Resources for CHES people


For all the CHES data we work with, please accompany a metadata--if it is an Excel file, create a spreadsheet in the same data file; if it is a folder that includes multiple data files, prepare a Readme.txt file. Provide the following information in your meta-data file: Name of the person(s) who collected the data, who created the file, and/or who compiled/checked data, contact information of this person(s), time of the data coverage and data collection, the purpose of this dataset, the data source(s) (list the original file name and in what folder or online source), the meaning and unit of each variable, geographic coverage (e.g., the whole Ghana or the Fanjingshan National Nature Reserve in China), sampling strategy (random sampling, stratified sampling, etc.) or census, and notes (the things you want to highlight). Below please find several meta-data examples.

  • Metadata for Environmental Datasets (.pdf) (.xls)
  • Metadata for Human Survey Datasets (.pdf) (.xls)
  • Metadata for Imagery or GIS Datasets (.pdf) (.xls)

The components in a certain meta-data may vary with projects or topics. As we embark on new CHES research projects, we will keep updating the correpsonding elements. But the generic idea remains unchanged: make the data understandable, clear, and useful to people who do not know the data.

Data stream documentation

Data stream means a series of datasets that are connected as input (upstream) and output (downstream) files. For instance, from Dataset (File) A, Dataset B1 is created; from B1 (maybe in conjunction with File B2), File C is created ... Then in the documentation process, we write down all the steps showing this stream of data creation and/or processing, including all files (here A, B1, B2, C...) as well as software or code (if different from the supporting software of the input file) that is used in each step. Below are exemplar data stream documents for the Ghana project, which is created by Evan Casey with instructions from Dr. An:

  • Step-by-step documentation (.pdf)
  • All files in the stream (.pdf)

Note that all the files (including intermediate files) mentioned in the meta-data file (i.e., ABM_Data_Procedures.pdf) are saved and listed at the same folder in which the meta-data file is saved. This kind of documentation is useful for other people to follow, check, and verify the data creation processes, but not always required. It is often adopted when various data merging, compiling, selection, and processing steps are needed to create an ultimate file.

Scientific Writing

CHES Scientific Writing (.pdf) (.ppt)

Scientific Presentation

  • How to make a good presentation (.pdf) (.doc)
  • How to make a good presentation (slides) (.pdf) (.ppt)

Thanks to Dr. Gil Pontius

Places to visit at San Diego

San Diego is a great place for tourists! One big reason is its nice Mediterranean climate. Also San Diego is famous for its rich natural and cultural heritage. Thanks to all CHES members, the follwing list is available:

2011 AAAS Meeting

Mapping and Disentangling Human Decisions In Complex Human-Nature Systems

(Symposium in 2011 AAAS Annual Meeting)

Symposium Abstract: Many coupled human-nature systems are characterized by complexities such as nonlinearities and heterogeneity. Less is known about how human decisions are made to affect such systems. This symposium, which incorporates case studies in three Asian national reserves/parks, centers on generalizing characteristics, driving forces, and related methodologies for understanding human decision-making and its consequences. Using social surveys, fieldwork, and different modeling approaches (e.g., agent-based modeling), three junior researchers explore how social norms and the hierarchical structure of human organizations or decisions may feed back into each other and affect human resource–utilization decisions, thus affecting habitat dynamics of these species. After that, their mentors and a few well-established outside researchers present general theoretical reflections on what theories and methods can be used to tackle human decisions and how such decisions lead to system changes. Our purposeful intermix of researchers from different career stages, study sites, and backgrounds aims to better fertilize the study of complex human-nature systems.

Co-organizers: An L. & Aitken S.


  • Aitken S. (Prof and Chair, SDSU Geography)
  • An L. (Associate Prof, SDSU Geography)
  • López-Carr D. (Associate Prof, UCSB)
  • Chen X. (Postdoctoral Fellow, Harvard University)
  • Wandersee S. (Doctoral student, SDSU)
  • Zvoleff A. (Doctoral student, SDSU)

Discussant: Liu J. (Rachel Carson Chair & University Distinguished Professor at MSU)

Moderator: López-Carr D. (Moderator)


Websites that are frequently visited

This list is being updated. If you recommend otherwebsites or resources to be posted above, please send an email message to You are welcome to make this list more informational and useful.