Using Geographic Information Systems (GIS) for Wildlife Habitat Management at the Norcross Wildlife Sanctuary
Since 1998 the Norcross Wildlife Sanctuary has utilized Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to digitally map and monitor our land holdings and wildlife habitat types. Computer-based mapping software, GIS has become the industry standard for natural resource mapping and management, and the ideal tool for better-understanding any information which has a spatial or geographic component. Here at Norcross we use GIS to more efficiently manage our 8,300 acre land base. From tracking locations of roads, and gates, to analyzing landscape continuity and vegetative patterns, GIS helps us organize and query data enabling managers to better and more efficiently understand the landscape values our ownerships serve.
Informed by an intensive process of field-based forest inventory, the Sanctuary is in the process of updating forestry and wildlife habitat data for our entire land holding. Norcross desktop-GIS integrates with our mobile-GIS application (ESRI ArcPad), deployed on a Windows CE compatible hand-held computer. Forest inventory and GIS information are collected and editable in the field. Built-in GPS and camera features allow for the collection of geo-referenced photos and subsequent map-imbedded pictures perfect for baseline documentation, conservation easement monitoring, and report generation.
GIS has proven to be an effective tool for managers at Norcross. From monitoring rare and threatened wildlife locations, to mapping invasive species populations, and forest habitat types, our understanding and utilization of GIS continues to evolve as quickly as the technology.
Interested in building your own maps online? Check out OLIVER an online GIS mapping tool supported by MassGIS.