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Texas Ecological Systems Database Project. Data access at: http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/landwater/land/maps/gis/tescp/index.phtml. Project Goals. Increase resolution of landcover mapping for Texas Use field data to validate project

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texas ecological systems database project

Texas Ecological Systems Database Project

Data access at: http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/landwater/land/maps/gis/tescp/index.phtml

project goals
Project Goals
  • Increase resolution of landcover mapping for Texas
  • Use field data to validate project
  • Integrate High Plains mapping with Texas Ecological Mapping Systems Data

Phase 6

September 2013

Texas Ecological Mapping Systems Database Project

Phase 1

Available Now

Phase LPC

February 2012

Phase 2

Available Now

Phase 5

September 2012

Phase 3

Available Now

Phase 4

September 2011

products enduring value
Products/Enduring Value
  • Potential natural vegetation
  • Existing vegetation using an improved classification
  • Improved Ecological Systems interpretations for High Plains
  • Abiotic Site Type Data
  • Ground truth dataset (1,000+ Points in High Plains / 10,000+ Points Statewide)
  • User will build their own added value:
    • Context (local, regional, statewide)
    • Management options
    • Conservation opportunity areas
    • Ecological significance and risk (riverine/aquatics as well)
    • Species habitat modeling
    • Development of educational and interpretive materials
    • Change detection

Field Data Collected includes:

  • Top 3 dominant species in Tree, Shrub, Herbaceous and Succulent Strata
  • Percent Woody and Herbaceous Cover
    • Includes % Live Oak, Shrub, Tree, other Evergreen
  • Landcover and Mapping System
  • Reference photo

Environmental data (slope, aspect, elevation,

solar insolation)

Training data from air photos plus ground data

3-date TM Satellite Imagery (30m resolution)

Land use data (NRCS Common Land Units)

Classify Land Cover

(e.g. cold deciduous forest)

Draft Mapping Targets

(NatureServe Ecological Systems)

Assign Information using soils, ecoregions, geology, ecological site type, hydrology (“modeling”)

Create Map with Named Mapping Units

(e.g. West Gulf Coastal Plain Bottomland Seasonally Flooded Forest)

Provide Interpretation of Mapping Units

(booklet, summary statistics by ecoregion, etc.)

Design and Execute Presentation


Modeling Inputs

  • National Agricultural Imagery Program 2010 Ortho-imagery
  • TPWD Generated Image Objects
  • Multi-date Landsat TM5 Imagery
  • TPWD Developed Landcover Data (12 Classes)
  • 1:24k National Hydrologic Data
  • National Elevation Dataset 10m DEMs
  • Playa Lakes Joint Venture Probable Playa Layer
  • TPWD Updated Common Land Unit Data
  • TPWD Modified Natural Resource Conservation Service SSURGO Data


  • Extensive clean-up of soils
  • Edge match ESD across county boundaries
  • Make sure ESD spatial distribution makes sense

Landcover Classes



Deciduous Woodland and Forest

Deciduous Shrub

Coniferous Evergreen Shrub

High Intensity Urban

Low Intensity Urban


Mixed Woodland and Forest

Open Water

Dense Deciduous Shrub



Modeling Existing Vegetation Type Using

Ecological Site Types (Ecoclasses) and Landcover

evolving and improving implementation
Evolving and Improving Implementation
  • Initially implemented in raster. Time consuming and prone to error introduction.
  • Moved to vector, working with attributed polygons.
  • Initial models used Excel. Moved to Access to reduce error introduction through transcription.
  • Initial vector models used Model Builder. Moved to python to make implementation more transparent and reproducible.
  • Improvements result in ability to rapidly iterate changes in model to visualization in map. Modeling issues can be quickly visualized and corrected.

Texas Ecological Mapping Systems Database Status

April 2011

Data access at: http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/landwater/land/maps/gis/tescp/index.phtml