GIS News 2007-08

Mockert and "Making the Case for GIS Coordination" featured at GIS Day Luncheon

Another successful GIS Day is behind us. Several hundred students, staff, area professionals, and guests attended our event. Activities this year included a map gallery, vendor demonstrations, and hands-on workshops.

The highlight of our event was Mr. Mockert's presentation, which focused on the importance of Geographic Information (GI) coordination, addressing three topic areas:

  • Developing a statewide GI governance body (a geographic information coordination council) in Wisconsin
  • The importance of coordination across jurisdictions at all levels as the world moves into the "New Web 2.0"
  • How to truly leverage the collective investments in GIS in this new environment of readily available and massive amounts of information.

Ottman reports from NASA

Dusty OttmanI am working on a joint project between the National Park Service and the Ecological Forecasting Lab here at NASA. The Ecological Forecasting Lab uses MODIS sensor's LAI (Leaf Area Index) product as an input to their TOPS (Terrestrial Observation and Prediction System) Model. The TOPS model provides ecological fore-casts and now-casts for park managers. Even though there has been extensive validation on the MODIS sensor, by large teams of scientists with months of field work, the NPS wants to further increase their confidence in the MODIS LAI product over Yosemite's steep topography and heterogeneous landscape.

Our team conducted two weeks of field work in Yosemite. We laid out a sampling grids representative of 25, 28m resolution Landsat pixels. We sampled data using Digital Hemispheric Photography and the LAI-2000, both corrected for vegetation clumping in coniferous tree stands with

We are using a 2007 Landsat image to produce a Reduced Simple Ratio vegetation index map of Yosemite. That RSR image will be run through a regression analysis with LAI ground-measurements to produce a ground-truthed LAI map of Yosemite that will be re-sampled to 1km MODIS resolution. The ground-truthed LAI map and the MODIS LAI product map will be compared. We are still processing our data.

In the next two weeks, I have to fly down to Langley, VA to give a presentation on this to the director of Earth Sciences at NASA. Little more intense than Geog 600… =)


Thayer Awarded ESRI Student Assistanship

My student assistantship at the 2007 ESRI International Users Conference in San Diego was an absolutely incredible experience. I didn’t really know what to expect going in, but a number of past attendees I spoke with assured me that I would have an unbelievable time - and they were dead on. Despite my high expectations, I was still completely blown away by the sheer enormity of the event and the degree to which conference attendees dominated downtown San Diego. If you were to strike up a conversation with a random person on the street about GIS, the odds would be overwhelmingly in your favor that they would know exactly what you were talking about and you would end up exchanging business cards with them. During the week of the conference, the City literally becomes a haven for GIS junkies.Brian Thayer esriuc 2007

The majority of the week I spent working with and getting to know the other 50+ student assistants. All of us (including the organizers) adopted a work hard/ play hard attitude. During the day, we rotated working on a number of tasks to make the conference go as smoothly as possible. We were also given plenty of time to explore networking opportunities, attend workshops, and I even had the opportunity to present my research at the map gallery. In the evening, we had more than our share of fun. We checked out some local bands and went to the beach a few times. The instructors took us all to a San Diego Padres baseball game as well – on their bill.

Despite the fact that we were all complete strangers, we evolved into a pretty tight-knit group by the end of the week. When the conference ended and we said our farewells, we could hardly believe that we had only known one other for just one week. Many of us have remained in touch both personally and professionally and there is already talk of having a reunion at the AAG next year. Anyone with a passion for GIS should apply for this assistantship next year. Not only is the conference a great place to network with those in the GIS industry that share your similar interests, it is also a whole lot of fun.