the Forest Change in the James River Basin: Research Project
by Nathan Huggins
Land-use and land-cover
have long been vital to monitoring and managing both urban and rural landscapes.
The rise of satellite and computer technology within the past two decades
has greatly increased the usability of such data and analysis. Today's
remotely sensed datasets allow environmental and urban managers to quickly
assess the temporal changes and act accordingly. Presently land cover
change are most generally communicated through two-dimensional planar
maps that represent a static snapshot of time. Although such maps are
useful, they do not support analyzing multiple dates. In fact, Geographic
Information System (GIS), our most powerful tool for analyzing geographic
data, does not handle temporal variables efficiently. One of the objectives
of this project was to integrate three-dimensional landscape visualization
techniques and temporal datasets to demonstrate landscape change patterns
in the Ozarks.
The James River Basin
is located in Southwest Missouri and contains the third largest urban
population center of the entire state. Over the past 30 years this area
has seen a large urban growth and a rapidly changing landscape. This change
has impacted several natural features including forest size and distribution.
In 2001 MoRAP, Missouri Resource Assessment Partnership, conducted a study
of the area and quantified the changes taking place using six Landsat
satellite images ranging from 1972 to 2000. This study looks in particular
at visualizing the forest land cover change over time within the James
River Basin. This will be accomplished by combining GIS, remote sensing
techniques, and computer animation. The visualizations that have been
created combine both real world raster and vector data along with computer
animated features. The goal of the study is to examine how people communicate
and comprehend landscape change.