ATE Central

Relating Land Cover Changes to Stream Water Quality in North Carolina


This exercise, created by the Integrated Geospatial Education and Technology Training Project (iGETT), uses Landsat data and ArcGIS 10 software to examine land cover changes between 1988 and 2008 in Long Creek Watershed (LCW), a tributary to the Catawba River (which originates in Western North Carolina). The exercise encourages student to link changes in land cover with changes in stream water quality, by compiling data pulled from ArcGIS and ArcGIS 10 and drawing their own conclusions.

By completing this exercise, students will learn how to determine land cover change in a small, urban watershed in Charlotte, North Carolina; demonstrate critical thinking and problem solving skills when asked how to determine land cover change; produce a map showing land cover change in a small watershed after learning the proper image-analysis and mapping techniques; subset satellite images to regions of interest; and understand and apply the basic concepts of change detection using ArcGIS.

The exercise requires access to ArcGIS with Spatial Analysit Extensions and Service Packs and basic access to the internet, and should not be completed by students who do not have a basic working-knowledge of ArcGIS software. Completion of the exercise will take approximately 11 to 15 hours of in-class time. By its end, students should be able to understand the utility and limitations of remote sensing for environmental monitoring; describe the concept of spatial resolution; prepare Landsat data for analysis; display and analyze data in ArcGIS 10; and analyze and display results in ArcGIS.

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