Geographic Information System (GIS) Applications in the Marine Environment

Discipline: Environmental Science
Instructor: Huettmann
Credits: 3
Day: B
Start: 1050
End: 1205
Field Work: Day 1 - Gdansk - Friday, 5 September | Poland
Prerequisites: This class requires the successful completion of basic ecology, geography, oceanography and mathematic classes. Students must be fluent in written and oral English. Having a basic understanding of global ecosystems, marine ecology, statistics and informatics would be an asset, but is not required. Download Syllabus

Mapping the sea has been a human pursuit for thousands of years. The advent of modern mapping technology and computing opened up many new opportunities such as the use of Global Positioning Systems (GPS) and Geographic Information Systems (GIS). In this class, students will learn how to create and manipulate spatial information, and use software packages like QGIS, SAGA, IDRISI, GRASS, ArcGIS, Google Earth and R. This class covers the proper use of GPS and navigational equipment, as well as shapefiles, point & polygon editing, raster files, ASCII grids and ISO compliant metadata across open-source GIS platforms. Learning data management and workflows in the field and first-hand presents a unique opportunity in this class. Spatial analysis techniques (krigging, autocorrelation) and predictive modeling (machine learning) will also be covered, leading to training in cumulative impact assessment questions and for complex research project management applications for natural resource management, at sea and beyond.

Field Work

Country: Poland
Day: 1 - Gdansk - Friday, 5 September

The GIS mapping of data is usually based on field survey information. This lab will introduce students hands-on to the use of 12 channel Global Positioning Systems (GPS) for such applications in a real-world field setting. Here we will use a port mapping exercise for students to learn the use and application of GPS abroad, with the correct geographic projection, coordinate system (e.g. decimal degrees, UTM) and data downloads for creation of precise GIS maps. Students are asked to operate a GPS, create valid data, and transfer and map them with GIS. We will map biotic, abiotic and facility features (stationary and non-stationary). That is achieved through specific surveys in the port vicinity and to capture and to describe representative port attributes, and to match and merge them later with already existing GIS maps. As a lab outcome, students are expected to produce a GIS map of their GPS field data of the port and present their findings to the class. This field lab and all techniques get introduced in the regular lectures prior to the lab. Techniques learned in the lab will be essential for subsequent assignments, projects and lectures.   Academic Objectives: 1. To create a GIS map outline of the port visited 2. Map and geo-reference relevant port infrastructures 3. Familiarize with local conditions, data management tasks and for survey field work