Geographical Information Systems Workshop
By Dr. Theron Terhune
During March 22-24, Tall Timbers staff, Dr. Theron Terhune and GIS Coordinator, Joe Noble, hosted a Geographical Information Systems (GIS) workshop at the E. V. Komarek Science Education Center. The intent of the workshop was to provide professionals, students, researchers and others working in the field of natural resources (specifically, wildlife and forestry) and conservation with the knowledge needed to incorporate Geographical Information Systems (GIS) into everyday workflows.
The field of GIS is constantly evolving, improving the way we work with, view, store, and share geographic data. As a result, it is often difficult to keep up with the technological advances in GIS. Few classes or courses in GIS specifically provide natural resources and conservation professionals with the experience necessary to utilize GIS efficiently and effectively in their field. As such, this workshop provided an opportunity for participants to acquire knowledge of GIS systems and geospatial data germane to natural resources through hands-on application and exercise-based modules including a field Global Positioning System (GPS) exercise. Fifteen participants, including folks from Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, Florida A&M University, graduate students, interns and some Tall Timbers staff members, gleaned valuable information pertaining to: basics of GIS and ArcGIS; GPS data collection and integration into a GIS; map creation and maintenance; geoprocessing and editing of data; querying and working with geographic data; and dissemination of GIS data and maps. In the future, Tall Timbers will be hosting additional workshops for managers and biologists interested in learning how to use GIS technology to benefit their programs.
Following presentation and demonstration of a topic, workshop participants gain hands-on GIS-user experience by working through real-world exercises at Tall Timbers.