Within IGES, key people representing users (undergraduates, postgraduates, research staff and academics, external users) have been identified as ‘case studies’ to support the IGIBS and demonstrate the beneifts for teaching and research.
Within IGEs, undergraduate students have access to a wide range of modules. This project will focus on the Dissertation module and also the third year modules “Geographical Information Systems” and “Earth Observation from Aircraft and Satellite”. New material is being developed revolving around these latter two modules which will also utilise web-based mapping and the datasets made available for the Dyfi Biosphere. The opportunities for undertaking dissertation work within the catchment will also be promoted to students as suprisingly (and for the first time in many years) none from IGES focus on the Dyfi. However, we are talking to dissertation students in other Departments to seek their involvement.
Aberystwyth University has recently launched a suite of five new Masters Courses focusing on remote sensing and GIS, Geography, Planetary Exploration, the Living Environment and Computer Science. The material collated for the Dyfi catchment will be playing a key role in these courses, with the content of modules also conveying techniques developed in IGIBS. As a case study, Jonathan Brownnet (a current student on the Masters course Remote Sensing and GIS) is investigating the use of multi-temporal remote sensing data for quantifying forest change in the Dyfi catchment and its likely impact on hydrological dynamics. His work is being followed as part of IGIBS.
At the Ph.D. level, Alisdair Cunningham is working also on methods of change detection from remote sensing data and he will be providing datasets for the project which will be made available to students and staff within IGES. Becky Charnock is also commencing a Ph.D. in September on examining whether changes observed from remote sensing can be related to losses or gains of floral and faunal diversity. Becky previously worked on IGIBS and will continue to contribute.
Our Map Librarian staff, Antony Smith and Ian Gulley, are also helping to make the IGIBS a success. In February, IGES launched its new digital map library which is providing students with opportunities to explore geographical datasets delivered over the web and to input their own. A key component is to utilise the Map Library facilities such that the datasets acquired for the Dyfi are full available to the range of users.
We are also linking with external research organisations including Forest Research (Dr. Hugh Evans), the Countryside Council for Wales (CCW), EcologyMatters and the Welsh Government and helping to support a wide range of initiatives. The project is also linking with the NERC Virtual Observatory project being undertaken at Aberystwyth University that also focuses on the Dyfi Biosphere. There are also strong connections with the BIOSOS project through myself. This project is focusing on using remote sensing data to characterise and monitor Natura 2000 sites, of which Cors Fochno (Borth Bog) is one. A component of the project is to collect new datasets over the summer period which will be fed into IGIBS.
Steve Walsh is working to ensure the success of the project over the next four months and will be putting up blogs on a near daily basis so stay tuned for updates.