columbia 2015 activities, send an email with subject label ‘REGISTER’ to

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Recent record-breaking heat waves have affected communities across the world. The Extreme Heat Workshop will bring together researchers and practitioners to advance the state of knowledge, identify community needs, and develop a framework for evaluating risks with a focus on climate justice. Register by June 15

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