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geospatial matters

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Tuesday
Jan262016

With Drought Comes Disease

You’ve heard that millions of California’s trees have died from drought and bark beetles. Weakened by lack of water due to four consecutive years of drought, over 29 million conifers and hardwood trees were unable to fight off attacks from bark beetles and died. Check out where and when these trees have died across California using the new Tree Mortality Viewer from FRAP, CalFire, and USFS

Tree Mortality Viewer: Mortality at Point Reyes National Seashore

Overlayed on a map of California, the Viewer visibility layers show:

  • Tree Mortality — Results of 2012-2015 aerial tree-mortality surveys. See how the situation has dramatically worsened over the years

You can download the original data  here too!

Monday
Jan252016

Spring 2016 GIF Workshops 

Spring 2016 GIF Workshops 

The Geospatial Innovation Facility is excited to announce that we will be offering our standard workshops series for FREE this spring to UC Berkeley students, faculty, and staff. Currently we still need to retain our pricing of $224 for all non-UC affiliates. However, space is limited and the workshops will be filled on a first-come first-served basis, so register today at to take advantage of these great training opportunities!

GIF workshops offer hands-on applications oriented training in a variety of geospatial topics. Our Introduction to Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and Introduction to Remote Sensing workshops are designed for participants with little to no experience in GIS, or those who would like to refresh their geospatial skills. Each workshop teaches core geospatial principals and techniques through a combination of lecture and hands-on interactive activities.  

We are currently accepting registration for our introductory series of workshops offered over the next several weeks. See more detailed descriptions and register for any of the upcoming trainings at: http://gif.berkeley.edu/support/workshops.html

January 29: Intro to GIS: Social Science Focus

The presentation will get you up to speed on what kind of analyses GIS may be used for, as well as the basic structures of spatial data. After the lecture you will follow an interactive exercise that has been designed to introduce you to ArcGIS Desktop software while analyzing street and census data around the City of Berkeley.

February 5: Intro to GIS: Environmental Science Focus

The presentation will get you up to speed on what kind of analyses GIS may be used for, as well as the basic structures of spatial data. After the lecture you will follow an interactive exercise that has been designed to introduce you to ArcGIS Desktop software while analyzing environmental data from around Lake Tahoe.

February 12: Intro to Open Source GIS: Using QGIS

QGIS is a free and open source geospatial desktop application that has been developing at a rapid pace. Its ease of use and accessibility (available for PC, Mac, and Linux platforms) has created a strong and active user community. In this workshop, we will explore the basic functionality of QGIS so that you may quickly learn how to load and format vector and raster data, edit shapefiles, and query attributes. 

February 19: Intro to GIS for Agriculture: Rangeland Focus

An introductory presentation will get you up to speed on what kind of analyses GIS may be used for, as well as the basic structures of spatial data. After this brief lecture you will follow an interactive exercise that will introduce you to using free and open source online data to analyze and map rangelands in the California Central Valley.

February 26: Intro to Remote Sensing: Understanding Digital Imagery

This workshop introduces basic principles of understanding digital imagery, both satellite and aerial. Through a combination of lecture and interactive activities, we will explore what makes up a multi-spectral image, where to find and download them, and how to view and manipulate imagery.

These workshops are held in 124 Mulford Hall and run from 1pm – 4:30pm. Sign-up now for this great opportunity for intensive, hands-on training in geospatial methods, tools, and analysis!

Tuesday
Jan192016

GIF & IGIS from space

Made this for fun for the GIF & IGIS from NASA's "abcs from space" site: http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Features/ABC/. Was going to do "Kellylab" but ran out of time.

  • G: This image of Pinaki Island was captured by astronauts on the International Space Station in April 2001.
  • I: On February 10, 2007, the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite captured this image of the Andaman Islands. The thin, bright rings surrounding several of the islands are coral reefs that were lifted up by a massive earthquake near Sumatra in 2004.
  • F: The Operational Land Imager (OLI) on Landsat 8 acquired this false-color image of valleys and snow-covered mountain ranges in southeastern Tibet on August 4, 2014. Firn is a granular type of snow often found on the surface of a glacier before it has been compressed into ice.

  • I: On February 10, 2007, the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite captured this image of the Andaman Islands. The thin, bright rings surrounding several of the islands are coral reefs that were lifted up by a massive earthquake near Sumatra in 2004.
  • G: This image of Pinaki Island was captured by astronauts on the International Space Station in April 2001.
  • S: On April 29, 2009, the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on the Terra satellite acquired this image of clouds swirling over the Atlantic Ocean.
Friday
Jan152016

ESRI @ GIF Open GeoDev Hacker Lab

We had a great day today exploring ESRI open tools in the GIF. ESRI is interested in incorporating more open tools into the GIS workflow. According to www.esri.com/software/open, this means working with:

  1. Open Standards: OGC, etc. 
  2. Open Data formats: supporting open data standards, geojson, etc. 
  3. Open Systems: open APIs, etc. 

We had a full class of 30 participants, and two great ESRI instructors (leaders? evangelists?) John Garvois and Allan Laframboise, and we worked through a range of great online mapping (data, design, analysis, and 3D) examples in the morning, and focused on using ESRI Leaflet API in the afternoon. Here are some of the key resources out there.

Great Stuff! Thanks Allan and John

Tuesday
Jan122016

Spatial Data Science Bootcamp March 2016

Register now for the March 2016 Spatial Data Science Bootcamp at UC Berkeley!

We live in a world where the importance and availability of spatial data are ever increasing. Today’s marketplace needs trained spatial data analysts who can:

  • compile disparate data from multiple sources;
  • use easily available and open technology for robust data analysis, sharing, and publication;
  • apply core spatial analysis methods;
  • and utilize visualization tools to communicate with project managers, the public, and other stakeholders.

To help meet this demand, International and Executive Programs (IEP) and the Geospatial Innovation Facility (GIF) are hosting a 3-day intensive Bootcamp on Spatial Data Science on March 23-25, 2016 at UC Berkeley.

With this Spatial Data Science Bootcamp for professionals, you will learn how to integrate modern Spatial Data Science techniques into your workflow through hands-on exercises that leverage today's latest open source and cloud/web-based technologies. We look forward to seeing you here!

To apply and for more information, please visit the Spatial Data Science Bootcamp website.

Limited space available. Application due on February 19th, 2016.

Tuesday
Jan122016

California parcel data download

Parcel data for California summary and download here. http://egis3.lacounty.gov/dataportal/2015/09/11/california-statewide-parcel-boundaries/

The data are not complete. But downloadable in geodatabase format. 

"A geodatabase with parcel boundaries for 51 (out of 58) counties in the State of California. The original target was to collect data for the close of the 2013 fiscal year. As the collection progressed, it became clear that holding to that time standard was not practical. Out of expediency, the date requirement was relaxed, and the currently available dataset was collected for a majority of the counties. Most of these were distributed with minimal metadata."

Tuesday
Jan052016

SNAMP project wrap-up: relationships made and lessons learned

The Sierra Nevada Adaptive Management Project SNAMP

Word cloud from our 31 recommendationsThe Sierra Nevada Adaptive Management Project is a joint effort by the University of California, state and federal agencies, and the public to study management of forest lands in the Sierra Nevada. This 10-year project to investigate the effects of vegetation management treatments implemented by the Forest Service on fire risk, wildlife, forest health, and water in two areas in the Sierra Nevada, in the Sierra National Forest and the Tahoe National Forest. A lasting solution to forest management must engage stakeholders and promote active public participation in all phases of the process, including the development, interpretation, and incorporation of research-based information in the adaptive management decision making process.

My group was involved in both the spatial analysis work and public participation efforts. It has been a great honor to work on this project, as well as being a tremendous learning experience. Two wonderful dissertations from my lab have resulted from this research: Marek Jakubowski and Shufei Lei. So many students and staff worked on the project during its 10 year run: Qinghua Guo was instrumental to the project from UC Merced; Ken-ichi Ueda began work on the website in the early years of the project; Shasta Ferranto added years of insightful work on the public participation team; everyone in the lab participated in some way to the outcomes; and we all learned so much and made tremendous networks of expertise and knowledge across the state. 

For papers from the SNAMP project, see here. For papers from the SNAMP project at large, see here.  More Information: Please check out our website (we are also on Facebook): http://snamp.cnr.berkeley.edu/.

Tuesday
Jan052016

Our summary from SNAMP: 31 integrated recommendations

The following forest management recommendations consider the SNAMP focal resources (forest, water, wildlife), as well as public participation, as an integrated group. These recommendations were developed by the UC Science Team working together. Although each recommendation was written by one or two authors, the entire team has provided input and critique for the recommendations. The entire UC Science Team endorses all of these integrated management recommendations. Click at the bottom of the post for the full description of each recommendation. 

Section 1: Integrated management recommendations based directly on SNAMP science

Wildfire hazard reduction

1. If your goal is to reduce severity of wildfire effects, SPLATs are an effective means to reduce the severity of wildfires. 

SPLAT impacts on forest ecosystem health 

2. If your goal is to improve forest ecosystem health, SPLATs have a positive effect on tree growth efficiency.

SPLAT impact assessment

3. If your goal is to integrate across firesheds, an accurate vegetation map is essential, and a fusion of optical, lidar and ground data is necessary. 

4. If your goal is to understand the effects of SPLATs, lidar is essential to accurately monitor the intensity and location of SPLAT treatments.

SPLAT impacts on California spotted owl and Pacific fisher

5. If your goal is to maintain existing owl and fisher territories, SPLATs should continue to be placed outside of owl Protected Activity Centers (PACs) and away from fisher den sites, in locations that reduce the risk of high-severity fire occurring within or spreading to those areas.

6. If your goal is to maintain landscape connectivity between spotted owl territories, SPLATs should be implemented in forests with lower canopy cover whenever possible.

7. If your goal is to increase owl nest and fisher den sites, retain oaks and large conifers within SPLAT treatments.

8. If your goal is to maintain fisher habitat quality, retention of canopy cover is a critical consideration.

9. If your goal is to increase fisher foraging activity, limit mastication and implement more post-mastication piling and/or burning to promote a faster recovery of the forest floor condition. 

10. If your goal is to understand SPLAT effects on owl and fisher, it is necessary to consider a larger spatial scale than firesheds.

SPLAT impacts on water quantity and quality

11. If your goal is to detect increases in water yield from forest management, fuel treatments may need to be more intensive than the SPLATs that were implemented in SNAMP.

12. If your goal is to maintain water quality, SPLATs as implemented in SNAMP have no detectable effect on turbidity.

Stakeholder participation in SPLAT implementation and assessment

13. If your goal is to increase acceptance of fuel treatments, employ outreach techniques that include transparency, shared learning, and inclusiveness that lead to relationship building and the ability to work together.

14. If your goal is the increased acceptance of fuel treatments, the public needs to understand the tradeoffs between the impacts of treatments and wildfire.

Successful collaborative adaptive management processes

15. If your goal is to establish a third party adaptive management project with an outside science provider, the project also needs to include an outreach component.

16. If your goal is to develop an engaged and informed public, you need to have a diverse portfolio of outreach methods that includes face to face meetings, surveys, field trips, and web-based information.

17. If your goal is to understand or improve outreach effectiveness, track production, flow, and use of information.

18. If your goal is to engage in collaborative adaptive management at a meaningful management scale, secure reliable long term sources of funding.

19. If your goal is to maintain a successful long-term collaborative adaptive management process, establish long-term relationships with key people in relevant stakeholder groups and funding agencies.

Section 2: Looking forward - Integrated management recommendations based on expert opinion of the UC Science Team

Implementation of SPLATs

20. If your goal is to maximize the value of SPLATs, complete treatment implementation, especially the reduction of surface fuels.

21. If your goal is to efficiently reduce fire behavior and effects, SPLATs need to be strategically placed on the landscape.

22. If your goal is to improve SPLAT effectiveness, increase heterogeneity within treatment type and across the SPLAT network.

Forest ecosystem restoration

23. If your goal is to restore Sierra Nevada forest ecosystems and improve forest resilience to fire, SPLATs can be used as initial entry, but fire needs to be reintroduced into the system or allowed to occur as a natural process (e.g., managed fire).

24. If your goal is to manage the forest for long-term sustainability, you need to consider the pervasive impacts of climate change on wildfire, forest ecosystem health, and water yield.

Management impacts on California spotted owl and Pacific fisher 

25. If your goal is to enhance landscape habitat condition for owl and fisher, hazard tree removal of large trees should be carefully justified before removing.

26. If your goal is to minimize the effects of SPLATs on fisher, SPLAT treatments should be dispersed through space and time.

Management impacts on water quantity and quality

27. If your goal is to optimize water management, consider the range of potential fluctuations in precipitation and temperature.

Successful collaborative adaptive management processes

28. If your goal is to implement collaborative adaptive management, commit enough time, energy, and training of key staff to complete the adaptive management cycle.

29. The role of a third party science provider for an adaptive management program can be realized in a variety of ways.

30. If the goal is to implement adaptive management, managers must adopt clear definitions and guidelines for how new information will be generated, shared, and used to revise subsequent management as needed.

31. If your goal is to increase forest health in the Sierra Nevada, we now know enough to operationalize some of the aspects of SNAMP more broadly.

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Jan052016

SNAMP spatial recommendations: Lidar + accurate veg maps needed for forest management

The SNAMP UC Science Team worked together to develop 31 integrated management recommendations at the conclusion of our SNAMP project. The following deal specifically with lidar and vegetation mapping. All 31 can be found here. All our SNAMP spatial publications can be found here

Mapping forests for management

Lidar point cloud forest stand: Marek Jakubowski

If your goal is to integrate across firesheds, an accurate vegetation map is essential, and a fusion of optical, lidar and ground data is necessary.

Lidar data can produce a range of mapped products that in many cases more accurately map forest height, structure, and species than optical imagery alone. Our work indicated that the combination of high-resolution multi-spectral aerial/satellite imagery with lidar is very helpful in mapping vegetation communities as well as characterizing forest structure zones.

If your goal is to understand the effects of SPLATs, lidar is essential to accurately monitor the intensity and location of SPLAT treatments.

Lidar data can effectively penetrate the forest canopy and can be used to accurately detect forest understory changes. Our work indicated that the use of lidar-derived vegetation structure products (e.g., canopy cover and vegetation height) significantly outperformed the aerial image in identifying the SPLAT treatment extent and intensity. 

Tuesday
Jan052016

SNAMP wrap up: Forest Service should implement proposed forest treatments

SNAMP field trip: photo from Shufei LeiFull press release: http://ucanr.edu/?blogpost=19857&blogasset=81020

After conducting extensive forest research and taking into consideration all aspects of forest health – including fire and wildlife behavior, water quality and quantity – a group of distinguished scientists have concluded that enough is now known about proposed U.S. Forest Service landscape management treatments for them to be implemented in Sierra Nevada forests. We say:

“There is currently a great need for forest restoration and fire hazard reduction treatments to be implemented at large spatial scales in the Sierra Nevada.”

“The next one to three decades are a critical period: after this time it may be very difficult to influence the character of Sierra Nevada forests, especially old forest characteristics.”

The scientists' recommendation is in the final report of a unique, 10-year experiment in collaboration: the Sierra Nevada Adaptive Management Project (SNAMP). A 1,000-page final report on the project was submitted to the U.S. Forest Service at the end of 2015. In it, scientists reached 31 points of consensus about managing California forests to reduce wildfire hazards and protect wildlife and human communities.

SNAMP – funded with $15 million in grants mainly from the U.S. Forest Service, with support from U.S. Fish and Wildlife, California Natural Resources Agency and University of California – ran from 2007 to 2015. The project ended with the submission of the final report that contains details about the study areas, the treatment processes and reports from each of the six science teams. The science teams and their final reports are:

A key chapter in the publication is titled Integrated Management Recommendations. In it, the 31 points of consensus are outlined.

“The integration in this project is also unique,” Susie Kocher, CE advisor said. “Scientists tend to work in their own focus areas, but we can learn a lot from each other's research projects.”