Google My Maps – Brayton Forest

Google My Maps is easy to navigate, and I really like the ease of adding photos to the various points of interest and a brief description.  This product would be very helpful in providing specific locations for research including sampling of various species, water quality and progress/control of invasive species tracking. Note: I did experience some difficulty in orienting the photos from my iPhone into the location tabs. I found discussions regarding this issue and by locking the orientation on my phone I was able to properly post the photos. This portion of the software could be more intuitive but it was a minor setback.

I have used Google Earth in other classes which tracked the changes in a particular ecosystem over time.  With google Earth you can set boundaries locate GPS locations and take ground level measurements while viewing in satellite mode.  This may also assist the researcher in identifying tree cover and various habitat to secure possible populations of various species prior to arriving at the research locations.

ArcGIS is a much more robust mapping software which allows the user to overlay individual specific ‘sub-areas” to focus attention on portions of the land that may need special attention such as insect control, fire danger, wildlife habitat and flood control.  Additionally, the “Living Atlas Layers” offer unique views of the topography including but not limited to Aspect Map, forest Type, Tinted hillside (which shows how sunlight will affect growth patterns of vegetation.  This can be very important following wildfires, or logging operations to topsoil stabilization and prevent future erosion and support ground cover and pioneer species. All three of the systems utilized have their place and range from ease of use to detail presentations. From a future planning standpoint and research presentation it is evident why ArcGIS systems are popular with government organizations and research institutions.  However, Google My Maps and Google Earth also have excellent tools which adapt well for education, work, or leisure applications.  

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