Resources for ESPM5295, GIS in Environmental Science and Management
Materials, Organized Chronologically

Sept 5

Topic Assignments Deadline Resources
Systems & Datums

Read and understand the Student Code of Conduct and Academic Integrity

In class, sign up for one of the project areas on the St. Paul Campus (sheet will be passed around during class period). We will be conducting a stormwater management analysis for the St. Paul Campus, as described in the Semester Problem Statement document.

Visit NGS Datasheet website, download control sheet for 4 of the Larpenteur NGS point, A through D (PIDs PP3177 through PP3181)

Activate the MNGEO web mapping service (WMS) in ArcMap (see video "Using WMS" in the Resources column, to right, inspect campus area for NGS points on Larpenteur, and the Campus project area you were assigned. The address for the WMS is, but you should read the general MNGEO WMS specification and site for a description of the images. We're in Ramsey County.

All assignments due on Moodle, unless specified otherwise

By end of Wednesday, Sept 7
1) Sign up for Study Area

How to Zip/Unzip

How to Access NGS

Using WMS

2016 Area Assignments

Sept 12

Topic Assignments Deadline Resources

GPS accuracy

Overview GPS Slides

Overview PFO Slides

NSSDA Overview Slides

Skills - GPS accuracy exercise

Before or during class on Monday, Sept. 12th, you should collect, download, and differentially correct GPS data at least one of the Larpenteur Base Points. During this week collect, correct, and export 3 total (working individually) or 6 total (working in pairs) or 9 (working in triplets) of the control points. If you collect field data in a group, members should take turns with the equipment, and must collect two points each. After download, each person should do their own differential correction and processing. Fill in the NSSDA spreadsheet (blank downloadable here, and NSSDA handbook here, and on lab drive under Skills/GPS/NSSDA), and turn it in. If you do not have all points collected and differentially corrected by the deadline, you're behind schedule, but turn in and do the NSSDA spreadsheet with those that you have.

PDFs - These would usually be in the rightmost column, but are here to save space

Monday before class (10:30 a.m.):
Turn in PDF of NGS point data sheet
Files in CLD\Skills\GPS


Sept 19

Topic Assignments Deadline Resources

Integrating Image and GPS collected data

Skills - Integrating Data Exercise

You often have access to orthographic aerial photographs across a range of resolutions and dates. For example, the USGS provides high resolution aerial photography for built-up areas, and the USDA takes annual 1m resolution color and sometimes color infrared photographs for most of the country. This week you'll collect data for your on campus study area (assignment map here) from aerial photographs and GPS, evaluate their accuracy, and integrate them.

Here we will begin collecting and evaluating data we'll be using in our semester long project. Our overall goals are to identify source areas for rainfall runoff and sediment for the campus, and the extent to which vegetation canopy or other areas might be used to reduce runoff. This requires, among other things, we identify each stormsewer inlet and combine that with the a high-resolution DEM to develop surface flow direction data, so we can identify inputs for each inlet. We'll be collecting data from a combination of aerial photographs, GPS, and LiDAR, so will evaluate their relative accuracy, and combine data from these here and in later exercises.

Monday 10:30 a.m. before the start of class;
turn in a map of your GPS Accuracy points on Larpenteur, your NSSDA spreadsheet as an Excel file, point geodatabase,
and GPS ssf and cors files
CLD\CampusImages contains 15cm resolution USGS aerial photographs

It also contains a video on how to load a WMS, you may wish to use the MnGEO aerial image WMS and view other date/time images for your study area


GPS: Efficient Accuracy,
Calculating Offsets

Editing: Digitizing RefresherSnapping, Editing tips,
Cut & Split Polygons

Sept 26

Topic Assignments Deadline Resources
Data Design

Notes on Topology

Database Template Exercise

We will meet this week and discuss a database template. You will be working as a group, integrating our data, but each of you will be responsible for a small project area. You may work in groups, but a group of 2 will cover two study areas, a group of three three study areas, etc.

As noted on the first day's discussion, and in the Problem Statement Document, we have two overarching questions to address this semester. Our task this week is to develop the "standard" geodatabase template that you all will use in developing data that allows us to answer these questions. We will then spend most of the next four weeks populating this geodatabase, stitching together our individual areas, and creating seamless layers for our entire study area.

Together, or in small groups, develop a geobase specification. As noted in the exercise instructions, this includes a list of layers, topological constraints between layers, layer attributes and their names, and allowable values. It also includes details for the entire geodatabase such as the extent and coordinate system, the cell size for any raster data sets, and the attribute type, precision, and scale.

You should ask any questions and initiate any discussion during the Monday class meeting. We'll have an entire-class discussion and identify a geodatabase template, or model, and other steps for a designated subset of students to complete.

Monday, before the start of class (10:30), turn in
  • completed GPS data (ssf, cors) for your stormwater grate,
  • image points,
  • DEM/hillshade points
  • your maps (as pdfs),NSSDA spreadsheets (as Excel files) and
  • shape or geodatabase files of your data

Wed., before class: turn in your sample database, and an MSWord or RTF listing layers, attributes, and types, as per the exercise instructions.


Oct 3

Topic Assignments Deadline Resources
Begin database creation
Topology & other data

Editing admonition
Monday, in class, discuss and finalize the geodtabase template. Begin digitizing data in individual project areas. Review the digitizing and topology creation tools, using resources at right and/or from previous courses.  

Summary slides of GeoDB submitted
Wed., before class, turn in your flowchart of analysis


-Digitizing Refresher,
-Editing tips
-Cut & Split Polygons

-Topology concepts
Create topology,
-Applying topology, identifying topological errors
-Correcting errors example 1, 
-Fixing topological errors example 2

Flowchart Video

Oct 10

Topic Assignments Deadline Resources

Data Dictionary

Weekly Slides

Drone Pre-Demo

Drone Post-Demo

Skills - Data Dictionary Exercise

Modern GIS data collection includes electronic logging. This week you'll build electronic forms using Trimble software. We'll verify and attribute our field layers using these tools, using Trimble software to collect data and attributes.

Wednesday - Drone Data Collection Demonstration, attendance mandatory

Files in CLD\Skills\DataDictionary

Video intro for Data Dictionaries

Oct 17

Topic Assignments Deadline Resources

Week's slides

Skills - Introduction to LiDAR Exercise

LiDAR reclassification and height calculation for your project area

Monday, before class, turn in

  • data dictionary files,
  • geodatabase or shape files, and
  • a map of your verified data layers.


Oct 24

Topic Assignments Deadline Resources
Project data development Data development     

Oct 31

Topic Assignments Deadline Resources

General and Hydrologic Processing

Monday Slides 

Project work day on Monday, Instructor discussion with 4295 students on overall project. If your data sets are complete, you could attempt the soils data download described in next week's work.

Conditioning your DEM, flow direction, flow accumulation, and pourpoints 
This was covered in FNRM3131/5131, taken by most folks in this course, so we won't provide specific instructions. There are several videos and  files in the resources column at right that cover the steps, one an excerpt from the FNRM3131/5131 lab on this, and the other two reports from past student technical assignments, in which they described processing steps.

You will want to run the SINK function in the ArcToolbox->Spatial Analyst->Hydrology tools in ArcMap, shown in the videos, but not covered extensively in the written documents.


Make your analysis easier: Add a custom toolbox in ArcMap

Watershed videos:
1) DEM fill, sinks, flow direction, flow accumulation

2) Snap pour points (grates), Watersheds

PDF guides:
Excerpt from Hydro Processing lab in 3131/5131

1st student Hydro Processing 1 Report

2nd student Hydro Processing Report

Nov 7

Topic Assignments Deadline Resources

Batch File and Model Builder Automation

Soils data download exercise 

Monday: Discussion of automating tasks, and processing point clouds to identify canopy from various sources

Batch file description, and ModelBuilder description and assignment

Wednesday: discussion of databases layers (undergrads), analysis and flowcharts (both undergrads and graduate students)

-Final results table requirements

-Project data output requirements

Batch Modeling Exercise Data:
-Sample Wetlands data

Final Project Resources:
-Example flowchart

-Flowchart description

-2016 Storm sewer lines and grate locations (approx.) - note this is a corrected layer.  If you downloaded the earlier copy you will need to subset  them to only use the grates, not the manhole covers or other features. Inspect an image while displaying the layer to identify the feature type of interest.

Nov 14

Topic Assignments Deadline Resources
Project work Database completion, begin analysis in earnest, and begin stitching tiles after everyone turns in their data

Monday, before class, turn in completed geodatabase for your small project area

Because many of the geodatabases will be too large to submit to Moodle, you should put it in the class L drive, in the 5295Share\Z_FinalData\yourname subdirectory

Friday, turn in ModelBuilder model


Nov 21

Topic Assignments Deadline Resources
Begin Analysis Project work Wednesday, before class, turn in map and combined, campus-wide geodatabase  

Nov 28

Topic Assignments Deadline Resources

Project work

Note the:

-Final output table requirements


Dec 5

Topic Assignments Deadline Resources
Analysis Project work  Turn in analysis results for condition as-is. These should include both a points data layer for each grate, with the flow volumes for each storm level in the table, and a copy of your geodatabase  

Dec 12

Topic Assignments Deadline Resources
Complete Analysis Project work, develop short report of analysis results, recommendations    

Dec 19

Topic Assignments Deadline Resources
Finals Week - No Class final No class final; all assignments due by Wednesday, December 21, 1:30 pm

Wednesday Dec 21