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Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center

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Geospatial Technology

Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center
Jamestown, North Dakota

NPWRC Station Locations

Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center uses remote sensing, geographic information systems (GIS) technology, and global positioning system (GPS) technology to conduct research of prairie ecosystems. Initially Northern Prairie cooperated with the Environmental Research Institute of Michigan to study the use of aircraft and satellite multispectral scanner data to inventory wetlands and uplands in the prairie pothole region. This pioneering research was funded by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration as part of the early evaluation of Landsat Multispectral Scanner Imagery. Northern Prairie also developed a remote sensing (RS) system for estimating breeding waterfowl numbers and production using RS and GIS technology. The system uses data from airborne video, National Wetlands Inventory, upland habitat derived from aerial photography, and land ownership in a GIS. Current activities include digital analysis of imagery, GIS analysis, and modeling using a variety of sources, including aerial photography, aerial video, satellite imagery and vector coverages.




Spatial Data Analysis Lab -- Currently, the lab has 6 Pentium personal computers and 5 Sun workstations configured to work with digital geographic data. All workstations are on a Novell network allowing files to be accessed from the network server and attached to the workstations and server are external hard drives providing over 600 GB of disk space. Available software includes ARCGIS 8.3 (ARCINFO, ARCMAP, and Spatial Analyst), TNTMIPS (8 user), GRASS, PCI and IDRISI. ARCGIS and ESRI products are accessible from every personal computer at the Center. Additional ESRI packages are available for installation on field laptop computers. Standalone image processing software developed at Northern Prairie or acquired from other facilities is also available on the Sun workstations. This software includes: NAVIGATE – programs for georegistration and resampling of Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer (AVHRR) images to map projections, CALIBRATE – programs for radiometric calibration of AVHRR images, MIXTURE – mixture model analysis of multispectral images, CLASSIFY – maximum likelihood classification with the option to create posterior probability images, FIVES – an atmospheric radiative transfer program, and FRAGSTATS – a spatial pattern analysis system for quantifying landscape structure.

Colored mapping image showing difference in landcover.  Landcover types shown: seasonal, semipermanent, temporary, lake, perennial cover.

The Center has three Trimble Pathfinder Professional GPS units with Corvallis Microtechnology data loggers, three Trimble GeoExplorer GPS units, five Garmin GPS units, and two Rockwell PLGR GPS receivers. The GPS units can be used alone or in combination with other hardware and software for real time differential correction, post processed differential correction, connection to laptop computers for field data entry and real time overlay on any GIS background layers. The lab has capabilities for converting maps and photographs to a digital format. A 12" × 17" color scanner works with hard-copy reflective and transparency images. A Polaroid 35 mm slide scanner converts 35 mm slides or negatives to digital data. Hardcopy output devices include a QMS Magicolor 2-color laser printer and a Hewlett Packard DesignJet 2500CP 36" color plotter/printer.


Larry L. Strong
Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center
8711 37th Street SE
Jamestown, North Dakota 58401-7317
(701) 253-5524

H. Tom Sklebar
Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center
8711 37th Street SE
Jamestown, North Dakota 58401-7317
(701) 253-5554

Betty R. Euliss
Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center
8711 37th Street SE
Jamestown, North Dakota 58401-7317
(701) 253-5538

PDF Download  Download this Fact Sheet in PDF format  (requires PDF Reader, download free reader) April 2004

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