Smith College Spatial Analysis Lab

February 2015 Update (16th – 27th)

It has been a busy two weeks in the Spatial Analysis Lab. Read on to learn about our most recent support of GIS work across campus.

1. Class Support
2. Student Support
3. Faculty Support
4. Outreach
5. Campus Connections

1. Class Support

  • We kicked off our work with Professor Camille Washington-Ottombre’s class Environmental Integration II: Collecting and Analyzing Information (ENV201/202) with an evening workshop on GPS data collection. The workshop was complete with a fine selection of Indian food, as well as a jaunt outside to collect sample data in the cold, dark night. Students learned how to use the Trimble GPS units to collect points of standing water on campus, using a data dictionary to include details about size and to attach pictures to the data points. Students will spend the next week collecting data, and will integrate the compiled data into the final GIS lab.
  • We worked with Professor Bob Newton’s Geomorphology (Geo251) class for their third GIS lab, which studied the shoreline of Glacial Lake Hitchcock “us[ing] 3 dimensional polygons and the raster calculator to remove the effects of differential isostatic rebound on the landscape”. In the following week’s lab, the class used ArcScene to fly through the topography of the Kaaterskill Creek watershed as a part of the lab titled “Folded Landscapes”.
  • We continued to work with the Advanced Architecture: Complex Places, Multiple Spaces (ARS388) class to support an assignment asking students to examine influences and forces surrounding a parcel of land adjacent to the High Line in Chelsea District of Manhattan.  Students will turn in their final maps this week, some projects include:
    • Waste production by Borough as well as the proximity of waste facilities to the shoreline
    • Property value of parcels near the High Line in relation to city-wide trends in average property values from 2005-today.

 

 

2. Student Support

  •  Senior Environmental Science student, Jessie Blum, has recently wrapped up her mapping project that started as a Botanic Gardens Summer Internship and developed into a year-long special studies. In Summer ’14 Jessie worked around Paradise Pond to physically eradicate invasive plant species, while also collecting GPS data points to map the location of different invasive species. In the ’14-’15 academic year Jessie worked with the data in the GIS to generate a series of maps showing the location of each species within a 9-meter grid, as well as a total invasives count map for each grid cell, and a plant diversity richness map by grid cell. The maps will contribute to a digital narrative about the ongoing invasive species mitigation work at Smith. The maps will also be used in the End of the Year Report in the Northampton Conservation Commission, a guide to the big 9 invasives that the mitigation work targets, and in a poster that Jessie will present at Collaborations.

 


jessie_maps2  jessie_maps

 

 3. Faculty Support

  • We are supporting a Smith student who is working with  UMass colleague, John Fellows, to spatially analyze the geochemical make-up of 5,000 soil samples across the US in relation to crops located within a 2km radius of each sample.

 

 

 

 

4. Outreach

  • Our student worker, Stephanie, is working with a local Rowing organization to map the location of their junior and master rowers across Massachusetts.
  • We worked with Professor Lisa Armstrong’s special studies class to host three workshops open to members of the Springfield community organizations the class is working with to teach skills for using ArcGIS Online to make webmaps. The workshops are intended to increase accessibility to the class’s greater on-going map project for the community members who are the subjects of the work.
Sample web map from the workshop

Sample web map from the workshop

 

 

5. Campus Connections

  • Our GIS workshops are underway! In our first two weeks of workshops we have had a total of 78 attendees, including students, staff, and faculty. To view the exercises and guides created for each workshop click here, and to sign-up for upcoming workshops click here. The workshops so far include:
    • GPS I &II
    • Communicating with Maps
    • Making Attribute-based and Spatial Joins
    • Editing Spatial Data
  • In the past two weeks we’ve been meeting with members of our SmartCampus working group to structure a workflow to use Esri’s Collector App for mobile data collection and plant inventory.
  • Also, we released our most recent mystery map challenge! This map illustrates a mystery annual event in the Pioneer Valley. Click here to view the map and submit an answer.