FAYETTE, Iowa (January 30, 2009) - The Upper Iowa University class in Geographic Information Systems is working on several projects that will benefit the community of Fayette. Student teams are developing a tree survey for the City of Fayette and the UIU campus, a survey of barriers to handicap access and safe walking and biking in Fayette, and a project to document the extent and depth of flooding during the 1999 Volga River Flood.
"A geographic information system is a computerized database that tracks the locations and characteristics of objects or features. This technology is used extensively in regional and local resource management and planning efforts, and knowledge of GIS expands career options for our science graduates," says Katherine McCarville, Assistant Professor of Geosciences. "In addition, these projects have real value to the community of Fayette, so it's really a win-win situation."
In collaboration with the Fayette Community Tree Board, the six students working on the tree survey will use GPS to locate each tree in the city of Fayette and on the UIU campus, and record additional information about it. Team members are Tom Shileny, Protivin, IA; Jesse Pleggenkuhle, Hawkeye, IA; Eric Blunt, Charles City, IA; Scott Fuller, South Edmeston, NY; Randall Halbur, Guthrie Center, IA; and Mason Kleitsch, Fairbank, IA.
"Our most recent tree survey is now several years out of date and did not make use of GIS technology," said Jeff Butikofer, Chair of the Fayette Community Tree Board. "As we continue to grow and manage our urban forest, this survey will provide the basis for tree management planning, especially with the threat of invasive tree pests like the Emerald Ash Borer looming in the very near future. The state entomologist is recommending that communities undertake these types of surveys for trees on both public and private property. "
The tree survey builds on a senior project completed last fall by Brian Teeter, who mapped the locations of all the ash trees in Fayette. Most, if not all, ash trees will be killed by the Emerald Ash Borer, and the Fayette Community Tree Board now knows the potential impact on the city's urban forest, and can plan accordingly.
Another GIS class team is working to identify barriers to handicap access, and safe walking and biking within the City of Fayette. They will survey sidewalks, classifying them according to characteristics such as width and condition of pavement. Their project is being coordinated by Gale Bishop of Geotrec, LLC, and will be presented to the Northeast Iowa Food and Fitness Team. Team members are Jim Henning, Dodge City, KS; and Brian Teeter, Ankeny, IA.
The third GIS team will be documenting the extent and depth of floodwaters during the Volga River flood of 1999. They will be looking for locations where the depth of the floodwater is shown by water marks that are still present, shown in photographs, or recalled by people. In this project, it is also important to find locations that were not flooded. The database will contain information and photographs for historic preservation, and the flood level map may be helpful for planning response to possible future floods. Team members are Steve Sauer, Mechanicsville, IA; and Sara Yenzer, Sheldon, IA.
If you have questions about any of these projects, please contact Dr. Katherine McCarville, email@example.com, 563-425-5233.
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