Yesterday in the Great Smokies
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GEO 509: Workshop in Geospatial Technologies

GEO 509

Workshop in Geospatial Technologies

Kentucky Mapshop


Boyd Shearer

Contact information in Syllabus

Tell me about your interests

Review Canvas

  • Course mechanics
  • Syllabus
  • Attendance and late assignment policies

Tech reqs πŸ”­

  • ArcGIS Pro.
  • Lab computers have all required software.
  • You can work outside of the lab! You were sent an invitation to join our org and install software...

OS reqs πŸ’£

What helps me teach


Make maps

do workshops

  • to make (and then test) our maps.

A map is

  • An artistic rendering of space (x, y, z, t).
  • A measurement of our environment.
  • A tool for remembering the past and navigating the unknown.


GEO409 & NRES355

  • Had more people and time.
  • NRES355 meets six hours a week!

Pine Mountain

  • We started with a recreation resource analysis, but...
  • embrace pivots.

Then lidar is widely available

and the pandemic hits


The idea

  • Kentucky’s extensive archive of lidar point clouds (which shows topographic relief and above-ground features in unprecedented detail) can identify and analyze flood-prone infrastructure before conducting field work.


  • LIght Detection And Ranging
  • Point cloud is densely sampled features using infrared lasers
  • New frontier in mapping and analysis

Lidar example

  • Aerial lidar for entire state
  • Ground and above-ground features

Lidar data

  • Massive
  • >20 TB for first edition
  • State divided into 46,105 tiles

Technologies and methods

  • Using lidar and its derivatives (e.g., DEMs) let's conduct field work before going into the field.


  • Can we find (private) bridges in our lidar data and measure their height above the stream?


  • Can we find show infrastructure impacted by a certain level of flooding with a height above river analysis?

Terrain modification

  • Can we analyze the impact of widespread terrain modification from surface mining?


  • We don't know how well these methods will work.
  • But...
  • Make a web page publicizing the results of the analysis.


Where will we work?

  • and will we be strangers?
  • Task 1 on Canvas.