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WyGISC completes major land cover analysis of central Wyoming

Recent work at WyGISC includes the completion of the Central Wyoming Remote Sensing Project. This project was designed to create thematic maps of land cover, snow cover, and change analysis for use in monitoring animal habitat.
A land cover map was created using a classification and regression tree (CART) analysis. This type of analysis requires numerous data samples which were field collected from 2005 through 2009 in order to classify a set of variables including Landsat Thematic Mapper (TM) imagery, 1m color infrared aerial imagery, elevation data, and derived topographic features from elevation data. Land cover was defined by vegetation community and for many types was further defined into categories of vegetative cover abundance (related to plant density). The Land Use Land Cover (LULC) map produced 98 different types of land covers specified within the area of study (Figure 1).
Snow cover mapping was created by first using climatological Sno-Tel station data to obtain Landsat images of "average and high" snowfall conditions. Representative Landsat images were processed to create classifications that showed five snow cover categories from mostly vegetation to mostly snow for the average and high snowfall maps (Figure 2 and Figure 3).
Finally, change detection maps were created in order to show vegetation differences across the central Wyoming study area on approximately five year intervals using Landsat TM. Two indices (normalized difference vegetation index and image brightness) were derived to determine the amount of vegetation loss or gain throughout the 30 year interval (Figure 4 through Figure 9).
These three analyses provide land managers with detailed, spatially explicit depictions of the land surface in Wyoming. Supporting agencies such as the Wyoming Game and Fish Department, US Bureau of Land Management and Fish and Wildlife Service, and other organizations can use these maps in planning for environmental management, wildlife inventory and monitoring, and future sustainability efforts.
Figures 1 through 9 show the same spatial extent, near Green Mountain in Wyoming, of the nine GIS layers generated from the three analyses.

The various colors in Figure 1 are the multiple land use and land cover
types within the area.


Figures 2 and 3 show snow cover amount as orange being no snow,
yellow as little snow, cyan as medium snow, blue as high snow, and
maroon as full snow cover amounts.



Figures 4 and 7 are the results of the change detection between 2008 and 1987.



Figures 5 and 8 show the areas from the change detection where vegetation was
lost (red) and gained (green).



Figures 6 and 9 are stacks of the NDVI and PC1 (Brightness) indices through the
30 year interval. Colored areas in the images can show differences in vegetation
between each interval while grey areas are areas of no change.

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