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Coastal and Marine Geology Program Scientists Attend USGS GIS Workshop

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GIS Alien statuette
Proud To Be Geeks: "GIS Alien" statuette, awarded to scientists from the USGS Woods Hole Science Center who won the "You Make Us Proud To Be Geeks" poster prize at the recent USGS GIS Workshop.

A U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Workshop held March 1-5, 2004, in Denver, CO, featured new and developing spatial-data and analysis technologies. GIS scientists from the three Coastal and Marine Geology Program (CMGP) centers contributed posters on current work and were able to take advantage of the workshops led by vendor specialists and by USGS Geographic Information Office (GIO) staff.

Abby Sallenger's group (represented by Kristy Guy from the St. Petersburg Science Center in St. Petersburg, FL) presented a striking poster on the breaching of Hatteras Island, NC, during Hurricane Isabel in 2003, based on timely lidar (light detection and ranging) surveys before and after the storm's landfall.

Florence Wong and Lori Hibbeler, from the Western Coastal and Marine Geology Team in Menlo Park, CA, showcased sedimentologic, geochemical, hydrologic, structural, and hazard studies in their coastal and marine GIS for the southern California margin.

CMGP scientists from the USGS' Woods Hole Science Center won the "You Make Us Proud To Be Geeks" poster prize for a group of posters targeting several recent projects. Ed Sweeney completed processing on the AMS120 sidescan-sonar data set collected by Herman Karl and others in the Gulf of the Farallones in 1989 (for information about this cruise, visit USGS CMG F-9-89-NC Metadata Web page), and featured the sidescan-sonar mosaic in a "where's the shipwreck?" puzzle. Sarah Fuller and Lian Scully presented two posters on Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary. One poster showed boulder ridges and bedrock outcrops mapped from sun-illuminated bathymetry, backscatter images, and, where available, videographic and/or photographic images; the other poster used a modified Terrain Ruggedness Index model to indicate abrupt changes in elevation within the same area. Dave Stolper presented his estuarine-sedimentation model in a poster and also demonstrated the ArcGIS extension running on his laptop; his model predicts the response of estuarine habitats to sea-level rise, sedimentation, and management interventions. VeeAnn Cross presented recent work with Dave Twichell, comparing Lake Mead and the John Day Reservoir in her poster titled "Are All Reservoirs Created Equal?"

At daily plenary sessions, representatives of the USGS, other Federal agencies, academia, and private organizations were invited to provide overviews of mapping research, scientific visualization, data acquisition, and software trends. Keynote speaker Michael Goodchild (University of California, Santa Barbara) emphasized the importance of the science of geography beyond storing and mapping data. Mark DeMulder (USGS) reported on the growth of The National Map, which provides a seamless elevation-data set and will be expanded to include higher-resolution digital raster graphics (scanned USGS topographic sheets). Karen Siderelis, USGS Geographic Information Officer, noted that the workshop was a rare opportunity for her to focus on the "G" part of her title, in contrast to dealing with the security measures and other administrative issues that have filled her to-do list. Ann Miglarese of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)'s Coastal Services Center reported on several initiatives in which NOAA and USGS interests overlap: coastal change and analysis, coral and coastal-watershed mapping based on satellite data, and high-resolution elevation data (for example, lidar and IFSAR [Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar]). Geoff Dorn, of the University of Colorado's BP Center for Visualization, demonstrated a three-dimensional mapping environment that a user can stroll through. Nick Van Driel (USGS, Sioux Falls, SD) reminded us about the growing wealth of remotely sensed image data available from the USGS' EROS Data Center in South Dakota. Many others shared their insights about the pervasiveness of GIS in science, governance, and policy-making.

Attendees were offered hands-on workshops in which they could learn or refresh their skills in such areas as raster data processing and analysis, database management, mapmaking, and metadata. Reflecting the USGS' interest in human health, a special-paper session focused on applications of GIS to health issues.

The USGS' GIS users community has representatives from across the Nation and from all disciplines. One of the greatest benefits of this workshop was the opportunity to discuss, in person, common research and technical problems in the new, USGS-wide consolidation of GIS oversight under the USGS Geographic Information Office.

Related Sound Waves Stories
Before and After Surveys Document the Impacts of Hurricane Isabel
November 2003

Related Web Sites
The National Map
U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)
EROS Data Center
U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)
Environment and Human Health
U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)
Coastal Services Center
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)
BP Center for Visualization
University of Colorado
Coastal and Marine Geology Program Internet Map Server
U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)

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