Using mobile GIS for gathering and mapping field data of deer impacts on vegetation

Jacqueline Courteau
NatureWrite LLC
Jacqueline Courteau is a freelance ecological consultant and writer/editor who has worked for Michigan Natural Features Inventory and taught adjunct at University of Michigan and Eastern Michigan University. Her research and consulting work has included ecological assessment and monitoring, forest regeneration, deer impacts on vegetation and other plant-animal interactions, invasive species in a range of Michigan ecosystems for clients including Huron River Watershed Council, Huron-Clinton Metroparks, Washtenaw County Parks, and Ann Arbor Natural Areas Program. Before coming to Michigan and earning a Ph.D. in ecology, she worked as a science and environmental policy analyst in Washington, DC, contributing to an early 1990s report to Congress on how global change could affect natural resources and how Federal agencies could plan for an uncertain climate.
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Jason Tallant

The use of the Collector for ArcGIS app offers a powerful tool for field data collection. The app, available for smartphones and tablets, allows setup of field data sheets for collecting GPS-tagged data and photos. Data sheets can incorporate existing plant inventories or use custom-designed plant lists, can be tailored to constrain choices to a required vocabulary, or allow for free text fields of species names, sizes, or notes. Data for each point can then be tracked for subsequent data collection while data can be analyzed and displayed using standard GIS analytical tools. However, the advance setup required can be challenging (it can be difficult to predict all contingencies), and retrieving and matching data for analysis requires a well defined workflow. We will present an example of the benefits and challenges of mobile GIS as used for collecting data on deer impacts on vegetation in Ann Arbor.

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