Emily Wilson wrote a blog post for Map@Syst on the story maps being created by UConn Extension:
CLEAR’s Extension faculty have long used maps to educate land use decision makers and the public about Connecticut’s landscape and natural resources. The Connecticut’s Changing Landscape (CCL) research project has been the foundation of the education. CCL is a series of satellite-derived land cover maps for six dates between 1985 and 2010 (2105 is coming soon) that includes 12 classes such as development, turf, agricultural field and forest.
Although the CCL website has evolved with time and technology, it has always strived to integrate the graphic, quantitative and geospatial information in easy to access ways – virtually the same MO of the Story Map. Story maps easily integrate text, multi-media like photos and video, graphics and of course, interactive maps in one, contained interface.
CLEAR’s extension faculty were energized and began to implement loads of CCL information into CLEAR’s first Story Map – Connecticut’s Changing Landscape. It is an ideal way to boil down the inherently complex information including combinations of land cover categories, time intervals, derivatives and scales.
Shellfish aquaculture is a large and growing part of Connecticut’s agriculture sector, but site selection is a major challenge. Farmers cultivate oysters, clams and scallops in designated areas of Long Island Sound. Those sites are considered public property and are leased from the state. Farmers need to identify growing areas that are biologically productive for their crop while also considering the potential use conflicts or environmental interactions with their activity on those sites.
To help improve site selection for aquaculture, the Aquaculture Mapping Atlas was developed by Assistant Extension Educator Cary Chadwick, in collaboration with Extension Educator Tessa Getchis and the Connecticut Department of Agriculture, Bureau of Aquaculture.
The latest version of this interactive map viewer includes new data layers and functions. The viewer has updated commercial and recreational harvest areas, natural beds, and shellfish classification areas as well as a plethora of navigation, environmental condition, and natural resource data. Users can overlay map layers, draw new lease areas, and print professional-looking maps.
Mapping Great Gull Island with an Unmanned Aircraft
Assistant Extension Educator Joel Stocker spends a lot of his work and personal time documenting changes to the shoreline. In 2010 he contacted Helen Hays, asking if he could capture photographs over Great Gull Island with his homemade drone. She agreed. While on the island, Helen told him about the problem with invasive plants, and he connected her with Juliana Barrett.
Recognizing high-resolution aerials could be used to monitor vegetation management Juliana included experiments with aerial drone flights as part of a Connecticut Sea Grant proposal. In April 2013 the official Extension/Sea Grant flights took place, fully sanctioned by the FAA. Over 370 photographs were captured from a small four prop multirotor quadcopter, later processed using two different software systems, AgiSoft Photoscan and Pix4Dmapper. The result is a full high-resolution orthomosaic image of the entire island – a detailed tool for the habitat management plan. In addition the Pix4D software produced a full 3D topographic map, great potential for measuring erosion and the before and after effects of natural disasters like Superstorm Sandy.
By Emily Wilson
My extra desk has seen a steady stream of boxes – little and big ones, brown and black ones, even an iPad box (no iPad included). One had old maps crumpled up to protect its contents. Some have been dropped off and others have been part of a suspicious looking package trade at meetings across the state. But they all contain the same thing – an external hard drive, cleared and prepared for all 571 gigabytes of Connecticut’s new aerial imagery. Who do these boxes belong to? It is a wide range – private firms, federal agencies, utility companies, universities and municipalities to name a few. And equally as diverse are the applications. Mapping professionals use the imagery as background in maps and map viewers, to find and map roads, manholes, utility poles and other infrastructure, to find and map natural features like vernal pools, streams, vegetation and trees, and to detect changes on the land by comparing to older imagery.
But the imagery is not just for mapping professionals. On CT ECO (a partnership between UConn CLEAR and CT DEEP), we provide the imagery in a range of ways to meet (almost) any level of technical ability. The simplest way is the map catalog, where you will find two pdfs for each town – one true color and one color infrared. Just slightly more involved are the thematic map viewers where you can add other data layers or compare to older imagery. The sophisticated user can connect to the map services in GIS software or ArcGIS Online. And finally, for those mappers who want the actual data but haven’t brought your hard drive to me for the big copy, you can download the imagery as GeoTIFF tiles, MrSID tiles or town mosaics.
The download option is a first for CT ECO and for Connecticut and we are excited about it. It should make for easy and fast imagery access and will likely slow the drive trafficking in my office (and offices at DESPP, DOT and DEEP too).
Check out the imagery on CT ECO and, as always, let us know what you think. And, by the way, boxes of chocolate, as well as hard drives, are always welcome.
More information and links to all the ways to view the 2012 Imagery on CT ECO