- May 6: The final exam is now available. Please follow directions and submit your results by the deadline. Final grades will be sent to students individually by the end of the week.
- April 29: Tomorrow is the ultimate deadline to submit any late lab exercises! Tuesday, on-campus students will present a preliminary version of your team project. The final, complete version is due by Friday!
Otherwise, the final exam is scheduled for next week, May 7-10. However, your instructor may place the exam online early (Sunday) in order to give students a head start.
Your instructor had good success with kite aerial photography at The Nature Conservancy (TNC) in Cheyenne Bottoms this past Friday. We met, Robert Penner, who explained a new management plan for our main marsh-pool study site. In order to control cattails, aerial spraying was conducted last summer with herbicide approved for use over water, and dead cattail thatch was subsequently mowed down.
Color-visible kite aerial photographs
||View toward northwest (left) with Hoisington in the background and Blood Creek to far left. Looking toward the northeast (right) showing Deception Creek and its small delta in the marsh-pool complex. Note the rough texture of cattail thatch in foreground. These portions were not sprayed and mowed last year. Compare with next images.
||Overview toward the southeast (left) with the state wildlife area in the distance. Aerial spraying and mowing were conducted in the foreground portion of this view. The cost of aerial spraying for 300 acres was $10,000. Closer view of sprayed and mowed area (right).
||A wet meadow occupies the zone between our primary study marsh and Blood Creek to the south. We recognized a distinct, shallow channel (red dots) that meanders across this meadow, as shown by its vegetation pattern. Blood Creek appears in the background of both views.
Color-infrared kite aerial photographs
||Oblique views to the northwest (left) and northeast (right). Active vegetation is bright orange, including winter wheat fields in the background. Dormant cattail thatch appears pale orange to light gray, and water bodies are dark blue in this false-color format.
Penner also introduced us to a new area recently acquired by Ducks Unlimited (DU) and TNC. This former wetland had been converted for crop agriculture, and now will be returned to wetland status. Our role will be to provide before, during, and after close-up kite aerial photography of the conversion process during the next several years.
The following oblique shots provide an overview of the newly acquired DU/TNC acreage. The images depict a meandering drainage channel (red dots) across wheat fields. This channel was blocked at it upstream (northwestern) end to divert drainage into an artificial ditch along the western boundary of the fields (marked by a line of trees). In spite of this diversion, the natural drainage channel is still clearly evident in the harvested and fallow fields.
- April 23: Last week to complete all lab exercises! The deadline for submission was given as April 27th. However, your instructor will be away from campus (on a field trip for another course) on Friday. So, the lab deadline is extended until Monday, April 30th. No late labs will be accepted thereafter.
Our field trip to Ross Natural History Reservation went quite well. We had excellent weather for kite aerial photography over the remains of the Fruitland schoolhouse that was built in the 1860s from Neva Limestone quarried nearby. Later it was abandoned and largely dismantled, and eventually became lost under heavy vegetation cover. The wildfire in 2012 revealed it again, and we were able to acquire good aerial imagery.
We flew a large rokkaku kite on a southeasterly breeze at 10-20 mph under mostly sunny sky. We utilized three cameras for both color-visible and color-infrared pictures in oblique and vertical modes over the study site. Review of the images revealed a suspect feature, which appears to be a square structure at the northwestern corner of a perimeter wall around the school ground.
Color-visible kite aerial photographs
||Overview (left) looking toward the east. Study area in foreground and biological experimental plots behind. Fruitland schoolhouse remains (*) form the roughly square feature at bottom. Close-up oblique view (right) of Fruitland schoolhouse remains, looking northward.
||Vertical shots. Wide-angle overview (left) of entire site. Kite flyers are upper right; east toward top. Schoolhouse remains (*) are marked as well as the position of a suspect feature (>). Close-up view (right) of schoolhouse (*), suspect feature (>), and remnants of perimeter wall (<).
Our visit took place at a critical season for vegetation. Eastern red cedar (Juniperus virginiana) is a conifer that remains green and photosynthetically active year-round. Some ground vegetation was just beginning to green up, but deciduous trees and bushes had not yet leafed out. This is an ideal time of year to observe ground features, namely archaeologic remains, that are covered by active vegetation during the growing season.
The following color-infrared images depict active vegetation in shades of orange. These false-color images proved more effective than color-visible images for identifying surficial stones amid heavy brush and vegetation cover in these early-spring views.
Color-infrared kite aerial photographs
||KAP crew (left) testing camera rig before sending it up. Overview of site (right). Schoolhouse remains (*) and an old well (<) are marked. Eastern red cedar trees appear in bright orange, and prairie grass is pale orange. South toward top.
||Low-oblique view (left) showing the schoolhouse (*), suspect feature (>), and remnants of perimeter wall (^). Close-up, vertical shot (right) of the suspect feature at scene center; south toward top.
- April 19: Our field trip to Ross Natural History Reservation will go forward Friday morning. Meet in the north parking lot next to the practice athletic field at 10:00 o'clock, and we will car pool to Ross. Dress warmly, bring your lunch as well as insect repelent and sun screen. Weather forecast calls for temperature in the 50s, partly sunny, and southeasterly wind at 10-20 mph. We should be done by 2 pm, and students can return to Emporia on their own. See below for further information.
- April 17: The weather forecast for Friday has been a moving target. Yesterday it looked unfavorable, but now it looks better for kite aerial photography—for more background, jump down to October 11. If conditions continue to remain suitable, we could go out to Ross Reservation on Friday. Students may be responsible for their own transportation—see Ross map. Directions for Ross Natural History Reservation (RNHR):
Note: County roads are rough; maintain slow speed less than 35 mph to avoid a flat tire or broken windshield. Travel time from Emporia is about half an hour.
- Head west from Emporia on US highway 50.
- Turn north on the Dunlap-Kahola road (county Road YY), one mile west of the Chase-Lyon county boundary.
- Go 6 miles north on county Road YY, then turn east on a county Road 230.
- Proceed 2 miles east to RNHR.
Whether we go in late morning or early afternoon depends on predicted wind and cloud cover. We could meet in north parking lot (by practice athletic field) to car pool. After our KAP session, students may return to Emporia on their own, and your instructor will remain at Ross for a science writing workshop. Check blog for further details on Thursday.
- April 15: We now have completed all lectures and introduction of labs. This is the week for students to catch up with lab exercises! Continue also to work on the team project. At this point, the weather forecast looks unfavorable (rain) for our potential field trip on Friday. But, the forecast could change as we draw closer to Friday; continue to check the blog for updates.
- April 12: Regarding lab exercise 8 on Old Wives Lake, Saskatchewan. Apparently Glovis is having difficulties. Students should utilize Earth Explorer. Set your search criteria as follows:
This should yield two hits for the month of September 2002. Choose the one for Sept. 9th, ID: LE07_L1TP_036025_20020909_20170129_01_T1.
- Path: 36, Row: 25
- Search dates: 01/01/2002 to 09/30/2002
- Search month: September
- Data sets: Landsat 7 ETM+ C1 Level-1
- Additional criteria: Scene cloud cover <30%
- April 8: For the coming week, our subject is ground truth in remote sensing. See also FRS Chap. 5 (selected). Likewise, our last lab exercise deals with the same theme, as applied to Cheyenne Bottoms of the previous exercise. This lab is due next week.
Reminder: all lab exercises are due by April 27th. No late exercises will be accepted thereafter.
- April 6: Your instructor will attend the annual meeting of the Kansas Academy of Science tomorrow—see KAS meeting. He is presenting a poster on color-infrared kite aerial photography—go to KAS poster. Several other ESU earth science faculty and students will present their research projects also.
- April 4: Regarding ground-truth field trips, there are two possibilities coming later this month. Both involve long-term study sites. In either case, weather is a key factor; we need sunny sky and wind 10-20 mph for kite aerial photography (KAP). Likely weather conditions would not be known until a few days prior to these trips. So "save the dates" and continue to check the blog for further developments.
- Friday, April 20: Your instructor is giving a presentation for a science-writing workshop at ESU's Ross Natural History Reservation. This could include a KAP demonstration. RNHR is a site that we have monitored for two decades. See review article in ESRS.
- Friday-Saturday, April 27-28: Trip to Cheyenne Bottoms (see this week's lab exercise) in combination with the Wetland Environments class taught by Dr. Schulmeister. One or both days with a possible overnight stay at Camp Aldrich to conduct KAP at the Nature Conservancy. We have monitored this site annually since 2002. See Cheyenne Bottoms.
- April 2: April has arrived with some decidedly wintry weather in Kansas. We continue this week with image interpretation; see Geomorphology from space. The lab exercise deals with Landsat OLI (due next week). Note in particular additional spectral bands and different band numbering.
It's time to address the team project with a brief proposal of the subject, location, and methods. Send ideas to your instructor.
- March 29: GSA job announcement: The Idaho Geological Survey (IGS) has a full-time, permanent opening for a Geoscience Manager to oversee and manage the Digital Mapping Laboratory located on the Moscow campus of the University of Idaho. The Geoscience Manager will manage and maintain production, publication, and delivery of geologic and other IGS maps, products, and data. The successful candidate will supervise and train geologists, GIS analysts, digital cartographers, and others working on survey projects within the Digital Mapping Laboratory.
An attractive benefits package and moving allowance is available to the successful candidate; an annual salary up to $70,000 is provided, commensurate with experience. For more information and to apply visit: https://uidaho.peopleadmin.com/postings/20763.
Challenge IV: Locate a space-based image (manned or unmanned) of Moscow, Idaho. Send your response by noon Tuesday, April 3 for a class participation bonus point.
- March 23: Spring break is almost done for 2018. Your instructor has been in Colorado, where we visited Cañon City. This vicinity is famous for dinosaur fossils, and the Crossroads through time heritage park is under development on the campus at Pueblo Community College – Fremont. Your instructor may conduct kite aerial photography at this site in the future.
||Skyline Drive is a one-way path over the crest of the Dakota Hogback. Left: dinosaur tracks (*) are exposed near the base of the early Cretaceous Dakota Formation. Right: close-up view of dinosaur tracks, which appear as bumps on the bottom side of a sandstone bed.
||PCC – Fremont campus (left), where a geologic trail is under construction. The life-sized "Stego" model (right) is a main feature of the trail, which will include many rocks and fossils when completed. Photos © J.S. Aber.
For the coming week, we return to normal academic activity with image interpretation—see FRS Chap. 4 (all). The next lab exercise involves Landsat data
searching (due next week). Students also should begin thinking about possible topics for the team project.
- March 17: Spring break is underway—enjoy! Your instructor will be away from campus with limited Internet service. The imagery search exercise is due the week after spring break. Note: this lab is double credit, worth 20 points.
- March 10: For the coming week, we will look into RS/GIS on Internet. The lab exercise will follow on this theme for an imagery search (due week after spring break).
- March 4: From Brooke Molson-Moran: I happened upon this article, "Penguin super-colony spotted from space" (see penguins). Scientists used an algorithm to find signs of penguin activity and found guano patches on Landsat images. Then, they sent an expedition to the Danger Islands and used drones to count the population.
- March 3: Looks like we are in for several days of high wind here in Kansas. March is living up to its reputation, but that also means danger for wildfires. We shift gears this week for radar imagery. See also FRS Chap. 3 (all). Note: radar principles and image interpretation are completely different from other systems we have talked about so far. The lab exercise likewise deals with SAR imagery (due next week).
Challenge III: During the past week, your instructor has revised the webpage dealing with our kite aerial photography at the Amache Relocation Center, near Granada in southeastern Colorado—see Amache. For your third challenge, locate a space-based image of this region from either an unmanned satellite or manned space shuttle/station. Send your answer by Wednesday, March 7th for a participation bonus point.
- February 25: The short month of February is nearly done, and hopefully we will have no more icing weather events this season. We already had a catch-up interval built into the schedule, so students should finish all exercises through lab 5 this week. The lecture topic is NASA's Mission to Planet Earth.
||Regarding last week's challenge (below): Stanley Pool, now known as Pool Malebo or Lake Nkunda, is an widening of the Congo River into a large nearly circular depression above the cataracts and canyons of Livingstone Falls. The pool is a remnant of the Congo Basin, which is a large tectonic depression that contains up to 3000 m of continental Miocene sediment fill. The drainage basin was enclosed until the western margin was breached by the Congo River about half a million years ago (based on Earth's Landscape). Image acquired from Wikimedia Commons. |
- February 22: Once again, ESU campus is closed today because of icy conditions. See this interesting article on GIS careers in government, originally published by GIS Professional (February 2018 issue).
- February 20: ESU campus is closed today because of icy conditions. Students should carry on with readings and lab exercises (see below).
- February 19: Looks like the dry winter in Kansas is about to come to an end this week with some late winter/early spring rains. Manned space photography is our subject this week. Also we will explore the capabilities of high-resolution commercial satellites with a lab exercise on Ikonos imagery (due next week).
Challenge II: Our lecture this week links to an image from central Africa of the Stanley Pool. What is the geological origin of this nearly circular feature? Send your answer by Friday, Feb. 23 for a participation bonus point.
- February 11: This week we focus on monitoring vegetation, particularly with AVHRR and the NDVI. See also FRS Sec. 5.2.2 and Sec. 5.6. Likewise, the lab exercise deals with vegetation analysis (due next week).
- February 6: From Logan Smith: Scientists discover 60,000 individual Mayan structures using LiDAR. Go to AP News.
- February 5: Our topics this week are multispectral scanning and spectral signatures. See also FRS Sec. 2.7 and Sec. 2.8. We continue with Landsat satellites and imagery this week with Landsat TM (due next week).
Reminder: Deadline for our first image challenge (see below) is today.
- Groundhog Day: Punxsutawney Phil has predicted six more weeks of winter weather! Scholarships for graduate and undergrad geospatial students from USGIF.
- January 31: Your instructor recently returned from the Tucson Gem and Mineral Show. Arizona is known at the Copper State because of its numerous and rich copper deposits. As we approached Tucson, we flew over large, open-pit copper mines.
||Typical scenes from the Tucson Gem and Mineral Show. Giant quartz crystals (left) and amazing fossils (right).
Challenge: Your first challenge is to locate an aerial or space-based image of a copper mine from anywhere in the world. Your example must be an original airphoto or satellite image (not Google Earth) with suitable metadata. Send a short description and URL for your image by Monday, Feb. 5th for a participation bonus point.
- January 27: For the coming week, we begin Landsat (intro only). See also FRS Sec. 2.11. Landsat now has a 45-year record of global environmental conditions.
Our first Landsat exercise deals with early MSS datasets, which now prove useful for documenting changing land-cover and land-use condtions. Use FTP to download necessary datasets. This exercise is due next week; the aerial photography lab is due this week.
Your instructor is at the Tucson Gem and Mineral Show in Arizona. The quantity and diversity of minerals, rocks, gemstones, fossils, meteorites, and jewelry is amazing. Dealers come from all over the world to trade and sell specimens, supplies and equipment here.
- January 22: Our first on-campus class meeting is tomorrow at 2 o'clock in the GSA lab (SH 16). We will review briefly aerial photography and photogrammetry basics. See also FRS Sec. 2.6. Our first lab exercise covers conventional aerial photography (due next week).
Note: Your instructor will be away at the Tucson gem and mineral show Jan. 24-29.
- January 17: The spring semester begins today! Our first on-campus class meeting will be Tuesday next week (see revised schedule). Meanwhile, students should begin background reading with the Introduction and FRS Chap. 1 (all). Also review Idrisi for lab exercises later in the course.
- November 1: From Prof. Edds: Satellite and airborne remote sensing applications for freshwater fisheries.
- October 18: Clark Labs has a new Remote sensing guide for $55. This is an optional resource for the course.
- October 11: Getting an early start on the course blog. This past Saturday the Kansas Academy of Science held its annual fall field trip at ESU's Ross Natural History Reservation, near Americus. Various means of small-format aerial photography were demonstrated. These methods are utilized for acquiring ground truth, which we will discuss toward the end of the course.
Kite aerial photography
Flown by JSA and SWA
||Left: central building complex; kite flyers at uppper left. Note sewage lagoon on right side. Right: KAS participants watch kite aerial photography from the western side of Ross.
||Color-infrared images; orange shows active vegetation, water is dark blue, and dead trees appear as skeletons. Overview of Gladfelter Pond (left); note American lotus leaves on water surface. Vertical shot of building complex (right); note orange cover of algae on the sewage lagoon.
UAS (drone) platforms
Flown by C. Pettit and A. Allison
||Quadcopters. DJI Phantom (left) with a tiny super-wide-angle camera in oblique position. Iris (right) with thermal-infrared camera mounted in fixed vertical position.
||Large hexacopter capable of lifting multiple cameras and/or sensors with payload weight up to 6 kg (~13 lbs). Landing gear extended (left) and retracted in flight (right).
- Welcome! ES 771 will be offered again in the spring semester of 2018 for both on-campus and distance-learning students. Course requirements, readings, and lab exercises are the same for both on-campus and distance-learning students. The latter must have access to Idrisi software, which is the primary GIS utilized for this course. Any recent version is suitable; Idrisi is now part of the TerrSet software package. Distance-learning students can obtain the "student starter license" ($49 good for one year) or the "student license" ($99 unlimited time), upon proof of student status. Note: Idrisi is for PC computers; it does not run on "Mac" computers.