Bryan Markhart GIS Project (Fall 2011)

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Final Report: A Multi-Criteria Analysis of Arable Land on Bennington College Campus as it Relates to the Relocation of the Student Garden

More final research question

Based on slope and drainage properties of land, soil type, nutrient levels and organic matter, proximity to beneficial habitat, access to irrigation, and visibility/accessibility what are the three optimum locations for a two acre student farm on Bennington College campus?

Method: Create a spacial database which incorporates data sets to for all of the properties above (soil properties, water pipes, slope / drainage characteristics of land, proximity to beneficial habitat, proximity to roads) and use an absolute minimum optimization approach to create a raster data set showing the quality (?) of each square in the raster.

Data sets needed

  • Roads
  • Tax / Parcels map
  • Soils
  • Campus water pipes
  • DEM / slope map (drainage analysis?)
  • Water map
  • ground water map?

Bmarkhart 03:19, 1 November 2011 (UTC)

Initial Research Question Ideas

  • What is the prime location for a college student organic farm? Need to know land use history/soil quality, drainage, access to irrigation, access (proximity to roads / dinning hall), proximity to beneficial as well as pest insect habitats must be located somewhat near to the rest of campus life.
    • Certainly exactly a GIS-type challenge -- but using the tool well needs precise definition of problem. Two questions: 1) what are the most important factors in siting a farm (is it reasonable to think in terms of THE prime location?)?, and 2) what piece of this puzzle would be the most appropriate to start with in terms of accessibility of data and 'doability'?Kwoods 00:01, 3 October 2011 (UTC)
    • Yeah! I like the farm idea. It would be cool to assign a value scale to each of the attributes you mentioned, like in the DeGasperis paper that we read, and weigh them against each other according to their relative importance. For example soil quality is probably more important that visibility, and perhaps visibility is more important than proximity to pest habitats. So if each of those things had a scale of its own, and then was somehow ranked against the other if there was a place with okay soil that happened to be in a really good location, it might trump a place with excellent soil that was really hidden, depending on the combination of scores that it was given. This seems like a really cool project.

Mmcpartland 21:01, 26 September 2011 (UTC)

      • Weighing something like soil quality directly against something like accessibility might prove extremely finicky. You might save yourself a headache by dealing with absolute minimums. By this I mean telling the software to show you every potential site with soil quality above a certain threshold that also fall within a certain distance of a campus road. Jkendrick 04:13, 4 October 2011 (UTC)

  • Create a water drainage map for campus including natural drainage plus storm-drainage infrastructure to determine any water pollution problems due to street runoff, salting, etc. This should include areas downhill from campus as well.
    • Much same comment. Interesting potential (and some interesting problems in making it work) -- but lay out a logical model and pick a nexus to focus on...Kwoods 00:01, 3 October 2011 (UTC)
  • Is it possible to determine how recently, or not recently a patch of forest was reforested, based off of the vibrancy of the fungi populations that are usually associated with the trees in the test plot?
    • Maybe -- interesting -- but think about what sorts of data you'd need -- thorough maps of fungal abundance and diversity???? (what does 'viberancy' mean here?) Kwoods 00:01, 3 October 2011 (UTC)

Bmarkhart 05:25, 20 September 2011 (UTC)


Geo_Soils Data set info: