Thursday, July 8, 2010


GIS on the Chester attended the Upper Chester River Pilot Watershed meeting a few weeks ago. Representatives from a range of organizations were in attendance, including the University of Maryland, Washington College, DNR, USGS, NRCS, and more. The ultimate goals are to improve outreach to land owners, create a soil and water quality conservation plan, and implement best management practices, as well as to establish a baseline assessment for the watershed's health. If this collaborative project is successful in creating a viable management plan, then the Upper Chester watershed could serve as a model for other watersheds in the future. Hopefully you'll be hearing more from us soon on this exciting project. In the meantime, here are some of the maps we made:

This first one shows the locations of current monitoring sites run by several organizations.

This one shows the current status of historic aerial imagery. The images in the empty portion may exist somewhere, but they haven't been georeferenced yet. In order for aerial imagery to be useful, it has to be georeferenced first - that is to say, someone has to go in and match up the landmarks on the aerial image to their locations on the map, so that the image lines up correctly.

This cool map shows elevation and bathymetry for the watershed area.

This image is from the Quickbird satellite. In simple terms, the Quickbird divides light into a number of spectral "bands" based on wavelength, including wavelengths outside the visible light spectrum such as infrared. The particular band highlighted on this map, Near Infrared, is especially good at showing vegetation. All of the bright green represents biomass.

Finally, this image shows all the parcels that fall partly or entirely inside the watershed area, and their land use classifications. Urban and suburban areas have a different kind of impact on the watershed than agriculture or forested areas, so it's important for watershed analysts to know the primary land use types in an area.