Washington-Lee High School Identifies Wetlands for US Fish and Wildlife

Albert Marquez of Washington-Lee High School shares his GIS project work.

Jul 23rd, 2012

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00:01Well, up next, another really interesting example of spatial problem solving - again, from Washington Lee High School...

00:06...please welcome Albert Marquez.

00:14Thanks, John. Hello.

00:15I'm Albert Marquez, and like my friends before me, I had the opportunity to tackle a real-world problem for my final assignment.

00:22The US Fish and Wildlife Service challenged me to develop an automated process...

00:26...to identify wetlands within government land easements and to avoid heads-up digitizing.

00:31Here are my results.

00:35These blue polygons are the outcome of my automated process.

00:38They mark wetlands, and the purple perimeters are easement boundaries.

00:42Now I'll show you how I was able to generate these wetland polygons.

00:47This is the original Landsat satellite imagery that I downloaded from ArcGIS Online.

00:52The blue shapes are preexisting wetlands polygons provided by the Fish and Wildlife Service site...

00:57...and the purple shapes still indicate easement boundaries.

01:01This imagery was crucial in my method because it compares infrared signatures to identify the wetlands.

01:07The impressive part of my solution was the use of ArcMap 10.1's classification capabilities to automate the identification itself.

01:15However, before I could classify anything, I first had to set up a training sample.

01:21To create the wetlands training class, I used the preexisting wetlands polygons.

01:26I also created another class to exemplify what was not wetlands.

01:30Now I'll run an interactive supervised classification, and the classification provides the raster...

01:36...of what was identified as wetlands and what was not.

01:41Now, using these wetland raster representations, I was able to further process the data into polygons...

01:48...that inherited the attributes of their corresponding easements.

01:54I also created a Python script to automate the entire process.

01:59The approach of problem-based learning helped me apply my GIS knowledge to successfully engage the situation...

02:05...for the Fish and Wildlife Service.

02:07Now, on behalf of my classmates, I'd like to introduce the person who's been the most supportive, our teacher, Mr. Ryan Miller.

02:19Thank you. Hello, everyone.

02:23Thank you, Albert.

02:24I'm Ryan Miller, and I had the pleasure of teaching these students at Washington Lee High School this year...

02:28...through the James Madison University Geospatial semester.

02:31They did amazing work, and I am incredibly impressed with their ability and their efforts...

02:36...and that includes coming up and speaking in front of all of you today. It's amazing.

02:48I use problem-based learning in a classroom, and simply put, it's taking what you do as GIS professionals...

02:53...and taking and bringing some of that into the classroom.

02:55The experiences, the problems, the projects, the circumstances that you deal with on a daily basis make for great classroom exercises.

03:03There's meaning and there's purpose in doing this; and the students tell me, and I believe them...

03:08...that it's rewarding and it's motivating to do actual project work.

03:13We could not have done what we did this year if it weren't for the help of GIS professionals that adopted us...

03:18...if you will, took us in.

03:19I'm talking about Sean Killen from the US Fish and Wildlife Service - I think he's here today...

03:24...Kevin Kilcullen with US Fish and Wildlife Service; Alison Denton in the Arlington Public Schools...

03:29...and we're looking forward to future collaborations with folks like Stephen Lowe from the US Department of Agriculture.

03:35We're here today to inspire you to reach out to a GIS teacher in your communities to create more project-based learning...

03:42...problem-based learning.

03:45These guys are good.

03:46Challenging them brings out their very best, and we can do that with real work in the classroom.

03:52Four years from now, they're going to be graduating from college.

03:55And just like them and their peers, I hope you remember them for their capabilities.

04:00Increased collaboration between GIS teachers like myself and GIS professionals like you has unlimited potential.

04:07Thank you very much.

04:16Thank you, Mr. Miller, and thank you to your class.

04:18It was truly an inspiring set of presentations.

04:21It's also a hard act to follow.

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