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Upper Midwest Environmental Sciences Center

Decision Support Systems

Ongoing studies

A Decision Support System (DSS) can be defined in many ways. The working definition the Upper Midwest Environmental Sciences Center (UMESC) uses is, "A spatially based computer application or data that assists a researcher or manager in making decisions." This is quite a broad definition and it needs to be, as the possibilities for types of DSS are limited only by the user group and the developer's imagination. There is no one DSS; they are as diverse as the problems they help solve. This diversity requires that DSSs are built in a variety of ways using the most appropriate methods and tools for the individual application. The skills of potential DSS users vary widely as well, further necessitating multiple approaches to DSS development. Some small, highly trained user groups may want a powerful modeling tool with extensive functionality at the expense of ease of use. Other user groups less familiar with geographic information system (GIS) and spatial data may want an extremely easy to use application for a wide public or otherwise nontechnical audience. The UMESC DSS developers offer our partners a wide variety of technical skills and development options, ranging from the most simple Web page or small application to complex modeling application development.

Types of DSS Tools

The GIS tools fall into one of two categories: general purpose or specific purpose. General-purpose GIS tools are programs such as ARC/INFO and ArcView that have extensive functionality and can be difficult for users unfamiliar with GIS and cartographic principles to learn. Specific-purpose GIS tools are programs that are written by a GIS programmer to provide a user group with specific functions in an easy-to-use package. In the past, specific-purpose GIS tools were written primarily using a macro language such as Avenue (ArcView's macro language) or AML (ARC/INFO's macro language). This method of delivering specific-purpose GIS tools requires that each user have a copy of the host program (ARC/INFO or ArcView) to run the macro language application. The GIS programmers now have a far richer set of tools for application development. Programming libraries with classes for interactive mapping and spatial analysis functions have made it possible to develop specific-purpose GIS tools using industry-standard programming languages that can be compiled and run without a host program (stand-alone). Internet development tools have matured as well, making it possible to develop fairly complex GIS-based programs that users can use through the World Wide Web. The UMESC programmers make extensive use of these development tools and actively search out new and emerging tools and techniques to get the right product in the hands of the decision makers at the right time.

   

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Project Title
Monarch Conservation Science Partnership new

 


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Project Title
Management Unit Prioritization Tools new

Management Unit Prioritization Tools

  • In 2011, researchers from the U.S. Geological Survey, Upper Midwest Environmental Sciences Center and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Morris Wetland Management District developed models and tools to allow managers to prioritize and target management amongst their management units based upon a user-defined set of criteria.
  • A revised toolset, entitled "Management Unit Prioritization Tools", consisting of two separate tools; the Conservation Objective Prioritization Tool and the Overall Prioritization Tool were developed.
  • The development of these decision support tools give resource managers the ability to make thoughtful and strategic choices about where to spend their limited management resources.
  • These tools make the process used to prioritize management units more transparent, improving the defensibility of management decisions.

 


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Project Title
Random Landscape Tool new

Figure 2. Raster zones used as input to the Random Landscape Tool. Output classification is symbolized a concatenation of zone and sample (the forest inventory ID number).The Random Landscape Tool is an ArcMap addin that allows the user to:

  • Generate a series of random landscapes comprised of user defined classes
  • Restrict randomly distributed classes to user defined areas or zones
  • Weight randomly distributed classes to control class prevalence within a landscape or zone
  • Create landscapes that are representative of sample plot data
  • Create landscape that then can be used as initial conditions for simulation modeling

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Project Title
Connectivity and Inundation Tool new

Figure 3. This is an example of the duration days of main channel connectivity and its corresponding hydrograph. This particular product is for the date range of 3/1/2010 - 5/31/2010.  The Connectivity and Inundation Tool is an ArcMap addin that allows the user to:

  • generate spatial data layers that summarize hydrologic conditions over a user specified date range
  • restrict analysis to a specific events defined by a range of conditions (e.g. water depth > X or flow velocity < X)]
  • import user supplied models and hydrographs
  • create maps of minimum, maximum, mean, sum, standard deviation, duration days, maximum consecutive duration days, event start date, and number of events
  • use provided example models and hydrographs for Navigation Pool 8 of the Upper Mississippi River (example models include bathymetry, water velocity, shear stress, and river connectivity)

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Project Title
Application of Wind Fetch and Wave Models for Habitat Rehabilitation and Enhancement Projects - Update 2012

US Geological SurveyWind Fetch output example

  • Models based upon coastal engineering equations have been developed to quantify wind fetch length and several physical wave characteristics including significant height, length, peak period, maximum orbital velocity, and shear stress
  • These models, modified to operate using Environmental Systems Research Institute's ArcGIS 10.0/10.1 Geographic Information System platform, were used to quantify differences in proposed island construction designs for the Harper's Slough Habitat Rehabilitation and Enhancement Project in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers St. Paul District
  • Weighted wind fetch was calculated using land cover data supplied by the Upper Mississippi River Restoration – Environmental Management Program's Long Term Resource Monitoring Program for each island design scenario for the Harper's Slough Habitat Rehabilitation and Enhancement Project
  • A simplistic method for calculating sediment suspension probability was also applied
  • Figures and graphs were created to depict the results of these analyses

 

 


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Project Title
Anticipated Effects of Development on Habitat Fragmentation and Movement of Mammals Into and Out of the Schoodic District, Acadia National Park, Maine

View from Schoodic Head, Acadia National Park (Photograph by Todd M. Edgar, National Park Service)

Most national parks interact with adjacent lands because their boundaries fail to encompass all regional habitats, species pools, and migration routes. Activities planned for adjacent lands can have adverse effects on park resources and visitor experiences. For example, fragmentation of adjacent habitat into smaller and more isolated remnants may influence the suitability of park habitat for a wide range of species and limit animal dispersal pathways, which may influence visitor experiences and park resources as well as the energy balance and population dynamics of the animals themselves.


 

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Project Title
Curve Fit: A Pixel Level Raster Regression Tool

Curve FitCurve Fit is an ArcMap 10.1 (10.2 forthcoming) tool that:

  • performs pixel level regression analysis on a series of raster datasets
  • is capable of calculating both linear and nonlinear regressions
  • allows the user to constrain parameters for nonlinear models
  • generates raster surfaces representing parameter estimate, model fit, and multi-model inference




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Project Title
A Tool for Prioritizing Management Units at Morris Wetland Management District
  • Morris WMD Overall WPA Prioritization Model MapThe development of this decision support tool gives USFWS resource managers the ability to make thoughtful and strategic choices about where to spend its limited management resources.
  • This tool makes the processes used to prioritize these management units more transparent, improving the defensibility of management decisions.


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Project Title
Percent Edge Tool

  • Percent edge dialog The Percent Edge Tool is a customization of ArcMap that analyzes polygonal shapefiles.
  • The Percent Edge Tool calculates area, compactness, perimeter, edge lengths with adjacent polygons, and percentage of edge with adjacent polygons.
  • This information can then be summarized into a pivot table and queried.
    Example query: I want to know where are all of the large, compact, woody wetland polygons that share > 50% of their edge with emergent herbaceous wetlands.?


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Project Title
Adjacency For WinBUGS Tool

  • Adjacency For WinBUGS dialogThe Adjacency For WinBUGS Tool is a customization of ArcMap.
  • The tool iteratively processes each polygon within a selected layer and creates a text file of polygonal adjacency where each polygon is identified by a unique Adj_ID value.
  • The output of this tool is used in WinBUGS (MRC Biostatistics Unit Cambridge) by the car.normal, car.l1, and mv.car conditional autoregressive distributions.


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Project Title
Split By Attribute Tool

  • Split By Attribute Tool dialogThe Split By Attribute Tool is a customization of ArcMap.
  • The tool takes a single shapefile and splits it into many shapefiles based on the unique values of a chosen field.
  • If the user has made a selection on a shapefile, then only those features that have been selected will be split.
  • Each output layer will named with the following structure: user supplied base name + split value.

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Project Title
Census Stop Tool

Census Stop Too

  • The Census Stop Tool is a GIS tool that creates random points along a line layer while maintaining a minimum distance between points.
  • The user has the option of selecting one of two random point placement methods.
  • The Census Stop Tool is available as an ArcMap 9.x extension.
  • This tool is designed to facilitate road based surveys by reducing the potential for double sampling.

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Project Title
LINK: ARC GIS Tools for Conservation Planning

 Zone map produced by the LINK Tool showing areas of high potential species richness for birds of high conservation concern in U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Region 3.Research: Maps, Models, and Tools for Bird Conservation Planning

  • Allows managers and planners to rapidly assess landscape attributes and link these attributes with species/habitat information
  • Provides resource managers a means to compare the conservation potential of local management units with that of the surrounding county, state, or region
  • Can be applied to any taxa or suite of taxa and any landscape, given that spatial data layers representing habitats are available and species/habitat relationships can be defined
  • Applicable to many types of wildlife conservation management and planning efforts
  • Helps resource managers identify and prioritize those species and habitats most in need of management action
  • ArcGIS platform
  • Summary of the attributes of CCP GIS Tools and LINK , two GIS decision support tools designed for application to conservation planning

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Project Title
Regional Bird Conservation Planning: Birds and Land Uses

Research: Maps, Models, and Tools for Bird Conservation Planning

  • Regional Bird Conservation ToolInteractive mapping application displays and serves maps, data, and metadata over the internet
  • Helps state and regional bird conservation planners rapidly assess land cover attributes over large areas (counties, states, regions) and link these attributes with bird information
  • Analyzes land cover and Breeding Bird Survey data for the continental United States
  • Creates breeding bird checklists for any location
  • ArcIMS platform: GIS for the internet

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Project Title
Application of Wind Fetch and Wave Models for Habitat Rehabilitation and Enhancement Projects

US Geological SurveyWind Fetch output example

  • Models based upon coastal engineering equations have been developed to quantify wind fetch length and several physical wave characteristics including significant height, length, peak period, maximum orbital velocity, and shear stress
  • These models, developed using Environmental Systems Research Institute’s ArcGIS 9.2 Geographic Information System platform, were used to quantify differences in proposed island construction designs for three Habitat Rehabilitation and Enhancement Projects in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers St. Paul District (Capoli Slough and Harpers Slough) and St. Louis District (Swan Lake)
  • Weighted wind fetch was calculated using land cover data supplied by the Long Term Resource Monitoring Program (LTRMP) for each island design scenario for all three HREPs
  • A simplistic method for calculating sediment suspension probability was also applied to the HREPs in the St. Paul District
  • Figures and graphs were created to depict the results of this analysis

 

 


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Project Title
Submersed Aquatic Vegetation Modeling Output Online

US Geological SurveyWisconsin DNR logo

  • Statistical model to predict the probability of occurrence of submersed aquatic vegetation in Pool 8 of the Upper Mississippi River on the basis of a few hydrological, physical, and geomorphic variables
  • Submersed Aquatic Vegetation ModelModel takes into consideration flow velocity, wind fetch, bathymetry, growing-season daily water level, and light extinction coefficient in the river and calculates the probability of submersed aquatic vegetation
  • Web link to an Environmental Systems Research Institute (ESRI) ArcGIS Server website created at the Upper Midwest Environmental Sciences Center to make model predictions available online and interactive
  • Ability to view the spatial data, measure linear distances, and identify features


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Project Title
Acadia National Park Landscape Scale Conservation and Easement Planning

US Geological Survey
National Park Service

  • Collaboration between USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center, Acadia National Park, and USGS Upper Midwest Environmental Sciences Center
  • Provides a more rigorous and comprehensive assessment of potential parcels to include in the ANP easement program using a landscape perspective
  • ArcMap 9.0 user interfacePark has a legislatively authorized conservation easement program that has been used to provide additional protection to critically important private lands
  • Park has used broad criteria to evaluate easements
    • Benefit for resource protection
    • Proximity of easement to park and other easements
  • Developed within ArcMap 9.0 platform along with Spatial Analyst extension

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Project Title
Geographic information system (GIS) programming, analysis, and data production at UMESC

Predicted increase in dabbler habitatDabbling Duck Models

  • Model waterfowl habitat for a scheduled Habitat Rehabilitation and Enhancement Project
  • Environmental Systems Research Institute modeling software
  • Scoping process
  • Comparative analyses
  • Alternative to Habitat Suitability Index models

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URL: http://www.umesc.usgs.gov/dss.html
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Page Last Modified: January 29, 2016