ESPM4295, Fall 2010
Syllabus, ESPM 4295
GIS for Problem Solving in Environmental Science and Management, 4 cr.
Pre-requisite: FR3131/5131 required of all students, or similar class, or instructor consent
Time and Place: 10:40-12:35 MF 35 Skok and sometimes 210 Green Hall
Instructor: Paul Bolstad, Forest Resources, 624-9711, email@example.com
TA: Andy Jenks, firstname.lastname@example.org
Catalog Description: The application of spatial data inventory and analysis in environmental
planning problems. Students may gain experience with common spatial data collection
and database development methods, such as GPS, DLG, U.S. Census, and NWI data, as
well as spatial analysis. Professional-quality analysis and written reports are required.
Objectives: Develop GIS project planning, implementation, and reporting skills through
extensive spatial data collection and analysis. Master primary spatial data development
and analysis skills, including GPS data collection, vector and raster data entry and editing,
tiling, edge-matching, dems, database development, cartographic model development,
spatial analysis including multi-layer overlay, metadata development, and detailed project
reporting, including cartographic products.
General Problem Area: Each year students in ESPM4295 perform a project in data
development and analysis for resource inventory, planning, and use. This year our task is to
inventory trees and impervious surface for a portion of the St. Paul Campus. In our work we will
digitize coordinates in the field with GPS and on-screen using digital aerial photographs, collect
attributes, and rank area suitability for two problems. The first is to rank areas, on an ordinal
scale, for tree planting to reduce exposed impervious surface. Ranking will be based on current
canopy density, amount of impervious surface, and amount of bare soil, fields, or grass suitable
for planting. The second analysis should rank threats to canopy threats from sudden oak death, an
introduced disease found on the East and West Coast that have the potential to kill all oak
species. Oak occurrence and density will be analyzed, and canopy loss estimated. Areas will be
ranked on the need to increase canopy diversity.
The main outputs for ESPM4295 students will be developed spatial data for a study area, the
ranking analyses, and a comprehensive report. Each ESPM4295 student will produce an
individual report, although you may work collaboratively on some pieces of this project.
The study area is shown in the graphic on the next page, North is at the top, and the student
center is near the center of the image.
Data and documents for the study area are on the website:
ESPM4295, Fall 2010
Sub-areas are shown in the figure. Each person will be responsible for developing data in a sub-
area. Boundaries are shown as dotted lines, letters identify the sub-area. There will be more than
one student assigned to each sub-area. Each student must work individually unless specifically
noted. The one exception is the GPS control point data, where students may work cooperatively
in collecting the GPS coordinates, but not in post-processing.
You will map all trees, buildings, sidewalks, roads, parking lots, and other concrete or hard
surfaces in your study area.
You will map trees two ways. First,
you will map each individual stem
meeting the following criteria:
All planted trees (assume planted if
in grass, flower beds, or other
maintained beds) larger than 1 inch
diameter at 4.5 feet above the
ground (for multi-stemmed trees,
the largest stem counts).
All other trees greater than 6 inches
diameter at 4.5 feet above the
ground (trees in “stands” in areas 1,
2, and 3).
This first data set will be developed
through a combination of digitizing
from the leaf-off,
photograph, and field digitizing.
The canopy extent for all trees
(including those skipped above) in
your study area. The canopy will be
digitized from the color aerial
Detailed instructions on developing
these data layers will be provided
after the completion of GPS
Most computer work will be done
ESPM4295, Fall 2010
in 35 Skok Hall, and some in 210 Green Hall.
Attendance: Required at all class sessions when materials are due. For other class sessions you
may work on your project, meet with your group, and to organize and ask questions of the
instructor during this period.
A required component of the report will be a detailed accuracy assessment of the spatial and
attribute data. Each student will be responsible for field checking the accuracy of another
student’s work. The pair assignment will be random, and independent, and the evaluator
shouldn’t communicate extensively or receive updates from the data developer. Positional and
attribute consistency and accuracy verified through field visits.
Email Addresses: All students must give their email address to the instructor. Email will be
used for contacting students and groups throughout the semester.
Computer Software: We will be using primarily ArcGIS and Trimble Pathfinder Office
software for spatial data analysis in this course.
Books: No books are required for this course, because we assume you’ve purchased a basic GIS
text for your introductory courses. Costs for maps and reproduction of the report may be
considerable, and are considered as part of the course costs. Certain reference books may be
desirable, and will be discussed in class.
Course Assignments and Grade: Students must take ESPM4295 courses A-F. Your grade
depends on class participation, ability to use your knowledge to accomplish a task, and
writing/editing ability. Students are required to conduct their own work unless noted by the
ESPM4295 students will be responsible for turning in a number of documents, to be graded:
A copy of the NGS control sheet for high-order control points in the study area
Work timetable/schedule you develop for your suitability analysis project
GPS data collected for test points
Introduction, Methods section of final report
Data layers for your study sub-area
Analysis and draft report for your study sub-area
Revised final report
Due dates are listed in the schedule at the end of this document.
The grade breakdown is based approximately 45% on your attendance and participation in class,
intermediate written reports/presentations, the quality of your data collection and analysis in GPS
accuracy evaluation, and the quality of your editing of other’s work; 45% on final report and
ESPM4295, Fall 2010
data, 10% on faculty, self, and peer evaluation
Each course member of is required to keep a journal/progress report of their own activities.
These journals will be used in gauging your effort and accomplishments.
Your journal is to be turned in as noted the class schedule, every three to four weeks and at the
end of the course. It must be clearly organized, type-written, bound or stapled, and complete.
Think of the journal as a shorthand progress report of your individual activities. It is best
organized by week, with assigned tasks and accomplishments in a bulleted list. The assigned
tasks will sometimes be those developed within your group, and sometimes those you have
assigned your self. Each week should be labeled, clearly identified as different from previous or
Journal of Responsibilities-Activities-Plans: week of Feb 1-7, 2002.
1) Obtain/develop floodplain maps for our study area
2) Edit 2nd draft of work plan
3) aid Jane XYZ in field data collection for vegetation map
1) phoned government agency ABC, identified map source, obtained map, digitized it and
registered to common coordinate system. Started developing and adding attribute data
2) did not receive draft work plan as scheduled, could not edit. Rescheduled time with Dave
QRW, he will get me draft on Nov 8th.
3) Visited field site twice with Sarah PRS, mapped vegetation for photos 26 and 27.
Planned Activities, next week:
1) finish attributing floodplain map
2) edit 1st draft of work plan, return to Dave QRW by Nov. 10th
3) do vegetation mapping for photos 28 and 29.
4) reclassify wetlands data layer
This journal will help you in your final evaluation, and me in evaluating each member of the
class. Typical entries are somewhere between ½ page and 2 pages for a week’s work.
ESPM4295, Fall 2010
Schedule and Important Dates, ESPM4295
Week Activity Deadlines: Items to be turned in at the START of
Friday, Sept. 10th: Lecture, course mechanics, data types Nothing to turn in. Each student must sign up for a
Sept. 6 and sources. Datum & coordinate system review. study area, Z through U, note the location, and visit
Description of lab facilities. Visit control points. the study area over the weekend or early Monday.
Read: espm4294-5295-Digitizing, geodatabases.doc, and You must also visit the NGS website, and record
topology documents. coordinates for on-campus control points.
Monday: Lecture, Arc/Info introduction/review. Editing Monday: Turn in NGS control point identification
Sept. 13 refresher, GPS review, GPS demonstration. sheet.
Lightly Read: Juno, Terrasync, and PFPro100 Series user Friday: Have collected data with GPS, be ready to
guides. Re-read GPS Chapter 5, in Bolstad GIS use in differential correction in lab. Differentially
Fundamentals book. correct, show results to instructor or TA on-screen,
Friday: Read Trimble Pathfinder Office, GPS field asked any questions on topology, digitizing
exercise, begin data collection.
Monday, more ArcGIS review. Monday: Turn in an outline of the steps and timetable
Sept. 20 Field data collection, begin digitizing. for collecting and analyzing required data (activities
Friday: Turn in GPS point exercise
Sept 27 Data development
Oct. 3 Data development continues. Friday: Turn in first draft of report. Must include all
major section headings for the final document.
Introduction and methods for data development
should be complete.
Oct. 10 Continue data development, editing, attributing. Friday: Turn in Roads, Sidewalks, and Buildings data
layers. Hardcopy map and CD
Oct. 17 Continue individual data development. Monday: Each individual turns in journals. Must be
Friday: Turn in first draft of trees data. All tree
polygons and points must be complete, attributes in
Oct. 24 Monday: Lecture, Accuracy/error Assessment Monday: Introduction, methods sections of final
report – 2nd draft (you should have revised your own
Continue individual data development. first drafts).
Nov. 1 Individual data development should be complete this Friday: GPS point data for sub-area due, including
week. Data required for error assessment should be short report on methods, description of points.
completed. Individual analysis and error assessment.
Nov. 8 Analysis, error/accuracy assessment. Monday: Each person turns in 2 maps 1) trees as
Writing polygons, with roads and buildings under the trees
layer and 2) Roads, buildings, and sidewalks alone.
Nov. 15 Metadata development, data fusion near completion Friday: Each individual turns in digital copies of all
spatial data required on CD. Turn in journal.
Nov. 22 Analysis, editing, writing Monday: Two copies of error assessment reports due
(instructor will give one to data developer)
Nov. 29 Analysis, editing, writing.
Dec. 3 Work on final report
Dec. 10 Finish written report Friday: Final report due.