Homework 2

Researching environmental GIS data in North Carolina

Date given: 9/7

Date due: 9/14 noon. Part 2 extended to 9/16 noon.


Part 1 (60 points)

The goal of this homework is for you to assist the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources in identifying surface water environmental contaminants that are a possible risk to the human population health or the natural ecosystem in North Carolina.  In order to achieve that goal, you will research the surface water monitoring data available for North Carolina and the relevant literature to identify one environmental parameter (a contaminant concentration, or a physical parameter, a biological parameter, a fish tissue contaminant concentration, etc.) and an area in NC for which there is good spatial coverage, an informative dataset (i.e. with several above detects, a coherent spatial distribution, etc.), and a health or ecological concern.  To do this, you will use the USGS website , select a parameter group, then within that group find an individual parameter with many measurements. Overlay any GIS layer (e.g. administrative boundaries, hydro-geography, point sources, land use, etc.) that is relevant to the environmental parameter you have selected.


You will present the dataset that you have obtained by creating informative maps in ArcGIS and submitting an electronic word document to the instructor or TA (as instructed in class) showing and discussing your findings.  The name of the document should be yourfirstname_yourlastname_hwk2part1.docx. Look in homework 1 for suggestions on how to present your data in an ArcGIS document.  Your ArcGIS document should include several maps showing the spatial distribution of your environmental parameter at different time periods.


You will be graded on the quality of your report and the ArcGIS maps provided (not on the quantity of maps), on your description of how you selected a parameter with sufficient data, on the originality of your finding, on the ability of your maps to display geographical patterns and how these geographical patterns change over time, and on how informative your maps and the associated space/time data are. 


Make sure to save your ArcGIS project in a self contained directory so as to submit it electronically if requested, or use it later during the semester in another homework.


Part 2 (40 points)

Introductory Random Variables