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June 12 2013


Cool Day Jobs: Earth Cleanup & Environmental Optimization


Photo of Milltown Reservoir Superfund site by Mkustudia via Wikimedia Commons

By James Rivera

The umbrella of geomatic technology has wedged its way into just about every aspect of global and historical research and development. As the field evolves, looking at the worldwide impact of careers in geomatics is becoming hard to ignore.

Optimizing Environmental Clean Up in the U.S.

Pollution has no easy solution, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has helped set a standard for assessing, containing and cleaning up hazardously polluted sites. There are more than 1,300 Superfund sites that have been identified as toxic and scheduled for clean up on the National Priorities List (NPL). According to the EPA, over 11 million Americans live within one mile of a federal Superfund site, while the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) has reported that as many as half of these sites pose dangerous health problems to surrounding inhabitants.

The geomatics community, largely through the use of Geographic Information Systems (GIS), has helped the EPA analyze and share data with the community at large, tracking everything from air quality to toxic waste. Projects like the Open Geospacial Consortium (OGC) use crowd sourcing and cutting-edge technology to leverage many plains of geomatic data, applying it toward environmental improvement and understanding. The OGC serves as a brilliant example of just how powerful a practical application of geomatic technology has the potential to be.

Enriching Historical Understanding in European Archeology


Photo of Tigris River Bridge by Glabb via Wikimedia Commons

As we continue to build new societies on fallen, decaying former ones, geomatics plays an increasingly integral role in understanding and preserving some of humanity’s former glories. Photogrammetry — the science of making measurements from photographs — has helped geomatic academics uncover archeological secrets of the past. As time and/or disasters ravage priceless structures and artifacts, it can be difficult to understand what’s left of them.

In Zeviya Tivilki, on the upper Tigris River in Turkey, the quick construction of a dam was needed in 2008. The rich archeological heritage of the area made the situation difficult, as developers didn’t want to destroy any important pieces of history. Luckily, a photogrammetric method was developed to rapidly photograph and document a building that was part of the Iron Age settlement in the Zeviya Tivilki region. With the use of geomatic technology, who knows what ancient secrets are left to be uncovered?


Urban Planning in India


Photo of Mumbai by Kuwar Online via Wikimedia Commons

Population density has long been an issue in the developing nation of India, and a real-estate bubble in the financial capital, home to more than 3 million people, has caused a dire need for visionary geographical analysis and urban planning. Enter geomatics. According to the 2011 census, Mumbai houses 20,038 people per square kilometer, and almost half of the families are poverty stricken and living in overcrowded slums. Spatial restrictions and inflation have made it nearly impossible for most residents to realize their dreams of owning a comfortable home.

According to the global property guide, housing rose 8.84 percent in 2012 alone, and it looks to be a continuing trend. Corrupt politics and lackadaisical, or non-existent zoning practices, have seen instances like the congested Bandral road area. Four shopping centers were built within 100 meters of each other and most don’t even have a parking lot. Compounded with the population density, Mumbai has been left with a drastic need for geographic analysis and sustainable urban planning.

Queens University in Ontario has stepped up to the plate with its Urban Planning program, sending students to Auroville, India to compile a planning report on intentional community building. Geography, history, economy, culture and planning principles can all play a part in students working together to improve and harmonize the lives of others in the struggling country.

Finding a career in one of these paths can seem difficult, but sometimes filling out an online job application can lead you to the right job.


As an environmentalist and freelance writer, James enjoys covering car innovations that support sustainability.

The post Cool Day Jobs: Earth Cleanup & Environmental Optimization appeared first on Global Warming is Real.

August 16 2012

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July 31 2012


July 30 2012


On Our Radar: A Blackout in India

The power loss underscores the difficulties India faces in meeting the energy needs of its expanding economy.

July 24 2012


Weakness in OECD Economies Doesn’t Stop Global CO2 Emissions from Reaching Record-High

Despite weakness in OECD economies, CO2 emissions reach record levelsTotaling 34 billion metric tons, global carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions reached another record high in 2011 despite an overall reduction in OECD countries, weakening global economic conditions and increasing use of natural gas for electricity generation in the US.

Particularly troubling, rapid, fossil fuel-driven industrialization has put China within “the range of 6-19 metric tons per capita emissions of the major industrialized countries,” according to the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency (PBL) and European Commission’s Joint Research Centre’s (JRC), “Trends in global CO2 emissions” report.

Average CO2 emissions per capita in China increased by 9 percent, to 7.2 metric tons per capita. European Union (EU) CO2 emissions fell 3 percent, to 7.5 metric tons per capita, while per capita CO2 emissions in the US, at 17.3 metric tons per capita, far outdistance them, according to PBL-JRC’s 2012 annual report, which is based on “recent results from the Emissions Database for Global Atmospheric Research (EDGAR) and latest statistics on energy use and relevant activities such as gas flaring and cement production.

Rapid industrialization in China, India… Now driving increases

The rapid pace of industrialization in China and other emerging/developing market economies, such as India and Brazil, now overshadows that of the world’s most industrialized countries as represented by OECD membership, PBL-JRC found. CO2 emissions in OECD countries overall now account for only 1/3 of the global total.

Weak economic conditions, a mild winter and energy savings spurred by high oil prices led to CO2 emissions declines of 2 percent in OECD members Japan and the US, as well as the EU’s 3 percent decline. Taken together, CO2 emissions in China and India– where CO2 emissions increased 9 percent and 6 percent respectively in 2011– account for the same share of overall global CO2 emissions as all 34 OECD member countries.

Ongoing construction and infrastructure development lead to significant increases in Chinese fossil fuel consumption last year, in turn driving China’s CO2 emissions higher. Driven by growth in cement and steel production, China’s coal consumption increased 9.7 percent.

Putting 2011′s global CO2 emissions into longer term context, PBL-JRC noted that 2011′s 3% increase is greater than the 2.7 percent average over the past decade, which includes a 2008 decrease and a 5 percent jump in 2010. Total estimated cumulative global CO2 emissions as a result of human activities amounted to 420 billion metric tons, according to the report.

“Scientific literature suggests that limiting the rise in average global temperature to 2°C above pre-industrial levels – the target internationally adopted in UN climate negotiations – is possible only if cumulative CO2 emissions in the period 2000–2050 do not exceed 1 000 to 1 500 billion tonnes,” the report authors’ point out. “If the current global trend of increasing CO2 emissions continues, cumulative emissions will surpass this limit within the next two decades.”

Given 2011′s total CO2 emissions of 34 billion metric tons, the following is PBL-JRC’s list of top CO2 emission countries in the world for 2011:

  1. China – 29%
  2. The United States – 16%
  3. The EU (EU-27) – 11%
  4. India – 6%
  5. The Russian Federation – 5%
  6. Japan – 4%

Encouragingly, they added, the upward trend is mitigated, at least in part, by rapidly growing deployment and use of renewable energy sources, solar energy, wind energy and biofuels in particular.

“The global share of these so-called modern renewables, which exclude hydropower, is growing at an accelerated speed and quadrupled from 1992 to 2011,” they wrote. “This potentially represents about 0.8 billion tonnes of CO2 emissions avoided as a result of using renewable energy supplies in 2011, which is close to Germany’s total CO2 emissions in 2011.”


Image credit: thewritingzone, courtesy Flickr

July 23 2012


A Limit to Gains From Genetically Engineered Cotton

A bacterium in the modified seeds makes the plant's boll toxic to insects, but resistance is likely to develop, researchers warn.

April 03 2012


Research Cut Short in Indian Tiger Preserves

Scientists speak out against a system that gives individual state wardens authority over permits for field research.

April 02 2012


Enviro News Wrap: Solyndra, Big Oil Subsidies, and Politics, and more…

The Latest Environmental News HeadlinesGlobalWarmingisReal contributor Anders Hellum-Alexander wraps-up and comments on the climate and environmental news headlines for the past week: 



February 15 2012


February 14 2012


February 08 2012


On Our Radar: A Subglacial Lake

Scientists say they have drilled down through ice and reached Lake Vostok, the largest of more than 280 lakes under the thick ice that covers most of the Antarctic continent. It has been sealed from light and air for millions of years. If evidence of life is found there, it could boost hopes of finding life in similar conditions in icy water on one of the moons of Jupiter.

January 27 2012


December 29 2011


Bucking Solar Predictions, India Surprises Itself

Two auctions of electricity generated with solar power were far more successful than anyone anticipated.

December 22 2011


December 14 2011


U.S. Envoy Relieved by Climate Talks' Outcome

"It would be an overstatement to say it went smoothly, but in the end it went," the top United States climate envoy says of the talks in Durban, South Africa.

December 09 2011


On Our Radar: A European Warning to Big Emitters

A proposal supported by the European Union at climate talks would give participating countries five months to convert pledges made last year into a legally binding target to be formally adopted in 2012.

November 28 2011


World Energy Expenditures

US$6,000bn for energy consumers, and substantial revenues for governments

World energy expenditures have more than double in 20 years

More than US$6,000bn -10% of the world Gross Domestic Product (GDP)- is spent each year in the world for energy purposes (figures in US$2005ppp). This places energy second to health care expenditures in many countries; and in some cases first.

read more

November 18 2011


October 23 2011


India’s Solar Ambitions Face Big Challenges

There has been a lot of optimism about the potential of the solar sector in India. In a recent forward-looking report, KPMG saw some massive opportunities – and a possibility that solar will achieve grid parity in India by 2018. The Indian government’s National Solar Mission does not match the wider ambitions of KPMG, but even the mission faces some major challenges.

read more

October 14 2011

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