Spring 2014 Monterey Bay Marine GIS User Group Meeting
The fourth meeting of the Monterey Bay Marine GIS User Group was held on April 14, 2014, in Monterey, California. A GIS (geographic information system) is a computer-based system for storing, manipulating, analyzing, and managing all types of geographically referenced information. The goals of this user group are to foster collaboration among academic institutions, the private sector, government agencies, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in the Monterey Bay marine GIS science community; to facilitate hands-on GIS training; and to increase awareness of marine spatial data sets within the broader GIS science community in the Monterey Bay area.
The April 2014 user group meeting was hosted by the 2014 CalGIS Conference—an annual meeting sponsored by the Urban and Regional Information Systems Association (URISA) to foster a sense of community among California GIS users. The Monterey Bay Marine GIS User Group met on the first day of the larger conference, all of whose participants were welcome.
During the user group meeting, approximately 110 members of the Monterey Bay coastal and marine community—including GIS users, marine scientists, and policy makers—gathered for a morning of networking and presentations that focused on marine GIS in scientific research and software tools for more effective GIS use. A workshop in the afternoon taught participants how to use one of those tools, the Environmental Data Connector (EDC), for importing satellite data into ArcGIS. (ArcGIS is a widely used GIS product developed by the company Esri.)
To start off the morning, Rob Bochenek of Axiom Consulting & Design demonstrated the CeNCOOS (Central and Northern California Ocean Observing System) Data Portal. (An ocean observing system integrates data from various buoys, satellites, and other measurement stations and makes them available online; examples of the data include water temperature, air temperature, wave height and period, wind speed and direction, and turbidity.) Bochenek presented some of the new functionality in the beta release of the CeNCOOS portal. He showed examples of new data types, data sources, additional parameters (such as chlorophyll, pH, dissolved oxygen), and new features (such as data-search catalog, filtering, summary statistics).
Next, Chris Besenty of the California Ocean Protection Council (OPC) demonstrated the California Coastal Geoportal, a State of California website for improving access to government-derived geographic data. Besenty led the group through the products, tools, and options of the geoportal. He also shared the lessons he learned in designing this portal, with the goal of making it “easy for users to find and use the best geospatial data that is relevant to their task.”
Josh Mode of the company CARIS gave a presentation on managing and sharing bathymetric data with CARIS software.
Next Corey Garza of California State University, Monterey Bay (CSUMB) described the work that he and his students have conducted recently at CSUMB’s Marine Landscape Ecology Lab, where they use geospatial technologies and spatial statistics to study the relationship between habitat complexity and patterns of species distribution and abundance in intertidal and subtidal marine communities.
Ellen Hines of San Francisco State University (SFSU) presented recent research from SFSU’s Marine & Coastal Conservation and Spatial Planning Lab. The lab’s research addresses population and community ecology of threatened and endangered species as related to local conservation efforts and regional-scale coastal and marine management science. Adam McClure, a recent graduate from the lab and from the SFSU Department of Geography and Environment, presented his research “Error Reduction Techniques on a LiDAR Salt Marsh DEM Using RTK GPS.” (LiDAR, for “light detection and ranging,” is a laser-based surveying technique. A DEM, or digital elevation model, is an array of ground elevations, usually at regularly spaced intervals, that produce a 3D representation of the ground surface. GPS, or Global Positioning System, is a satellite-based navigation system. RTK, or Real Time Kinematic, satellite navigation is a technique used to enhance the precision of the satellite-based position data.)
The final speaker of the morning, research oceanographer Cara Wilson of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Southwest Fisheries Science Center, gave a brief overview of the Environmental Data Connector (EDC), a tool for importing satellite data into ArcGIS. She discussed where and how EDC is being used in current analyses and outlined the goals and tasks for the afternoon workshop on how to use EDC.
After a break for lunch, participants in the EDC workshop gathered again at the meeting site. They saw a demonstration of EDC by Wilson, learned how to configure the EDC tool for gathering information, and then created new EDC projects of their own, with Wilson close by to teach them how to customize EDC features for their own purposes.
The Monterey Bay Marine GIS User Group will meet again in spring 2015; details will be announced on the Monterey Bay Marine GIS User Group website. For more information about the Monterey Bay Marine GIS User Group or its meetings, please contact Nadine Golden or Lisa Wedding.
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Spring 2014 Monterey Bay Marine GIS User Group Meeting