Workshop Cultivates Grad Students' Interest in Vegetation Mapping

October 24, 2007
Two flora enthusiasts got the chance learn about cutting edge technology during a Geospatial Imaging and Informatics Facility workshop last week.

CNR graduate students Chuck Striplen and Danielle Svehla were awarded the GIIF workshop award for students and were invited to participate in the three day program free of cost. Hosted by the California Native Plant Society, the California Department of Fish and Game, and Aerial Information systems, the CNPS Vegetation mapping workshop was geared to teach participants both field research skills and computer based geospatial analysis.

Through the program, participants spent a day conducting field research in Fairfax and two days in the Geospatial Imaging and Informatics Facility.

Striplen and Svehla who are both studying Environmental Science, Policy, and Management, enjoyed hiking and collecting data despite the rainy weather.

“We went to the Marin Municipal Water District lands in Fairfax,” said Striplen. “It was wet!”

Svehla agreed and added, “It was wet, but being out in the field was a lot of fun.”

Although Striplen had experience working with aerial imagery and Svehla had completed a prior GIS workshop, vegetation mapping was new and interesting to them.

“I learned some of the tricks in using the software, like how to find different vegetation types by looking at the contrast,” said Striplen.

Both students hope to use their new skills to further their own research.

“I intend to use vegetation mapping in my dissertation research in spatial ecology,” said Svehla. “This workshop helped me see who patterns in fine scale ecology link to the large scale.”

Striplen said that he plans to use the techniques he learned at the workshop in a project that will reconstruct botanical resources utilized by a band of Ohlone Indians on the central coast.

The Geospatial Imaging and Informatics Facility holds workshops to train students, faculty, and staff on geospatial tools and applications. View their workshop schedule here.