A Geographic Information System (GIS) is a computer-based system for the storage, management, analysis, and display of geographic and associated data. The Natural Resource Department is currently working to build up a GIS capable of providing not only maps but also spatial information to aid in land management and planning. For the second year, this department has received an Environmental Conservation Partnership (ECP) Grant from Environmental System Research Institute (ESRI) and the Society for Conservation GIS. This grant provides ESRI’s ArcView GIS software and training as well as conference passes to the 1999 User’s Conference in San Diego, California. With
this newest grant we received ArcView’s Image Analyst and ArcView’s Spatial Analyst extensions, both of which will enhance our geographic capabilities and allow us to create new information for land use planning.
Wampanoag Tribal Lands Map Wampanoag Ancestral Lands Map
Wampanoag Tribal Lands Map Menemsha/ Squibnocket Watershed Map
An aerial flyover was conducted in April of this past year. This flyover produced infrared photos of very high resolution that are registered to our other GIS datalayers. These photos will be used to create a current land use information layer. This layer will be used for a watershed analysis to aid in the protection of the resources of Menemesha and Squibnocket ponds.
Other data that is currently under development for our GIS is a contour datalayer. Presently the only GIS contour information available for the island are 30 meter contours. This layer is too crude to produce any valuable watershed or drainage information. The Hopi Tribe has agreed to provide technical assistance to our department by creating a much needed by 5 foot contour interval data of Aquinnah and the Chilmark side of the Menemsha and Squibnocket watersheds. The information should be ready for analysis by the end of this month.
This past year we traded in an older Global Positioning System (GPS) for a Pathfinder Pro XRS GPS unit that is capable of greater accuracy and real time positioning in the field. This new machine is able to create ground positions with sub-meter accuracy and has greatly increased our abilities to create our own data. In addition, this new equipment has allowed us to provide technical assistance to local island groups involved in education and conservation of natural resources. Some of the organizations that have we provided GPS technical assistance to include the Martha’s Vineyard Commission, The Tashmoo Watershed Group, the Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School, and the Aquinnah Police Department.