Author Archives : stalasila

New Mexico 911 (NM911) Program

The New Mexico 911 (NM911) Program was created by Section 63-9D-1 through 63-9D-20 NMSA 1978 (“Enhanced 911 Act”) to further the public interest and protect the safety, health, and welfare of the people of New Mexico by enabling the development, installation, and operation of enhanced 911 emergency reporting systems to be operated under shared state and local government management and control. The New Mexico Department of Finance and Administration (NM DFA) manage the NM911 Program.

The NM911 Program administers essential emergency reporting and dispatch services accessible by calling nine-one-one through forty-one disparately funded municipal and county-run public safety answering points (PSAPs or 911 centers) located throughout the state.

Starting January 2019, The NM911 Program contracted with the Earth Data Analysis Center (EDAC) at the University of New Mexico (UNM) and Bohannan Huston, Inc. to securely acquire geospatial data from local government entities, validate and process data into the statewide model; and make such data available for download on the PSAP Map Servers. Earth Data Analysis Center is responsible for securely acquiring GIS data from primary GeoData Providers, verify and validate data, process to convert those to statewide master dataset, generate assessment reports identifying errors or discrepancies per NM911 standards, and provide reports back to the GeoData providers. In addition, these data are updated on PSAP Map servers for emergency response. The road centerlines and address points (statewide) are available on NM RGIS Geospatial Data Clearinghouse as shapefiles for public access.

The Dune Sagebrush Lizard Habitat Map

In order to aid in the protection of the dune sagebrush lizard (Sceloporus arenicolus) habitat, Natural Heritage New Mexico (NHNM) is collaborating with EDAC to map its range in detail. The lizard is found only on the shinoak (Quercus havardii) dunelands of southeastern New Mexico, comprising some 1,415,000 acres. As this habitat is a checkerboard of control of federal, state and private land managers and facing an increasing number of threats from competing land uses, the need to know where important and viable habitat still exists is critical. So beginning in 2011, field crews from NHNM have gone out to the shinoak dunelands and collected and described land cover for a number of ground control plots. These plots have been used by EDAC in turn with multi-temporal Landsat imagery from 2011 as well as the NAIP 2011 digital ortho-photography to create a land cover map at a 1-m spatial resolution which is intended to be useful to land managers at a 1:12,000 scale. The area was mapped into 18 different land cover classes, of which the most important is to separate out the healthy shinoak dunelands and dune blowouts, which is critical to the survival of the lizard, from areas of disturbance and degraded habitat.

El Malpais National Monument Vegetation Classification and Map

As part of an on-going national program to inventory and map vegetation cover for all of the 280 park units in the United States, EDAC and Natural Heritage New Mexico (NHNM) developed a vegetation map for the 115,000 acre El Malpais National Monument located in western New Mexico. The rugged nature of the topography dominated by lava flows and volcanoes, some only a few thousand years old, made it especially challenging to gather field data and created much more reliance on the imagery to classify the area. Still NHNM managed to collect some 476 ground plots from 2003 to 2009 which described the vegetation cover for a sample terrain of 400 m2. These ground data sets were then used by EDAC to create a classification from multi-temporal Landsat imagery and natural color digital ortho-photography. The spectral depth and seasonality of the Landsat imagery was used to model differences in surface reflectance and phenology between vegetation types whereas the photography was used to enhance the spatial resolution of the final product. The resulting map classified the park into 12 Map Unit Level 1 classes (equivalent to the NVCS Group level) and 49 Map Unit Level 2 classes (equivalent to the NVCS Alliance level). The completed maps and accompanying reports have been provided to the US National Park Service as digital products to aid in their present and future management of their natural resources.

FEMA RiskMAP and Cooperating Technical Partners Program

nmfloodFEMA’s Risk Mapping, Assessment, and Planning (RiskMAP) Program’s vision is to provide quality data that increases public awareness and leads to action that reduces risk to life and property. The New Mexico Department of Homeland Security (NMDHSEM) and Earth Data Analysis Center are working with FEMA Region VI as Cooperating Technical Partners through RiskMAP to prioritize flood related data needs throughout the state. NMDSHEM and EDAC operate the website that hosts interactive maps, current flood related news, and links to online flooding tools and are active in the New Mexico Floodplain Managers Association and New Mexico Silver Jackets.


Developing a web-based decision support system for forecasting pollen bursts

As a component of a larger NASA-funded project on Integration of Airborne Dust Prediction Systems and Vegetation Phenology to Track Pollen for Asthma Alerts in Public Health Decision Support Systems, EDAC is developing a web-based decision support system for forecasting Juniperus ashei, Juniperus monosperma, Juniperus scopulorum, and Juniperus pinchotii pollen concentration data. Designed to meet requirements of New Mexico’s Environmental Public Health Tracking System (NMEPHTS), the system includes state-of-the-art statistical analysis tools; geospatial visualization tools; data discovery, extraction, and delivery tools; and environmental/public health linkage information. Earth science data obtained from Earth observatories are ingested into the Pollen Regional Atmospheric Model (PREAM) by team members at the University of Arizona. EDAC receives output files from the model which then are run through a post-processing routine to develop products that are made available to NMEPHTS via web mapping and web coverage services.

Earth Science Day 2014 @ NM State Roundhouse – Poster 3

Earth Science Day 2014 @ NM State Roundhouse – Poster 2

Earth Science Day 2014 @ NM State Roundhouse – Poster 1

New Mexico’s Ghost Towns Landscape

New Mexico’s history of mining and exploration makes it home to hundreds of abandoned settlements. Intrepid research into the history of these settlements yielded a compilation of our state’s documented ghost towns. Here is a link to the interative map.

The data used to create this map, which includes names, locations, and the condition of the ghost town, are available for download from RGIS.

NM Ghost Towns

New Mexico Broadband Mapping Program

NMBB ProgramThe New Mexico Broadband Program (NMBB) is part of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) State Broadband Initiative (SBI), which implements the joint purposes of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 and the Broadband Data Improvement Act. The SBI program facilitates integration of broadband and information technology into state and local economies.

EDAC, in partnership with the NM Department of Information Technology (DoIT), developed a Web map for the New Mexico Broadband Program. The NMBB Map,, is an interactive map built on ESRI’s ArcGIS Server API for Flex. The map displays all wire-line and wireless broadband services available in the State of New Mexico, based on the type of technology reported in data collected from Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and other sources. Collected data are analyzed and processed according to NTIA standards, verified with the ISPs, and submitted to NTIA twice a year. NTIA incorporates the submitted broadband data into the National Broadband Map, and EDAC uses the data to update the NMBB Map.

EDAC and NM DoIT plan to improve broadband data quality through crowdsourcing in the next phase of the program. The NM Broadband Map allows consumers to identify the broadband services available in New Mexico, and policy makers to address the barriers for broadband expansion and to improve broadband adoption in under served and non-served communities. The adoption of high-speed Internet services and information technology enhances economic development, public safety, health care, educational opportunities, and the quality of life for New Mexicans.

New Mexico Environmental Public Health Tracking (EPHT) Program

EDAC attended the NM Department of Health kick-off for New Mexico’s Environmental Public Health Tracking (EPHT) Program in 2002, and has participated in the NM EPHT Program in the years since. New Mexico is an original Grantee in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) National Environmental Public Health Tracking Program and is currently one of 24 EPHT Grantees. This CDC program provides state health departments with resources to create statewide networks that integrate data sets, tools, and standards, thus allowing the state network to be an interoperable component of the National EPHT Network. New Mexico supports the national EPHT goals to prevent or reduce illnesses, injury, and death related to environmental risk factors and to increase the understanding of the relationships between environmental exposures and health effects.

EDAC develops, implements, and enhances the NM EPHT Network/System (NM Tracking) and its relevant data services. NM Tracking consists of a content management system for text- and graphics-based information and an interactive, dynamic data analysis, visualization, and reporting application. The portal provides a secured, publicly accessible, Web-based mechanism to exchange data and information between data stewards, analysts, and New Mexicans and the public; to discover and view data; and to explore relationships between environmental exposures and potential health outcomes. To achieve this, NM Tracking uses an on-line data registry to make environmental public health information, data, and standardized metadata available for query, visualization, download, and report generation. Data security is ensured through secure Internet transmissions, encrypted messaging, and authenticated and authorized user roles in all communications between NM Tracking and the NMDOH environmental-health-data provider NM-IBIS and other distributed data providers.

NM Tracking Home NM Tracking Data-query

Su Zhang

Associate Director

Email Link
Telephone Number (505) 277-3622 x243

Dr. Su Zhang is the Associate Director at the Earth Data Analysis Center (EDAC) at the University of New Mexico. He joined EDAC as a graduate student and became a part of the EDAC Staff in 2017. Dr. Zhang received his Ph.D. in Civil Engineering from the University of New Mexico in 2017. He also has Master’s Degrees in GIScience and Construction Management. His research focuses on leveraging GIS, remote sensing, and drone technologies for infrastructure management and he has many peer-reviewed publications in this field. His project experience includes GIS/Remote Sensing applications for Geomasking, Transportation Infrastructure Condition Assessment, Emergency Management, and Web Mapping. He is experienced with many software packages include ArcGIS, QGIS, ERDAS Imaging, ENVI, IDRISI, GXP SOCET, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, Stata, SPSS, QT Modeler, Agisoft Photoscan, Pix4D Mapper, and Menci APS. Dr. Zhang is a member of New Mexico Geographic Information Council (NMGIC). He is also a committee member of the U.S. Transportation Research Board (TRB).

Brian Keller

GIT Manager

Email Link
Telephone Number(505) 277-3622 x228

Brian Keller received his Bachelors of Science in Geography in 2009 from Eastern Michigan University. He is responsible for GIS project implementation, management and development at EDAC. For the past 8 years he has been involved in a wide array of projects ranging from EPA emergency response mapping, FEMA hazard mitigation, database and server management, application development, and floodplain management. Mr. Keller is a current board member of the New Mexico Geographic Information Council (NMGIC).

Sandeep Talasila

Research & Information Manager

Email Link
Telephone Number (505) 277-3622 x250

Sandeep Talasila is the Research & Information Manager at the Earth Data Analysis Center. He is a certified GIS Professional (GISP). He completed his Masters in Engineering Science from Louisiana State University. At EDAC he oversees the Image Archive Program and works on a wide variety of GIS projects including the development of web-mapping applications. Mr. Talasila is the current President of New Mexico Geographic Information Council (NMGIC).

Esmeraldo Martinez

Systems/Network Analyst

Email Link
Telephone Number (505) 277-3622 x248

Esmeraldo Martinez joined EDAC in 2020, and he has worked for the University of New Mexico since 2018. He received a Master of Science in Information Systems and Assurance and a Bachelor of Business Administration from the University of New Mexico. For his master’s degree, he focused on cybersecurity and network administration.

Gladys Valentin

GIS Analyst/Programmer

Email Link
Telephone Number(505) 277-3622 x238

Gladys Valentin joined EDAC as an EPSCoR Research Assistant in 2015, and became a staff member in May 2018. Her academic background includes: Master of Science in Geography with emphasis in GIScience from the University of New Mexico, Albuquerque; Bachelor of Arts in Geography with emphases in Geographic Technologies and Physical/Environmental Geography from the University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras Campus. Her interests include GIScience, Remote Sensing, natural hazards, fire ecology and island environments. She has worked with GIS in academic and professional settings for the past 7 years. Ms. Valentin has experience working with software technologies including ESRI® ArcGIS Desktop and ArcPRO, QGIS, ENVI, ERDAS Imagine, TerrSet/Idrisi, Python IDEs, and Adobe Illustrator. She is a member of New Mexico Geographic Information Council (NMGIC).

Lisa Sinclair

GIS Analyst/Programmer

Lisa Sinclair

Email Link
Telephone Number (505) 277-3622 x230

Lisa Sinclair received her Master of Science in Geography from the University of New Mexico in 2009.  She came to EDAC as a student in 2008. Following that, she worked with Natural Heritage New Mexico at UNM, and was an instructor for the UNM Department of Geography. She returned to EDAC as staff in 2021. Ms. Sinclair completed graduate research on the positional accuracy of GPS, and has interest in a wide range of GIS applications, including biogeography, natural resources, modeling, and web mapping. Ms. Sinclair is a past board member and President of New Mexico Geographic Information Council (NMGIC).

Sandra Mentz


Email Link
Telephone Number (505) 277-3622 x241

Sandra Mentz has more than 19 years accounting experience. She has been an accountant at the Earth Data Analysis Center for the past thirteen years. Previously she worked at the First National Bank in the Trust Operations Department. Sandra is responsible for reimbursements and assists EDAC in development and management of budgets.

Tyler Eshelman

Programmer Analyst 1

Email Link
Telephone Number (505) 277-3622

Tyler Eshelman joined EDAC as a student programmer in 2019, and became a full staff member in February 2021. He received a Bachelor of Science in Geography with a minor in Computer Science from the University of New Mexico.

New Mexico Watch – Active Wildfire Mapping Site

The “New Mexico Watch – Active Wildfires” ( is a public website developed and hosted by the Earth Data Analysis Center that provides information about active wildfires in the state of New Mexico. NMWatch integrates local data (public schools, hospitals, fire stations, law enforcement, community centers, watershed boundaries) with active wildfire perimeter and location information generated daily by the Geospatial Multi-Agency Coordination Group (GeoMAC). Local fire information is added as available from NM Fire Info (New Mexico Fire Information). Users can measure distance and calculate area using built-in tools.

Office of the State Engineer Historic Map Georectification

In 2010 and 2011 EDAC contracted with the New Mexico Office of the State Engineer to georectify several hundred historic water related maps. The first project was to georectify hydrographic survey maps of the Pecos Basin using the 2005 statewide digital aerial imagery as the mapping base. Some of the maps dated as far back as the 1920s. Following the completion of that project EDAC moved to the western side of the state to do a second map georectification project in the Gila / San Francisco Basin. These maps are called Proof of Beneficial Use (PBU) maps and are used in validating historical water use within the state. These maps were especially difficult to georectify because there was almost no control point information on the maps except for the PLSS section and quarter section corners. Because of that we were unable to use a photo map base as was done in the Pecos Basin project. The best mapping base that could be found was the statewide PLSS shapefile and the digital raster graphic (DRG) mosaic of the USGS 1:24,000 map sheets.

Petroglyph National Monument Land Cover Mapping Project

From 2007 to 2011, EDAC, in conjunction with Natural Heritage New Mexico, mapped the land cover of the 7,000 acre Petroglyph National Monument. Although covering a relatively small area, the park with its volcanoes and lava cliffs found at the transition between the Great Plains, the Desert Basin and the Chihuahuan Desert communities has a fair amount of diversity. The mapping process combined multi-temporal high and moderate spatial resolution satellite imagery and digital ortho-photos along with field plot data to create the map. The resulting map grouped several dozen vegetation communities identified at the park into some 25 separate land cover types ranging from barren lava rocklands to grasslands and shrublands. The resulting map provides the US Park Service with a data source to aid in their management of park resources and a baseline from which to compare future changes.

Harris County Ortho-Photography Project

As part of a project being conducted by URS Corp to map the land-use change in Harris County, Texas (greater Houston), EDAC was contracted in 2011 to create an ortho-photo map of the county using aerial photography acquired in 1983.  At that time the National High Altitude Program acquired some 117 color IR photos over the area.  Photo transparencies were obtained from the USGS and scanned at 2,000 dpi.  The scanned photos were then rectified to the most recent photo base map for the county while using USGS 10 m spatial resolution DEMs for the elevation values.  The resulting ortho-photos were mosaicked together to create the 1983 ortho-photo map at 1 m spatial resolution.

New Mexico Native Nation Lands Map (Sample Map)

GIS as a Powerful Communication and Community Empowerment Tool (Sample Poster)

New Mexico Public School Facilities Authority – Webmap

PSFA StatewideThe New Mexico Public Schools Facilities Authority (PSFA) Statewide Web map was developed to communicate information about public schools in the State of New Mexico. The Web Map displays public school information including school enrollment numbers, school capacity calculations, the New Mexico Facilities Database ranking information, and community assets are presented in tabular and graphical formats.

Legislative District Mapping

At the beginning of almost every legislative session, EDAC provides representatives of New Mexico’s Senate and House Districts with maps depicting the locations of University of New Mexico (UNM) Students, Employees, and Alumni within the individual districts. According to Marc H. Saavedra, UNM’s Director of the Office of Government and Community Relations, “The legislators really appreciate having the map at the start of every legislative session.  The map also plays a big role in making the legislature aware of how UNM is across the entire State and in their district.”

Probability and Risk Assesment of Sewer Line Failure (Sample Model)

UNM Natural Hazards Pre-Disaster Mitigation Plan

The Pre-Disaster Hazard Mitigation Act of 2010 (PDM), administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), provides funding and technical assistance to state and local governments for disaster preparedness and management. Over the last two years, UNM has developed the first university approved Natural Hazard Pre-Disaster Mitigation Plan in New Mexico. The ongoing program aims to develop ways to reduce impact of natural disasters on UNM’s resources by identifying natural hazards and associated risks applicable to UNM, determining the impacts of these hazards, setting mitigation goals, and developing strategies that would lessen potential impacts.

EDAC’s role in the plan is to perform fundamental analysis of top hazards likely to affect UNM by identifying such as thunderstorms, lightning, hail, winter storms, extreme cold/heat, wind/dust storms, tornadoes, flooding, wildfires, drought, and earthquakes and by incorporating factors such as building age, building use, and building function to properly assess the risk associated with various hazards. Through output maps and reports, hazard awareness can be better understood and shared. Priorities then can be established and the mitigation plan implemented.

Because universities provide structure and stability to local  economies and directly influence their surrounding communities, states, and local governments, having a Pre-Disaster Mitigation Plan that saves lives, reduces damage and monetary loss, and keeps universities’ doors open and fully operational is essential.

International Charter on Space and Major Disasters

Begun in 1999, the International Charter on Space and Major Disasters is a cooperative agreement between the world’s major space agencies to pool their remote sensing satellites and archival imagery libraries to aid countries whose people are impacted by natural or man-made disasters. When a disaster occurs the Charter members decide on what types of satellite imagery are appropriate, initiate new collects by the satellites, and open up their archives for historical imagery.  The imagery are then obtained and delivered to first response officials on the ground at no charge to the end users.  Should a Charter eligible disaster strike New Mexico in the future, Paul Neville, GIS Specialist/Programmer, has been selected by the Charter members to be the state Project Manager.  He would be in charge of receiving all imagery from the Charter members and delivering it to the local end users in whatever format is chosen.