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Photo featuring Grand Canyon Mapping Project

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Grand Canyon National Park Vegetation Mapping

Team Members: Kass Green and Associates and Sanborn Map Company

Description: Tukman Geospatial, part of a team led by Kass Green and Associates, is in the process of mapping vegetation for the Grand Canyon National Park. The National Park Service needs a new, modern, accurate vegetation map for fuels management and resource management. Their current map is old and has much less detail than the park needs. The new vegetation map will use the National Vegetation Classification System (NVCS).

Crayon mapping projectThe mapping team will use a combination of automated image analysis (CART), field work, and ecological modeling. Tukman Geospatial designed a digital field data collection form using Visual Basic. The field form ensures that data is collected in a standard, consistent way by each of the multiple field crews. Field work will require extended trips to the park and some backcountry work.

The project team began work on the project in Summer 2009. Tukman Geospatial spent 10 days in the park with a team of botanists collecting vegetation data to be used to calibrate the CART programs.

CART will be used to find correlations between vegetation type (collected as training sites in the field) and a number of GIS data layers. These data layers include spectral information from digital airborne cameras, and other information such as slope, aspect, elevation, geology, soil type, etc. The result of CART will be a preliminary vegetation map. This map will be refined by additional field work and photo interpretation. Phase I of the Grand Canyon National Park mapping project (the main sections of the north and south rims) will be complete by mid-summer 2010.