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CSULB Geospatial Research and Mapping (GRAM) Field Program
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Daily Blog for Ryan Boarman


Posted on June 23, 2012 by Ryan Boarman

June 22, 2012

Today we walked along our study site taking GPS points of invasive and native species. We were looking for larger patches that we can identify from aerial photographs. We were using the Trimble which has the data dictionary we set up. The data dictionary includes various attributes such as, species, height, percent cover, ect. We walked along the beach collection collecting plants that more prone to grow on sand. We then walked more inland on our study site collecting different types of species.

After collecting many points, we hiked up a hill in the center of our study site to get a great view and a high vantage point to see our whole study area. We then watched the first flight of the x100. It was a successful flight.



Posted on June 22, 2012 by Ryan Boarman

June 21, 2012

Today we spent the whole day in the lab, I would prefer to spend at least half of the day outside collecting data since we are in Kauai. Hopefully we will spend more time ground truthing and collecting data.


In the lab we made our data dictionary, which will help us during our ground surveys of plants. This will help us in the long run during our analysis. We analyzed the imagery that we acquired from the kite and the fixed wing airplane the last two days. Our goal is to mosaic the imagery to create a orthrophoto and a DEM. I created a 3d image of the Heiau area with vegetation surrounding it from images collected from a kite. The next step will be to create a DEM of this and compare it to LIDAR DEM data.

3D model

This was created from 200 photos

My next step will be to georeference the image using the markers we placed yesterday.

Hopefully tomorrow we will be able to get outside and collected more data.






Posted on June 21, 2012 by Ryan Boarman

June 20, 2012

My vegetation group and I placed markers on the ground around the Heiau so we can georeference the image later on during the analysis. We flew a kite and a fixed wing airplane over the site. It went very smoothly and the wind was ideal for both platforms. After lunch we went on a great tour with Burney around the cave. In the cave Burney explained all of the work he has done and explained how he and his team have found many fossils from endangered species. His work has been published many times and he was very knowledgeable.  Tomorrow we will work in the lab preparing imagery from the kite and fixed airplane.

Posted on June 20, 2012 by Ryan Boarman

June 19, 2012

Keeping it short today. Had a long day in the field.

Today we went to the field to start taking spectral readings of rare and common native species. This isn’t the easiest process; there are many variables that affect the outcome. Major variables that we battled today included the weather. We were right on the edge of a rain shadow, so there were constant clouds moving over the sun which can throw off the spectral readings. Also we experienced several random short rain showers. During the rain showers we had to take cover because not all the equipment is water proof. If the weather is better tomorrow it will be nice to take some more readings of different plants to build a larger spectral library to eventually compare to high resolution imagery, to hopefully predict where rare, native and invasive species are located.

After a quick lunch on the beach, we walked along the Mahaulepu trail which fallows along cliffs. We headed to Hoouluia, which is a Heiau, an ancient temple. Here the archaeological team started their surveys. While they were surveying, the vegetation team took several GPS readings of nearby native and invasive plant species to see what is on the ground and what it looks like in aerial photography. This will help us identify species once we generate very high resolution imagery from the gatewing airplane.

In the evening we had a lecture by Chuck Blay. He is a geologist on the Island of Kauai. He lectured about the history and the formation of the islands. It was very interesting and gave some good background information that I was not aware of.


Going to sleep, very tired



First full day

Posted on June 19, 2012 by Ryan Boarman

June 18, 2012

Today was our first full day on Kauai. I woke up to our weather port glowing orange from the early sun and the roosters cockle-doodle-doodling at 6 am. It was very nice walking out of our tent and smelling the fresh air on Kauai. After eating breakfast our whole group met to start the day.

We took multiple vans to the National Tropical Botanical Garden where our study sites are located. Our first stop was the main building at the NTBG. David Burney showed us his 10 million dollar collection of botany art and classic botany book collections. Only three people are allowed in this room. He also took us on a tour of the library where thousands of plant species samples are located.

Next we drove down the valley to an area where all native plant species are located. David explained what his and the NTBG’s mission is for restoring native plant species. I got some good information and more direction of what I’d like to focus on for my project.


After lunch we went to the coast to watch the Professors test run the kite and fixed wing remote controlled airplane. The first test fun of the kite failed, the wind was too gusty and they decided not to use this method today. The fixed wing had a colored HD gopro camera in it. We will be able to make orthrophotos with the imagery generated from the fixed airplane.


Posted on June 17, 2012 by Ryan Boarman

June 17, 2012

We made it to Kauai!

Well after a long morning of traveling we finally made it to Kauai. Lida and David Burney picked us up in trucks and vans at the airport. After loading all the equipment in the trucks we took off to the NTBG research field station where we will be staying for the next 2 weeks. They are very welcoming and friendly. I am staying in the outside tent-like pod structure. It fits about 8 cots, and is right up against the thick forest. It is very nice and surprisingly comfortable. It was to big screen doors which makes it have great flow of fresh tropical air.

We are going to be BBQing tonight so I need to go see if there is anything I can do to help out. Tomorrow we start our tour of the study area.




Posted on June 17, 2012 by Ryan Boarman

June 16, 2012

Short write up today. We had the day off from lectures today so spent the majority of the day packing and running errands for last minute things. We had some great Thai food on 2nd street for lunch. I then returned to campus to finish downloading GIS data and continued searching for articles about Kauai and vegetation.

I am looking forward to being in Kauai but not looking forward to the flight. Hopefully everything goes smoothly.



Vegetation and Pizza

Posted on June 16, 2012 by Ryan Boarman

June 15th, 2012

After our wonderful breakfast at the dorms, we headed back up to our meeting spot to meet the professors. Dr. Lipo discussed the three areas of study in more detail to give us a better understanding of what each project will entail. The three areas of study are vegetation, agricultural fields, and hydrology. All of them sounds interesting and have an aspect that I am interested in, but I decided to be apart and focus my research on the vegetation study. I’m interested in using the spectrometer to build a spectral library to incorporate with high resolution imagery to try and more accurately classify vegetating by using remote sensing.

We broke up into our smaller groups and further discussed ideas for our research. We then spent the next couple of hours researching GIS layers and articles that are related to our study.


After our small group discussion we went to have pizza at a local family run pizza restaurant called avenue 3.



It’s a bird, It’s a plane…. no it’s a BLIMP

Posted on June 15, 2012 by Ryan Boarman

June 14, 2012

The majority of today was spent on learning the equipment that we will be using while on Kauai. In small groups we rotated between three different “mini-crash courses”. The first section was learning how to use handheld GPS devices. I am very familiar with using GPS devices and generating points, so it was much of a review for me. However, I never used the device called Trimple. It is a GPS device similar to the small hand held Garmins, but the Trimble has many more options and is more complex. It is a combination between a GPS device and a PDA, it has a higher capacity to record and edit data. The interface is much easier to navigate with its touch screen. The other equipment we learned today was the XRF, which measures elemental composition of soils. We will use this tool while in Kauai on samples of soil. The final station was a “crash-course” in spectroscopy. It was led by a graduate student, Jake. The device measures the reflectance in the electromagnetic spectrum of different objects. This will be very useful in Kauai to build a spectral library of many different plant species and rocks, to compare with aerial imagery for a more accurate analysis of the land.

In the late afternoon we got to help fly “the blimp”. The blimp will be used to generate high resolution imager while on the island. It is about 3 meters across and filled with helium. Attached to the blimp are multipile cameras taking color and near IR data. It was a little hard to control the blimp with the winds, but after a little practice it was up in the air smoothly.

Overall today was a very hand on day with new equipment I look forward to learning and trying while in Kauai.

Tomorrow morning we are going to be split up into three groups, based on which project we want our focus on.

Still working on all the assignments that are due tomorrow evening. I am almost done, just need to finish writing a couple of reflections.


dogs breakfast

Posted on June 14, 2012 by Ryan Boarman


June 13, 2012

Today we had a great lecture about hydrology and potential hydrology project on Kauai. Out of the three topics we are going to be doing research on I know the least about hydrology, but sounds very interesting and would love to take on project while on Kauai dealing with hydrology.


After a crash course in Raster imagery, “dogs breakfast”, I learned a new program today called Photosynth. Photosynth syncs multiple photos together to create on large image, these images can be uploaded online and viewed by the public. My first two photo synths failed, I think that it failed because I did not take enough pictures and there was too much noise in the background. The first attempt was at the beach and there was too much activity in the background and the sun angle made a lot of shadows on my images. The photo synth that worked a little better was of my sandals and water bottle indoors on a table. I tried to take more photos at similar angles, instead of multiple angles. This worked better but I still needed to take more photos. It is an interesting tool and technology. I can see how it would be use full for creating a larger image of landscapes. If I were to do it again, I would take around 100-300 photos of the same object for a better outcome.

Here is my attempt


There is a lot of after-hours work, but vibes and good attitude, and helpfulness of the other students makes it more enjoyable.


Im looking forward for tomorrow to learn the equipment.




About Ryan Boarman

I am a Student at CSULB studying Geography, GIS, and Anthropology. My background is in biology and conservation.