Implementing a Web-Based Decision Support System to Spatially and Statistically Analyze Ecological Conditions of the Sierra Nevada
Monday, 15 December 2014
The Sierra Nevada is experiencing changes in hydrologic regimes, such as decreases in snowmelt and peak runoff, which affect forest health and the availability of water resources. Currently, the USDA Forest Service Region 5 is undergoing Forest Plan revisions to include climate change impacts into mitigation and adaptation strategies. However, there are few processes in place to conduct quantitative assessments of forest conditions in relation to mountain hydrology, while easily and effectively delivering that information to forest managers. To assist the USDA Forest Service, this study is the final phase of a three-term project to create a Decision Support System (DSS) to allow ease of access to historical and forecasted hydrologic, climatic, and terrestrial conditions for the entire Sierra Nevada. This data is featured within three components of the DSS: the Mapping Viewer, Statistical Analysis Portal, and Geospatial Data Gateway. Utilizing ArcGIS Online, the Sierra DSS Mapping Viewer enables users to visually analyze and locate areas of interest. Once the areas of interest are targeted, the Statistical Analysis Portal provides subbasin level statistics for each variable over time by utilizing a recently developed web-based data analysis and visualization tool called Plotly. This tool allows users to generate graphs and conduct statistical analyses for the Sierra Nevada without the need to download the dataset of interest. For more comprehensive analysis, users are also able to download datasets via the Geospatial Data Gateway. The third phase of this project focused on Python-based data processing, the adaptation of the multiple capabilities of ArcGIS Online and Plotly, and the integration of the three Sierra DSS components within a website designed specifically for the USDA Forest Service.