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Southeast Alaska GIS User Group

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The Southeast Alaska GIS User Group (SEAGUG) is a collection of people in Juneau who share an interest in GIS or other spatial analysis topics. SEAGUG coordinates a bi-monthly speaker for the group to give a presentation on work they have done that has a spatial component. Past topics have ranged from kriging methods to avalanche forecasting and technical levels vary considerably.

Talks are generally held on the second Wednesday of every other month at 12:00 pm.

If you are interested in presenting at the Southeast Alaska GIS User Group, please send a short description or your presentation to Kim Homan at Additionally, if you would like more information about the SEAGUG presentations or would like to be added to the email list, please contact us. 

Date: May 9th 2018, 12:00 – 1:00 pm

Presenter: Aaron Jacobs, NWS Meteorologist and Senior Service Hydrologist

Title: Incorporating GIS to Broaden NWS Decision Support Services in SEAK


NWS Juneau staff have just begun a dedicated effort to add GIS capabilities in our tool box of ways to communicate 'environmental information' to colleagues we call "core partners". This effort will begin with training classes later this summer. We also plan to reach out to core partners to investigate ways NWS can support their service missions. For example, new rainfall rate data from radar and satellite in near real time could be incorporated into geospatial displays of hydrologic forecasts which, in turn, can be applied to flood forecasting, fisheries, hydro power, avalanche potential, etc.  We are new kids on the block when it comes to using GIS in our forecast delivery. Interactions with the SEAK GIS Users Group can help us spin up more strategically by helping us learn what type of information/decision support NWS can provide others and even what training topics should we focus on later this summer.

Date: March 14th 2018, 12:00 – 1:00 pm

Presenter: Jacob Hofman, Remote Sensing Specialist, Tongass National Forest

Title: Stereo 3D Viewing and 3D GIS Editing on the Tongass National Forest


Jacob Hofman will demonstrate digital 3D stereo viewing using DAT/EM Summit Evolution software. In addition to detailing common tasks performed within the Summit 3D environment, Jacob will explain the conversion of high resolution aerial imagery, collected with the Forest Service’s small format aerial camera system, into digital stereo format. Additionally the digital 3D stereo editing of ArcMap feature classes/shapefiles will be explored.  

Date: January 10th 2018, 12:00 – 1:00 pm

Presenter: Dr. Andrew Brenner, Senior Program Director, Quantum Spatial

Title: Prince of Wales LiDAR Project Overview


A multi-partner cooperative effort was set in motion to collect 2055 square miles of quality level 1 LiDAR on Prince of Wales Island.  Data were collected during the summer of 2017 by Quantum Spatial Inc. (QSI) and under the umbrella of USGS’s 3D Elevation Program (3DEP).  Dr. Andrew Brenner, Senior Program Director at QSI will provide a brief primer for LiDAR technologies, an overview of the Prince of Wales Data Collection efforts, a preview of expected deliverables and multiple illustrations for potential products and applications. 

Date: November 8th, 2017, 12:00 – 1:00 pm

Presenter: Nathan Walker, Web GIS Fellow, Forest Service Office of Sustainability and Climate

Title: Story Maps, Sustainability, and Climate


Nathan will provide an overview to story maps: how they work, how to make them, and some examples of different ways that they are currently being used. He will follow that with some specific examples of how the Forest Service Office of Sustainability and Climate is using story maps to communicate issues related to drought, climate change, and sustainability, and how these applications are helping with the management of Forest Service lands.
Nathan recently completed his Master’s Degree (Environmental Management with concentration in Ecosystems Science and Conservation) at Duke University. Nathan is a certified GIS Professional with more than 5 years of experience in spatial analysis, landscape ecology, cartography, and conservation policy. He has worked on issues related to energy development, forest management, mining, shipping, and climate change, while dealing with a wide range of species and ecosystems. Prior to starting his ORISE fellowship with the Office of Sustainability and Climate, he worked for Audubon Alaska and the National Park Service.

Date: September 13th 2017, 12:00 – 1:00 pm

Presenter: Julie Nielsen, Alaska Department of Fish and Game 



Large-scale movements of migratory demersal fish species such as Pacific halibut are notoriously difficult
to study, and consequently many important management questions about migration and seasonal
movement patterns remain unanswered. Insights into migration timing and pathways can be obtained
from electronic tags that record depth, temperature, and other environmental variables. Geolocation
models can reconstruct fish movement paths by matching tag data recorded by the fish to environmental
maps of the study area. A discrete geolocation model for demersal fish based primarily on depth has been
developed for Atlantic cod in the North Sea, where bathymetry is homogenous. We are adapting this
model for use on Pacific halibut and other demersal species in Alaska, where topography can be highly
variable. The steps in adapting the model consist of choosing 1) the correct likelihood that links the depth
measured by the tag to bathymetric maps in the study area, and 2) the appropriate grid size. We
hypothesize that the optimal choice of likelihood and grid size depend on the spatial scale of variation of
depths in the study area. We test this hypothesis by running the model on simulated movement paths in
three areas in Alaska (a flat area in the Bering Sea, a sloping area in the central Gulf of Alaska, and a
heterogeneous area in Glacier Bay) using different combinations of likelihoods and model grid sizes. We
analyze the spatial scale of autocorrelation and the statistical properties of depth distributions for a range
of grid sizes in each area. We present a comparison of optimal grid size/likelihood combinations and
overall model performance between regions. This approach to determining likelihood and grid size in
specific study areas may be applied to other gridded geolocation variables (e.g., the earth’s magnetic

Date: May 10th, 2017, 12:00 – 1:00 pm

Presenter: Erik Johnson, Program Analyst, USFS, Office of Sustainability & Climate in Juneau

Title: Climate Change Vulnerability Assessments and Adaptation Planning in the Forest Service


Climate change vulnerability assessments bring together scientific research and observations from multiple disciplines to identify and quantify the expected impacts of climate change. These assessments can focus on understanding current and predicted climate changes and what is causing them, the consequences of climate change, or the options for responding to climate change. The Forest Service’s Office of Sustainability and Climate (OSC) carries out these assessments to ensure that—in the face of a changing climate—our forests and grasslands continue to deliver values, products, and services both now and in the future. OSC utilizes ArcGIS Online to deliver climate change assessment tools and data to resource managers, researchers, and the public. Erik will be demonstrating the latest suite of OSC’s ArcGIS Online products.

The conference room is straight through the doors of the Pacific Northwest Research Station at the Juneau Forestry Sciences Laboratory.  The laboratory is located on the left, on the road to UAS and the Egan Library, uphill from the turnaround at Auke Bay in Juneau.

Date: March 8th, 2017, 12:00 – 1:00 pm

Presenter: Dan Hubert, Last Frontier Aerial

Title: Drone-gathered GIS data

Abstract: Dan Hubert is from Last Frontier Aerial, a drone-based aerial photography, photogrammetry, and cinematography company based in Juneau and Fairbanks.  He will present some samples of drone-gathered GIS data along with various data structures generated from the raw data.  We'll have fun exploring the emerging role of drones in existing and future GIS work in Southeast Alaska.

Date: January 11th, 2017, 12:00 – 1:00 pm

Presenter: Croix Fylpaa, at the UAS Natural Science Research Lab

Title: Resource Selection and Diet of martens on Kuiu Island

Abstract: Croix Fylpaa, at the UAS Natural Science Research Lab, will present his work on an investigation into near surface lapse rate calculation for the localized Douglas Island Region, using the network of existing weather station locations in the City and Borough of Juneau. We'll explore the correlation of temperature change over elevation gradient in Southeast Alaska, and what climatic factors play into the lapse rate at a localized and regional level.

Date: November 2nd, 2016, 12:00 – 1:00 pm

Presenter: Christal, Geospatial Data Management Specialist/Programmer at the USFS 

Title: FRESH-Deer Model

Abstract: Christal Higdon will give a presentation on FRESH-Deer Model a raster-based forage model for Sitka Blacktail deer in Southeast Alaska.

Date: September 14th 2016, 12:00 – 1:00 pm

Presenter: Andre Fetzer, Jenny McBride and Dave Gregovich, Alaska Department of Fish and Game, Division of Wildlife Conservation

Title: Mapping of vegetation types important to deer on Douglas Island


Douglas Island is valuable as a recreational deer hunting area, but this value could be affected by future development, and so mapping wildlife resources on the island is important to understand potential impacts and guide development.  We mapped vegetation types important to deer on Douglas Island. Initial coarse landcover types (coniferous forest, muskeg, urban, shrub, and snow) were separated via SPOT-5 image segmentation. Further characterization of alpine habitats (rock, dwarf-ericaceous shrub, and herbaceous vegetation) was performed by segmentation of WorldView2 imagery for a subset of the island and use of a probabilistic model to extrapolate results island-wide. A similar step was taken to extrapolate City and Borough of Juneau LiDAR-based coniferous forest heights island-wide via a statistical model which included IfSAR-based topographical variables. The resulting map highlights areas of potential importance to deer on the island, and can be used in land-use decisions. The mapping project also serves as proof of concept for further similar mapping efforts in Southeast Alaska.

Date: May 4th 2016, 12:00 – 1:00 pm

Presenter: Tom Heutte, Regional Program Manager, USFS PNW Forestry Sciences Laboratory

Title: A Geospatial Medical Chart for the Health of Alaska’s Forests


The US Forest Service’s Forest Health Protection program conducts annual aerial surveys to monitor and report on the health of America’s forests.  A mix of new (tablet-based data recorders) and old (vintage aircraft and human eyeballs) technologies are used.  Regional program manager Tom Heutte will present on methods used for data acquisition, data management, and what happens with all that data once it is collected.   

Date: April 7th 2015, 12:00 – 1:00 pm

Presenter: Carl Koch, Wildlife Biologist, Alaska Department of Fish and Game

Title: Resource Selection and Diet of martens on Kuiu Island


Theory predicts animals will select resources that benefit fitness. We investigated population dynamics, resource selection and diet by martens on Kuiu Island in southeast Alaska over a six year period. Using VHF telemetry data we developed a resource selection function (RSF) with program R and then assigned RSF scores to a predictive surface map (raster). The categorical variables used in the RSF models were: unproductive forest, timber volume classes, non-forested habitat, logged and thinned stands. The continuous variables were: elevation, distance from shore, stream density and edge density. The best RSF model according to AICc criteria contained the following variables: stream density, distance from shore, elevation and all three forest volume classes. We found that elevation had an especially strong negative coefficient while high-volume forest had a high positive coefficient. We also estimated a relative index of dietary biomass using Bayesian mixing models with stable isotope data. We found that salmon biomass occurred in very high proportions during all years of our study. Small mammal (especially vole) estimates were chronically low throughout our study. Seasonally available salmon carcasses are an important alternative food source in what is likely an otherwise food stressed marten population.

Date: March 3rd 2015, 12:00 – 1:00 pm

Presenter: Bruce Simonson, GIS Manager, City and Borough of Juneau

Title:  CBJ’s 2013 Data Acquisition – Overview and Sample Analyses.


In the spring of 2013, the CBJ acquired a comprehensive dataset of orthoimagery and topography for much of the developable portions of the borough.  This presentation will showcase the 4 band aerial photography, LiDAR topography, associated DEMs, contours, and related data.  

Several examples of analysis will be offered using these datasets.

Date: February 3rd 2015, 12:00 – 1:00 pm

Presenter: Frances Biles, Geographer, USFS PNW Forestry Sciences Laboratory

Title: A Mean High Water Composite Shoreline for Southeast Alaska


Shorelines are an essential base layer needed for maps and geospatial analyses.  MHW_Composite is a digital geospatial data set depicting a continuous mean high water (MHW) shoreline for southeast Alaska (SEAK) using the best available data. NOAA is the authoritative producer of shoreline products, however only about 2/3 of SEAK has been mapped by NOAA to date. MHW_Composite combines all the NOAA data into one map. Where NOAA shoreline data does not exist, the next-best available source is used. Where shoreline data is missing, or where precision or accuracy of existing data is exceedingly poor, new lines are digitized from high-resolution digital orthophotography.  MHW_Composite will be used to update the NHD and will also be available for download from the Southeast Alaska GIS Library.

December 2nd, 2014, 12:00 - 1:00 pm - Dave Gregovich, ADF&G Division of Wildlife Conservation
Raster processing and analysis in R.

Although R programming takes some time for familiarization, raster processing and analysis in the R environment can oftentimes be elegant and intuitive. Raster values are easily accessible, and raster math and reclassification are straightforward, with syntax that mimics that used for working with matrices and data frames. Raster stacks (= multiband rasters) allow relatively quick processing of spatially overlapping covariate data. The basics of working with rasters in R are illustrated, using the ‘raster’ package. Basic raster manipulations, including calculations within a raster and across the cells in a raster stack are presented. Conversion of vector data to raster format, and of R raster objects to external formats (eg. geoTiff, IMG, ESRI GRID) are performed. Some experience working in the R environment will be helpful to take advantage of this presentation. A laptop with R 3.0.3 and the ‘rgdal’ and ‘raster’ libraries installed will be handy but not absolutely necessary.

November 4th, 2014, 12:00  - 1:00 pm, Jason Waite, ADF&G Division of Wildlife Conservation
Estimating wolf and marten densities using spatially-explicit, capture-recapture (SECR) methods.

Spatially-explicit capture-recapture (SECR) models are an extremely useful and flexible extension of traditional capture-recapture methods for studying animal populations. Data sources can include live trapping, DNA sampling, acoustic recordings, proximity detectors (e.g., camera trapping), or any other related field method that record occurrences of known or identifiable individuals. Unlike traditional capture-recapture methods that provide only an estimate of population size of an ambiguous region, SECR methods provide estimates of animal density in a well-defined area of interest. Further, the spatial variation of density within this region can be modeled as a function of any number of spatial covariates, such as cover type, elevation, slope, or distance to road. The fundamentals of SECR analysis using both Bayesian and maximum-likelihood methods will be introduced, as well as some example applications of some simple SECR models to data from live-trapped marten and wolf DNA from hair snares.  Advanced extensions to the basic SECR models, including spatial covariates, custom detection functions, and cost surfaces will also be examined.

October 7th, 2014, 12:00  - 1:00 pm - Mark Riley, US Forest Service
5-meter IfSAR DEM to Augment Spectral Separability for Vegetation Mapping on the Copper River Delta.

A statewide contract to iteratively collect, process, and deliver 5-meter digital elevation models from airborne Interferometric Synthetic Aperture RADAR (IfSAR) has been underway for three years.  In 2013, the US Forest Service received delivery of this data set for the Copper River Delta area in South-central Alaska.  In a prior recent study, satellite-based ALOS Phased Array type L-band Synthetic Aperture RADAR (Palsar) was tested as an input component to the vegetation mapping process, and the overall effect on the vegetation mapping process was minimal, with primary differentiation influence only for mesic wet herbaceous types.  The finer spatial resolution and wavelength characteristics of contemporary airborne P- and X-band IfSAR show that it has potential, as an auxiliary input, to contribute substantially to a more accurate vegetation map by enhancing the spectral separability of more traditional passive sensor data.
This presentation will also provide an IfSAR delivery status update for Southeast Alaska.

Related Links: 

September 2nd, 2014, 12:00 -1:00 pm - Julie Nielsen and Andrew Seitz, UAF School of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences

Net Squared Displacement analyses: a new model selection framework for analyzing and categorizing animal movement patterns.

Researchers are able to obtain increasingly detailed information on the movement of many species thanks to advances in electronic tagging technology such as GPS and satellite tags. However, advances in development of methods for analysis of animal movement data have not been as rapid. We introduce a new framework for the analysis of animal movement data that is based on the Net Squared Displacement (NSD) statistic, which is derived from random walk theory. This simple analysis framework, which was developed during the study of moose migration in Scandinavia, allows the characterization and analysis of animal trajectories in terms of behavior such as migration, foraging, or home range occupation. In this talk, we will describe this new analysis method and provide examples of its application for the analysis of human and Pacific halibut movement in Alaska.

5/6/14 Christal Rose (USFS), A Map Tour of the National Forests in Alaska

4/8/14 Dave Gregovich (ADFG), Analysis of wildlife movement and space use in southeast Alaska: case studies from the cast of characters.

Southeast Alaska bears, goats, moose, elk, deer, wolves, and wolverines have been outfitted with GPS collars by Alaska Department of Fish and Game, Division of Wildlife Conservation (ADF&G-DWC) personnel to investigate spatial patterns of movement. This data can yield valuable information on habitat preference, extent of dispersal, and seasonal migration patterns, which can in turn inform responsible management of these species and their habitat. Additionally, the analytical results from one species can in turn be used to inform spatial models of one or more other species. Case studies highlighting the diversity of species, workflows, results, and implications of such analyses are presented.

3/4/2014 Quinn Tracy (CBJ) The role of GIS at the City and Borough of Juneau.  

2/4/2014 Tom Ainsworth (NOAA) Digital Weather Services in Southeast Alasa: how weather forecasting is changing and what it means for GIS applications.


2/6/13 Jason Amundson (UAS) Dynamics of Iceberg-Choked Fjords.

1/12/13 Ursula Jones (NWS) The importance of Weather Observations.

12/12/12 Jamie Womble (NPS): Unraveling the mystery of post-breeding season migration patterns of harbor seals from a marine protected area in Alaska.

11/7/12 Terri Morganson (ESRI): New imagery tools in arcgis 10.1.

10/17/12 Jason Siefert (SEALAB): Science at 90 degrees South.

9/4/12 David Gregovich (ADFG): Resource Selection Functions based on GPS telemetry data for multiple species.

4/12/12 Steve Lanwermeyer: The Marine Exchange of Alaska's vessel tracking network.

3/7/12 Kim Homan (SEAK GIS Library): Using Arcgis online to handle data.

2/1-3/12 Cross Boundary Data Integration Workshop II.

1/11/12 Ron Simenhoise (Kensington Mine): A new tool to forecast glide avalanches.

12/7/11 Mandy Lindeberg (NOAA): An overview of ShoreZone.

11/2/11 Richard Carstensen (TNC): Using the 1948 US Navy aerial photography to study succession in the Tongass.

10/19/11 Mayumi Arimitsu (USGS): Geostatistics and Spatial Point Pattern Analysis in Nearshore Areas Characterized by Convoluted Shorelines.

3/3/11 Dave Gregovich (USFW): GIS modelling of the projected effects of climate change on alpine patch distribution in southeast Alaska.

2/2/11 Julie Nielsen (UAF): Kriging methods.

12/1/10 Will Jensen (RDI): Web-based GIS services.

11/10/10 Sanjay Pyare (UAS): Bio-geographical patterns across the Alexander Archipelago and reconstruction of paleogeographic conditions that may have influenced landscape genetics.

10/6/10 Terri Morganson (ESRI): What's new with the ArcGIS10 software.

9/8/10 Julie Nielsen (UAF): Methods for analysis of fish movement.

8/5/10 Carl Dierking (NOAA): The PRISM spatial climate dataset.

6/3/10 Mike Plivelich (UAS): Overview of the SE AK GIS library at UAS. 

5/6/10 Erik Johnson (USFS): Southeast Alaska hydrographic data collaboration.

4/1/10 John Caouette (TNC): Conifer tree species distributions in Alaska's temperate rainforests.

3/4/10 Colin Shanley (TNC): On the development of a 3-tier nested estuarine classification for southeast Alaska.

2/4/10 Terry Schwarz (DNR): Analysis of select stream discharge models in southeast Alaska. 

12/9/09 Carl Dierking (NOAA): National Weather Service gridded weather analysis and forecasts. 

11/4/09 Mark Riley (USFS): SPOT HRS DEM Evaluation and Z accuracy comparison to ASTER GDEM and National Elevation Dataset (NED) for the Chugach National Forest.

9/30/09 Frances Biles (USFS): Watershed mapping across international boundaries.