USGS Western Ecological Research Center

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Seabird and Marine Mammal Aerial Survey GIS Toolbox: Using ModelBuilder to Create Custom Data Processing Tools.

Released: 2012
Gustafson, K. B., W. M. Perry, J. Adams, J. Felis, J. Y. Takekawa, and D. M. Pereksta. Seabird and Marine Mammal Aerial Survey GIS Toolbox: Using ModelBuilder to Create Custom Data Processing Tools.  2012 ESRI User’s Conference, San Diego, CA

The US Geological Survey Western Ecological Research Center is conducting new seabird and marine mammal surveys for the US Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) Pacific Outer Continental Shelf Region as part of the Pacific Continental Shelf Environmental Assessment (PaCSEA). Data collected from the aerial surveys will inform future alternative energy planning, development, and management. The primary survey area extends from Fort Bragg, California (38o N) to Grays Harbor in Washington (47o N). Effort is focused on Federal Waters outside of the 3-mile state boundary and includes some inshore waters and marine protected areas.

Building on earlier aerial survey work in Southern California during 1999-2002 (Mason et al. 2007), we developed custom tools using Modelbuilder to process GPS track log data and visual species observations in a GIS, generating spatial representations of the flight paths and observations for species-specific density calculations within study bin polygons that accurately represent the area surveyed. The output study bin polygons are useful to analyze and visualize species distributions and are also used to extract environmental information such as bathymetry, elevation, slope, and sea surface temperature.
In addition to handling the data processing and density calculations for our current project, we have designed our tools to accept historic input data so we can compare our results with those from earlier efforts.

Mason, J. W., G. J. McChesney, W. R. McIver, H. R. Carter, J. Y. Takekawa, R. T. Golightly, J. T. Ackerman, D. L. Orthmeyer, W. M. Perry, J. L. Yee, M. O. Pierson, and M. D. McCrary. 2007. At-sea distribution and abundance of seabirds off southern California: a 20-year comparison. Studies in Avian Biology, No. 33. 95 pp.

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PaCSEA ArcGIS Data Processing Tools ESRI Poster.pdf3,712,668 Bytes

This product is associated with the following project:
Pacific Continental Shelf Environmental Assessment (PaCSEA)

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