Work Begins on Potential University Farm Expansion

Thu, 31 Oct 2013 13:20:00 CDT  — by: Joanna Parkman, C'14, Sustainability Undergraduate Fellow

surveyingJoanna Parkman C’14, undergraduate sustainability fellow, and Dr. Chris Van de Ven, GIS Instructor and Lab Manager of the Landscape Analysis Lab, began work this week on surveying a parcel of land next to the Old Dairy and Lake Cheston. 

This semester Parkman will work on a mapping project to determine the contours of potential areas for row crop expansion. In consultation with University Farm Manager Gina Raicovich and Dr. Van de Ven, she will produce a Geographic Information System (GIS) that employs elevation model to calculate slope and aspect of the desired parcels. Interpolation will allow a visual display of the gradients, using color and shading. This work will aid in planting preparation and design, in addition to minimizing environmental impacts, such as erosion and runoff into nearby streams and lakes. 


Parkman and Van de Ven utilized a total station, which emits laser beams to a desired target (in this case, a reflective prism at the measurement point—a range pole) and calculates distance based upon the returning signal.

In the coming weeks, Parkman will also estimate tree heights in preparation for the development of a model to display where shade will fall throughout the year, and specifically, the growing season.

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