During the summer of 2015, URSI student Samuel Short ’16 and Prof. Mark Shlessman (Biology) used GPS to inventory the specimens based on past maps of the campus Arboretum. With the recent data collected, a new pamphlet map of trees on Vassar’s main campus will soon be available to all members of the Vassar Community, as well as visitors to the campus. The data collected is also being used to prepare the arboretum collection for certification by ArbNet, an international arboreta organization.
Short and Schlessman used Vassar’s ArcGIS Online organizational account as the mapping platform for mapping the data. With the help of the GIS Academic Computing Consultant, a geographic database was created and populated with locations and species data from past maps of the arboretum. Using the mobile app ArcGIS Collector on a GPS-enabled Apple iPad, Short and Schlessman were able to survey every tree listed, verify the presence, location, and accuracy of the information, while also adding new trees to the database. After synchronizing the mobile data with the online database from the iPad, the data were immediately viewable in ArcGIS Online. Specimens were then filtered to include rare, unique, or otherwise exemplary individuals (including native species endemic to the region), as well as designated class trees and memorial trees. The map above presents the result of this work, in the same ArcGIS Online environment in which the data was collected.
The tools used in this exercise are available to any and all students and faculty at Vassar to take advantage of. Do you have a survey or geographic data collection you’d like to embark on? Contact GIS Academic Computing Consultant Neil Curri for assistance. For more information about the arboretum project, see Vassar College Arboretum Project: Preparation of an Updated Pamphlet Map and ArbNet Arboretum Certification.