Thursday, June 19, 2014

GIS Programming Spotlight!!

GIS4102 GIS Programming, Dr. Derek Morgan

Python Fundamentals: part II

For the lab assignment, students completed an unfinished Python script, correcting some errors in it, and adding new blocks of code utilizing for and while loops.  The result was a complete Python script, including a comments section containing their name and contact information, the date the script was completed, and a brief description of its purpose. 

Student Learning Outcomes:

  • Use and import modules
  • Save Python code as scripts
  • Include comments in scripts
  • Correct script errors
  • Create loops and conditional statements
  • Iterate variables within loops


The following student was chosen for their exception work on the Python Fundamentals: part II assignment:

Jessica Williams 

About Jessica: Jessica is an Engineering Systems Administrator from Newnan, GA and has been working with GIS since 2008.  Jessica is an avid softball player for her local team of co-workers: The Nerdy Birds.  The name was chosen because all members are a little nerdy and, well, birds are pretty.  Softball aside, Jessica decided to take a break for a year to pursue her GIS certification.  Wanting to further her GIS knowledge, she is making sure she knows what she is talking about when she lands that GIS specialist position!  Besides softball and GIS Jessica is an avid runner, and spends the remainder of her free time with the family.  Way to cross the finish line Jessica and come in strong with this week’s spotlight!

What we like: During the Module 4 lab assignment in GIS Programming students were asked to finish writing a script that performs a dice rolling game based on players’ name length, utilizing random numbers, and finally implementing a nested while loop.  For students new to programming implementing their first conditional loop can be a conceptual challenge.  Jessica showed creativity and persistence in completing this part of the lab assignment. When the assignment required the students to create a loop that removes an unlucky number, rather than simply selecting a number, she creatively utilized a previously learned function, random.randint(), to create a different unlucky number each time.

We like that Jessica added to and completed the documentation parts of her script. Finally, we like that she utilized the discussion forums which allowed other students to learn from her question.   Below is her final result, way to go Jessica!

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Applications in GIS Student Spotlights!

GIS4048 Applications in GIS, Mrs. Penelope Mitchell

Natural Hazards- Lahars

The Scenario: We were hired as a private consultant to identify potential inundation zones for the Mt. Hood, Oregon area. Our goal was to use 2011 USGS 30M Digital Elevation Models (topography) and the Hydrology Tools found within ESRI’s Spatial Analyst Extension to determine drainage flow in a potential crisis situation.  After determining the streams we used newly released 2010 US Census Data to create a population analysis for the areas in proximity to the drainage areas.  These findings will aid local and state officials in hazard planning and response time.

Student Learning Outcomes:

  • Define Default Geodatabase
  • Create data using the Go to XY tool and Convert Graphics Feature
  • Explore Spatial Analyst (SA) extension
  • Prepare data for processing in a geodatabase including, but not limited to, proper nomenclature.
  • Perform a raster mosaic using ArcToolbox
  • Conduct analysis using the Hydrology Toolset in the SA extension
  • Identify potential inundation areas during a lahar event
  • Identify Census Block Groups
  • Perform location analysis based on distance
  • Identify population areas using attribute table data
  • Assess hazard areas using Select by Location and buffer tools
  • Create multiple deliverables based on findings

The following student was chosen for their exception work on the Natural Hazard- Lahars assignment:

Rena Lautzenheiser 

About Rena: Rena's journey into cartography started years ago (post-Columbus, pre-AutoCAD), back when topo maps were still drawn by hand. She has a bachelor's degree in Land Surveying and worked for several years in surveying and construction for private companies and the National Park Service. She then took a break from that work to become a mom and a teacher. Ten years ago, she resumed surveying in the summers for the Bureau of Land Management in Montana, working mainly with the Bureau of Indian Affairs and on projects such as mining claims, river surveys, and dinosaur digs. Rena's past exposure to GIS was mainly as a resource for her surveying needs. Not she is looking forward to being on the creation side of GIS and hopes that completion of this program will lead to more exciting opportunities in the future. Congratulations on making it back on the spotlight, Rena!

What we like: Rena produced a great map layout and design! She included a strong title and subtitle. This is an example of an excellent use of map space. The mapped area is maximized by consolidating the map's information to one area of the map (bottom of page in this case). The map employs effective and aesthetically pleasing color scheme. The background information is clear yet subtle The population magnitude is clearly displayed with the increasing color intensity from yellow to red. She did a great job on the labels (i.e. observe how the rivers are labeled on a path). Rena also provided adequate map information--projection, cartographer, data sources, etc. Lastly, we really liked the supplemental text on the map to provide more information to the end user. Keep up the good work, Rena!

GIS4048 Applications in GIS, Mrs. Penelope Mitchell

Natural Hazards- Tsunamis

This week's lab put us in the seat and mind-set of a GIS professional assisting with disaster relief. As part of our task for this lab, we were directed to map the evacuation zones around the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant and determine the at-risk population within each of those zones.

Student Learning Outcomes:

  • Work with GIS data and information relevant to response and recovery efforts of the Japan Tsunami
  • Compile important information from provided Japan Tsunami background materials
  • Understand, create, and work from a file geodatabase, feature datasets, and mosaic raster dataset within ArcCatalog
  • Review basics of digital elevation models
  • Recall how to create a shapefile by importing XY excel data.
  • Apply GIS query and selection operations to calculate estimates of evacuation populations.
  • Use ArcGIS multi-ring buffer and clip tools to create evacuation zones surrounding the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant.
  • Create a VB expression to label features by two fields from the same data layer.
  • Utilize GIS tools and the ArcGIS ModelBuilder together with elevation data to automate the process of tsunami hazard and evacuation zone mapping.
  • Use GIS overlay operations within ArcGIS ModelBuilder to combine tsunami hazard zones with roads, nuclear power plants, and city population data.
  • Summarize analysis results and related findings utilizing tables.
  • Paraphrase ArcGIS tools, steps and data required to create a file geodatabase.
  • Compile results to create a polished radiation and tsunami runup evacuation map, highlighting critical infrastructure and affected populations.


The following student was chosen for their exception work on the Natural Hazards- Tsunamis assignment:

Aaron Garibaldi 

About Name: Aaron works as a Digital Orthophoto Technician at a GIS / mapping company in St. Louis, MO and has been doing this for eight years.  He loves maps and geography, along with learning ways to utilize them in solving real world problems.  Aaron uses GIS in his every day work, and feels that now the time is right to expand his knowledge and career with this Certificate from UWF. Welcome to the back to the spotlight, Aaron!

What we like: This is another good example of an excellent use of map space. Analysis was performed correctly. Most importantly, the results were displayed clearly making it obvious as to what each map represents. We especially liked the use of x's to indicate closed cities in a subtle, yet profound, way. Aaron also listed all proper data sources. Way to rock it, Aaron!

Friday, June 6, 2014

Applications in Archaeology Spotlight!

GIS4260 Applications in Archaeology, Dr. Scott Palumbo

Historic Records and Documents: Paul Revere and the Freedom Trail

Sources of historic information are numerous, and in many cases are essential tools for ‘reconstructing’ and interpreting the historic landscape.  Images, maps, and documents can serve as sources for quantitative data, may be digitized for incorporation into a map document, or may be linked directly to a document for easy visualization and reference.  The possibilities for utilizing historic documents in a GIS format are endless, and the importance of knowing where to find these sources of information, how to interpret them, and how to incorporate them into a GIS framework is a useful skill in the archaeologist’s toolset. 

Student Learning Outcomes:

  • Locate, evaluate and interpret sources of historic information online
  • Link historic images and documents into a map document for visualization and report production 
  • Link HTML site to a map document for enhanced resources interpretation and additional resources
  • Gain familiarity with ArcGIS Online and user-created shared interactive maps


The following student was chosen for their exception work on the Historic Records and Documents-Paul Revere and the Freedom Trail assignment:

Ty Evans 

About Ty:  Ty is from Las Vegas, Nevada and is in the process of completing his second bachelor’s degree, and this go around he is majoring in Archaeology.  Ty is a member of the program’s Archaeology tract, and decided to further his GIS experience after taking a few courses through Nevada community colleges.   After tackling those courses, he had thirst for more!  Upon completing the program Ty is hoping to begin an archaeological career with the National Park Service or other government agency within the Southwest/Great Basin region.  Besides GIS his other interests include: Archaeology, Philosophy, Literature, Classic and Foreign Movies, jazz, hiking, camping, photography, cosmology, listening to good music, and reading his favorite books.  Welcome to the spotlight Ty!

What we like:  Ty created a wonderful map layout that effectively balances both the cartographic and documentary information in the module. He also demonstrated the ability to go above and beyond by utilizing the Adobe Illustrator skills he had learned in his earlier Cartography class to add a professional feel to his presentation.  Excellent work applying skills from previous coursework onto new deliverables, well done Ty!