April 3, 2008


WARNING: Many acronyms are contained in this post. If you're uncomfortable with abbreviated technical phrases, move on. Consider yourself warned.

If you ever used Google Earth, Google Maps, or a GPS (Global Positioning System) unit in your car, you've also used GIS (Geographic Information Systems). GPS tells you "where" you are in space using satellites to triangulate your position (which actually requires 4+ satellites). GIS is any system for capturing, storing, analyzing and managing data and associated attributes which are spatially referenced to Earth.

This summer Peconic Dunes Camp will be introducing GPS and GIS to campers through both Outdoor Skills and Nature. We'll use GPS for scavenger hunts and for mapping our campus. This information our campers collect will be valuable because it will allow us to observe our ecosystem over time.

Right now Peconic Dunes staff are getting warmed up for summer (no pun intended) by assisting SEQ (Students for Environmental Quality) at Bellport High School in their GPS and GIS work. SEQ is collaborating with the Post-Morrow Foundation and the South Shore Estuary Reserve Council to locate all the stormwater drains impacting the Beaver Dam Creek Watershed. For the past 2 months, SEQ has been taking "waypoints" (latitude and longitude) for all the stormwater drains in and around their school, which is located in the Beaver Dam Creek Watershed. Their efforts are part of a larger project to develop a Beaver Dam Creek Watershed Action Plan. We applaud the work of SEQ and hope that future projects at Peconic Dunes as just as successful in contributing geographic information to the public domain.

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