Mapping Hurricanes - Working with Digital Vector and Raster Data Sets

Scott White, Fort Lewis College

Summary

This lab exercise shows students how to create a map of the track and winds of a hurricane. Hurricane Jimena from 2009 is examined using both vector and raster data.

Context

Type and level of course
entry level GIS course for undergraduates (primarily Biology and Geology majors)

Geoscience background assumed in this assignment
Basic pre-college understanding of hurricanes.

GIS/remote sensing skills/background assumed in this assignment
A few basic GIS skills are assumed, such as Adding Data to a blank map in ArcMap, opening up an attribute table, basic map layout design, etc.

Software required for this assignment/activity:
ArcGIS, ArcView, v.9.3.1
Hawths Tools (www.spatialecology.com) - may not be necessary with ArcGIS 9.3.1.

Time required for students to complete the assignment:
3 hours

Goals

GIS/remote sensing techniques students learn in this assignment
Building point features from an x,y coordinate table.
Buffer tool.
Symbology of hurricanes and winds.
Satellite imagery and world files.

Other content/concepts goals for this activity
Learning about hurricanes and tropical storms.

Higher order thinking skills goals for this activity

Description of the activity/assignment

This lab exercise shows students how to create a map of the track and winds of a hurricane. Hurricane Jimena from 2009 is examined using both vector and raster data. Students will learn how to create a map from a table of x,y coordinate pairs. They will also learn how to buffer hurricane locations based on tropical storm force and hurricane force winds. Finally, students will complete two map layouts showing the symbolized track and winds of the hurricane, along with a satellite image.

Determining whether students have met the goals

This is primailry a cartography product, so students' final printed maps are assessed for cartographic completeness.
More information about assessment tools and techniques.

URLs and References

http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/archive/2009/index.shtml
http://rapidfire.sci.gsfc.nasa.gov/gallery

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