The 21st-century cartographer

New tools for old naturalists

In March, 2015, I (Richard Carstensen) gave a fireside presentation at the Mendenhall Visitor Center on game changing technologies for field and office. In the field, what most excites me recently is UAV photography. In the office, advances revolve around GIS, and the cartographic program ArcMap. As of spring, 2014, I was part of a team that got to use the first widespread LiDAR coverage in the Alexander Archipelago. Toward the end of this 31-minute talk, I also give examples of IfSAR technology, which has subsequently become available for nearly all of Southeast.

New tools for old naturalists from Richard Carstensen on Vimeo.

If I could give one piece of advice to a high school student contemplating a career in forestry, fisheries, wildlife biology, geology, or any social science with a geographic component, it would be to take a course in GIS (geographic information systems).

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Bedrock Geology Map

From Richard Carstensen:

Bedrock geology is a vast subject. Of greatest interest to naturalists are ways in which underlying rock types, alignments, fracture patterns, and variable resistance to erosion explain the shape of the land and the distribution of natural communities.

Here is a map of Bedrock geology. Units are based upon a detailed map-in-progress by USGS, but color coded by 6 broad rock-type families. Expand the legend (>>, upper left) to see them. Notice that granitic types (pink, our highest & most resistant peaks) are mostly back under the icefield. Rocks with highest carbonate content (blue) hosted most of Juneau’s successful mines. For more info on each rock unit, click, and a popup will name the geologic period (capital letters in the code), dominant rocks, and broader rock family

Glacial Rebound in the Mendenhall Wetlands

This report contains GIS (Geographic Information Systems) mapping and analysis for the Mendenhall Wetland State Game Refuge.  You’ll find information on glacial rebound, vegetation types, tidal elevations, and glacial rebound, all supported by GIS maps and detailed photographs.  Conservation value for the land is also discussed.

Download Here (1.9MB): PDF_Download

Hotspots: Bird Survey of Mendenhall Wetlands (April 2002 to May 2003)

This report is the culmination of eighteen bird surveys conducted in the Mendenhall Wetlands, an area widely recognized as an important habitat for migrating birds.  The survey results are complimented by GIS maps, graphs, and extensive habitat descriptions.  Looking towards the future, this report also addresses concerns about habitat use and destruction in the Wetlands.

Download Here (6.1MB): PDF_Download


Mendenhall Glacier: Aerial Perspectives

This booklet of maps and images spanning the past century shows the Mendenhall Glacier’s retreat and the forest succession, while also providing information on the area’s geology.  The Mendenhall Glacier was the destination selected by the Glacier habitat group of the STREAM: Pedagogy of Place Institute, July 17-19, 2013.  You’ll find information about bedrock geology and surficial geology, and you’ll also find historical photographs of the Mendenhall.

Download Here (5MB): PDF_Download



Montana Creek Map Series

This document assembles aerial imagery and other GIS-based maps of Montana Creek for use by teachers in class and field.  It was originally assembled for use during the STREAM: Pedagogy of Place conference in 2013.

Download Here (6MB): PDF_Download


Surficial Geology Map

From Richard Carstensen:
Here’s a surficial geology map for the Juneau area. I used most of the geologic surface types of R.D. Miller, USGS, 1972, Some types were collapsed into broader categories: especially the many varieties of colluvial and raised-marine landforms. On the other hand, unit boundaries have been considerably adjusted and fine-tuned from 2013 DEM-generated bare-earth. Miller’s original map is available as a pdf from ADNR.
Zoom with your mouse roller. Click on any of the color coded units for a pop-up listing landform type, generating agent, and geologic age. For a legend, open >>, upper left. To view this map in ArcGISonline, select view larger map.