Tuesday, June 2, 2015

GIS Online Student Spotlight - Brandon Duesenberry

Congratulations to Brandon Duesenberry on being named GIS Online Student Spotlight for his outstanding work in Applications in GIS (GIS 4048).  

Brandon is a shining example of a non-traditional GIS Online student.  Brandon is a member of the United States Air Force and was deployed to Afghanistan for the entire spring semester.  He has recently returned to the Gulf Coast and when not excelling in GIS or at work as a Full Motion Video (FMV sensor operator), he is spending quality time with his wife and two small boys.  Brandon, we thank you for your service and are excited to have you back in Florida.  To follow Brandon's work throughout the program, check out his blog at Brando's GIS Odyessy

Module 2:  Natural Hazards - Lahars 

Instructor:  Penelope Mitchell

The first GIS application investigated in GIS4048 is Natural Hazard planning and mitigation. For the lahars lab, students utilized DEMs and the Hydrology toolset found within the Spatial Analyst extension to determine potential drainage flow around Mt.Hood in a potential volcanic event. After streambeds were determined, students overlaid census data to determine the at risk population. Lastly, the data was compiled as a cartographically polished map to effectively communicate the information.

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

Mt. Hood, Oregon.  Photo obtained from NASA, 8/5/2009.
Brandon correctly completed the DEM analysis to generate streams and adjacent low lying hazardous areas. Although the analysis workflow was tricky, presenting the information was equally as difficult. Brandon did an excellent job differentiating map elements and information to allow for quick data acquisition and interpretation. The different label styles are simple, but very effective at communicating different features. The schools and associated numeric key is very useful and prevents the map from being overcrowded with labels. The background DEM symbology and associated legend item is very effective at communicating map topology thus facilitating the user's’ understanding of potential hazard. Way to kick off the semester Brandon!

Next week, we will spotlight a student from GIS 5100 - Application in GIS taught by Dr. Paul Zandbergen. 

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