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Tag: geospatial data
  • Cross Country Mobility (CCM) Modeling Using Triangulated Irregular Networks (TIN)

    Abstract: Cross country mobility (CCM) models terrain that has insufficient or unavailable infrastructure for crossing. This historically has been done with either hand-drawn and estimated maps or with raster-based terrain analysis, both of which have their own strengths and weaknesses. In this report the authors explore the possibility of using triangulated irregular networks (TINs) as a means of representing terrain characteristics used in CCM and discuss the possibilities of using such networks for routing capabilities in lieu of a traditional road-based network. The factors used to calculate CCM are modified from previous methods to capture a more accurate measurement of terrain characteristics. Using a TIN to store and represent CCM information achieves comparable results to raster cost analysis with the additional benefits of an integrated network useful for visualization and routing and a reduction in the number of related files. Additionally, TINs can in some cases more accurately show the contours of the landscape and reveal feature details or impediments that may be lost within a raster, thus improving the quality of CCM overlays.
  • Snow-Covered Region Improvements to a Support Vector Machine-Based Semi-Automated Land Cover Mapping Decision Support Tool

    Abstract: This work builds on the original semi-automated land cover mapping algorithm and quantifies improvements to class accuracy, analyzes the results, and conducts a more in-depth accuracy assessment in conjunction with test sites and the National Land Cover Database (NLCD). This algorithm uses support vector machines trained on data collected across the continental United States to generate a pre-trained model for inclusion into a decision support tool within ArcGIS Pro. Version 2 includes an additional snow cover class and accounts for snow cover effects within the other land cover classes. Overall accuracy across the continental United States for Version 2 is 75% on snow-covered pixels and 69% on snow-free pixels, versus 16% and 66% for Version 1. However, combining the “crop” and “low vegetation” classes improves these values to 86% for snow and 83% for snow-free, compared to 19% and 83% for Version 1. This merging is justified by their spectral similarity, the difference between crop and low vegetation falling closer to land use than land cover. The Version 2 tool is built into a Python-based ArcGIS toolbox, allowing users to leverage the pre-trained model—along with image splitting and parallel processing techniques—for their land cover type map generation needs.
  • Landform Identification in the Chihuahuan Desert for Dust Source Characterization Applications: Developing a Landform Reference Data Set

    Abstract: ERDC-Geo is a surface erodibility parameterization developed to improve dust predictions in weather forecasting models. Geomorphic landform maps used in ERDC-Geo link surface dust emission potential to landform type. Using a previously generated southwest United States landform map as training data, a classification model based on machine learning (ML) was established to generate ERDC-Geo input data. To evaluate the ability of the ML model to accurately classify landforms, an independent reference landform data set was created for areas in the Chihuahuan Desert. The reference landform data set was generated using two separate map-ping methodologies: one based on in situ observations, and another based on the interpretation of satellite imagery. Existing geospatial data layers and recommendations from local rangeland experts guided site selections for both in situ and remote landform identification. A total of 18 landform types were mapped across 128 sites in New Mexico, Texas, and Mexico using the in situ (31 sites) and remote (97 sites) techniques. The final data set is critical for evaluating the ML-classification model and, ultimately, for improving dust forecasting models.
  • waterquality for ArcGIS Pro Toolbox: User’s Guide

    Abstract: Monitoring water quality of small inland lakes and reservoirs is a critical component of the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) water quality management plans. However, limited resources for traditional field-based monitoring of numerous lakes and reservoirs covering vast geographic areas often leads to reactional responses to harmful algal bloom (HAB) outbreaks. Satellite remote sensing methodologies using HAB indicators is a good low-cost option to traditional methods and has been proven to maximize and complement current field-based approaches while providing a synoptic view of water quality (Beck et al. 2016; Beck et al. 2017; Beck et al. 2019; Johansen et al. 2019; Mishra et al. 2019; Stumpf and Tomlinson 2007; Wang et al. 2020; Xu et al. 2019; Reif 2011). To assist USACE water quality management, we developed an Environmental Systems Research Institute (ESRI) ArcGIS Pro desktop software toolbox (waterquality for ArcGIS Pro) founded on the design and research established in the waterquality R software package (Johansen et al. 2019; Johansen 2020). The toolbox enables the detection, monitoring, and quantification of HAB indicators (chlorophyll-a, phycocyanin, and turbidity) using Sentinel-2 satellite imagery. Four tools are available: (1) automating the download of Sentinel-2 Level-2A imagery, (2) creating stacked image with options for cloud and non-water features masks, (3) applying water quality algorithms to generate relative estimations of one to three water quality parameters (chlorophyll-a, phycocyanin, and turbidity), and (4) creating linear regression graphs and statistics comparing in situ data (from field-based water sampling) to relative estimation data. This document serves as a user’s guide for the waterquality for ArcGIS Pro toolbox and includes instructions on toolbox installation and descriptions of each tool’s inputs, outputs, and troubleshooting guidance.
  • Geospatial Suitability Indices (GSI) Toolbox: User’s Guide

    Abstract: Habitat suitability models have been widely adopted in ecosystem management and restoration to assess environmental impacts and benefits according to the quantity and quality of a given habitat. Many spatially distributed ecological processes require application of suitability models within a geographic information system (GIS). This technical report presents a geospatial toolbox for assessing habitat suitability. The geospatial suitability indices (GSI) toolbox was developed in ArcGIS Pro 2.7 using the Python 3.7 programming language and is available for use on the local desktop in the Windows 10 environment. Two main tools comprise the GSI toolbox. First, the suitability index (SIC) calculator tool uses thematic or continuous geospatial raster layers to calculate parameter suitability indices using user-specified habitat relationships. Second, the overall suitability index calculator (OSIC) combines multiple parameter suitability indices into one overarching index using one or more options, including arithmetic mean, weighted arithmetic mean, geometric mean, and minimum limiting factor. The result is a raster layer representing habitat suitability values from 0.0–1.0, where zero (0) is unsuitable habitat and one (1) is ideal suitability. This report documents the model purpose and development and provides a user’s guide for the GSI toolbox.
  • User Guide: The DEM Breakline and Differencing Analysis Tool—Gridded Elevation Model Analysis with a Convenient Graphical User Interface

    Abstract: Gridded elevation models of the earth’s surface derived from airborne lidar data or other sources can provide qualitative and quantitative information about the terrain and its surface features through analysis of the local spatial variation in elevation. The DEM Breakline and Differencing Analysis Tool was developed to extract and display micro-terrain features and vegetative cover based on the numerical modeling of elevation discontinuities or breaklines (breaks-in-slope), slope, terrain ruggedness, local surface optima, and the local elevation difference between first surface and bare earth input models. Using numerical algorithms developed in-house at the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center, Geospatial Research Laboratory, various parameters are calculated for each cell in the model matrix in an initial processing phase. The results are combined and thresholded by the user in different ways for display and analysis. A graphical user interface provides control of input models, processing, and display as color-mapped overlays. Output displays can be saved as images, and the overlay data can be saved as raster layers for input into geographic information systems for further analysis.
  • Simulating Environmental Conditions for Southwest United States Convective Dust Storms Using the Weather Research and Forecasting Model v4.1

    Abstract: Dust aerosols can pose a significant detriment to public health, transportation, and tactical operations through reductions in air quality and visibility. Thus, accurate model forecasts of dust emission and transport are essential to decision makers. While a large number of studies have advanced the understanding and predictability of dust storms, the majority of existing literature considers dust production and forcing conditions of the underlying meteorology independently of each other. Our study works towards filling this research gap by inventorying dust-event case studies forced by convective activity in the Desert Southwest United States, simulating select representative case studies using several configurations of the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) model, testing the sensitivity of forecasts to essential model parameters, and assessing overall forecast skill using variables essential to dust production and transport. We found our control configuration captured the initiation, evolution, and storm structure of a variety of convective features admirably well. Peak wind speeds were well represented, but we found that simulated events arrived up to 2 hours earlier or later than observed. Our results show that convective storms are highly sensitive to initialization time and initial conditions that can preemptively dry the atmosphere and suppress the growth of convective storms.
  • Incorporating Terrain Roughness into Helicopter Landing Zone Site Selection by Using the Geomorphic Oscillation Assessment Tool (GOAT) v1.0

    ABSTRACT: The Geomorphic Oscillation Assessment Tool (GOAT) quantifies terrain roughness as a mechanism to better explain forward arming and refueling point (FARP) suitability for Army aviation. An empirically driven characteristic of FARP consideration, surface roughness is a key discriminator for site utility in complex terrain. GOAT uses a spatial sampling of high-resolution elevation and land cover data to construct data frames, which enable a relational analysis of component and aggregate site suitability. By incorporating multiple criteria from various doctrinal sources, GOAT produces a composite quality assessment of the areal options available to the aviation commander. This report documents and demonstrates version 1.0 of the GOAT algorithms developed by the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC). These details will allow users familiar with R to implement it as a stand-alone program or in R Studio.
  • The AFWA Dust Emission Scheme for the GOCART Aerosol Model in WRF-Chem v3.8.1

    Abstract: Airborne particles of mineral dust play a key role in Earth’s climate system and affect human activities around the globe. The numerical weather modeling community has undertaken considerable efforts to accurately forecast these dust emissions. Here, for the first time in the literature, we thoroughly describe and document the Air Force Weather Agency (AFWA) dust emission scheme for the Georgia Institute of Technology–Goddard Global Ozone Chemistry Aerosol Radiation and Transport (GOCART) aerosol model within the Weather Research and Forecasting model with chemistry (WRF-Chem) and compare it to the other dust emission schemes available in WRF-Chem. The AFWA dust emission scheme addresses some shortcomings experienced by the earlier GOCART-WRF scheme. Improved model physics are designed to better handle emission of fine dust particles by representing saltation bombardment. WRF-Chem model performance with the AFWA scheme is evaluated against observations of dust emission in southwest Asia and compared to emissions predicted by the other schemes built into the WRF-Chem GOCART model. Results highlight the relative strengths of the available schemes, indicate the reasons for disagreement, and demonstrate the need for improved soil source data.
  • Monitoring Ecological Restoration with Imagery Tools (MERIT): Python-based Decision Support Tools Integrated into ArcGIS for Satellite and UAS Image Processing, Analysis, and Classification

    Abstract: Monitoring the impacts of ecosystem restoration strategies requires both short-term and long-term land surface monitoring. The combined use of unmanned aerial systems (UAS) and satellite imagery enable effective landscape and natural resource management. However, processing, analyzing, and creating derivative imagery products can be time consuming, manually intensive, and cost prohibitive. In order to provide fast, accurate, and standardized UAS and satellite imagery processing, we have developed a suite of easy-to-use tools integrated into the graphical user interface (GUI) of ArcMap and ArcGIS Pro as well as open-source solutions using NodeOpenDroneMap. We built the Monitoring Ecological Restoration with Imagery Tools (MERIT) using Python and leveraging third-party libraries and open-source software capabilities typically unavailable within ArcGIS. MERIT will save US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) districts significant time in data acquisition, processing, and analysis by allowing a user to move from image acquisition and preprocessing to a final output for decision-making with one application. Although we designed MERIT for use in wetlands research, many tools have regional or global relevancy for a variety of environmental monitoring initiatives.