Fall 2018 offering of Geog 355: Delaware Data, Midterm, and Project

September 30, 2018

Regardless of your position on police bunnies, we are nearing the halfway point of Geog 355 and I have a few updates for you:

  1. You are diligently compiling your progress on the readings and ArcGIS tutorial, on a blog created for the course. Please continue to update me as you add blog postings. Roughly follow the course schedule.
  2. Get going on the Delaware Data Inventory, and complete (with a blog posting indicating such) by Sunday, October 14.
  3. Review the postings from last spring on the Delaware Neighborhood project:
    1. https://gisci.wordpress.com/2018/01/23/week-2-updates/
    2. https://gisci.wordpress.com/2018/01/30/week-3-updates/
    3. https://gisci.wordpress.com/2018/02/09/week-4-updates/
  4. Janelle is working on getting some background information on the Neighborhood Mapping project and she and I will be in touch about the project in the near future.
  5. Once you finish the Delaware Data Inventory and ArcGIS tutorial, you can get going on the Midterm Evaluation. This will be a butt-load of fun and will put your brain deep into the world of doing stuff with GIS. Due Friday, October 26.

Week 4: Updates

February 9, 2018

Nextdoor.com Delaware, Ohio Neighborhoods

After a bit of kanoodling about, I managed to get added to one of the Delaware Nextdoor.com neighborhood groups (Southside Delaware, which includes OWU’s campus).

I then did a series of screen captures to get the entire map (above) of Delaware’s neighborhoods, according to Nextdoor.com. Right mouse click on the map to get a bigger version.

I think this is a good starting point for our project. Keep searching for other relevant information (Delaware wards, subdividions, HOAs, etc.).

And keep up with the readings and such on the schedule.

Week 3: Updates

January 30, 2018

After our rousing meeting on Monday a few things can be reiterated:

  1. Please create your class blog and get me the URL by Thursday
  2. Please consult the course schedule and make a single weekly blog posting that includes
    1. reading notes (so I know you read the stuff)
    2. progress on the tutorial (when we get to it)
    3. project ideas, work on proposal, and updates
    4. other pertinent stuff (such as progress on your writing option, if you are doing one for this course)
    5. email me when you post your weekly post (no later than the Sunday at the end of the week)
  3. Lets plan to meet on Mondays at 1-2pm until further notice.
  4. I’m going to look into ArcOnline accounts for us
  5. We seem to be settling into the Neighborhood Mapping project
    1. scale is an issue:
      1. Delaware has wards (four of them, look it up)
      2. Below that scale, there are neighborhoods (“Downtown”)
      3. Below that scale, there are smaller neighborhoods (“Downtown SoWill” – downtown south of William St.)
    2. sometimes neighborhoods correlate with subdivisions (“Wesleyan Woods”): GIS data on subdivisions
    3. subdivisions have HOA boundaries (Home Owner’s Association): GIS data on HOA in Delaware?
    4. demographic data: from US Census: blocks, block groups, Census tracts (see below: two graphics)
      1. demographic data can be used to create neighborhoods, but this is a bit dangerous (why?).
      2. demographic data can be associated with neighborhoods (say, poverty rate), but this might also be a bit dangerous (why?)
      3. if the City wants to be able to match demographic data to neighborhoods, the neighborhood boundaries have to follow census boundaries (block, block group, etc.). This is important to build into the neighborhood boundary making from the start.

  1. Preliminary proposal, due Friday, February 9. This may be one big proposal, or several related smaller proposals. We’ll figure that out.
    1. Details on Project Proposal
  2. Go back and, individually, complete the Defining and Mapping Neighborhoods stuff from the previous update. Put on ye blog!
  3. Teh major issues: preliminary: these may be sub working groups and writing options if need be:
    1. Literature on Neighborhoods
      1. Academic – Planning, Urban Studies, Geography, etc.
      2. Other literature
    2. Literature and info on methods for determining neighborhoods
      1. surveys
      2. historical research (on Delaware)
    3. Using GIS to map and communicate neighborhoods
      1. including ArcOnline to make the data easily available

Please email or talk to me if you have questions along the way. Bothering me is better than you not doing what you are supposed to do!

Geog 355, Spring 2018: Week 2: Getting Started

January 22, 2018

  1. Review syllabus, schedule, readings, blogs
  2. Updated Projects page with examples of proposals, reports, maps, etc. for selected projects
  3. Discuss Project Ideas

Monday March 24: Projects

March 24, 2014


Time to get going on the projects, none of which, thank God, involve poorly conceived haircuts from the early 1970s.

1. Project Blogs

Make sure that your group are all able to get access to the project blogs I set up earlier in the semester. Make sure you put any relevant information for your project, including the preliminary project proposal, on the project blog.




2. Updates for each group:

Delaware Run:

I gave Ali Smith a copy of the document Peter Schantz sent me with his concerns from the perspective of Buildings & Grounds. We need to take those concerns and expand them and supplement them and develop an ArcGIS MXD file with appropriate data (using existing Delaware data, and data you collect).

Del Run MXD Project File: Ali Smith has been working on a MXD file that has relevant Delaware data layers. Part of this requires figuring out more information about each layer (such as what the soil types are and what they mean), the flood plane information, etc. You then need to plan for additional data collection: trees, (potentially) soil samples, infrastructure, etc. At this point: figure out a list of data you think would be relevant to the project and start to plan how to collect that data and get it into the MXD file

Thermal/Urban Heat Island:

I am having the QGIS software installed on the Geography Research room computer (224). That might take until the end of the week. In the meantime:

1) Carefully review the information on the tutorial I gave you last week, and see if you think you will be able to do the QGIS Tutorial once the QGIS software is available: Review the online info for QGIS.

2) Review info on Landsat Data.

3) I have had EarthExplorer recommended as the site to access and download the thermal IR data. This will be band 6 of the Landsat data (see the review PDF in part 2 above).

Chimney Swift / Bird Habitat:

1) Make sure that we have copies of the plans for the swift towers in a format that the contractor can review (also B&G). I believe Alex had this in Sketch-up but we need to print. I can get files printed in color at Duplicating.

2) Plan for revisions of the bird habitat map. The previous version, b&w copies of which I can give you today, is not so great. I suggest we start with a fresh MXD file of campus and surrounding areas (walkable from campus) and start to map out the different habitats as areas. There is a start to a classification of bird habitats on the old map: we can start with that. Look up additional info on defining urban bird habitat. Start to compile data into a MXD file. Plan for a map that fits on tabloid sized paper and can be used in the field. We will also map out existing bird houses, feeders, etc.

Dick Tuttle will be in class Wed and we need to review the plans with him (have printouts) and also get input from him on the habitats map.

Tech / Drone:

I suggest that Christian & Chris work with learning to operate the Drone and take images. We need to figure out the optimal resolution and other details for taking imagery.

Patrick can work on stitching together the imagery and adding coordinates (so we can display the images in ArcGIS): I will have Windows Photoshop installed soon. For now, the Mac in the back room off the GIS lab has an older version of Photoshop. There are also sites online for stitching together air images. Check out MapKnitter first, then CleVR or AutoStitch.

Delaware GIS Data Exercise

February 18, 2014


Each student will create an ArcMap map with the following Delaware GIS data layers & describe (sentence or two) all data layers except those marked ‘ignore.’ (the ignore folders have data that is not relevant, or newer versions of the data are in other folders)

In essence, you are creating a very brief set of metadata (data about data) for all the available layers of information. There may be several shape files (.shp) in these folders, make sure to review all of them.

Keep your brain engaged: how might some of these layers be used in your course projects?

Put your metadata information in a blog posting.

You will use some of this data for your take-home mid term exam.

DUE: Wednesday February 26.

Delaware GIS Data Metadata is here.

If any data folders are missing please talk to your instructor.

Delaware GIS Data Layers:

Delaware_2008 and 2010 Ponds and Lakes





Delaware_Building Outlines

Delaware_ Census_Biock

Delaware_ Census_BiockGroup

Delaware_ Census_ Tract

Delaware_Economic Development Layers











Delaware_Master Point Coverage


Delaware_Natural_Heritage_ ODNR

Delaware_ Orthophoto _Detailed_2010



Delaware_Places of Interest


Delaware_Public Land Survey System







Delaware_ TaxDist

Delaware_ Topography

Delaware_ Townships

Delaware_ Townships_Historical

Delaware_ Watersheds_ ODNR

Delaware_ Wetlands

Delaware_ Woodland_ ODNR



Ohio Wesleyan Parcels


M J 23: Geospatial Analysis text: Intro + Conceptual Frameworks

January 21, 2014

Technology shapes how we do things…stairs vs slides in buildings.

First: any additional introductions?

Geospatial Analysis – A Comprehensive Guide

Notes and examples on “Introduction & Terminology” and “Conceptual Frameworks for Spatial Analysis.”


Introduction & Terminology

1. On applications

2. GIS, Spatial Analysis, and Software

3. Terminology & Definitions

Conceptual Frameworks for Spatial Analysis

The Geospatial Perspective: “a distinct perspective on the world, a unique lens through which to examine events, patterns, and processes that operate on or near the surface of our planet.”

The domain of geospatial analysis is the surface of the Earth, extending upwards in the analysis of topography and the atmosphere, and downwards in the analysis of groundwater and geology. In scale it extends from the most local, when archaeologists record the locations of pieces of pottery to the nearest centimetre or property boundaries are surveyed to the nearest millimetre, to the global, in the analysis of sea surface temperatures or global warming. In time it extends backwards from the present into the analysis of historical population migrations, the discovery of patterns in archaeological sites, or the detailed mapping of the movement of continents, and into the future in attempts to predict the tracks of hurricanes, the melting of the Greenland ice-cap, or the likely growth of urban areas.

Geospatial Analysis: what happens where, and makes use of geographic information that links features and phenomena on the Earth’s surface to their locations.

1. Basic “Primitives”

  • place: complicated concept: Wikipedia
  • attributes: “any recorded characteristic or property of a place” + measurement levels (qualitative, quantitative) + examples in ArcGIS
  • objects: raster (images) & vector (points, lines, areas) below (from Making Maps):


justscale generalization

2. Spatial Relationships


  • spatial interpolation: filling in between known data


  • smoothing and sharpening (generalization; see above)

3. Spatial Statistics

4. Spatial Data Infrastructure


  • Interoperability: standards for spatial data (so everything works together): OGC

…All this jargon…



Next: Discuss and brainstorm ideas for course projects + working groups.

Assign: Mitchell ch. 1 (PDF) & refining ideas for the course project (including working groups, division of labor, etc.)

Mitchell Ch. 1 is useful as an overview of the GIS Analysis process. Akin to the research process in general. I will review this chapter for our next meeting.

Consider (and include in your blog posting for the reading):

  • How the course project you have an interest in can be approached and organized using the GIS Analysis / research process: a way of structuring your work on the project
  • How a project proposal (check schedule for due date) can be developed, including a plan and schedule for implementation, for your project. Work on this proposal will happen simultaneously with discussion of the readings and work on the software tutorial.
  • Identify and questions or issues you have, terminology, concepts, examples, etc.


Spring 2012 Finalizing Projects

April 15, 2012

On Monday April 16 groups will present a brief overview of progress on the course projects. For each project, please prepare a project report that documents and illustrates your project. The reports need not be lengthy, but instead concise. These reports will be read by other faculty, and students interested in continuing the projects in future semesters.

Below find a series of project reports from previous courses and independent studies. Your project should be documented in a similar manner, and submitted as a Word document (so I can edit if need be).

Class Project: Sustainability Region / Green Action Trail

January 31, 2012

Digital print; assemblage of historic museum labels. Made by Rebecca Jewell while Artist in Residence on the Melanesia Project at the British Museum, 2006. (via British Museum)


As indicated the first day of class, the course project in Geography 355 will be coming into focus as we brainstorm ideas in the context of previous work on the Delaware and Campus green maps, the sustainability region idea, and the green trail idea. Below are basic components of the project, as well as the results of student interests expressed in class, and our meeting with Sustainability Coordinator Sean Kinghorn.

After that, find a section (“Project: Sustainability Region & Green Action Trail”) where I try and pull together a plan for the project this semester. Hopefully students can find some aspect of this project that fits their interests and abilities. We will discuss Wednesday in class, after the reading presentations.


Course Project

General Context: Sustainable Region | Green Mapping OWU | Delaware (map & map)

Green Trail + Habitats + sites (brochure map and map back and proposal)

Sustainability Region Initial Draft Proposal (PDF)


Sustainability Region & Green Action Trail: Revised Draft for NSF Grant

We propose a sustainability region, encompassing Ohio Wesleyan University and Delaware Ohio, arrayed with a system of research “action” locations linked by a pedagogical green action trail. Our project seeks to enhance the understanding of science by non-science Environmental Studies majors, to enhance the understanding of social factors by science Environmental Studies majors, to ensure substantive theory-into-practice research experiences for all Environmental Studies majors, and to contribute to the sustainability of the OWU campus and the city of Delaware.

I. The Idea of a Sustainability Region

  • Sustainability
  • Campus and City Sustainability
  • The Regional Concept of Sustainability
  • Anthropogenic Biomes, Urban Ecosystems, Political Ecology
  • City of Delaware, Ohio & Ohio Wesleyan University Sustainability Region
  • geography & ecology of the sustainability region
  • partners & progress on sustainability
  • motivations

II. Pedagogical Issues: Undergraduate Education

  • STEM
  • Interdisciplinary Environmental Programs

III. Interdisciplinary Environmental Programs & Sustainability

  • Environmental Studies at Ohio Wesleyan
  • history & goals of program
  • need for engaged, research or practical experience as part of major
  • ties to curricular initiatives: theory-into-practice
  • natural science + environmental studies majors: understand the importance of the social / human context of science in practice
  • social science / humanities / arts + environmental studies majors: understand the importance of natural science in practice
  • Enhancing ES Major with sustainability in practice
  • joint sustainability and student research coordinator
  • collaborate with faculty to provide all Environmental Studies students with a 1-2 semester sustainability project in the sustainability region. Project budgets and stipends.
  • projects contribute to regional sustainability and include
  • real data collection and analysis
  • implementation of action plan for sustainability
  • engagement in environmental practice, with faculty and environmental professionals

IV. Green Action Locations

  • locations of data collection and monitoring within region: focus of student engagement
  • linked to sustainability issues, faculty, campus, and city interest
  • equipment: remote sensors, field monitors, app data collection, etc. Low to high tech.
  • long term monitoring and assessment of sustainability practice impacts
  • data funneled through a database / web server (Ohio Link? OWU Libraries/Info Services)

V. Green Action Trail

  • marked trail linking green action locations
  • tours, K-12 education, exercise, “destination science”


Project: Sustainability Region & Green Action Trail

Given the in-class ideas and brainstorming, I propose that we proceed on the course project through the steps outlined below. In essence, we are building upon the existing Green Trail project and feeding into the Sustainability Region research proposal. Ultimately, I envision a network of locations for monitoring and ongoing student/faculty research as well as class activities, connected by marked trails that will allow OWU to highlight it’s commitment to sustainability, the environment, student research, engagement, and action.

Consider the campus/Delaware area as a sustainability region: what kinds of habitats (ecological and human) are there and what are their characteristics? What kind of data do we have now, related to sustainability and the environment? What are the range of “action” locations throughout the sustainability region? How are they or can they be monitored? How to connect these locations to existing trails and provide access to them? How do we provide access to the information?

(1) and (4) below will take a person or two each, possibly with some skills for carrying out the tasks (in consultation with Krygier and other faculty/staff)

(2) and (3) below can be divided up among the rest of the people in the class. I grouped the “action” locations into categories, possibly corresponding to student interest areas (social/human, science, environmental, etc.)

(5) and (6) are issues Krygier will work on.

With the issues in 1, 2, and 3 below in mind, read this article on anthropogenic biomes, which, in essence, incorporates humans in ecological studies. This is an important intellectual component of our “sustainability region.” Please blog your notes on the reading, as well as how the reading can help us to develop and refine the class project. You can also google the term (anthropogenic biomes) and see if you can find other projects or ideas that will help to shape our project. Please be as particular as possible, in your blog posting, in modifying or adding to the issues outlined below in 1, 2, and 3.

1. Sustainability Region Habitats: Revise map of habitat types:

  • expand to entire city of Delaware (or most of it)
  • evaluate existing habitats and modify if necessary
  • develop a series of urban habitats (instead of just “gray spaces”)
  • classifying humans (what categories? habitats)
  • consult with OWU faculty (ecology, geography, etc.)
  • Julian Kusin, John Reierson (+ Krygier)

2. Sustainability & Environmental Data: Gather existing data related to environment and sustainability

  • real-time data
  • non-real-time data
  • potential data collection/monitoring
  • monitors which allow pre/post evaluation of sustainability efforts
  • monitors which allow competitive sustainability contests (eg., two dorms compete to cut down on energy usage)
  • range of human and environmental activities
  • consult with Sean Kinghorn
  • consult with city of Delaware
  • consult with OWU faculty
  • consult with Delaware environmental people (Sustainable Delaware)

3. Revise map “action” locations

  • monitoring or data collection locations
  • research sites
  • important environmental phenomena
  • exemplars of different habitat types
  • urban and natural areas
  • ongoing projects and potential projects
  • Action locations tied to Delaware Schools, kids
  • humans, animals, plants, water, air, geology, etc.
  • develop green “trading cards” idea
  • consult with OWU faculty
  • consult with Delaware environmental people (Sustainable Delaware)
Examples of “Action” Locations:
Atmosphere: Weather, Climate, Air
  • weather monitoring station w/real-time data collection
  • air quality monitoring: outside
  • air quality monitoring: inside (Sci Center Atrium)
  • impacts of climate warming monitoring
  • Christina Fesz, Xandi Titus
  • Delaware Run: water monitoring (agricultural and lawn run-off)
  • City of Delaware water: real-time data collection (?)
  • Retention ponds (Meeks, new Delaware YMCA)
  • Sulfur spring monitoring
  • ground water / well monitoring
  • Water runoff monitoring (buildings, pavement)
  • Locations for rain gardens (Wilmer ditch)
  • Wetlands preservation, monitoring
  • Delaware Run restoration (Sandusky St. to Olentangy River)
  • soils
Energy & Utilities
  • Silas Jolliff, Sam Newman, Adam Pinkerton, Jon Rux, Mason Tice, Keegan Varner
  • wind turbine w/real-time data collection (proposal here)
  • Solar energy issues and data; real-time data collection potential (Sam Newman)
  • Campus building energy usage: real-time data collection
  • Campus and Delaware Map of Energy Usage: like this NYC Map
  • Campus water and sewer use: data
  • Campus gas use: data
  • Geothermal monitoring (Meeks)
Waste & Recycling
  • Reed Callahan, Zack Khalifa
  • Campus garbage: data
  • Recycling locations: assess and collect data
  • Food waste locations: assess and collect data
  • paper usage (track by rate/program)
  • plastic bottled water sales (track at different locations; relate to hydration station)
Biosphere: plants, animals
  • Christina Fesz, Xandi Titus
  • Delaware Run: wildlife monitoring (bird counts, fish, etc.)
  • Delaware Run: plant monitoring
  • Tree monitoring: carbon sequestration by city trees, arboretum trees
  • Invasive species monitoring
  • Linear habitats to encourage wildlife movement
  • Monitor feral cats
Biosphere: humans
  • Amy Carr, Sophie-Helen Kiendl
  • Green business assessment: how to assess and collect data?
  • Human health assessment: how to measure, where? Delaware Health Department
  • Campus transport: monitor cars in Selby lot (vs walkers)
  • Parks: data on usage
  • Census and other demographic data
4. Green Action Trail: Develop a series of trails to connect the “action” locations
  • investigate access issues
  • connect to existing recreational trails
  • time to walk, kinetics
  • markers
  • potential users: existing students, staff, faculty, prospective students, Delaware City Schools

5. Paper / Poster Maps:

  • Revise existing poster maps to reflect an OWU “look.”
  • Revise 11×17 Sustainability Region and Green Action Trail map.

6. Online Map: Develop interactive map of sustainability region with above data and information

Project Time!

March 16, 2011

Finish your projects!

1) Please discuss strategy with me before “bothering” real people (anyone other than faculty). Always prepare yourself by doing some research ahead of time, so you don’t sound like a lizard.

2) Think about collecting information that is appropriate for your final product: a 11×17 map. You don’t need tons of information, but you do need information that is clear, coherent, and substantial and that will resonate with our audience. Talk to me to get ideas about information/data that is appropriate for your project.

3) Discuss what you are planning to do before you start creating maps or entering data in ArcGIS. This so you don’t spend a huge amount of time doing GIS work in a non-optimal manner.

4) Think about your project in terms of the sketches we created for each project. Create new sketches, layouts, etc. with my input and feedback: this will help you think about appropriate data and maps (2 and 3 above).

5) The course for the rest of the semester is unstructured. Class time is a time you can find me and you can get together with your group members. If you are not in class, I am assuming you are working outside of class on the project. Do not let the flexible nature of the class lure you into procrastination.

6) You need to have your projects complete (data collected, mapped) by Monday April 25 for a presentation of results. A course evaluation will be assigned (you assessing your work in the class, and the class) and due finals week (this should not be a huge undertaking).

For our next meeting: Monday March 21: be prepared with a specific schedule to complete your project, if you have not already done so. Pay attention to practical details: scheduling fieldwork, any equipment you may need, contacts, etc.

Get going!