Leveraging GIS in an Ecological Field
My name is Bethany Scott and I am an ECCE student associate for the Centre of Geographic Sciences (COGS). I am an Advanced GIS student with a background in biology with a B.Sc. from Dalhousie University where I concentrated in ecology and genetics. During this time I also completed an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) certificate where I fulfilled requirements with GIS courses. In doing this I discovered the void where the GIS-EIA relationship should certainly exist – it seemed as though impact assessments did not take advantage of the information GIS can supply in the screening phase. I was so intrigued this void existed, and I made it my mission to bring GIS into the ecology of impact assessments.
Having learned what I did at Dalhousie, I decided to expand my GIS experience at COGS. Here we complete a capstone project at the end of the year – for this I partnered with Eastern Charlotte Waterways Inc. (ECW) of Blacks Harbour, New Brunswick to initiate the GIS work for their Invasive Plant Patrol (IPP). IPP is a proactive approach to preventing biodiversity loss via invasive plant species mapping. The mapping and analysis of invasive species data is crucial in the visualization of the significant invasive plant problem that exists in New Brunswick. As an ENGO, ECW was provided with an ArcGIS Online Organization account by Esri, which catalyzed the smooth execution of the project. Using the ArcGIS Online Web AppBuilder was effective for displaying, analyzing, and presenting the invasive problem. The Web App was presented to New Brunswick Environmental Network (NBEN) to demonstrate the severity of the issue to raise awareness of the importance of a proactive approach to invasive plant species protection.
This project will be discussed in further detail in the blog to follow.
Raise awareness and check out the Web App here!
Dalhousie is where I discovered my passion for GIS and its high potential to benefit the biology community; COGS is where I developed the skills to apply my passion in the field. GIS can be leveraged as an outlet in an endless list of fields and passions – yours is likely one of them.