Introduction to Remote Sensing Study Sites Fall 2018

We visited the sites on Monday, 8/27. It was a very, very hot and humid day! This year I added Pearl Springs instead of the Ralph Brock seedling orchard and golf course. It’s good to switch from time to time.

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Pennsylvania Forests from the Air

Presentation for the Penn State Mont Alto Offered Student Reception, April 7, 2018

Foresters spend a lot of time in the field studying forest conditions and carrying out management activities from tree planting to timber harvesting.

It is also important to be able to see the whole forest from a distance to save time and money, and to better understand the resources.

Here are a few resources that we use to study the forests of Pennsylvania that are free to use for everyone.

Starting in the 1930’s aerial photos were taken on film from airplanes flying in back and forth patterns to cover part of the landscape. Many of these photos taken by the USDA are now available at the Penn Pilot website. You can look at photos from all over the state at different time intervals. The images can be downloaded and georeferenced in a GIS.

Google Maps is an evolving source of current imagery. It is updated frequently, so you never know what you will get. If you link it to your Google account you get access to a variety of navigation tools.

Google My Maps let you create your own maps that can be shared on a website or sent to anyone. For example, here is a map I made of places I worked in Africa.

Pennsylvania has a spatial data clearinghouse called PASDA, where there is a huge range or geographic data that can be viewed or downloaded. It is used by public agencies, private companies, and interested people. In forestry classes we often download or stream data from PASDA for GIS projects.

Two of the most useful tools in PASDA are the Imagery Navigator and the Pennsylvania Atlas. They show similar data, but vary in how they present it.

Some of the types of data we use include:

  • panchromatic (black and white)
  • true color at different times and resolutions
  • false color or near infrared, good for studying vegetation
  • hillshade, which is a shadowed view of the topography developed from lidar
  • state and local roads
  • soil type maps
  • streams and watersheds
  • state park, state forest and state game land boundaries
  • digital elevation models (DEM) to make contour lines and study topography
  • topographic maps

We also use satellite imagery, but that’s for another presentation.

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Using a DEM

This map shows contour lines generated from the PASDA 3.2 foot DEM. I used the ArcGIS spatial analyst tool to develop contour lines with a vertical elevation of 20 feet and index contours at 100 feet.

I also made two hillshade maps. The first used the default view with illumination from 315 degrees azimuth. The second was a more realistic 142 degrees illumination. The two different angles make a big difference in the view of the map.

And the second view.



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Landsat Imagery at Study Sites

This map shows three of the remote sensing study sites with Landsat imagery. The image was from the Landsat 8 OLI sensor. The image was downloaded from the Landsat Look viewer. ( ).

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Color Imagery Analysis Fall 2017

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Panchromatic Images from Study Sites


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Remote Sensing and Aerial Photography Class Presentations

Here are links to old lectures on my Penn State Pass Space.

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Remote Sensing Field Site Visits

Each of the sites we visited have grown in so much since I last visited them two years ago, especially the Birch Run site.

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Welcome to Remote Sensing

We will be going on a field trip today.

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Meeting of the Pines Waypoint Data

Here is the outline of the steps we will be following.

Click here to get the waypoints that mark the perimeter of the study area for Meeting of the Pines.

To save time, I already downloaded soil survey data from Web Soil Survey in a polygon that includes our study area. Click here to download the zip file.

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