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California State University, Long Beach
CSULB Geospatial Research and Mapping (GRAM) Field Program
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Day 17

Posted on June 20, 2013 by Kerry McMahon

Today I woke up with too many ideas in my head, which was frustrating, so I decided to stay behind dig deeper until I could solidify something. Finally, around 10 a.m., it just all clicked and I finalized my proposal and began making a plan for the field.

My basic plan is to  identify substantial batches of bare earth that are believed to be accelerated erosion caused by cattle, road cuts and other unnatural phenomenon. These features tend to occur on steep slopes, and once they begin to form, they have the tendency to move and grow at a fast rate. I will map the current extent of these bare patches using Worldview imagery and I will also attempt to pull these patches out of historic imagery to see if I can identify where new ones have occured in the past ten years.

Since I plan to walk the valley to map these locations, I will also collect points where I see cows and cow excrement, as well as noting fence and cattle guard locations, in order to create an overlay of the main areas where cattle are present. This will help strengthen my argument that these erosion features are not natural. I also plan to include information regarding slope and soil type to see I can predict the locations of potential future erosion sites. Once I have identified these areas, I would like to be able to identify the patches of greatest concern and provide recommendations for where erosion control should occur.

So step one of this was to start collecting points, although I also need to practice using ERDAS to make sure I can also see theses areas in the satellite images. I plan on doing that tomorrow.

I really relished being out in the field alone today. I stuck to my plan with few distractions and was able to accomplish exactly what I set out to do. A few lessons learned too! I definitely need to plan more ahead about how I will take field notes. There we so many things that I noticed once out in the field that I will need to include in my notes in a more organized manner, e.g. hillside vs. roadside erosion, size of patch, soil type, cow presence or not, etc…

So I have to give a shout out to the “best TA ever,” Briton, for helping me today to clear my head and refocus my ideas.

Oh yeah, and Paul flew an oblique flight today and FINALLY got the beach!

 

 

Tomorrow’s plan: So much work to do! Must crack the whip on getting everyone’s metadata so we can finally be done building the geodatabase. Then I need to get my GPS points off the Garmin and figure out a plan for building my own geodatabase. I also really need to repeat the ERDAS lab so I can start my supervised classification of the old and newer imagery. I really hope these things show up! The big problem is that most of them are on steep slopes so from the satellite images, the entire extent of the surface area is lost.

 

Opportunistic mushroom chilling on a cow patty

 

 

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