PROJECTS

Cherokee Park Drainage Network

Cherokee Park is located within the City of Madison between the Cherokee Marsh North and South Units.  Naturally, water is a key feature of the area and understanding its ebb and flow is critical for the storm water and surface water management, as well as ground water connectivity.  With this in mind, we went on to create a map showing a broader view of the area's drainage networks and flood zones, and how they relate to the neighborhood.

Badger Hollow Solar Farm

Now under construction, the Badger Hollow Solar Farm will be located on approximately 3,500 acres in rural southwestern Wisconsin.  Contracting through Drone Base, we've mapped over 1,800 acres of the project so far.  That's a lot of acreage to map for a single drone (and pilot), and keeping the drone in our line of sight, and minimizing battery swaps, can be quite challenging.  To address these issues, we mapped out specific flight zones and accessible take off and landing sites, which helps to minimize those risks, and speed up photo acquisition time.

Shining Oaks Conservancy

The weather was unusually mild for early December, and why not take advantage of it?  And, as it turned out, that was our last good chance to shoot some aerial photos and video, with leaf-off, before the winter set in for good.  The results were two sets of high resolution orthophotos, over 700 in all, covering approximately 50 acres.  The photos were combined during post processing to generate a continuous aerial image, or orthomosaic, of the entire property.  The imagery will be used to assist with present and future land management issues at Shining Oaks.

Tile Art (Floor Map)

Floors, walls and ceilings are all great opportunities for creating distinctive, artistic tile environments.  TileArt, LLC in Madison, Wisconsin delivers creative and transformative architectural surface designs for commercial and residential customers.  When Tile Art turned to us for help with a unique project, we jumped at the opportunity.

The design was a sun room floor, which would be made up of thousands of natural tile pieces and beads that would resemble the landscape of the Driftless Area in southwestern Wisconsin, complete with topography, lakes, rivers, and even a couple of major roads.  We created a base map was created with grids to exact specifications where it could be used as a template for calculating inventory and underlayment for tile placement.

Hiking Trail Suitability

The hiking trail maps we produced for the Driftless Area Land Conservancy's Driftless Trail highlighted the geography, landscape, land use, and significant cultural locations surrounding the three state parks within the proposed project area.

 

The project included a corridor analysis to determine an "optimal corridor" between parks and several cultural locations, and help identify land parcels suitable for trail access and construction.  The analysis highlights the appropriateness of a given area for a particular use based on physical and intrinsic characteristics (used in environmental, conservation, and urban studies to determine the most suitable site locations, or corridors, for habitat, buildings, transportation routes, and utilities).  While utilizing a least cost path technique, the corridor analysis involves more than just the optimal route between two locations, it also considers the accumulative effects of each input variable in a way that can reduce the negative impacts for a given area.

Voit Pond

Arthur James Voit Pond is a privately owned spring-fed gravel pit lake that is located on the urban east side of the City of Madison, Wisconsin.  Lying within the Starkweather Creek watershed, the pond is immediately surrounded by both wetlands and industrial lands.  It is a part of the 34-acre Voit property, which is up for sale and being considered for purchase by the City.  Although local activism supports the acquisition of the parcel, there are differences among interested parties in how best to restore and manage the land.  Some of these management strategies include a combination of park and recreation lands, and housing.

Because of the importance in finding the best uses for the Voit property, we initiated a project at Geographic Techniques to assist local activists and citizen scientists with maps.  Using recent (and publicly available) NAIP imagery and LiDAR data, we derived several GIS map layers and prepared a set of maps illustrating the local environment and land use across Voit and surrounding properties.

Prato Belo Revisited

It had been a couple of years since we last flew the Michael Schmitz property near Mount Vernon, Wisconsin.  But on a gorgeous early July day, we had a chance to revisit the 65-acre restored prairie and oak savanna.  Appropriately named "Prato Belo", or "Beautiful Meadow", it undeniably lives up to its name.


Schmitz purchased this property 19 years ago and has been involved in its restoration ever since.   His land stewardship practices have gained much attention as well.  Not only has he transformed the approximately 20 acres of old pasture into oak savanna, and pushed another 40 acres of Conservation Reserve Program land into prairie, he also manages his property holistically, without herbicides, using controlled burns, inter-seeding, and a whole lot of intensive manual care.

We conducted one full mapping mission and video, during the prairie bloom.  The resulting imagery offers a highly detailed contiguous orthophoto of the entire property, along with video footage that highlights areas of the prairie and the variety of species of prairie plants.  Utilizing this information, Schmitz will be able to more effectively manage his current and future restoration efforts.

Inn at Wawanissee

Nestled in the striking South Range of the Baraboo Hills, the Inn at Wawanissee delivers a lovely venue with splendid views across Lake Wisconsin and the surrounding countryside.  On a clear day you can even spot the State Capitol dome nearly 30 miles away in Madison!  Wawanissee, pronounced wah-wah-NEE-see, is the Native American Ho-Chunk word for "beauty."  And that it is.

A few years ago we were given the task of updating a map of the Inn At Wawanissee's hiking trails, used by guests as they hiked and snowshoed the property grounds.  Armed with an old paper trail map and a high accuracy GPS unit, we set out to map each trail segment within the 40+ acres of mostly forested land and some restored prairie.  The result was a layered PDF map showing trails, trail slope, elevation contours, and hillshading of the entire property.  Later on we re-surveyed the property using our drone, during leaf-off conditions, which allowed us to more accurately see the trail structure, as well as missing trail and abandoned trail segements.  We also created a 3D model of the inn (see preview, left) from the drone photos we took while orbiting the building site.

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