Geographic Information Systems (GIS)
What Is GIS?
Geographic Information Systems (GIS) are tools for storing, displaying, retrieving, and analyzing spatial data. In other words, a GIS is the combination of skilled persons, analytic methods, spatial and descriptive data, and computer hardware and software - all organized to automate, manage, and deliver information through geography. GIS and its associated technologies are one of the fastest growing computer technologies to emerge. GIS is used in many different disciplines and is expanding every day. Some of its applications include: land use planning, natural resource management, mapping tropical deforestation, environmental assessment and planning, tax mapping, emergency vehicle dispatch, demographic and overpopulation research, spread of disease, utilities planning, and many business applications.
What GIS Capabilities Do We Have at UMES?
The UMES Geospatial Information Techonologies (GeoTech) Laboratory was created in 1996 to provide the students, faculty, and staff an opportunity to learn about and participate in one of the most rapidly growing technologies in the world. The GeoTech Lab is a University-wide facility designed to foster outreach projects with the community and provide training and out-of-classroom learning experiences for undergraduate and graduate students, faculty, staff, state and federal agency personnel, and other members of the community on the Eastern Shore.
The UMES Agriculture department provides financial support for the GeoTech Lab through Capacity Building and Title III grants. The GeoTech Lab is housed in the Department of Agriculture, Food, and Resource Sciences and is directed by the Program Manager, Tracie Bishop. Mrs. Bishop provides technical support for GIS software and assistance in locating, acquiring, and converting geographic data.
The GeoTech Lab is located in the Crop Research & Aquaculture Building Building and is equipped with computers, printers, and other GIS-related equipment including:
What Types of Projects Utilize the GISRC?
Many people in the UMES community are learning about GIS and using the GIS Resource Center. We have completed several projects and performed many services since the Center's inception. We currently have projects with the Maryland Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit to study nutria habitat, Pfiesteria outbreak, striped bass habitat in the Chesapeake Bay, shorebird-horseshoe crab interactions in Delaware, river herring spawning and nursery habitat in Great Egg Harbor, New Jersey, and fish home ranges in the Okavango River in Namibia, Africa. The GIS Resource Center is also involved with a new study entitled Effects of Best Management Practices on Nutrient Pathways in the Manokin River Basin. The NRCS in Somerset County is interested in using the GIS Resource Center to digitize soils data for the county. We have also provided detail campus data to the Maryland Department of the Environment to assist with new wetland regulations.
The GeoTech Lab also produces maps and posters (using a large-format plotter) for several departments on campus including the Rural Development Center, the Institute of Research and Planning, Agriculture, Natural Science, the Maryland Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, Information Technology, and Human Ecology. In addition, several other UMES faculty have expressed interest in starting projects using GIS or incorporating GIS into existing projects.
What Services Does the GISRC Provide?
The GeoTech Lab provides GIS services to the entire UMES campus , Federal, State, and Local governments, and to the general public. There are four key components to GIS; 1) Data Acquisition, 2) Data Management, 3) Data Analysis, and 4) Data Presentation.
Data is collected from several sources. Existing maps are either digitized or scanned into a GIS GPS is used to collect location information using satellites. Data is also acquired using remote sensing, including aircraft and space vehicles. Remotely sensed data includes Digital Ortho Quadrangles and satellite imagery.
The data must then be organized and stored, therefore the development of a spatial database is necessary. This includes conversions, transformations, and the establishment of metadata. The database and metadata then needs to be maintained and updated.
Many forms of analysis can be performed including categorizing, spatial statistics, and spatial analysis.
There are several methods for presenting GIS data, including; 1) maps, 2) posters, 3)slide show, 4) tables, and 5) reports.The GISRS also provides training in GIS, GPS, and Remote Sensing. Tracie Bishop is an Authorized ESRI Instructor for "Introduction to ArcGIS I". We provide and host several seminars and workshops each year.
Are GIS-related Courses Taught at UMES?
Yes! The GIS Resource Center provides a wonderful opportunity for to further its mission in the area of outreach. GIS training and ESRI's "Introduction to ArcGIS I" workshops are available to students, faculty, staff, and State and Federal agency personnel (i.e. Natural Resources Conservation Service and Agricultural Research Service). We also provide GIS demonstrations and laboratory instruction in ArcGIS for faculty, staff, students, and visiting groups and install software to make GIS more accessible to the campus community. In addition, Principles of Geographic Information Systems (AGNR 483) is taught every Fall Semester.
Workshops and courses are taught by Tracie Bishop. Mrs. Bishop has done extensive work on Gap Analysis, a nation-wide project to map and monitor biodiversity using (GIS) ArcInfo™ and ArcView™ by ESRI (Environmental Systems Research Institute). She is an ESRI authorized Instructor for "Introduction to ArcGIS I" and is proficient in several GIS software packages, including; ArcView, ARC/INFO, and Idrisi. She also has experience with Avenue programming, writing AML's, and remote sensing and imagery.
Where do I get more information?
Tracie J. Bishop*
GIS Program Manager
GeoTech Lab, Crop Research & Aquaculture Building
Office 410-651- 6383
*Previous name was Tracie J. Earl