New Technology Brings Conservation Into Focus

When you think of land conservation, you might picture our staff and landowners outside, walking a property.  And you’d mostly be right. But new technologies can make the work of prioritizing outreach to landowners and evaluating properties faster and more accurate.

We use Geographic Information Systems (GIS) data and technology to guide our conservation efforts. It helps us identify properties with high conservation values, such as those with wetlands, forests, wildlife habitat, or scenic character.

We’re doing a comprehensive GIS system upgrade in 2020, thanks to a grant from the Leggett Foundation. Contractor Marstel-Day, LLC will update our databases to reflect the most recent data available.  The updates will focus on wildlife habitat, forest, and water conservation, as well as climate change resilience data.

LiDAR image

The upgrade will also add state-of-the-art LiDAR data for our service area.  LiDAR uses lasers from aerial drones as well as ground-based systems to show an extremely accurate 3D representation of an area (see image at left).  This will allow us to look at elevation, canopy coverage, forest health, canopy height, and hydrology in greater detail.

This upgrade will make it possible for us to do more focused outreach to critically important properties and assess conservation values of land quickly and in high resolution.