GIS and Remote Sensing in Practice: Technology Implementation at Yale Myers Forest

EPA Grant Number: U914947
Title: GIS and Remote Sensing in Practice: Technology Implementation at Yale Myers Forest
Investigators: Evans, Alexander M.
Institution: Yale University
EPA Project Officer: Lee, Sonja
Project Period: January 1, 1996 through March 13, 1998
Project Amount: $68,000
RFA: STAR Graduate Fellowships (1996) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Fellowship - Forestry , Academic Fellowships , Biology/Life Sciences , Ecological Indicators/Assessment/Restoration


The objective of this research project is to combine traditional forest inventory, remote sensing data, and geographic information systems (GIS) analysis into a format that is accessible and useful. The case study for the integration of these technologies is the Yale Myers forest. The case study is divided into two parts. First, a method for analysis and boundaries via GIS is developed. The second part creates a cover type map for Yale Myers forest from satellite images. In conjunction with this research paper, the Web Site Exit was developed.


The term geographic information system was originally coined in 1967 for a project that aimed to map Canada. GIS seems to have as many definitions as it does users. Recurring ideas in most definitions are the storage, manipulation, and display of spatial data in an automated environment (Maguire, 1991). In other words, a GIS is computer software that enables a user to manipulate and analyze maps of anything from land use to a soil profile. As with most technologies, GIS has a lot of jargon connected to it. Most can ignored, but some is important to even the most basic GIS use. "Raster" and "vector" are two terms that are important to understand; they are two ways to store geographic information within a computer. Raster GIS programs store information as a grid with fixed-cell size. Vector information uses points, lines, and polygons to store information. The vectors are fixed in space with x and y planar coordinates. Because not every cell needs to be stored in memory—only the corners of the polygon—vector files are more compact. The advantage to raster storage is that relationships between bits of information are very simple.

Supplemental Keywords:

fellowship, geographic information systems, GIS, remote sensing, remote sensing data, satellite images, spatial data, soil, soil profile, raster, vector., RFA, Scientific Discipline, Ecosystem Protection/Environmental Exposure & Risk, RESEARCH, Monitoring/Modeling, Monitoring, Environmental Monitoring, Ecology and Ecosystems, remote sensing, remote sensing data, geo-spatial internet system, forest ecosystem, ecosystem health, GIS

Progress and Final Reports:

  • 1996
  • 1997
  • Final