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GIS in Biology. GIS Day 2005 Glens Falls High School. How the System Works. GIS. DATA. MAPS. REPORTS. DATA. MODELS. Layers of Data. Summit Location. Elevation Contours. Town Boundaries. DYNAMIC LINKS. Environmental Analysis. Habitat protection Species tracking

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GIS in Biology

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Gis in biology

GIS in Biology

GIS Day 2005

Glens Falls High School

How the system works

How the System Works







Layers of data

Layers of Data

Summit Location



Town Boundaries

Dynamic links


Environmental analysis

Environmental Analysis

  • Habitat protection

  • Species tracking

  • Balanced development (e.g., “greenprinting”)

  • Stream and wetland buffering

    Society for Conservation Biology (

Special ways of viewing

Special Ways of Viewing

  • Internet/Intranet

  • 3-D perspective

Habitat changes over time

Habitat Changes over Time

  • Use aerial photograph with land use data

  • Overlay with land use data – determine if/how past land use impacts habitat

  • Predict, based on land use trends, future change in environment

Gis in biology

1918 Fire Protection

Gis in biology

1978 Land Cover

Migration patterns

Migration Patterns

  • GPS tags to track animal migration and habitat range

    • Example: Leatherback Sea Turtles

Invasive species

Invasive Species

  • Track encroachment of invasive species

    • Purple loosestrife

    • Zebra mussels

Zebra mussel distribution 1988 1999

Zebra Mussel Distribution:1988-1999



Map Source:

Purple loosestrife lythrum salicaria

Purple Loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria)

Distribution in US as of April 2004

Info Source:;

Change in coral reefs

Change in Coral Reefs

Interactive GIS website

  • Extent of reefs

  • Health status

  • Percentage decline over time

  • Factors contributing to decline

Water protection

Water Protection

Stream protection:

  • Prevents soil erosion

  • Maintains tree cover in vicinity, keeping streams cold for species such as trout

50 foot buffer of streams

Private land with harvestable timber

Public health

Public Health

  • Spread of epidemic disease

    • Mapping cholera outbreak in 1854 London

    • H5N1 Avian Flu

    • Cancer incidents

    • Aids cases

      • Environmental and Cultural factors

Cholera outbreak

Cholera Outbreak

  • Dr. John Snow maps locations of cases (tallied by thick lines on map)

  • Spatial patterns help identify probable cause of outbreak (i.e., contaminated water at public pump site)

West nile virus

Identify Neighborhoods at highest risk

Plan insecticide spraying

West Nile Virus

Tracking lead poisoning in children

Tracking Lead Poisoning in Children

  • Examine property data for structures built prior to 1970

  • Overlay with locations of lead poisoning cases (homes of children)

Map Source:



  • Land Use

  • Wetland Management

  • Mining Reclamation and Mgmt

  • Parks and Open Space

  • Transportation

  • Growth Management

  • Watershed

  • Case Study: Kings County, WA

Gis in biology


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