GIS at Dickinson College

GIS News, Events and Student Work blog

Author: delarege


Catchment Basin Areas in Baxter State Park

Understanding upstream catchment basin areas of culverts add to the analysis of both the quality of infrastructure as well as the stream habitat. Mr. Richard Morrill is the Resource Manager of Baxter State Park in Maine and is interested in understanding how the area of the upstream catchment basin of culverts may impact fish habitat. The culverts that were given to me for analysis were ones that the Fish and Wildlife Service determined to be potential fish barriers. In order to calculate the upstream catchment basins, I used the USGS National Elevation Dataset to create stream networks within the park. These stream networks allowed to me utilize ArcGIS 10.1 watershed tools to ultimately calculate the watersheds. Using models have innate inaccuracies because they’re a set of rules and procedures for predicting an outcome. I spent time analyzing and evaluating the tools and data available to determine what would provide me and Mr. Morrill with the most accurate results.

After running the watershed analysis on the culverts, I was able to calculate the area of each watershed and determine what impacts it has on the culverts. Smaller watersheds don’t provide spacious habitat for fish and may not impede on the quality of habitat, but smaller watersheds can have greater impact from the surrounding landscape which could alter the habitat. The next step is to look at more culverts in Baxter State Park and use Amanda Vandenburg’s geoprocessing model that will automatically create watersheds for each culvert. This will help the park staff in spatially being aware of what impacts surrounding landscapes will have on a watershed and what impact the watershed will have on the fish habitat and infrastructure of the culverts.


Using ArcGIS Online to Map Dickinson College Soil Types


One tablespoon of soil has more organisms in it than there are people on earth(1). Soil is how we have food, naturally filtered water, and land to build on. However, there’s a wide array of different soil taxonomy, classifications, and capabilities. There are twelve soil orders that are formed under different circumstances and are distributed all over the world. In Pennsylvania, there are about 29 different general soil taxonomies according to the Natural Resources Conservation Service. Within Cumberland County, there are 112 specific types of soil(2) and within the town of Carlisle, there are at least 5 soil types. The Dickinson College campus is situated on three different soil types: Hagerstown silt loam 0-3% slopes, Hagerstown silt loam 3-8% slopes, and Urban Land and Udorthents. I chose to look at the soil types underlying Dickinson College and understand what their uses are.


The first item that needed to be downloaded was the soils of Cumberland County, Pennsylvania. I used the Pennsylvania Spatial Data Access (PASDA) downloadable data. The Soil Survey Geographic (SSURGO) database provided me with the soil classification of Cumberland County, Pennsylvania. The United States Department of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service is the originator of the data that I had used. Using Microsoft Access allowed me to look at all of the available data tables, however it was not necessarily clear what all the acronyms stood for. With previous knowledge in soil ecology and composition along with some research, I was able to decipher what most of the acronyms stood for. Upon review of all data tables, I chose the tables that provided information I was going to use in the end. The data tables chosen were then imported into excel so they could ultimately be imported into ArcMap.

I built my ArcMap the way I hoped it would appear on ArcGIS online. I focused on the Dickinson College campus soils within Carlisle, Pennsylvania. In order to import the ArcMap document into ArcGIS online, I signed into my account through ArcMap and allow all of my connections to view the published Web Map. A set of full instructions on how to publish an ArcMap document can be found at:

Once the Web Map was published, I was able to edit colors of different polygons as well as configure the layout of the pop-ups when clicking on a feature. Once the Web Map looked the way I wanted it to, I needed to share it in order to choose a template that my map would be shown as, this created a Web Map Application. I chose to use the Map Tour because it creates a storybook where you can add pictures to help convey your message. After choosing the template, I was able to again edit how the storybook would look as well as add photos of the different soil classification that I was displaying. After the Web Map Application was finished and I shared it with everyone, I was able to copy the URL and share it with anyone, even if they didn’t have an ArcGIS account.


My ArcMap that I created in ArcGIS can bee seen below which was has all the attributes and features that I wanted in my online map.

ArcMap soils






The following map is what my Web Map looked like after I had adjusted my feature colors and adjusted the pop-up layout. The pop-up seen in this figure is an example of the layout of all pop-ups.

Web Map







The final figure is a screenshots of what my Web Map Application looks like. It is an interactive map that can be seen at:

Web Map Application








      The ArcGIS online is a great tool for allowing everyone to see you’re work and see the story you’re telling. The variety of templates are useful, in they allow you to customize how you want to tell your story. You can use photos, pop-ups, or hyperlinks within your online map. However, there are a few kinks in the process that does make it hard to include everything you want to. It was difficult figuring out what worked and how they worked. It was also not possible to include labels on the map, which meant you needed the pop-up or photos to provide enough information. You also couldn’t have pop-ups with photos which is something that I hope will be an added feature soon.




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