An Internet-Based GIS for the Rest of Us ATLAS Showcase Project

Distributing Geographic Information for Environmental Applications: An Internet-Based GIS for the Rest of Us.

Earth scientists in many units on the CU campus have an interest in GIS technology but have not developed the technical resources or expertise to set up and maintain the application software. This ATLAS showcase project will implement Internet-based data delivery software with embedded GIS capabilities, to deliver GIS training modules and student assessment tools on the Internet, and to test these in several Geography classes.

The six modules are based on a common data set describing the topography and hydrology of a watershed on Niwot Ridge. Data layers currently in hand include a high resolution Digital Elevation Model (10 meter DEM), ortho-rectified imagery for the study area, a landcover layer (with attributes such as talus, open bedrock, etc.), large-scale registered soils data (collected from field samples as a portion of a Geography dissertation), geologic data (with rock type attributes), hydrography (stream channels) and a GPS layer containing 400 point samples of annual snow depth data collected over multiple years.

The modules will take students through prototypical tasks required of professional environmental analysts to develop a real-world application. Data ingest, spatial interpolation, model construction and model validation comprise the task suite. Data ingest modules include GPS data input and conversion, DEM clipping, and orthophoto registration (available through ArcView). Spatial interpolation will be studied by four methods of kriging (available through an Avenue script). Reconstruction of hydrographic structure (valley and ridge lines) will be statistically validated in comparison against actual data. Snowmelt runoff will be modeled using the ArcView Spatial Analyst hydrologic extensions.

Our assessment plan will address not only what the students think they do, but also what they actually do. During the spring, we will implement transaction logging utilities running within each ArcView module (using Avenue scripting), and monitor student activity paths. Transaction logs will be compared with entry- and exit- surveys, student discussion sessions, and campus FCQs to refine the module content and delivery methods.