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California State University, Long Beach
CSULB Geospatial Research and Mapping (GRAM) Field Program
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Daily Blog for Audrey

Day 16

Posted on June 18, 2013 by Audrey

This morning, everyone gathered around in the middle of the barn and talked about what kind of project each person had in mind. Then, each of the professor who had more expertise about the topic each person’s project was about, gave some suggestions and identified people who could potentially share the data and cooperate to some degree. Then we talked about how to do data management so that someone who does not know one’s file management system could still figure out how to get the data he/she wants.


After that, everyone was free to work on whatever he/she thought was necessary to do. I worked on fixing the attribute table for the vegetation group’s point shapefile because I would need to identify which of those points are ferns and which are grass points. Later on, Peter and Howard helped fix the attribute table so tomorrow, I am hoping to get the metadata finished.


Today I am working on finding articles and reading about different methods people have used to classify vegetation so that I have a better idea of how to map the uluhe ferns that Peter and Howard had difficulty extracting as a separate class in eCognition and Erdas respectively.

Day 15

Posted on June 17, 2013 by Audrey

Today I tried to look for relevant articles for my project and worked on merging all of the shapefiles from the three days (we lost our data for one of the days) that the vegetation group went out to the Ka’a’awa Valley to collect data. It was difficult to combine all of the data because the attribute table of the merged shapefile kept getting messed up.


Around 11am, I went to the Ka’a’awa Valley with Paul, Shelby, and Courtney so that I could meet the botanist who was supposed to come at noon. He ended up arriving around 1:30pm and the vegetation group and a few other students as well as all of the professors went with the botanist to identify the unknown plants that the vegetation group had difficulty identifying. The botanist was very helpful because he pointed out the plants that were native as well as those that were known to be most invasive plants in the world. He also pointed out plants that he assumed would occur in pure patches due to the nature of each of the plant’s growth. I feel that this information would have been very useful when we started but I am still really glad that we had a chance to meet with the botanist.



Day 14

Posted on June 16, 2013 by Audrey

Today I practiced a few times for the presentation just to make sure that I don’t forget to say something. I was worried that people may not hear me over the fans since it was difficult enough for me to speak loudly for people to hear me in a quiet classroom.


But for some reason I had been feeling worn out all day so I slept a little after eating breakfast. Around 1pm I started to get this feeling that I am about to get sick and felt a little disoriented so I just laid down on the bed. Once the presentations started, Peter came to get me so I sat down in a chair and I realized that I was breathing harder than usual and felt like my body was burning up. I felt that I just needed to try and sleep it off so I asked the professor to change the order so that I can finish the presentation and sleep rather than sitting in the chair worrying about what is wrong with me and not being able to comprehend what the presentation is about at all.


It seemed that I made everyone worried and I appreciate Michelle coming in to check on me but after sleeping, I feel a lot better. I think this was just my body freaking out due to the constant change in temperature since I am walking around in the heat and then getting into an air conditioned van to get to the barn. As well as the sudden change in diet since I have rarely ate meat this frequently before.

Day 13

Posted on June 15, 2013 by Audrey

Today Peter and I worked on the PowerPoint slides for our presentation tomorrow while Howard used Erdas to do classification of the vegetation in Ka’a’awa Valley. After finishing the PowerPoint slides, I tried to merge the shapefiles that the GPS produced for each day into one, but it was very difficult to do because the attribute table looked really weird. Eventually, I just tried to polish the attribute table of each individual shapefile instead of trying to merge all of the files.


In the afternoon, everyone went to North Shore and instead of having Mexican food with the others, I got Courtney and Shelby, who weren’t planning on buying food to accompany me to get thai food. Afterwards, we went to the beach and I went swimming in the ocean for the first time since I’ve been in Hawaii. I went swimming again when the sun was going down but I got out early because I started to feel chilly. I was really cold even though the temperature was not that low at all. Even though it was only a half-day off it was still really fun.

Day 12

Posted on June 14, 2013 by Audrey

Today everyone went to the Ranch but instead of going out to valley to collect more points, Peter, Howard and I decided to work on classification using eCognition and Erdas. However, we ended up learning about how the laser scanner works and watching it work. When the laser scanner started collecting data, everyone had to constantly move so that we were not blocking the scanner. Everyone had to move in a line and circled around the laser scanner so I would imagine that we looked really silly from afar.


Although we went to the Ranch fairly early, once the laser scanner finished collecting the data, it was time for everyone to return to the barn.


Before returning to the barn, we dropped by the shrimp shack and everyone got some food. I got some sushi and rice with spam on top of it. Once we reached the barn, I took a nap and Peter worked on using eCognition to do classification and Howard used Erdas to do supervised classification. I am currently working on using Erdas to do unsupervised classification.

Day 11

Posted on June 13, 2013 by Audrey

Today, our vegetation group split into two groups. Vegetation 1 was Peter and I and we started from Atlantis and worked our way down the left side of our study area once again because we lost our GPS data from yesterday. Vegetation 2 was Howard and Julianna who started from the area we parked at and worked their way up the valley.


We met at the area where all the cars were parked and we saw people from Aerospace doing some test flights. Afterwards, Peter, Howard, and I went down to the beach and got points for a couple of new species of plants.


Once we got back to the barn, I worked on matching the photos that I took with the unique ID we created for the GPS points. Then I created an attribute table containing the name of the photos and my journal notes with the unique ID for the GPS points. We also corrected the points from first two days of collecting points and worked on organizing the attribute table. Peter also used eCognition and tried to do the classification. While we were working, everyone else was playing Apples to apples which seemed to be very fun.



Day 10

Posted on June 12, 2013 by Audrey

Today the bare ground group, Kerry and Julianna, joined our vegetation group to help us out. However, we never managed to get the second Trimble so we never had a chance to split up into 2 groups to collect the GPS points. Our goal was to get GPS points of fairly homogenous patches of vegetation throughout our study area. But we found that there was not much variety in the species of trees making it meaningless to continuously collect more points since all the points would be for the same 10 species of trees that we found. So we stopped taking points and went back to where all of the cars were parked at with Briton and Michelle, whom we met along the way.


Once we returned to the barn and started working on organizing our data, we ended up losing the data we collected today. Also, we found that our data from the previous two days were difficult to work with. We created a new data dictionary that will hopefully make it easier for us to work with in ArcGIS.

Day 9

Posted on June 11, 2013 by Audrey

Today, Howard, Peter, and I went to the Kualoa Ranch and started collecting points as we went to the top of the valley. In the middle of the trip, Briton joined us and directed us towards a more effective way of collecting points. We tried to get points frequently and attempted to get points at locations with clumps of same trees or shrubs. We also went up one of the valleys which was tiring probably because of the heat and my lack of experience in hiking. Once we climbed the valley, we ate lunch and took some pictures.


As we were taking points, we realized that our data dictionary was not ideal because we could not identify all of the plants that we wanted to collect points for and the plants that we could identify seemed to be located in areas that we would not have expected to find them in. For example, plants classified as lowland wet or dry forest were found at the top of the valley that we hiked.


Once we got back to the barn, we worked on organizing the photos and the field notes. We realized that there are more field notes than pictures which means that I decided not to take pictures  for some reason even though Peter was taking notes for some group of plants. In the future, we are going to have to assign each person one task rather than having everyone do whatever he/she has hands on at that moment. I will also remember to erase all of the photos before going to the ranch so that the numbers do not get mixed up.





Day 8

Posted on June 10, 2013 by Audrey

Today I woke up and made sandwiches for lunch and ate breakfast. After getting ready to leave for fieldwork, I worked on creating a data dictionary for vegetation with Peter and Howard.


After completing the data dictionary, Paul helped us export the data dictionary to the Trimble we were going to use in the field. Once we arrived at the Kualoa Ranch, there was confusion about how to divide up the GPS unit between the vegetation and the geology group, but in the end we got to use it for the whole day.


We managed to get some points and identified which species the plants were by looking at a book of Hawaiian plants. We also took pictures of the plants for future reference. According to Dr. Lee, we made a fair amount of progress.


During the fieldwork, I realized that this was extremely tiring, not because of all the walking as I expected, but because of the heat and humidity. The little bit of rain we got helped a lot. I don’t think I would want to wear rain gear when it rains while we are doing fieldwork.

Day 7

Posted on June 9, 2013 by Audrey

Today Dr. Hunt gave a lecture about the history of Hawaii. He talked about the problematic classification of Polynesian islands as well as the colonization of the Polynesian islands. He talked about linguistics as a way to identify the relationship between the Polynesian islands. I thought it was interesting how Dr. Hunt argued that people tend to discover islands at the edges first because that would provide the most pay-off if they managed to find an island.


Afterwards, we made sandwiches and went to the Kualoa Ranch to see what our study area looks like. We got the chance to meet David Morgan, whose family had owned the ranch for generations. David Morgan personally gave us a tour around the ranch and pointed out some spots that we would probably want to conduct research on. We walked into a forested area where there were a lot more mosquitoes then I expected. From now on, I am going to put a lot more bug spray and wear long sleeves and pants in order to protect myself from mosquitoes.


After returning to the barn, we split up into common product groups and tried to brainstorm how to design the data dictionary for the common product. Then for dinner we had barbecue, which tasted great.

About Audrey

I'm a senior at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and I am majoring in Geography with a concentration in GIS.