More Student GIS Projects

In addition to the Atlas of Maine maps, students in ES212: Introduction to GIS and Remote Sensing each completed an independent GIS research project.

The maps were originally created in ArcGIS 9 and exported to the web using ArcIMS, an internet map server from ESRI. To view the maps using ArcIMS, click on one of the the links below. To view the student research poster as a PDF document, click the PDF link next to the map description. The research posters were originally created as 42 x 48 inch posters and reduced to 8.5 x 11 inches to faciliate download by PDF. Please note: The IMS and PDF maps are large files so it may take a few minutes to load unless you are using a high-speed internet connection. ArcIMS works well with Windows operating systems running Internet Explorer. MacIntosh OS X users may need Mozilla Firefox to open and view the dynamic ArcIMS maps. .

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Quick links to project maps



HAZARD AREAS ASSOCIATED WITH MAJOR VOLCANOES IN THE CASCADE MOUNTAIN RANGE. The Cascade Mountain Range in Washington State is the site of several active volcanoes that have the potential erupt which would deeply affect the lives of those who live near them. This study explores the hazard areas associated with the five largest volcanoes in the region: Mt. Baker, Glacier Peak, Mt. Rainier, Mt. Adams and Mt. St.Helens. It was determined which geographic regions would be affected by tephra, pyroclastic blasts and lahar flows and the associated populations that live in each of these areas. The level of emergency preparedness necessary for a volcanic eruption could be better determined based on the findings of this study. Created by Caitlin Chamberlin ('05)

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GULF OF MEXICO'S OFFSHORE OIL PLATFORM WIND POTENTIAL. There are over 6000 natural resource drilling platforms in the Gulf of Mexico, all of which will become obsolete once their deposits are extracted. This study examined one of the possible alternate uses for these platforms, wind power potential. Using ArcGIS the number of platforms was reduced by weighting their distance from National Data Buoy Center wind speed collection points and water depth. Calculations were done to assess the optimal sites remaining, as well as provide an estimate of the energy potential for each site. Data for this project was obtained from the Minerals Management Service (MMS), United States Geological Service (USGS), and National Data Buoy Center (NDBC). A major limitation of this project was a lack of NDBC wind speed buoys, creating large data gaps and excluding many oil rigs that have otherwise high energy potential. Created By Richard Crowley ('05).

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FIRE HAZARD IN COCONINO COUNTY, ARIZONA.Fire is a major management issue in the southwestern United States. Three spatial models of fire risk for Coconino County, Northern Arizona. These models were generated using thematic data layers depicting vegetation, elevation, wind speed and direction, and precipitation for January (winter), June (summer), and July (start of monsoon season). ArcGIS 9.0 was used to weight attributes in raster layers to reflect their influence on fire risk and to interpolate raster data layers from point data. Final models were generated using the raster calculator in the Spatial Analyst extension of ArcGIS 9.0. Ultimately, the unique combinations of variables resulted in three different models illustrating the change in fire risk during the year. Created by Sarah Dunham ('05).

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VIEWSHED ANALYSIS OF THE LANDS OF THE BELGRADE REGIONAL CONSERVATION ALLIANCE. The Belgrade Regional Conservation Alliance (BRCA) has aquired a great deal of land in the Belgrade Lakes region of Maine and is currently in negotiations on many pieces of land throughout the area. Data available online from the Maine Office of GIS, and data from the BRCA were used to carry out this analysis. One area of interest is Mount Phillip, the summit of which the BRCA recently acquired. There is a good view to the south of the mountain, but the potential view to the east and north is in question. This study analyzed the view from the top of the mountain, focusing on two landmarks: Mosher Hill to the east, and North Pond to the north. The analysis shows that both Mosher Hill and North Pond can be seen well from Mount Phillip. These results could help the BRCA both by adding weight to their negotiations to protect Mosher Hill, as well as influencing their decision whether or not to thin part of the forest on Mount Phillip to open up the view of North Pond that is currently blocked. Created by Kevin W. Fritze ('07).

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ESTIMATED NUMBER AND LOCATION OF FUTURE MOOSE-VEHICLE COLLISIONS (MVC) IN MAINE. Moose (Alces alces) are a keystone herbivore in Maine. Because of the large number of rural roads in Maine, there is a high rate of moose-vehicle collisions (MVCs), which is increasing. On-road encounters with animals resulted in 231 fatalities in the United States in 1999. Because of the fatality of MVCs, it is important to know where they are most likely to occur. I used GIS analysis to estimate where future MVCs would occur, factoring in the variables of land cover suitability for moose, distance from water bodies, locations of past MVCs, and speed limits on the roads. I ran four different analyses, each one weighting the variables equally. I also ran a regression to determine if increasing road speed was associated with the increase in the number of MVCs per length of road. There was not a strong positive relationship between the number of MVCs per length of road and the speed limit, but it was interesting to note that there were more MVCs per length of road on 35mph and 40mph roads than on 45, 50, 55 or 65mph roads. Future research on MVCs would benefit from the inclusion of include moose population density and road traffic data. Created by Alexandra Jospe ('06).

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A SPATIAL COMPARISON OF SHORT AND LONG TERM MIGRATION TRENDS IN CHINA. China’s floating population, those individuals who have migrated between counties or provinces for a period of longer than 6 months, account for 79 million individuals. If intracounty migration is also included, the number jumps to 145 million individuals or over 11% of the total population. This study examines the geographical differences in short and long term migration using ArcGIS to manipulate the spatial GIS data. The study shows that both short and long term migration (in absolute numbers) occurs more frequently near cities and in coastal regions. However, by normalizing the data by population size, the study eliminates the problems of population size on the size of the migrants. Using this normalized data, the study finds that western and northern counties have a large number of migrants present relative to the size of the population. Determining where this floating population migrates helps explain regional inequalities in employment opportunities. Created by Steve Kasperski ('05).

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ANALYSIS OF FUTURE CONSTRUCTION POSSIBILITIES ON THE COLBY COLLEGE CAMPUS. With the recent construction of Colby Green and the current plans for the construction of several new buildings, the total area for future development on campus has declined. The goal of this study was to illustrate existing campus development and to determine where future growth could occur. GIS was used to in determining the different soil systems on campus, the current use of the land, and the boundaries of the Colby property. The project shows what potential obstacles the college will have in attempting to expand the campus and proposes where the best options are for construction are. Created by Theodore F. McDermott ('06).

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A PRELIMINARY HABITAT SUITABILITY ANALYSIS FOR THE RESTORATION OF SOUTH CHINA TIGERS IN THE HUPINGSHAN RESERVE, CHINA. The South China tiger, Panthera tigris amoyensis, once roamed the greater part of southern China. However, expanding human populations and other anthropogenic effects have resulted in the extinction of the wild population. The Chinese government has expressed interest in a reintroduction program for this species of tigers. Recent studies suggest that the Hupingshan preserve is potentially a good candidate for a tiger reintroduction program. Hupingshan is located on the border of the Hunan and Hubei provinces in Southern China. This study was a preliminary habitat suitability analysis, for the restoration of South China tigers in the Hupingshan reserve, China. ArcGIS 9.0 was used to develop a model that combined roads, railroads, slope, land cover, park classification, and population density. The tiger habitat suitability analysis was performed by weighting and combining the various layers. Preliminary results suggest that the Hupingshan reserve is suitable habitat for the reintroduction of South China tigers. Created by Rob Mehlich ('05).

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WIND POWER SUITABILITY ANALYSIS FOR THE GULF OF MAINE. This map shows one option for a viable energy source that is clean, free and endless: wind power. This map shows that the coast of Maine has the potential space and wind speed to be a location for wind farms. Four NOAA buoys placed in different locations along the Maine coast are the source of the wind speed data for this project. The average wind speed of every ten minutes of every day for the year 2004 were averaged so that each buoy was represented by one number of wind speed measured in meters/ second. The values in between these four buoys were estimated, or interpolated, using ArcGIS. Other factors that I took into consideration during this lab were distance from airports (no wind farm can be with in a three mile radius of an airport ) and distance from counties (no one wants an offshore wind farm that obstructs their view). I calculated the most appropriate locations for a wind farm in ArcGIS, by adding these three layers. The final output shows an area along Mt. Desert to be the most appropriate for development. Created by Sophia S. Newbury ('08).

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MONEY AND EDUCATION: HOW ECONOMIC DISTRIBUTION CORRESPONDS TO ACADEMIC SUCCESS. Urban sprawl is a significant issue in the United States, one effect of which is the departure of the wealth from cities. This study examined the distribution of wealth in Erie County, New York, focused around Buffalo. The question is then raised, why do those with the money leave the city, and to where do they go? While this study does not attempt to explain all of the reasons, it does examine two significant issues: quality of public school education, and proximity to main highways with easy access to the city. Using ArcGIS, I was able to place the public high schools and their relative ranking over a distribution of per capita income. The results of this analysis show that the wealthiest areas are located within the best school districts. Moreover, the areas where the wealth accumulates are directly connected by major highways. Created by Conor Semler ('05).

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A GIS SUITABILITY ANALYSIS OF WOLF HABITAT IN MAINE. The range of the Gray Wolf (Canis lupus), once covering most of North America, has been drastically reduced by an estimated 95% due to habitat loss and extermination by humans. The wolf was extirpated from Maine in the 1800’s. Wolf reintroductions have been suggested for Maine, but there is some debate about how much land is suitable for wolves. I developed a wolf habitat suitability analysis using ArcGIS and data from the Maine Office of GIS and the United States National Atlas. The model incorporates land cover, presence of major roads and railways, conservation land, industrial, non-industrial, and public woodlot ownership, distance from major points of population, deer population, and slope. The model results show areas of high and low wolf suitability in Maine. The model suggests that the best potential habitat for wolves in Maine is situated in the northwest of the state. Possible future reintroductions or natural colonization from other areas would have the highest likelihood of survival in these areas. Created by Wendy Sicard ('05).

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AFFORDABLE HOUSING IN KENNEBEC COUNTY. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development defines affordable housing as a household paying no more than 30 percent of its annual income on housing. That is, families who pay more than 30 percent of their income on housing are considered cost burdened and may have difficulty affording necessities such as food, clothing, healthcare, and transportation. This project focused on Kennebec County, Maine. Between 1990 and 2000, market demand for housing increased at a faster rate than did the supply of housing. Despite the addition of 6,719 homes, the average home price increased faster than average household income. This raises the question of just how many households in Kennebec County are facing unaffordable housing. Using shapefiles and data provided by the US Census Bureau, a map was created with ArcGIS to illustrate the percentage of households, down to the Census Block level of detail, that are paying more than 30 percent of their income to housing. By looking at this information I was able to get a better picture of the housing situation and where in the county households are having the hardest time meeting their needs. The results indicate that households in the more urbanized sections of the county are more likely than rurally located households to be facing unaffordable housing. Namely, Waterville and Augusta held the highest percentage of households paying more than 30 percent of their income for housing.. Created by William G. Stohner ('05).

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DETAILED MAP AND RECREATIONAL SUITABILITY ASSESSMENT OF THE COLBY TRAIL SYSTEM. This map is designed as a resource for students and the public to use and develop a better understanding of the trails system on the Colby Campus. I used a Garmin GPSmap 60CS to chart all the trails on Runnals Hill and in the Arboretum. Then, using ArcGIS, I compiled the tracked trails and laid them over an aerial photo of the campus. Because many of the trails are hard to find, I took digital photos of each trail entry to help the user locate them. Then, by taking note of the grade and width of the trail, I decided which trails were suitable for certain activities. This gives users an idea of where to go for walking, running, mountain biking, cross-country skiing, and snowshoeing. Created by Emily Wilbert ('07).

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Environmental Studies Program,  Colby College
4848 Mayflower Hill,
Waterville, Maine 04901 USA
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Last Modified: 05/19/05 01:29:32 PM