Monday, December 17, 2007

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Class 16: Final Class

Today we worked on and completed our final projects, and Pete lectured for about an hour. He went over our last tests and covered some material he thought we should know before leaving GIS 111. We talked about the difference between a Shapefile and a Geodatabase. Apparently a lot of people working in the field with GIS don't understand the difference, which is kind-of a scary thought because if you change the area of a polygon (or any other feature) in a Shapefile, the area field in the attribute table does not update. It makes me wonder how accurate a lot of the data out there really is, and how I would know if I downloaded data that was edited as a Shapefile.

I feel like my final project turned out pretty good. I wish I had printed the maps in color, but I'll try to get them posted here over the weekend. I hit quite a few walls, but learned a lot during the troubleshooting process. And while I would by no means call myself a GIS pro, I think I learned enough in this class to be able to do some mapping and simple analyzing in the real world.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Class 15: Final Project Day

Began our final projects today. I've decided to do the option that Pete has laid out, for simplicity's sake. For this project I will be looking at the Reed Creek watershed in Asheville, North Carolina. Streams in this watershed have shown high concentrations of sediment and other chemical runoff during periods of rain. I will be quantifying landuse and impervious surfaces in this watershed by:

Determining percentages of landuse within 300 feet of streams in the watershed;
Determining the percentage of impervious surfaces in the watershed;
and determining total length of roads (feet and miles) in the watershed.

I feel like I got a pretty good start on the project in class today. I've got all the data downloaded, and all my layers clipped to the Reed Creek watershed.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Class 14: Test Day

It was hard returning to class after not having class for almost a month. The ninth was GIS Day, the following week I was not feeling well, and the following week was Thanksgiving. So here I am back in class for test day, and all the GIS information in my mind feels very far away right now.

I do, however, feel like the lab test went pretty well.

For the lab test I created a graphic highlighting potential areas for a new landfill in Henderson County, NC. The buffer distance criteria were:

a. Not closer than 5 miles to current facility.
b. Not on federal land.
c. Not within 2000 feet of major rivers.
d. Not within 3000 feet of municipal boundaries.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Class 13

I missed class today. I've felt feverish since last night, which is a scary thing being pregnant, so I felt like it would be a good idea to take it easy and rest today.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Class 12:GIS Day

Happy GIS Day!

I arrived at 10am, and didn't leave until almost 4pm thanks to a flat tire. It was not a bad day
to be stuck on the AB Tech Campus though. There were a lot of GIS folks from the community who came to present and be a part of GIS Day, so I got to hang out and visit while waiting for AAA to come and change my tire.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Class 11

Next week is GIS Day, something I've been looking forward to for quite some time. Today we prepped. It's our job to staff the GPS unit table, so we spent a good part of class outside learning how to save waypoints and navigate with the GPS units.
One of the points we saved is for a big oak tree close to the busy main road on AB Tech's campus, and I think it's going to be interesting to see what happens when we send people to that point. The units are usually off by 10-20 feet, so they may send people out into the middle of the road.
We also learned today that there is going to be pizza at GIS Day--something I am very excited about.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Friday, October 12, 2007

Class 8: Basic Spatial Analysis

Today we had our second test.
We covered Chapter 9, Basic Spatial Analysis, in lecture. Then we had an hour of class time to work in the software, in Getting to Know ArcGIS Desktop Chapters 10 & 11.
In Chapter 10, Selecting Features by Location, we scouted for possible locations for a small retail store in Riverview, CA. Neighborhoods were selected if they contained a shopping center and were within 0.5 mi of a freeway. Using census data, location possibilities were narrowed based on population and household income. The maps below show the outcome.

Class 8: Mapping

Friday, October 5, 2007

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Class 6

Missed this class. Had some pregnancy issues come up, and I was put on bedrest over the weekend. Everything seems to be ok now, so I'll be working to get caught up.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Class 5 Mapping

Maps from Chapters 15 & 16, Getting to Know ArcGIS Desktop.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Class 4

Class 4

We had our first exam this week. We then spent the last part of class working through two ArcView tutorials. A lot of people said they were more difficult for them than the tutorials in our ArcGIS textbook, but I found the handouts easier. They spell out each step in detail.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Class 3: Geodesy, Projections & Coordinate Systems

Three days until my birthday. Who knew that my 28th year would bring in a baby. The morning sickness is still almost a constant, and I've found that the best way to deal with it is to eat almost constantly.
I found it interesting that Buncombe County still uses NAD 27, when the datum was updated in 1983 to NAD83. The difference on the ground is 200-300 ft.

Class 3

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Class 2: Spatial Data Models

We covered raster and vector modeling systems in Class II. Found out that the NC DOT website is a good source for USGS topo and other maps. I've been having trouble getting ArcView uploaded on a home computer. My laptop's DVD player is not working, and registration isn't working on my PC. So here I sit, waiting for ESRI to call back. They're on Pacific time and they're not at work yet. This time tomorrow I will be on a plane, on my way to Pacific time. I'll be in Seattle until Thursday, so I should be good and jet-lagged for class next Friday.

Barry (my baby's daddy) is on his way home from Izzy's right now with his latte and my usual--blueberry bagel with cream cheese and blackberry Italian soda. I tried Green Apple Cafe across from Asheville High yesterday, and I think I have a new favorite lunch spot.

Friday, August 31, 2007

Class 2: Data Models

Planned and Probable Flight Paths of Amelia Earhart

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Class 1: Intro to GIS 111

In class one, Pete summarized the tools we will be using during this course, including a personal blog, 180-day trial of ArcView, the computer lab, Google and Skype. He provided an overview of GIS and went over the course syllabus. We spent the last 40 minutes of class doing exercises in ArcView.

I am quite excited about this course! I've wanted to learn GIS for some time, and I was
pleasantly surprised about how into it I felt. And I am pleased that Pete is so
passionate about GIS. It always makes class time easier when the instructor is enthusiastic
about what they're teaching.

In the first part of class I learned that with Skype you can share files and see the desktop of the person you're talking with; that you can google Google by texting from a cell phone to find out about local points of interest, like pizza joints; I learned that Pete thinks that My Father's Pizza in Black Mountain is better than Marco's (hard to believe, but I'm going to try it).
I was surprised to learn that GIS can be singular or plural, so that in context it can appear with or without an article. I thought that ArcView was the only ESRI GIS program, when in fact it is the simplest and least expensive of three: ArcView, ArcEditor, and ArcInfo. I also learned that it's pretty easy to convert between coordinate systems (this was one of the problems I ran into when I tried to use ArcView for my thesis).

I liked our not-too-small, not-too-big class size, and that the computer lab is new. It has nice seating for lectures and new computers with good-sized flat screen monitors. I got really excited when we started talking about GIS applications. Something I didn't ask in class was whether or not it's possible to take soil survey maps that are not electronic and incorporate them into ArcView.

I'm looking forward to our final projects. I have a few ideas. I may try to collaborate with a local nonprofit or the New College of Florida ( Environmental Studies Program (http://, or I may do some mapping of the eight acres I live on in south Asheville. I think a lot about how to best manage the land, and I know GIS would help me conceptualize what's there. New College would be especially fun for me--it would be great to go visit at the end of the semester and share with the class. I had a hard time finding work post-college because I didn't know ArcView, so I feel it's important that Environmental Studies students learn GIS.

The only thing I didn't like about class was the long talk about Google. Other than that, class was great.

(Map to come.)