Morphometric indices are powerful tools for investigating the interplay of tectonics, lithology, and climate on mountainous landscapes. The tutorials provided here are aimed at the graduate student in the Geosciences whose research involves DEMs, mountain channels, and upland watersheds.
What’s On This Website
G4G brings a little order to the ever-expanding GIS universe. First, the site provides a set of how-to instructions on many things Geoscientists want to do with GIS. However, the lessons collected here are hardly “push button” (whatever that means). Judging by the number of enthusiastic responses from visitors to the site, we know we’re filling a need unmet by most university programs. Second, the site offers a response of sorts to academic journals in the Geosciences that omit or highly abbreviate the methods used to generate results reported (JGR is a notable exception). Clear methods are repeatable methods. To this end, we read dozens of peer-reviewed articles each year and reverse-engineer the data processing steps likely used to generate the results reported. My students and I publish here what we figure out. Third, we offer a place for folks to contribute their own GIS instructions, tips, scripts, and tools.
Currently there are no dedicated textbooks on this stuff. This website and those listed in Useful GIS Links will have to suffice for now, but be sure to check these out:
- Burbank & Anderson (2012) Tectonic Geomorphology – 2nd Edition
– Pelletier (2008) Quantitative Modeling of Earth Surface Processes
– Bolstad (2012) Introduction to GIS – 4th Edition
- Felleisen et al. (1993) How to Design Programs – MIT Press/HTDP.org (Free Book)
- Hengl & Reuter (2009) Geomorphometry: Concepts, software, applications
- Anything written by David Montgomery or Kellen Whipple
Keeping It Simple
As Editor, I’ve chosen to keep things simple in order to reach a wider audience. Nearly all lessons utilize standard 10m or 30m DEMs, but many of the methods will translate to LiDAR elevation data with certain caveats. Instructions are for ArcGIS 10.x, the Spatial Analyst extension, and the 3D Analyst extension. In places, program R code, GME details, or Excel examples are included. Relevant journal articles, books, and websites are referenced at the end of each lesson.
Why Not Allow Comments?
First, I prefer to correspond directly with people via email. Second, comments are great for large websites that get hundreds of thousands of visitors, but not so great for small sites like this one. Third, I am uninterested in moderating online comments. G4G is still small enough to treat people as people. If you write me, I’ll get back to you.
We try to cite pertinent journal articles, books, websites, and online videos that discuss the central concept of each lesson. Referenced works contain the full equations & calculations or present an alternative method. We try to be comprehensive and transparent, but sometimes miss things. Please let us know if we have overlooked a key article (or one of yours).
Please Reference Us
Please reference us in your manuscripts and presentations.
Cooley, S.W., 2013, GIS4Geomorphology: http://www.gis4geomorphology.com (Accessed June 1, 2013)
Cooley, S.W. (January 1, 2010). Watershed Delineation Lesson. In www.GIS4Geomorphology.com. Retrieved June 1, 2013, from http://www.gis4geomorphology.com/watershed
Why Not Just Write Code?
The advanced GIS user/programmer will certainly devise more efficient ways to accomplish everything on the site. I highly encourage students to learn to code. Coding skills quicken the pace of discovery and can offer something to fall back on in a lousy job market. R, MatLab, GME, Python, or even HTML/CSS can open up vast new worlds to those inclined to learn a new language. Coding skills are valuable and the software readily available to students. When the opportunity arises to learn a little code, seize it. And read the Preface of this book: htdp.org.
STEAM not STEM
Adding a little art to science makes all the difference. The best scientists know this. Art makes the mediocre uncomfortable. Avoid graduate advisers who lack artistic skills and a drive to create from scratch. And avoid Utah.
This website is under constant revision and user feedback is always welcome. I receive emails from folks all over the world regularly. New lessons are added and old ones are updated as time allows.
Tips & Fixes for ArcGIS
See the Tips & Fixes post for a few good ideas for improving your workflow.
All photographs on the site are my own unless otherwise noted. Most were collected during trips and climbs in the Rocky Mountain West.
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