Google Map created by Michaela Friedrichova and Dr. Wei Luo, Northern Illinois University, 2009
John's presentation concerned Estimating the Volume of Excavation of Martian Valley Networks. He used Black Top Hat transformation, an image processing technique, to extract valley depth from Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter (MOLA) data and estimated the volume of selected valley networks on Mars. Valley networks are river-like features on Mars that may contain important information about past climate and water on Mars. Estimating their volume can help determine the amount water needed to form them and the rate of erosion.
This was the first professional presentation for both Michaela and John and they learned a lot from this experience. They both have been working with Dr. Wei Luo since this summer.
Melissa Burlingame, an NIU Geography graduate student, won ILGISA's People's Choice Award for her the poster she presented, entitled, Evaluating Land Cover Changes Over Time.
Map created by Melissa Burlingame
Melissa's research examines how county-wide assessment of natural resource management policies may be improved with access to readily-available data and easily-interpretable measures. Kane County, Illinois was chosen as the study area due, in part, to its rapid urban development over the past decade. Publicly available land cover data from the US Department of Agriculture (National Agriculture Statistics Service –NASS) were used together with FRAGSTATS, a landscape ecology freeware package, to examine land cover changes and evaluate the degree to which these analyses may inform conservation policy decisions. Melissa's preliminary findings suggest that Kane County has made progress toward conserving forest, wetland, and pasture land over the study period.
Congratulations NIU Geography students on your impressive work!
Post contributed by Dr. Wei Luo and C. Scott Smith