Advanced Environmental Geomatics
Instructor: David Tulloch
The class will rely on experiences and knowledge from a variety of backgrounds, sophisticated spatial technologies, and exploration of new ideas as means to advance students' understanding of applications and roles for geomatics. Huh? There will be some reading, some writing, some discussion, some thinking, some mapping and plenty of doing. The class will revolve around a major project as a focus for our technical and intellectual endeavors:
THE INTRINSIC VALUES OF THE LANSDSCAPES OF THE HIGHLANDS
This will be a major, advanced, applied project that attempts to quantitatively assess the intrinsic (inherent) quality of the many small landscapes that collectively comprise the region known as the Highlands. Our start point will be a model developed by Grant Jones (of Jones and Jones) to assess and compare the landscape units of Puget Sound. We will build a model, using tools like ModelBuilder, more appropriate to the Highlands and (perhaps) that is more easily transferred to other locales. Depending on student interests, we may test the model out with research or explore how different users groups might disagree with our findings.
While the schedule will surely change some, I anticipate the semester working
out like this:
20% -- Advanced Arc 9 exercises – Viewshed Analysis, 3d landscapes, routing analysis, MAP Algebra, Model Builder
20% -- Advanced GI/S Theory – Implications of GIS use, Local Knowledge and GIS, Institutional issues, Virtual projects
20% -- GI Communication -- writing and map production that communicate ideas effectively
40% -- Application of Advanced skills and theory -- The Intrinsic Values of the Landscapes of the Highlands
Over the course of the semester we anticipate a series of assignments, including:
Advanced exercises in ArcGIS 9. These labs will require individual work in advanced topics like modelbuilding, 3d analysis, and self-directed learning new skills.
Communication GIS Skills. As future GI Science leaders, you will soon be in a position where you are sharing your knowledge of new GIS techniques with others. Each student will explore one technique or skill and develop a tutorial project explaing the skill for novices.
Communicating Geographic Information. There will be multiple opportunites to produce map products for which the design and communication will be a significant crietion. One will probably some type of GreenMap. Some will be part of other assignments. The quality should be sufficient that several can be considered for entry into the NJ DEP's Annual State Mapping Contest.
Individual Papers. Each student will be required to produce a research paper or project that addresses a topic in Advanced Geomatics. These will be topics chosen in consultation with Dr. Tulloch and will be shared with the entire class. The individual research project could pursue a theoretical topic or incorporate existing data from the library and GIS/RS, and/or newly collected/generated data into an individual project that researches a specific question. Each project will be summed up with a short research paper that can be posted on the web (see previous year's individual papers which are currently online).
Group Project. The group project will attempt to develop a model for the evaluation of the Intrinsic Values of the Landscapes of the Highlands. Using techniques taught in class, students will develop the conceptual and technical model and apply it to this very special landscape. An additional element may come in the calibration of the model in ways that take into account local knowledge.
You should be flexible so we can make the most of this unusual opportunity. You should come prepared to try new things, with an interest in the class, and a willingness to share your existing skills with the class. The expectations for advanced geomatics students is that they actually remember the geomatics skills that they have already been taught. And when the don't quite remember them, that they exhibit some personal initiative in relearning those old skills so we can focus in class on adding new skills.
We expect that the class will undertake a rigorous investigation of real issues and produce professional quality materials. It is our hope that the class’s effort will have a real and tangible impact on these issues in New Jersey (and New York). We also expect that the students in the class will contribute not only to the course work, but also to the course itself. Specifically, students should participate actively in class discussions and decisions and provide guidance throughout the semester for the selection of topics and perhaps even guest speakers.
Students should plan on taking at least one field trip which would occur outside of our normal class time -- quite possibly on a Saturday.
No two years are the same. In 2003 the class evaluated the Green Infrastructure of the Cook-Douglass campuses. In 2002 the class explored the concept of Landscape Change. In 2001 we conducted an assessment of the New Jersey Highlands. You can still see many of the papers and maps from that class. Much more is available at CRSSA if you are interested. In 2000, we looked at the allocation of 1,000,000 acres of Open Space in New Jersey.