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GIS Seminar @ ISU - Spring 2022



The seminar starts promptly at 12:05 p.m. and ends at 12:55 p.m. 

This spring 2022 we will be using in person and online formats.  Please note that the format varies. The GIS Seminar @ ISU is open to the public. 

If you are interested in attending an in person seminar, the location is Design 526.

If you are interested in attending an online seminar, please send an email to Monica Haddad ( at least one day in advance, and she will send you a link with Webex information to attend. 


February 07, 2022 12:05 p.m. (in person)

TouchTerrain - 3D printing GIS raster data3D terrain

Dr. Chris Harding, Associate Professor, Geological and Atmospheric Sciences, ISU 

ABSTRACT: TouchTerrain ( is a software project that converts elevation raster data (DEM) into files for 3D printing terrain (STL). 3D printed terrain models are used in education, research and outreach. I will talk about the two versions of the software - web app and standalone, showcase several large 3D terrain prints. Finally, I will present the results of a meta-analysis about who uses the web app and which areas on Earth are most often printed.

February 14, 2022 12:05 p.m. (in person)

GIS Data Fabric

Eric Abrams, Senior Project Manager, GeoDecisionsGeoDecision

ABSTRACT:  What does it take to have a mature GIS environment for organizations? It takes multiple components from data standards, the right technology to an organization’s culture. That is where the GIS Data Fabric framework comes in. GIS Data Fabric integrates the high level components of an enterprise GIS environment to bring systems and data together. Eric will walk through each component and how you can apply this concept to your work. BIO: Eric works with a variety of customers at GeoDecisions ranging from state department of transportations to local governments and commercial customers. Some of Eric’s current projects are with DC DOT and Chicago Transit implementing geospatial enabled asset management systems. Before GeoDecisions, Eric held the Geospatial Administrator position at the Iowa Department of Transportation (Iowa DOT) where he was responsible for the department's geospatial vision, direction, and architecture. Through his 30+ year DOT career, Eric has experience with database management, GIS architecture, code development, maturity modeling, automated vehicle systems, open data, data management and GIS REST service deployments.

February 21, 2022 12:05 p.m. (online)

Geospatial Analysis in the Retail Sector

Evan Koester, Senior Geospatial Engineer, Casey's General Store

ABSTRACT:  Evan Koester will provide a perspective on analytics and the organization of data. Particularly, Evan will discuss geospatial analysis' role in the retail sector and its influence on business decisions such as: guest segmentation, site selection, product strategy, product delivery, and others. Rounding out his discussion, Evan will show how organizing data spatially helps with training, hiring, logistics, and other regular activities at Casey's.

February 28, 2022 12:05 p.m. (online)

Identifying potential locations for water quality wetland installation using GIS modeling

Annina Rupe, B.A., M.S.; GIS/RS Analyst, Ducks Unlimited, Inc.Annina

ABSTRACT:  Iowa’s water quality has suffered due in part to the intense agriculture performed across the state. Wetlands naturally filter water which helps remove excess nutrients, but a majority of Iowa’s historic wetlands have been drained. Ducks Unlimited (DU) and the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship (IDALS) have partnered to identify where wetlands, specifically those aimed at improving water quality, would be best placed and to work with landowners to install these wetlands. This presentation delves into how GIS is used to simplify and speed up this process for the benefit of Iowans.

March 07, 2022 12:05 p.m. (online)Seeger

The Languages Spoken Project  

Chris Seeger, Professor, Landscape Architecture, ISU 

ABSTRACT: This seminar will be about the Languages Spoken Project, a collaboration with Iowa Department of Human Rights. The project has several geospatial underpinnings that have utilized software outside the ESRI domain, such as QGIS, R, and Tableau. The project also makes heavy use of GIS maps exported in Adobe Illustrator.

March 21, 2022 12:05 p.m. (online)

GIS for Conservation: Making Maps at The Nature Conservancy

Shannon Thol and Karen Leu, The Nature Conservancyleu

ABSTRACT:  The applications for GIS in conservation are prolific anstd diverse. How does a non-profit organization take advantage of this intersection of science, technology, and art to advance its mission to make the world a better place for nature and people? Shannon Thol and Karen Leu, two geospatial scientists at the New York Division of The Nature Conservancy, talk about the important role GIS plays in setting conservation goals, supporting land protection strategies, and communicating with the public. They will cover two case studies: 1. The Strategy Assessment Tool was developed as an internal decision-making tool that draws on a suite of environmental factors to assess conservation value for the environment and for people. 2. The Long Island Solar Roadmap is a stakeholder-driven process to identify barriers to solar adoption and to map opportunities for large-scale solar on environmentally low-impact sites.  

March 28, 2022 12:05 p.m. (online)

High Spatiotemporal Building Energy Use Modeling Under Urbanization and Climate Change

       Yuyu Zhou, Associate Professor, Geological and AtmosYUYUpheric Sciences, ISU

ABSTRACT:  The change in urban thermal environments due to urbanization and climate change is expected to have non-trivial impacts on the buildings energy system through changing heating and cooling demands. In this study, we first developed high-resolution daily gridded maximum and minimum air temperature data using a new statistical method and land surface temperature observations from satellite. We then explored building energy use at high spatiotemporal resolutions under urban heat island and heatwave in two cities of Boston and Des Moines, using a city-scale building energy use modeling (CityBEUM) and the gridded air temperature data. The findings from this study are of great help for policymakers to develop actionable options tailored to different cities for mitigating buildings energy use under urbanization and climate change.

April 04, 2022 12:05 p.m. (online)asli

Examining the Impact of Residential Development on Natural Resources using GIS

Asli Gӧҫmen,Associate Professor of Geography & Environmental Studies,  University of Wisconsin – Madison

ABSTRACT:  Residential development on previously undeveloped land in the rural-urban fringe can be detrimental to local natural resources and productive lands.  Conservation subdivision design, a residential development technique that is used as an alternative to conventional subdivision design in the rural-urban fringe, has been promoted to deliver economic, social, and environmental benefits. Conservation subdivision design clusters residences in smaller lots than conventional development; in return, it preserves the remaining subdivision land in shared open spaces, most often in an undeveloped state.  In this seminar, with the use of geospatial data analysis, I examine the extent to which conservation subdivision design has protected ecological and agricultural lands and contributed to wildlife presence.     

April 18, 2022 12:05 p.m. (in person)

Landscape configuration effects on habitat quality in a highly fragmented agricultural region

Matthew Stephenson, Natural Resource Ecology and Management, GIS Certificate Candidate

Advisor: Dr. Brian Geldermatt

ABSTRACT: The process of habitat fragmentation is typically viewed as detrimental to habitat quality, with the resulting smaller, more isolated patches often suspected as population sinks, however these processes are still active areas of research. Prairie strips are a new agricultural conservation practice that consist of linear strips of diverse native vegetation situated within or adjacent-to row crops. However, the process of restoring small linear patches of grassland may contribute to small mean patch sizes and large mean patch isolation by creating habitat within an otherwise sterile row crop matrix. We investigated the relative contributions of habitat area and configuration to habitat quality for grassland-breeding birds to assess if prairie strips were population sinks or if they were sufficient habitat for some species.


April 25, 2022 12:05 p.m. (in person)

Using high-frequency GPS transmitters to infer nesting and breeding behavior of Dunlin (Calidris alpina arcticola)

Sarah Hoepfner, Natural Resource Ecology and Management, GIS Certificate Candidate 

       Advisor: Dr. Stephen DinsmoreSarah

ABSTRACT:  Traditional techniques for monitoring shorebird nests require regular disturbance at nests and likely biases nest survival estimates, an important demographic metric. In summer 2021 I placed state-of-the-art high-frequency GPS tags on Dunlin at Utqiaġvik, Alaska and tracked adults from pre- to post-breeding. I determined criteria to assess nest fate solely from the GPS tracks without ever seeing the nest. This will allow us to determine the first true nest survival estimates without human disturbance. Equally important, we gained insights into other nesting behaviors that were not previously possible. Using the tracking data we could see pre-breeding movements, how many birds attempted nesting, the direction and distance of incubation break movements, territory size, and habitat use throughout the entire breeding season.   


May 02, 2022 12:05 p.m. (in person)

Examining the Potential of Conservation Practices to Maximize Subfield Profitability and Environmental Benefits

Haleigh Summers, Sustainable Agriculture, GIS Certificate Candidate  

Advisors: Dr. Brian Gelder, Dr. Emily Zimmerman, Dr. John TyndallSummers

ABSTRACT: Around 5-15% of an average farm field in Iowa regularly has low yields due to soil properties and landscape position, resulting in lower profitability than the surrounding field and often net financial loss (Muth, 2014). While these unprofitable areas may make economic sense for conversion to conservation practices, it remains unclear if these locations are also the best opportunities to address resource concerns or enhance environmental benefits, such as reduced soil erosion and nutrient loss. I will examine how often the least profitable areas of fields overlap with areas where a conservation practice could be placed to maximize spatially-determined environmental benefits. This research will provide insights into if subfield profitable areas are ideal placement for conservation practices and what possible financial incentives exist.