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Center for Spatial Information and Research

Research Projects

Active Research Project(s)

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The Center for Spatial Information and Research (CSIR) was created at Central Washington University in 1999 to coordinate and enhance the application of established and emerging technologies used to create, manage and analyze spatial information - that is, information related to places or position.

Since 2005, CSIR has focused its energies on environmental and economic problems related to shorelines and associate wetlands, which confront many rural-based agencies and communities in the Pacific Northwest. These problems include water quality, water quantity and availability, salmon habitat conservation and associated conflicts, flood and associated geologic hazards, and the impact on all of these resulting from land-use change. Potential solutions for some of these problems may lie in the emergence of geospatial tools for mapping, monitoring and modeling shoreline and watershed processes (including cumulative processes), yet some these tools typically remain in the domain of academic research and are rarely deployed in a problem solving context because of their expense and/or high levels of sophistication. In addition, crucial to the development of effective local plans that promote sustainable use of rural resources is an inventory and assessment of relevant physical processes, biological features, and land use alterations. However, many local land use planners are overwhelmed by the sheer mass of information available and confounded by the inconsistent formats and spatial scales of the data. Although state and federal agencies have improved access to some data sources, it remains a challenge to discern what is most useful and effectively integrate it into land use plans. One of the primary goals of CSIR is to evaluate emerging geospatial technologies, and to develop methods to use geospatial data to solve real problems on the ground. These pilot projects are then used as a foundation on which to build educational curriculum for training appropriate personnel in rural agencies and communities around the Pacific Northwest , and to disseminate information to a broader rural audience via collaborations with other western universities, journal articles, bulletins, conference presentations and web-based outreach. Where possible, CSIR attempts to incorporate stakeholders and interest groups in GIS-based community and watershed modeling, and subsequent decision-making processes.

Past Research Project(s)

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The Geo-Ecology Research Group (GRG), a consortium of researchers from Central Washington University and Western Washington University , was initially formed in 1997 by Anthony Gabriel (while at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh) and Leo Bodensteiner (Huxley College , WWU). The GRG's principal aim is to conduct applied, ecological research with undergraduate and graduate students, focusing on a variety of resource management issues. The group has conducted research for various government agencies and nonprofit organizations, including the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Washington Department of Ecology (DOE), Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, and the Yakama Nation. Their projects have focused on a variety of shoreline and watershed issues, including assessment of sensitive shorelines, wetland characterizations, shoreline hazard studies, and examining ecological impacts of shoreline development and water level drawdowns.

Since 1997, the GRG has received a combination of 33 external research grants and contracts totaling over $1.1 million, funding 67 graduate student and summer student research positions. To date, this collaborative work has resulted in 8 refereed journal articles, 38 papers at international or regional conferences, 31 government reports, and 36 research presentations to local or university groups. Besides Anthony Gabriel, various projects have also included David Cordner, Bob Hickey, Karl Lillquist, Allen Sullivan, and Morris Uebelacker.