Tom's Blog

Saturday, November 21, 2009

GIS Day Expo at UW-Madison

Yesterday I attended GIS Day at the Memorial Union. This annual event is held throughout the world as part of National Geography Awareness Week. GIS (Geographic Information Systems) has become a major set of tools for dealing with spatial information. As readers of this blog know, I have been using GIS tools extensively in my work in restoration ecology.

A large number of local organizations, governmental, educational, and commercial, participated in yesterday's event. There were many quite interesting exhibits, plus a full day of 30 minute presentations on various aspects of GIS. Here is a list of presentations that I found especially interesting:

1. Sam Batzli: is a nonprofit activity through UW that provides high quality georeferenced images for all Wisconsin counties.

2. Leah Ujda: Historic maps and spatial materials provided without charge by the UW Digital Collections Center. A huge number of historic maps and documents have been scanned and are provided free and without advertisements.

3. Aaron Stephenson of GeoAnalytics discussed the use of "mashups" to create one's own web mapping applications. A mashup is a web page or application that combines material from two or more separate sources. This is a huge area of interest which has just arisen in the past few years.

4. Staff members from the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) presented background on use of flight-controlled laser imagery (LIDAR) to create high-resolution elevation data for use in GIS images. One major application at NRCS is in construction of soil maps with more accurate information on slope and aspect.

5. The New U.S. Geological Survey topographic map was discussed by Dick Vraga of USGS. The traditional paper topographic map is being superceded by digital versions, with increased information and accuracy. The National Map Seamless Server is the source.

6. Mark Wegener of the UW Arboretum discussed the new interactive Arboretum map which is now under development. It should be available for the public early in 2010.

The GIS field is so vast that it is a challenge to isolate the portions that are most useful. Just learning the software is a major effort. However, the work that I have done so far over the past year has been extremely useful, and I am committed to forging ahead.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home