Habitat Mapping

An important element of Island Research Center work has been the incorporation of GIS and GPS technology into habitat mapping. Students utilize ARC/INFO software to develop comprehensive digital maps of islands under study. Initially the actual mapping was done using standard surveying rod and transit, a technique that we still use for extreme high precision. More recently however we have switched to differential GPS surveying as it permits more rapid data acquisition, particularly on islands with variable terrain.


Student utilizing digital transi to map 3-dimensional nest Surveying team sets off to map vegetation cover site with great precision. using GPS technology.


Map of Great Duck Island showing the location of Herring and Black-backed Gull nests on COA property. Each nest has a database record containing clutch size, band number of birds, etc. A near infinite number of data layers can be superimposed using GIS, and relational data can also be used to select and edit map features for ecological analysis.