The project Development of Area Informatics: With Emphasis on Southeast Asia (FY2005-09) [Shibayama 2005: 1] aims to create a new discipline called “area informatics,” an approach that integrates the interdisciplinary field of informatics with area studies, which encompasses all academic disciplines, including natural ecology, environmental studies, human ecology, sociology, history, cultural studies, economics and political science. One of the core research topics of this project is the process of urban formation in Hanoi in the 19th and 20th centuries. This research aims to explain the history of urban development in Hanoi, which has been the capital of Vietnam for 1,000 years, and to digitize the research process and its results for publication. To explain the process of Hanoi’s urban development and transformation based on the hypothesis—“Through the continual filling in of lakes and ponds formed by the riverbed of the old Red River, Hanoi achieved significant urban development and transformation during the Nguyen Dynasty period”—generated by Sakurai [Sakurai and Shibayama 2007: 37], research into this process was furthered through spatial analyses of various data gathered during the project, including maps, satellite images, cadastral maps and historic ruins and vestiges, carried out using GIS (Geographical Information Systems) and RS (Remote Sensing) technologies. This paper discusses the analyses of urban transformation in the 19th and 20th centuries with the main emphasis on the urbanized city, water areas, and pre-colonial villages.
Analyzing the relief of terrain and the micro-topography of Hanoi can play an important role in explaining its urban transformation. To analyze topographical changes, it is necessary to use elevation data to generate a digital elevation model (DEM), a digital representation of ground surface and the most important element of topographical analysis for urban transformation, providing evidence for the existence of features such as old rivers, lakes, fills and land subsidence. Consequently, the DEM of Hanoi in 2005 was generated with data collected for 8,015 points. Based on the surface estimation method using Cubic B-Spline Function, the DEM is generated at2-meter resolution. The contour interval is 0.5 meter. The very subtle elevation gaps which can not be distinguished on the satellite image are significantly recognizable on this DEM. A second DEM was generated from the topographical map prepared by the French government in1950, now held in the French library. This DEM at 2-meter resolution is also based on DEM generation using the method of STRIPE. By comparing the two patterns of DEM for 1950 and2005, the areas of fills and land subsidence can be clarified.
This paper describes the urbanization process of Hanoi during the late 20th century using the methods of GIS (Geographical Information Systems) and remote sensing technologies. The data sources for the study compose of historical maps, recent maps, and various satellite images acquired from 1975 to 2005 (Landsat MSS, TM, ETM, JERS, ASTER, IKONOS and QuickBird). The main techniques used in our image processing are NDVI and Water Index, combined with a decision-tree classification for medium resolution images (Landsat and ASTER). High resolution images (IKONOS and QuickBird) were used to validate the signature of land use classes and to verify certain urban construction features. The analysis showed that the spatial growth of Hanoi is limited by natural barriers, such as streams to the northeast and east, water bodies to the north, and a swamp area to the south. The expansion of Hanoi stretches in four directions—South, Southwest, West and East—following main transportation axes connecting the inner city to neighboring areas. Both spatial expansion and in-fill expansion took place in the urbanization of Hanoi. It is important to relate the urban transition with social-economic mile stones of the city and to find correlations between remote sensing derived maps and indices with other statistics such as population, population density, road and housing densities, but these have not been included in our present work.
Geo-informatics technologies are utilized in the conservation and management of cultural heritage and in related studies. For example, remote sensing (RS) and Geographical Information System (GIS) technologies are utilized as tools for archaeological analysis together with conventional methods. Around the world, RS and GIS technologies have been used to assist archaeologists to pinpoint and identify archaeological sites. With reference to these applications of geo-informatics, the Living Angkor Road Project came up in 2005 with the concept of integrated studies based on interdisciplinary collaboration in an archaeological study in Thailand and Cambodia [Lertlum et al. 2007]. In this project, archaeological and anthropological knowledge was used together with geo-informatics, information and geo-physics technologies to identify, pinpoint and study the ancient road from Angkor in Cambodia to Phimai in Thailand that is described in the inscription of the Pra Khan temple in Angkor, Cambodia.
Application of geo-informatics to this project revealed the following results: (1) Application of GIS/RS confirmed the hypothesis proposed by archaeologists based on the Pra Khan inscription that an ancient road once ran from Angkor in Siem Reap area of Cambodia to Phimai in Nakorn Ratchasima, Thailand. In particular, parts of the ancient road were clearly recognized by analyzing the archaeological sites found standing along a line on satellite images and aerial photographs. (2) Buildings and facilities related with the ancient road, such as ancient bridges, ancient industry sites, and dharmshalas (rest-house chapels), were newly discovered through the same analysis. (3) Predictions and assumptions derived from RS/GIS methodologies were verified by field surveys conducted by specialists in archaeology, anthropology, and informatics. In other words, RS/GIS methodologies also could be used to decide an area of field survey in advance. This approach in area studies exactly corresponds to one of the proposed methodologies of Area Informatics [Shibayama 2005].
This paper describes the role and significance of geo-informatics in the study of the royal road from Angkor to Phimai, presents new findings obtained from application of geo-informatics in archaeological studies, describes how GIS/RS technologies were applied, and discusses effectiveness of applying the satellite image ASTER1) and SRTM2) elevation data in the project.
Land cultivated in paddy increased almost ten-fold in Northeast Thailand during the twentieth century and now accounts for almost 40％ of the area of this region. Such intensive paddy expansion was attained through reclamation not only of natural wet or irrigable land, but also of somewhat dry, hilly land. It is considered that the increase in dry paddy fields in hilly areas has caused land degradation, by reducing the stability of land, and decreasing rice yields in the area. This paper provides a background to the processes involved in paddy expansion in the Thap Than River basin in the southern part of Northeast Thailand based on the results of interviews with local people and an analysis of geographical information. The results show that lower-lying lands are not always reclaimed earlier, because the migration of people to land suitable for rice cultivation is often restricted by the lack of a road network. The percentage of irrigable paddy area to total paddy area has not changed significantly except in the Sangkha District at the origin of the Thap Than River system, where rice land has been developed in areas in which the riverbed slopes relatively steeply. Only in this district has rice production drastically shifted from irrigation-based to rain-fed.
Land use is basic information in regional and rural studies, and remote sensing (RS) is a useful tool for understanding land use and land cover (LULC). High resolution satellite images (HRSI) such as IKONOS and QuickBird have been used in LULC studies for about a decade, and they are now popular among RS professionals and nonprofessionals alike. However, classification methods are not standardized for HRSI, whereas supervised/unsupervised classification is commonly applied for middle-resolution satellite images such as Landsat.
In this study, the object-oriented classification method for HRSI is discussed in terms of LULC studies. This method has been applied in many scientific studies in the past few years, and it comes equipped with some RS software packages such as Definiens. However, the procedure to make an LULC map from HRSI has yet to be formulated and classification accuracies depend on the operator’s skills. The most significant parameter in this method is the scale parameter (SP), which determines the size of the image object. In this study, by changing SPs to the IKONOS image, it was found that the size of the homogeneous image object is influenced by the land cover type; for example, a paddy field has a larger homogeneous object size than land cover types such as residential areas. The result suggests that object-oriented land cover classification methods can be helpful for RS nonprofessionals to classify HRSIs, and the approach provides land use characteristics in the study area by understanding the land cover objects.
Like analysis using GIS, information analysis based on temporal data has the potential to analyze relationships between various types of data. HuTime has been developed to realize such information analysis based on temporal data and has a function to display various types of information (text and numeric data) along the same temporal axis. In the present study, an experimental analysis was conducted on a sample issue to examine the usefulness of information analysis based on temporal data using HuTime. The sample issue examined was an environmental problem in Lake Biwa, Japan, which has lately experienced a problem with water-level fluctuation, especially extreme declines in water level. An environmental problem usually has many related aspects and is therefore a good case for information analysis using various types of data. In this experimental analysis, meteorological and hydrological data, local government documents related to water level control and water quality data related to the problem were used. The results suggest that information analysis based on temporal data was useful for studies that utilize various types of data, such as environmental science and area studies.
Area informatics is the new paradigm in area studies to facilitate accumulation and creation of knowledge in areas. In the process, a huge variety of databases such as catalogs, archives, full texts, images, movies, sounds, statistics, and so on, are being organized and published on the Web; these will be the sources of area-specific knowledge. However, it is difficult for researchers to find and access appropriate databases to retrieve resources effectively because each database is independent and dispersed on the Web; furthermore, their data structures and retrieval procedures are different.
Resource Sharing System, an outcome of area informatics, is an innovative information retrieval system that has been developed to solve such problems. It is a server-side system that hides from users each database system’s particular data structures and retrieval procedures by employing standard metadata and standard retrieval protocols.
In this paper, area informatics is introduced through a brief overview of the relationship between area studies and information sciences. After discussing the structure of Resource Sharing System, the new notion of “metadata suites” is introduced and explained. This is a guideline to build databases to be included in Resource Sharing System. Finally, a sample metadata compiled by CIAS is presented and its availabilities discussed.
Climate change can influence human health in various ways. The influence on infectious diseases is considered particularly important. This chapter deals with the application of an area informatics approach to study in the medical field, particularly the epidemiology of infectious diseases. In recent years, models to predict the effects of climate change on the incidence of infectious diseases in certain areas using time and space as “rulers” have been developed. This approach appears to be applicable to all infectious diseases if important factors mediating the transfer of the effects of climate change to the incidence of infectious disease and the mediation mechanism are understood.
Infection is based on the relationship between the host and its parasite (pathogen). In some cases, an intermediate host(s) and/or vector(s) may also be involved in the establishment of infection. All the biological factors involved in infection are influenced individually by climate change. It is important to take the route of transmission of each infectious disease and all biological factors involved in its transmission into consideration when evaluating the effect of climate change on infectious diseases.
In this paper, an overview of the importance of climate change effects on infectious diseases is followed by an explanation of representative infectious diseases transmitted through oral, respiratory and skin routes and direct contact and the possible effects of climate change on these infectious diseases. These explanations help the reader understand the important factors involved in the transfer of climate change effects. Next, the direct effect of climate change on the host is considered, with an explanation of some models used to predict change in the risk map (geographical distribution of pathogens or vectors) due to future climate change. In addition, a model we developed to predict future cholera epidemics using local climate data is introduced. Finally, the extent to which climate change studies overlap area informatics is discussed.