96 research outputs found

    Concepts, reflections and applications of social equity: approaches to accessibility to primary goods and services in the region of Flanders, Belgium

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    Mobility presents a variety of opportunities as it allows users to access locations and services, and to meet people beyond their immediate surroundings. While the concept of mobility primarily focuses on the ease of moving, accessibility delineates the actual potential to participate in out-of-home activities. As a result, accessibility is a complex concept with a multitude of foci. This complexity is presented in the first section, which explains the general concept of accessibility, how it is defined and how it is related to the notion of transport-related exclusion. This section also gives an overview of the body of literature on the measures to determine area-based as well as personal accessibility levels and points out the important contrast between the simple, easy-to-interpret methods, adopted by policy makers and the complex methods preferred by experts. The second section clarifies how the dichotomous relationship between the urban and rural environment is reflected in transport policy that emphasizes on (especially car-based) mobility rather than on accessibility. Furthermore, the environmental and economic points of view are highlighted and the common policy strategies focused on sustainability are illustrated. Subsequently, the shortcomings in the way in which the contemporary debates concerning mobility, sustainability and the social implications of transport planning are conducted, are criticized. Finally, the last part of this section is dedicated to an extensive discussion on the ability of transport policies to, on the one hand, generate spatially as well as temporally uneven accessibility effects that give preference to certain population groups above others, and on the other hand, their ability to strive for a more equitable distribution of transport services amongst the population. The third section proposes two methodologies for measuring transport-related social exclusion implemented in a literature-based case study in Flanders. These studies comprise the following topics: measuring transport gaps by relating the social to the transport disadvantage and measuring modal disparities by comparing accessibility by private and public transport. The former investigates in which areas the provision of the public transport system is not tailored to specific public transport needs. The latter examines the disparity in access by private and public transport in order to highlight the car dependency. Both case studies incorporate the temporal variability in provision through the private and public transport network, as the time-of-day strongly influences accessibility levels

    Geomatics bachelor and masters program in Belgium

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    A 4-year curriculum degree of Licence in Geography option Land Surveying was introduced in 1990 at two Belgian academic universities: both at the Universite de Liege in the French speaking part of Belgium and at Ghent University in the Dutch speaking part of Belgium. With the BAMA revolution in 2004, this degree has been converted into a 5-year curriculum finalised into an academic "Master in Geomatics and Surveying" (Ghent University) or a "Master in Geography, option Geomatics and Geometrology" (Universite de Liege) and subsequent "Ph.D. in Geomatics and Surveying" (Ghent University). The academic bachelor degree that gives direct access to the Master curriculum without additional compulsory courses is "Bachelor in Geography and Geomatics, Main subject: Surveying" (Ghent University), that can be obtained after 3 years of study. As suggested by the title, the geomatics/surveying degree is related to geographical sciences and located in the Faculty of Sciences. On the opposite, University Colleges (also called Technical Universities) offer professional Bachelor degrees, while academic universities only offer academic Bachelor or Master degrees. In October 2014, Ghent University will start an enhanced academic Bachelor program in Geomatics that allows direct access to the profession of chartered surveyor. The paper will discuss the education experiences, student number evolution and motivation for the enhancements of the Bachelor program

    The use of geographical applications for micro-planning school locations : the @SCHOOL app for preschools in Ghent, Belgium

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    Parallel with the increased use of internet technology, more and more data becomes freely accessible\ However, most of this data is only available in its raw form and centrally managed and thus not legible or applicable for non-professionals. Especially for primary needs such as health care or education, the availability of relevant information for inhabitants is crucial in improving their quality of life. Because education is one of the focal points in regional as well as in local policy, a dataset containing detailed information about school locations and characteristics was compiled on the regional level Flanders. However, this data is centrally owned and not made accessible for the public by a user-friendly tool. Therefore, a geographical application was developed, aimed at improving inhabitants' access to information concerning preschool locations in Ghent (Belgium). The combination of two open source programs (Google Docs and ESRI ArcGIS Online) makes it possible to centrally update the tool and make it available for all internet users in real-time. In the first phase, local authorities as well as civilians are able to request all relevant information (i.e. school name, school address, capacity, Google street view) about the selected nursery school in Ghent by implementing this user-friendly and open source tool. Furthermore, the tool can be used to determine which preschool is closest to a specific address. In the next phase, the dataset used in the application will be extended to contain information concerning all primary schools of the Flemish community. Today, the application is used by different local authorities as a tool for policy support and is available to inhabitants in Ghent in the process of enrolment ('Central Application Register' or CAR). The convenient and intuitive interface makes the tool inclusive for poorly-educated parents or internet illiterates

    Development of a low-cost methodology for data acquisition and flood risk assessment in the floodplain of the river Moustiques in Haiti

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    Over the past two decades, Haiti was struck by 30 storm events and 40 floods, affecting over 3.5 million people. Being the poorest country in the Northern hemisphere, it is unable to allocate funds to risk assessment and management. Therefore, this research developed a low-cost methodology to analyse flood risk in data-sparse regions. The floodplain of the river Moustiques was chosen as study area. First, a methodology was developed and input data were gathered from existing data, literature, field data, and open source data. Then, a flood risk assessment was performed for the area. The resulting economic risk map and social risk map indicate that the region is at risk for nearly 2 million USD and has potentially 60 casualties per year. Although the assessment was performed as a quantitative analysis, the resulting maps should be interpreted qualitatively, as the values could not be validated. Nonetheless, the results clearly indicate the high-risk areas where measures should be taken. Furthermore, this research shows the potential of citizen science, in the form of a questionnaire survey conducted in the floodplain. This low-cost and fast acquisition method provided many different input data for flood risk assessment, from population data to damage factors and validation information on historic flooding

    Evaluating spatial and social inequality by using GIS to analyze the catchment area and capacity of preschools in Ghent, Belgium

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    The growing popularity of the city as a qualitative living environment has an explicit and distinct impact on all regional cities in Flanders (Belgium). As a result of the pressure exerted by the increase in population, different kinds of spatial and social inequality can be perceived for multiple urban functions, for example for the educational system. Pupils of primary schools (in Flanders children between the age of 2.5 and 12 years) living in densely populated areas characterised by a capacity shortage in education are forced to attend schools at greater distances, because the capacity of nearby schools is exceeded. As a consequence, parents setting up camp in front of the school gates during enrolment periods are an annually recurring phenomenon. Methods pinpointing areas where problems concerning capacity are to be expected are missing. The research at hand used two different methods (short-term and long-term) to analyse the pressure exerted on preschools as a result of the growing urban population. The first analysis researched the change in capacity needs of preschools taking into account the rise of the number of children between the ages of 2 and 5 years to be expected over the next two years. The second analysis predicted the impact of urban growth on the accessibility to preschools. Instead of prognoses in overall population growth, the supply of new housing units from 2013 till 2025 was used to predict the rise in the number of children between the ages of 2.5 and 5.5 years for the next decade. Both analyses were validated for pre-schools in the city of Ghent, Flemish Region, Belgium and proved to be valuable tools to support local policy in education. The results indicated areas with considerable capacity and accessibility problems, on the short term as well as on the long term

    The use of terrestrial laser scanning for measurements in shallow-water : correction of the 3D coordinates of the point cloud

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    Although acoustic measurements are a wide-spread technique in the field of bathymetry, most systems require a water depth of at least 2 m. Furthermore, mapping shallow-water depths with acoustic techniques is expensive and complicated. Over the last decades, the use of laser scanning for mapping riverbeds has increased. However, the level of accuracy and the point density which can be obtained by Airborne Laser Scanning (ALS), and Airborne Laser Bathymetry (ALB) in particular, are not as high as those of terrain measurements originating from ALS. Moreover, ALS and ALB are not yet suited for mapping shallow-water beds. Therefore, more recent research focuses on the use of Terrestrial Laser Scanning (TLS) from either a fixed or static position (STLS) or from a mobile platform (MTLS). An obvious advantage of using STLS and MTLS is that both the river beds and the river banks can be modelled by means of the same data acquisition system. This ensures a seamless integration of data sets describing both dry and wet surfaces, and thus of topography and bathymetry. However, although STLS and MTLS have the potential to produce high resolution point clouds of shallow-water riverbeds and - banks, the resulting point clouds have to be corrected for the systematic errors in depth and distance that are caused by the refraction of the laser beam at its transition through the boundary of air and water. In this research a procedure was implemented to adjust the coordinates of every point situated beneath the water surface, based on the refractive index. The refractive index depends on the wavelength of the laser beam and the properties of the media the beam travels through. The refractive index for a laser beam with a wavelength of 532 nm varies by less than 1% for a wide range of temperature and salinity conditions. Nevertheless, during the case studies, it became clear that it is important to use an estimate of the refractive index which approaches the actual value as closely as possible in order to obtain accuracies of less than 1 to 2 cm. Therefore, the refractive index was determined for each specific case by using water samples
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