Advanced GIS Presentations!

GIS intro

Last night, the Advanced GIS elective gathered at the Olympia Center to present their original mapping projects, based on their learning of Geographic Information System (GIS) technology over the past year. The presentations used ArcGIS technology to feature webmaps and apps of their own design, showing the results of their research.

You can click on the title of each presentation to go directly to the online story maps each group presented at the end of the quarter! 



Bird and Bat Injury Distributions in and Around Thurston County

by Allyson Borges & Caitlyn Roehmholdt

AbstractAllyson and Caitlyn

Our project investigates the spatial and temporal analysis potentials of reported wild bird and bat injuries/illnesses in Thurston County and surrounding areas. We used data acquired by Stephanie Estrella at Raindancer Wild Bird Rescue in Olympia, WA; the data spans from November 2012 to present day. Wile the collected data is impressively extensive and detailed, we do have recommendations regarding collection practices for local rehabilitation centers as well as the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (who require that rehabilitators keep a ledger of wildlife intakes). We originally anticipated finding temporal and spatial trends based on species, date of injury, type of injury, and location of injury, but ultimately discovered an unexpected motivation for our project that we're excited to discuss.


Habitat Conservation - Ways to Engagepaula and elyse

by Paula Smillie & Elyse Thompson


We will be demonstrating how to use GIS tools to focus habitat conservation efforts. With the use of map overlay analysis, buffers, and a habitat suitability model, our goal is to produce maps that identify habitat areas of concern for the marbled murrelet and the Canada lynx.






Type N Experimental Buffer Study and Stream-associated Amphibian Distributions

by Tara Newman & Reed Ojala-Barbour

AbstractTara and Reed

We developed an interactive story map about the Type N Experimental Buffer Study which evaluates the effectiveness of headwater riparian buffers in the timber managed landscape. Headwater streams comprise 70% of stream lengths in Western Washington and are relatively understudied. We created a map showing the extent of headwater stream networks in the managed landscape. In these streams, amphibians are the dominant predator/vertebrate. The impacts of logging on amphibians are poorly understood, but some researchers have observed significant declines in amphibian populations after timber harvest. For each amphibian species of interest, we included pictures and created a distribution map. Additionally, we conducted a case study of four sites in the Willapa Hills region of Washington to demonstrate the utility of LiDAR data for assessing habitat parameters. We used Digital Terrain Models and Digital Surface Models derived from LiDAR data to calculate streamflows, elevations, slopes of tributaries, and vegetation cover at each site. In future analysis, this could be used to compare habitat parameters between sites and to show variable distribution of amphibians within sites.


Rufous Hummingbird Demography in Washington, 1970 to Present

by Kenzi Smith & Amanda Mintzamanda and kenzi


Are rufous hummingbirds in decline, and if so, why? We are comparing rufous hummingbird sighting data to human population density and temperature data from  the 1970s to the present to see if there are any correlations. The rufous hummingbird sighting data and the temperature data both come from the North American Breeding Bird Survey, with population density data coming from the U.S. census.



Invasive Plant Species Survey in Priest Point Park

by Leslie Carman & Heather Gibons

AbstractLeslie and Heather

Using the GIS mobile app Collector, Priest Point Park was surveyed for invasive species plant occurrences as well as the level of infestation (Low, Medium, High). This data was collected in conjunction with the Olympia Parks and Recreation department in order to get baseline data of the invasive cover in the park and to understand which areas could be targeted for removal. We found that English Ivy was the most common invasive species present, and English Holly, the second most common.


Food Desert and Swamp Walkability in Pierce and Thurston County

by Eden Thorkildsen & Malena BoomeEden and Malena


This map project shows food deserts in Pierce and Thurston County based upon census tract information and the USDA Food Access Research Atlas. Food desert data was combined with ESRI Business Analyst data to look at density of unhealthy food access, otherwise known as food swamps. A walk time analysis highlights accessibility issues in both high and low access areas, through the use of an online map journal.



Presented on November 29th, 2017

Mazama Pocket Gopher Habitat in South Puget Sound

by Kelli Stephens and Steven Buhler


We will be investigating Mazama pocket gopher (Thomomys mazama) habitat in the South Puget Sound. There are four main population groups in the South Puget Sound and we will be looking at the population in Joint Base Lewis McChord (JBLM). We are using data from JBLM to look at their population. We are looking at how military training has helped preserve pocket gopher population. We will also look at where this endangered pocket gopher is in Thurston County and how to distinguish their holes and moles. We will be building a collector app to show how a property owner can use the app and how a biologist can tell what the species is.



From left to right: Tara Newman, Caitlyn Roehmholdt, Allyson Borges, Elyse Thompson, Mike Ruth (Advanced GIS Professor), Kelli Stephens, Paula Smillie, Leslie Carman, Heather Gibons, Amanda Mintz, Reed Ojala-Barbour, Kenzi Smith, Eden Thorkildsen & Malena Boome.

Congratulations on all your success Advanced GIS students!