By Thor Manson
On 24, Oct 2017 | In Uncategorized | By Thor Manson
In early October the GIS Center was asked to produce detailed site maps for the 2017 Soils Competition in Jefferson County hosted by UW-Whitewater. These maps utilized the latest high-resolution LIDAR-based elevation models from Jefferson County which helped students better assess the types of soils at their dig sites and determine the soils’ origins.
On Saturday, we participated in the STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math) event at the Fort Atkinson Farmers Market. Great chance to show kids and families (and even grandmas!) how we’re both teaching and researching drones for mapping at the GIS Center.
As part of our Research Infrastructure Grant, we presented the results of our biomass mapping from the 2016 and 2017 seasons at the Wisconsin Space Grant Consortium 2017 Conference. Thanks to Jeff Smyczek for all his help on this project!
Thanks to Thomas Slawski for the opportunity to present our water array project at the 2017 Fox River Summit. We made connections with several area groups and identified potential sites for semi-permanent installations of our device.
For many of our mapping projects and contracts, from mapping storm sewers to electrical networks, we’ve needed more accuracy than our “resource grade” Trimble GPS units can provide. This has been particularly true for our UAV imagery. Since we’re producing images with resolution of between 1-5 cm, we need ground control that’s as accurate or better than this resolution. Our Trimble units under ideal conditions can provide 15-30 cm horizontal accuracy — not good enough. Plus, we’re hearing more about local government units purchasing higher-accuracy devices which our students need exposure to. Read more…
As part of my research sabbatical this year, I’ve recently returned from the first of two research trips to the Yellowstone region. The goal of this trip was to visit the archives at both Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks to collect information about ecosystem management and private lands and to acquire more information from the US Forest Service about their acquisition and exchange of private lands. I was able to collect over a 1,000 pages of archive documentation on the Greater Yellowstone Coordinating Committee, the parks’ role in ecosystem management and influencing adjacent private lands, and related correspondence. For the GIS analysis, I was successful in acquiring data from the USFS to recreate forest ownership for the last 40-50 years.
One of the requirements of the Testing the Waters’s grant with WI DNR was to conduct a comparison of our array with a conventional, trusted unit. We finally got access to a professional-grade unit, a YSI Professional Plus (thanks Dr. Dale Splinter!). This unit is around $3,000 for the dissolved oxygen, conductivity, temperature, and pH probes that it has with it.
For the latest Rock River Coalition newsletter, I finally got around to doing an initial analysis of the Testing the Waters data that we collected over 11 days of paddling. The full article is available here: Testing the Waters: What did we learn? Read more…