New GIS-Geomorph Publications

The role of pre-existing topography in the evolution of post-glacial fluvial landforms in the middle of the Satluj valley, north-western Himalaya, India
Sharma et al. (in press 2016)
Quaternary International

Quaternary history and landscape evolution of a high-altitude intermountain basin at the western end of the Himalayan-Tibetan orogen, Waqia Valley, Chinese Pamir
Hendrick et al. (in press 2016)

Positioning exact to the millimeter: Geodetic reference system enables highly accurate positioning [summary article of Seitz et al. 2016 in Pangea]
Science Daily, 25 Aug 2016

Asymmetric exhumation of the Mount Everest region: Implications for the tectono-topographic evolution of the Himalaya
Carrapa et al. (2016)
Geology v. 44

Lithology and soil relationships for modeling and mapping
Gray et al. (2016)
Catena v. 147

Erosion-driven uplift in the Gamburtsev Subglaical Mountains of east Antarctica
Paxman et al. (2016)
Earth and Planetary Science Letters v. 452

A case study on pseudo 3-D Chirp sub-bottom profiler (SBP) survey for the detection of a fault trace in shallow sedimentary layers at gas hydrate site in the Ulleung Basin, East Sea
Kim et al. (2016)
Journal of Applied Geophysics v. 133

Decoupling of modern shortening rates, climate, and topography in the Caucasus
Forte et al. (2016)
Earth & Planetary Science Letters v. 449

Glacial history and landscape evolution of southern Cumberland Peninsula, Baffin Island, Canada, constrained by cosmogenic 10Be and 26Al
Corbett et al. (2016)
GSA Bulletin v. 128

“With respect to cold-based, non-erosive ice, the glacial buzzsaw appears to have a clutch!” -S. Cooley

Climate-change versus landslide origin of fill terraces in a rapidly eroding bedrock landscape: San Gabriel River, California
Scherler et al. (2016)
GSA Bulletin v. 128

Individual tree crown delineation using localized contour tree method and airborne LiDAR data in coniferous forests
Wu et al. (2016)
International Journal of Applied Earth Observation and Geoinformation v. 52

TanDEM-X IDEM precision and accuracy assessment based on a large assembly of differential GNSS measurements in Kruger National Park, South Africa
Baade & Schmullius (2016)
ISPRS Journal of Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing

Active tectonic deformation along rejuvenated faults in tropical Borneo: Inferences obtained from tectono-geomorphic evaluation
Matthew et al. (2016)
Geomorphology v. 267

Using geoinformatics and geomorphometrics to quantify the geodiversity of Crete, Greece
Argyriou et al. (2016)
International Journal of Applied Earth Observation & Applied Geoinformation v. 51

Magmatic cycles pace tectonic and morphological expression of rifting (Afar depression, Ethiopia)
Medynski et al. (2016)
Earth & Planetary Science Letters v. 446

Climate and hillslope degradation vary in concert; 85 ka to present, eastern sierra Nevada, CA, USA
Madoff & Putkonen (May 2016)

Paleotopography and erosion rates in the central Hangay Dome, Mongolia: Landscape evolution since the mid-Miocene
Smith et al. (May 2016)
Journal of Asian Earth Sciences

Automated delineation of karst sinkholes from LiDAR-derived digital elevation models
Wu et al. (2016)

Use of MODIS satellite images for detailed lake morphometry: Application to basins with large water level fluctuations
Ogakoglou et al. (2016)
International Journal of Applied Earth Observation & Applied Geoinformation v. 51

Weathering-limited hillslope evolution in carbonate landscapes
Godard et al. (2016)
Earth & Planetary Science Letter v. 446

Landscape response to recent tectonic deformation in the SW Pannonian Basin: Evidence from DEM-based morphometric analysis of the Bilogora Mt. area, NE Croatia
Matos et al. (2016)
Geomorphology v. 263

Editor’s note: Matos’ article sets a high standard for visual display of morphometric information; the maps and figures are excellent. A good paper to assign students working on quantitative geomorphology projects.

Aspect-dependent soil saturation and insight into debris-flow initiation during extreme rainfall in the Colorado Front Range
Ebel et al. (2016)
Geology v. 44

Landslides, threshold slopes, and the survival of relict terrain in the wake of the Mendocino Triple Junction
Bennett et al. (2016)
Geology v. 44

Low-latitude arc–continent collision as a driver for global cooling
Jagoutz et al. (2016)
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences v. 113

Cenozoic rejuvenation events of Massif Central topography (France): Insights from cosmogenic denudation rates and river profiles
Olivetti et al. (2016)
Earth & Planetary Science Letters v. 444

The value of Google Earth for erosion mapping
Boardman (2016)
Catena v. 143

Combining QuickBird, LiDAR, and GIS topography indices to identify a single native tree species in a complex landscape using an object-based classification approach
Pham et al. (2016)
International Journal of Applied Earth Observation and Geoinformation v. 50

Geomorphic analysis in areas of low-rate neotectonic deformation: South Epirus (Greece) as a case study
Ntokos et al. (2016)
Geomorphology v. 263

A terrific explanation of raster resolution by CORE GIS/Matt Stevenson
Check out their great portfolio –>

Landscape response to recent tectonic deformation in the SW Pannonian Basin: Evidences from DEM-based morphometric analysis of the Bilogora Mt. area, NE Croatia
Matos et al. (2016)
Quaternary Science Reviews v. 139

The ancestors of meandering rivers
de Almeida et al. (2016)
Geology v. 44

Tectonic geomorphology of a large normal fault: Akşehir fault, SW Turkey
Topal et al. (2016)
Geomorphology v. 259

Geomorphology of the Sierra Gorda karst, South Spain
Martín-Vivaldi et al. (2016)
Journal of Maps (published online)

Uncertainty quantification in modeling earth surface processes: It’s most applicable at one end of the spectrum of model types
Murray et al. (2016)
Computers & Geosciences v. 90

Changing coasts, mapped by kites and balloons
University of Victoria – The Ring

Geomorphological map of the Afekan Crater region, Titan
Malaska, MJ et al. (2016)
Icarus v. 270

Building Permit Maps

At some point, a cartographer needs a real job. In many cities around the US, there are opportunities to help clients with building permits and land use applications.

A lot of land surveyors, civil engineers, and some architects produce planning maps in preparation for residential and commercial construction projects. They do this because the local municipality requires them to do so. It costs clients a lot of money.

For small residential projects, especially in rural areas, a full set of engineering plans is not typically required. The map below is compiled from several official documents. I made it in Adobe Illustrator. This kind of map can help move your permit application along quicker. This took me 1 day to research and 1/2 a day to draft. It didn’t cost thousands of dollars to create (the client saves money). The scaling is held from stamped engineered documents.

I have always enjoyed making these kinds of maps. The goal of a map like this is to give the plan reviewer confidence in your submitted permit. It provides most of the technical information needed, but does it in such a way that anyone can understand it.

Example Property Plan Map

Channel Analysis Project

This is a project I have students do in one of my GIS courses. They utilize Google Earth, Excel, and Illustrator to “stack” various bits of information that characterizes a channel of their choosing. This project does not require ArcGIS skills. The final product is an 11″ x 17″ poster. Continue reading

Interested in a GIS Career?

I am biased when it comes to advice about GIS careers. I think students should first pursue an undergraduate degree in a STEM discipline and apply for jobs in that field. Good degree choices are Geosciences, Biosciences, Computer Science, Engineering, Chemistry, Physics. If you complete your degree and are still drawn to GIS, then seek out GIS jobs in your field (or wherever you have a foot in the door). With that in mind, here are some things to consider. Continue reading

Faceted Spurs: Wasatch Front

The Wasatch Mountains mark the boundary between two physiographic provinces: the Basin & Range and the Colorado Plateau. The western range front rises abruptly out of the valley for 100 miles between Logan and Provo. The Wasatch is tectonically active today (Google: Intermountain Seismic Zone). Much work has been done over the past few decades to understand the neotectonics of the range (Machette et al., 1992a,b; Schwartz & Coppersmith, 1984). Background reading is found in Tectonic Geomorphology by Burbank & Anderson (2012, Fig 4.16, p. 91) and references therein. Continue reading

Soil Survey Assessment

Partial instructions…

The following instructions offer one way to assess the accuracy of published slope ranges for soil map unit polygons.

In the US, the USDA NRCS Soil Survey creates and publishes soil maps. Soil surveys are maps of soil polygons, detailed descriptions, and use/management interpretation tables. “Soil Series” and “Soil Map Units” are defined, in part, by slope (also elevation, bedrock parent material, temperature-moisture category, rangeland/forestland location, etc.). Soil Map Units are the numbered polygons shown on soil maps. A survey area usually contains a few dozen Series. A Soil Series may be composed of multiple Soil Map Unit polygons, thus, several thousand polygons comprise a soil survey area.

Example Soil Survey Area:
Soil Survey of the Colville Indian Reservation, parts of Ferry & Okanogan Counties, WA

Example Soil Series nomenclature (Winchester Series):
WINCHESTER – Mixed, Mesic, Xeric Torripsamments
OSD for Winchester Series

Soil Map Units for Winchester Series:
521 – Winchester loamy coarse sand, 0 to 10 percent slopes
522 – Winchester loamy coarse sand, 10 to 25 percent slopes
523 – Winchester loamy coarse sand, 25 to 60 percent slopes

1.) Acquire Data

– The easiest, most user-friendly way to download soil survey data is through the “SSURGO Data Downloader”, available from ESRI…CLICK HERE. Data is packaged by watershed and comes as a MapPack (.mpk) for use in ArcGIS. If the .mpk file does not open when double-clicked, uncompress it with a program like 7-Zip (or similar). You will get a set of folders. Collect these all in a new folder that you name intelligently. Then look in the “v10″ folder for the .mxd. Load it in ArcMap. Bam.

– Download soil survey custom maps and data for specific regions of interest from the online mapping tool at WebSoilSurvey.

Soil Series descriptions are found at Official Soil Survey Descriptions (OSD).

Soil GIS layers are available from Geospatial Data Gateway. “SSURGO” data is the most detailed soils info in the US. Usually you download soils data by County, National Forest, or Indian Reservation. The “spatial” data are the shapefiles with limited amount of attribute information. The “tabular” dataset contains physical and chemical soil properties, soil interpretations, and metadata.

Archived Soil Survey Manuscripts are also available. While the latest (official) soil survey data is found through Web Soil Survey, “archived” copies of older survey versions are found at Web Soil Survey > Archived Soil Surveys or on the shelf at most university libraries. These come as printed volumes or as PDFs. Some local NRCS offices have copies, too.

Other Data
– Several links to soil-related Tools.
– Download DEMs and clip to your survey area’s boundary polygon (use EarthExplorer or another DEM source).
– Digital Raster Graphics (georeferenced topo maps in .tif format) from LibreMap
– Digital Line Graphs (DLG) shapefiles: HERE
– Optional: Download temperature data from Oregon State’s PRISM Climate Group
– Optional: Download geological GIS data from the Geological Survey or Bureau of Mines for your state:
– Optional: Rangeland vs. Forestland polygons analysis…
– Optional: Land Use/Land Cover analysis…

2.) Get Prepared
– Add layers to a new map in ArcMap.
– Set up Data Frame Coordinate System and Display Units (Ex: UTM NAD83 Zone 11, Meters).
– Grid the survey area in preparation for sampling (Sampling Grid). Maybe 10km x 10km grid cell size? We’ll not assess the entire survey area here, rather just a representative portion of it (certain grid cells).
– Select the grid cell you will use for this analysis.
– Clip soils and base layers to your study area polygon or set of sampling grid cells.
– Create a slope raster in percent rise units (smoothing needed?).

3.) Do the GIS Analysis
– How many different map units are there in your study area? Map units are found in the MUSYM field in the attribute table. MUSYM numbers are the labels used on paper soil maps. Map units in newer surveys use numbers only. Older surveys are letter-number combos.
– Extract………
– Zonal statistics to extract summary statistics for map unit polygons inside sample grid cell (study area)…

4.) Compare Sample Distribution to Published Slope Range
– Create a histogram of extracted slope for each soil map unit (use 1% bins). Compile data as necessary to create one histogram for map units.
– Identify Mean and Median of histogram.
– Add a graphic (or series) showing published slope range for the polygon.
– Write up your results…Where/which soil polygons match best/worst?

5.) Repeat
– Similar analyses can be performed on elevation, bedrock parent material, temperature-moisture categories, rangeland/forestland, etc.