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CSULB Geospatial Research and Mapping (GRAM) Field Program
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Daily Blog for Samantha Hauser

Day off!

Posted on June 25, 2012 by Samantha Hauser

We finally have a day off!

We all drove out to Waimea Canyon (look it up, its gorgeous) where Matt Lucas taught us about the native vegetation and some related culture there. The overlooks we visited were breathtaking. Clouds could even come into the canyon due to its high elevation. Following this, we all went to Poipu Beach. We enjoyed the water, the sun, and the yummy BBQ the graduate assistants made for us.

Tomorrow we take zodiacs to a beach near Waimea canyon for some archaeology work and sun. :) Goodnight!

Day five in Kauai: The Quarry Expedition

Posted on June 24, 2012 by Samantha Hauser

Today was the great quarry expedition of Kauai. Ok, not really. Dr. Burney took the archaeology team out to the quarry adjacent to the sinkhole. He hopes to create a restoration plan for the area, and the GIS knowledge we know could be used to produce said plan. In conjunction with him, I would love working on this project. At first, we explored the lower quarry recording data points along the way of areas of ecological and/or cultural interest. It was during this portion that Dr. Burney took us bush-wacking and explored a cave.After lunch, we explored the upper quarry, again recording data and line points along the trail. During this portion, we observed fossils, a fissure in the ground, and Dr. Burney chasing after a goat.

Solid day. I chose my individual project and witnessed Dr. Burney chase after yet another animal.

Day four in Kauai

Posted on June 22, 2012 by Samantha Hauser

We started off today going to the NTBG center, where we worked on some data analysis. Paul did a tutorial in uploading and downloading data to and from the Trimbles, respectively. I was able to make an orthophoto of the heiau by the sinkhole in Photoscan from the kite-aerial-photography. Here’s some pictures from it:

Around 12:30 pm, the archaeology team (minus John) went and did some recon on potential new sites. We first checked out an abandoned field behind St. Raphael’s Church, where we could see the irregular agriculture polygons within the field from the ground. We took points here for future geo-referencing on the Trimble. Then we went to another heiau, the Koloa Field System, and took points and recorded the perimeter on the Trimble.

Once we were all done, Dr. Wechsler treated us all to ice cream/shave ice. No it is not shaved ice here in Kauai, it is shave ice. THANKS DR. WECHSLER!!

Later when I got home I finished up another orthophoto, also done by kite-aerial-photography, of the vegetation grid. I posted some pictures above.  Tomorrow we should be working on some more imagery of these new areas and also the quarry by the sinkhole using the Gatewing X100.

Goodnight everyone!


Day three in Kauai: Go Team Field!

Posted on June 21, 2012 by Samantha Hauser

The archaeological field team (aka Team Field) hiked out to the heiau today. We set up and utilized pole-aerial-photography (PAP), which is basically attaching a camera to a pole and taking pictures. Super high tech. This took up most of the morning; we ended up with ~400 photos but had barely put a dent in the structure. We later tried to put a mosaic together of all these photos in Photoscan, but it didn’t work well. After lunch, we helped the graduate students from University of Hawaii fly their fixed-wing and kite photography. It was a super awesome experience, and Chuck and Dave (the said grad students) are amazing at what they do. We will use these photos tomorrow for some analysis.

Day three: Journey to the center of the earth

Posted on June 20, 2012 by Samantha Hauser

Dr. Burney brought us to the sinkhole you all saw yesterday and the adjacent caves. We had to crawl through the entrance, but it was well worth it. He proceeded to explain essentially every crevice, its geologic history, and the story behind discovering it. He is a wealth of knowledge; it is amazing. Around lunch time, we ate on a nearby beach. I waded in the water and it felt so soft (it is a weird way of describing it but it’s applicable). There were fish stuck between rocks and a cool stream that fed into the ocean.

Then the adventure began! We trekked up the cliffs along the beach to an ancient fishing temple called a Heiau. This is pretty much a huge platform made from igneous rocks. Along the way, Dr. Burney showed us a rock with footprint fossils of an extinct giant duck. My archaeology research team recorded the GPS coordinates for the entire temple and for specific rocks. We were all pretty much exhausted by the time we got back to the field house.

We had a little break for dinner, which was much needed since we had lecture from 7 – 9 pm. Dr. Chuck Blay presented on the geology of the Hawaiian islands, more specifically that of Kauai. It was extremely informative and I would imagine would be super helpful for the hydrology research team.

Off to bed! Aloha!

Day two: Touring the NTBG

Posted on June 19, 2012 by Samantha Hauser

Hey all!

Today we toured the National Tropical Botanical Garden, starting off with the research center and then moving out into the gardens. There are an immense amount of invasive plant species across the island and it is even so extreme that the invasive plants can be found within the botanical garden. The area was so beautiful; although the fact that most of it was exotic and invasive kinda ruined the aesthetic beauty. We got to go to the NTBG gift shop, where I got a T-shirt, and see the beach, where I saw turtles. We ended the day watching the two graduate students from University of Hawaii test fly a kite and then the Gatewing X100 (or rather their less expensive version). Overall it was a great day!

Here’s some pictures:

Day one in Kauai – Aloha!!

Posted on June 18, 2012 by Samantha Hauser

We woke up nice and early for our flight to Kauai with our 400 checked bags. Around 9 AM (California time) we lifted off for the six hour flight and we arrived in Lihue, Kauai at 12 PM (Hawaii time). I got lei’d by one of the professors, and we continued to reuse the lei for everyone else. It is an essential part of arriving in Hawaii so it was great it happened. Afterwards, we were driven to the NTBG’s field house where we met Mary! She is wonderful. She fed us a huge assortment of very much needed food. The house is in the middle of the forest, which is a beautiful sight. I plan to upload a picture of our view so keep posted!  We were so inspired by the nature that all of us went for a hike to town and back. Arriving back to the house, Mary and Barry cooked a BBQ and we feasted again. They are very awesome people!  Off to bask in the beauty of the island! :)

Day six: Our Day off!

Posted on June 16, 2012 by Samantha Hauser

Short post today…

Today was essentially a day off for us. We were prepping for the trip (packing, running errands, etc.) and reading articles to get us thinking about the experiments. Leaving for Kauai tomorrow morning!

Day Five

Posted on June 16, 2012 by Samantha Hauser

Project assignment day!

Starting off the day, Dr. Lipo gave us an overview of the three projects (vegetation, hydrology, and archaeology) and listed some key questions that would be involved. We then submitted our preferences, and the professors and graduate assistants assigned us to our groups. Although my first choice was vegetation, I was placed into the archaeology group. Luckily, I can still look into some aspects involving vegetation; my idea was to map out the environmental factors (SOC, precipitation, temperature, soil nutrients, elevation, etc) to determine suitable habitat for the endangered species. This could be applicable to all sorts of species whether they be avian, mammalian, or plants, but I would focus on the plants. It would be very interesting to compare this with the past habitat ranges from the prehistoric pollen record.

After the decisions were made, we were split into our groups. We mostly just went through the XRF (aka the phaser) procedure and safety guidelines. It will be great to work with Drs. Lipo and Wechsler.

Day four: Is that a tomato in the sky? Nope it’s CSULB’s blimp!

Posted on June 14, 2012 by Samantha Hauser

Starting off the day, we were divided up into two groups to go around to three stations. The first for me was learning how to use the GPS units. Although I have never used the Trimble, I have used a Magellen which is very similar and allows you to collect data straight into ArcMap. They were very similar though; I just needed to play with it to get a feel for the layout. The next one was learning how to use a phaser – pretty badass right? This phaser was actually an XRF, which is X-ray flouresence to detect the elements in a sample of your choosing. This would be super useful when sampling soils and trying to determine the amount of K,N, or P found. Dr. Lipo then lectured a bit on the physics behind this. Ok, so it would not disintegrate someone, but x-rays are fairly dangerous so it is still a phaser in my mind. Lastly, we learned how to use a light spectometer, which utilizes the electromagnetic spectrum to analyze the refletence of light off an object.
After our equipment training stations, Dr. Lipo lectured on Easter Island’s history. Although brief for everything he knows on the topic, it intriqued me to consider the agriculture research project more.
We ended our day with some blimp flying. It wasn’t really a blimp though; it was more of a large red balloon with a kite that had a camera tied to it. The process should have been more fun, but one of the rig’s lock was broken which caused some problems with letting out and pulling out slack. This caused some stress, but some amusement later on when the pictures were downloaded. There were many pictures of the boys underneath with scared faces.
All in all the day was good, and I was glad it was not full with lectures and was more hands on.

About Samantha Hauser

I am currently an ecology, evolution and natural resources major with a certificate/minor in environmental geomatics at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey in New Brunswick, NJ.