Published on March 6, 2014
Exercise 7 In this exercise, you will have the opportunity to plan and create a map for a local ecotourism company. To complete this task, you will need to use public domain data, process it in a GIS, and output the data in several formats. Creating a map for an ecotourism company in New Zealand North Island, New Zealand. Photograph by Joseph Kerski. The GIS Guide to Public Domain Data
Context Tourism is one of the world’s leading industries, catering to millions of people annually and bolstering the economies of localities, regions, and even entire countries through tourist-related revenue. Tourism is also one of the leading consumers of natural resources; many tourist activities, by their nature, consume more resources compared to nontourist activities through associated transportation and accommodation costs. Tenets of ecotourism include minimizing impact on the area being visited, building respect and awareness for local people and landscapes, providing financial benefits for conservation and for local people, and reducing the type and amount of resources used. Because ecotourism seeks to understand environments holistically, GIS is a perfect tool to use for any analysis involving ecotourism. As tourist numbers increased rapidly during the twentieth century, the negative impacts of tourism also became apparent. A heightened awareness of, and sensitivity to, the fragility of environments led to the emergence of ecotourism, which has emerged as a viable alternative to traditional tourism. Ecotourism is sustainable, environmentally responsible travel to areas that conserves the environment and improves the well-being of local people in those areas. Fjordland, New Zealand. Photograph by Jill Clark.
Problem You have been asked to produce a map of New Zealand for a local ecotourism company. The map will be made available online and for downloading via the company's website. You can choose a particular ecotourism theme to base your project on. Some suggestions are: bird watching exploring the geothermal parks and volcanoes whale watching glacier boat trips and hikes exploring the national parks caving trips In previous exercises, you were directed to specific websites to obtain data, asked a series of relevant questions to help you to think not only about the geoprocessing you were performing but also about the data you were using. For those exercises, you were given requirements that were quite specific. Having worked through these other exercises, you now have the skill set to solve problems in a more open-ended framework. This is the approach that will be used in exercise 7. You are still encouraged to think about the processes and data, but you will largely direct the project on your own. river raft and canoe trips For your ecotourism study, you need to act as the project manager—determine what problem you will address, which data are needed, which analysis techniques you will apply to those data, and what format you will use to communicate your results.
Problem (contd.) From a business standpoint, think about who your client is, who your customers are, and how you will communicate your results effectively. You could consider spatial data themes such as: Existing ecotourism or traditional tourism adventure providers Elevation Land cover Airport, harbors, and other access points for tourists travelling to and within New Zealand Throughout the project, keep in mind (and put into practice) the geographic inquiry process—ask geographic questions, acquire data, explore data, analyze data, produce and communicate results, act on your knowledge, and ask additional questions. Road network Hydrography Population and demographics Existing recreational activities and their frequency of use Climate Also think about what happens after you produce the ecotourism map. All too frequently, GIS projects are established, the results are used a few times, but then due to staff turnover or the end of funding, the project languishes. How would you maintain this project into the future, or how would you encourage the ecotourism company to maintain, or even develop it?
Skills Required Resources Downloading and formatting data from a national government public domain data source TIME This exercise contains twenty-two questions and will require two to four hours to complete. Analyzing vector and raster data in an integrated environment SOFTWARE ArcGIS 10.0 or later, from Esri. Planning and managing projects Managing data
Work package 1: Project requirements 1) Project requirements Step 1 Write a statement that defines the project scope and requirements. This statement should consider: 1.1) What geographic questions are you asking? 1.2) What are the goals of the project? 1.3) What is the expected outcome? 1.4) What will be the means of communicating with project stakeholders, the intended audience, and sources for your data? 1.5) What is the project timetable and deadline? 1.6) What will your ecotourism map show? 1.7) What datasets would you like to use and where will you get that data from? 1.8) What format will the data be in? 1.9) What software will you use? 1.10) What will be required to manipulate and format the data? 1.11) What analysis do you intend to perform on the data? 1.12) How long will it take to produce the map and how will you present your results? End of work package
Work package 2: Data requirements 2) Data requirements Step 2 Consider the type, format and sources of data for your project. 2.1) What data do you require to produce the map? 2.2) Where will you get the data from? Possible sources include: Land Information New Zealand: http://www.linz.govt.nz/ (hydrography, contour lines, imagery) Statistics New Zealand: http://www.stats.govt.nz/ (census statistical data and administrative area boundaries) Geografx: http://www.geographx.co.nz/downloads.html (DEMs, shaded relief data) Koordinates: http://www.koordinates.com (search on New Zealand; aerials and other data, some free with a creative commons license) The New Zealand Land Cover Database: http://www.mfe.govt.nz/issues/land/land-cover-dbase/ (New Zealand Ministry for the Environment land cover database) New Zealand Geospatial Strategy Catalogue of Geospatial Data: http://geodata.govt.nz (summary of geospatial data throughout the country, some of which is in the public domain) 2.3) Which data sources are the most useful? If more than one source was available, why would you choose one over another? 2.4) Which coordinate systems are used for the data? What is the most common coordinate system for spatial data in use in New Zealand?
Work package 2: Data requirements Step 2 2.5) Are you able to convert to a common coordinate system? What are the advantages of converting all the data you are working in to a common coordinate system? 2.6) Were there any data you wanted to include but could not find? 2.7) Do the datasets you've chosen all come with metadata? If not, and there's no alternative source, should you still use them? Remember that people are going to be using your map to investigate an area. You could have tourists walking along a cliff top to visit bird nesting areas or walking through areas of volcanic activity, so you need to be aware of the limitations of the data you use to produce your map. People using your information are out to explore and enjoy; your map should help them achieve both of these goals safely. End of work package
Work package 3: Production requirements 3) Production requirements Step 3 Consider how you are going to produce your ecotourism map. 3.1) In which spatial data format are the data that you are working with? 3.2) Which specific ArcGIS tools will you use to convert the data, if the data are not in the format you require? 3.3) Which tools in the ArcGIS suite will you use to produce your final map? Why will you use these tools? 3.4) Was there anything you wanted to do with the data but couldn’t? Why couldn’t you do it? End of work package
Work package 4: Output requirements 4) Output requirements Step 4 Consider what type of output you want to generate. 4.1) What is the target information product required by the ecotourism company? 4.2) How are you going to make it available? 4.3) Video and photographs taken on the ecotourism site will greatly increase interest. How will you incorporate these multimedia elements into your presentation and final map? 4.4) How will you maintain the map and dataset in the future? How will you encourage the ecotourism company to do so, itself, and not rely on outside help (you)? 4.5) How are you going to document the limitations of the data and map? Include a statement of how and where the map should be used. 4.6) What means will you use to communicate your results to the ecotourism company to ensure they will accept your solutions? Create a version of your final map for review. End of work package
Work package 5: Final assessment 5) Evaluate the benefits Steps 5 - 6 GIS is more than providing some map output and a single solution: GIS can help change the way an organization is managed and run. 5.1) How can GIS help the ecotourism company to do its work in the future in a more efficient, more sustainable, and less costly manner? 5.2) How will GIS help improve the ecotourism company’s workflow and organization? 6) Review Review your project. 6.1) Did you have any problems meeting your project requirements? If yes, what solutions did you come up with? 6.2) Based on what you have experienced, would you do anything differently? End of work package
Chapter 7 quiz 1) Name five important questions to ask when deciding which data to use in any GIS-based project. 2) Describe why each of the questions you listed in the first quiz question answer is important. 3) Indicate whether you agree or disagree with the following statement: Using data with a finer resolution is always preferable over using data with a coarser resolution in any GIS-based project. 4) Describe three ways in which a GIS project can be considered a success. 5) Name three practical considerations in obtaining spatial data, indicate which datasets you have personally considered in your GIS work, and indicate which considerations seem to be most important with each project. 6) Describe what is meant by storing your GIS project with “absolute path names” versus “relative path names.” 7) What is one advantage of using a GIS portal to find data over a general Internet search for data? What is one disadvantage of using this approach? 8) Describe one case study in which the project managers used public domain data sources to make a decision. Include in your description the problem addressed, the region of the world in which it was addressed, the public domain data used, and the results or outcomes in the study. Which type did you use?
Chapter 7 quiz (contd.) 9) List three benefits and three limitations to the datasets you chose to use in generating your New Zealand ecotourism map. 10) Describe how the data that you chose to use affected your final map and the spatial analysis in your New Zealand ecotourism study.
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