Summer Research

* Student(s): Ashley Kuenzi
Advisor: William Pfitsch

Title: Mapping and GIS Use in the Rome Sand Plains


Land management in the Rome Sand Plains has been going on for a number of years in an effort to protect the delicate population of wild lupines. Without these plants the frosted elfin butterfly would not be able to reproduce. Over the past few years, students working under Professor Ernest Williams developed a map of the main research site in the Rome Sand Plains to aid in location of experimental tree plots and male and female butterfly areas. This year, students working under Professor Bill Pfitsch worked to turn that hand drawn map into a computer simulated map using ArcView software and GIS (geographic information system) technology that would also allow for analyzing of the site and evaluation of suitable butterfly habitats. We researched the technique of using GIS in conjunction with ArcView software and determined that it would be beneficial to our studying of lupine patches and butterfly habitats. The map which had been previously drawn of the research site was modified and then scanned. Multiple series of points were determined which gave the location of the trees and the outline of different types of ground cover. Distances of the points from an arbitrary origin which will be located on the base topographic map were calculated and transferred into a file which the ArcView software can read. Due to the time constraints of summer research and our lack of expertise with using ArcView software we were unable to finish our map, but it is still in the works.

Stipend support provided by the Dean's Summer Research Fund.