The time in the field is limited and fieldwork is expensive. A proper preparation before going on fieldwork is essential to achieve the research objectives given the limited time and resources available in the field.
After this course you're able to:
Depending on the type of research, your study area can be within:
You can download GIS data with boundaries from national mapping agencies, Natural Earth, OpenStreetMap or other open data sources. You can also use GIS to digitize or delineate boundaries.
For administrative boundaries you can use key = boundaries and value = administrative. In the attribute table you need then filter on the tag of the level that you need. This is explained here.
key = boundaries
value = administrative
key = boundary
value = natural park
There are different tools in QGIS that you can use for stream and catchment delineation: SAGA, GRASS, WhiteBoxTools, PCRaster, etc. Currently the most robust approach is to use the PCRaster Tools plugin.
There is a strong interest in the ability to organize
and share diverse water and environment-related data sets. These can include
data sets provided by citizens, local organizations, international
organizations, projects, and governments. Globally, the lack of data
availability has been mentioned by many experts as the primary reason for the
lack of understanding of many water and environmental challenges. SDIs enable sharing of geographic data and metadata in an
efficient and flexible way to help overcome such challenges. Through online
tools and open standards, users are able to find and re-use existing data sets.
The following videos introduce you to the knowledge you need on data formats and spatial data infrastructures:
You can download the related document here.
Before going to the field it is important to store all the data gathered for your study area in a database. If you work for an organisation, the best way is to have spatial database at a server. Here we'll focus on storing the data, project and styles in a GeoPackage that is portable and can easily be shared with others.
First you need to determine the projection that you want to use. If you work for a national project, it's best to work in the national projection. If you can't find out what the national projection is, you can choose a UTM or other global projection that is compatible with the GPS device that you'll use in the field. Check the projections supported by the GPS device prior to the fieldwork and choose the projection.
After choosing the projection, you need to find the EPSG code of the projection:
Also take care of different projections that are used in GIS. Don't get confused with the projection of layers and the on-the-fly reprojection used in your project:
You can find a list of Open Data Resources on another page at GIS OpenCourseWare.
Here's an example of how to add open data and prepare your fieldwork GIS project:
Now we have our data in a GIS project, we can start preparing our field maps.
field maps need be very clearly readable in the field. Therefore they
require a specific map design that only contains the necessary
designing the map in the Print Layout of QGIS, we can add some points of
interest where we want to do field observations. Then we need to choose
the proper paper size and orientation. A3 or larger (folded) is
recommended to have enough detail. The orientation (landscape or
portrait) depends on the shape of your study area.
A good map needs to be fit for purpose. Therefore a field map has different requirements than a map in a publication for example.
Here's a general video on map design in GIS:
Maps need to have certain elements. Below you'll learn which are needed for field maps:
Fieldwork needs to be done in the most efficient way. Often fieldwork is costly, due to logistics and staff time. Also the cost of going back when you have missed crucial data is high and should be avoided. A proper pre-fieldwork desk study on the area and creating a planning for the field campaign can reduce the risk of additional fieldwork cost.
In the field you will collect a large amount of data. The data needs to be collected and organised in such a way that they can be used in interpretation and further processing after the fieldwork.
every observation, experiment or measurement in the field, at least the
following information must be recorded:
If you work in a team it is also important to add the name of the observer. This can be useful as a contact to ask additional information that was not recorded on field forms, but also to correct for systematic biases in observations. This can be for example the case with vegetation cover estimates.
Some more recommendations for using a fieldbook:
Input is a simple survey app
allowing users to capture data in field.
Forms and data preparation can be done in QGIS software and synchronised
with the Input app using the Mergin plugin and repository.
Input is not aimed to be a full GIS/mapping application. It is designed
with simplicity, ease of use and seamless data synchronisation in mind.
A typical workflow for using Input consists of the following steps:
Test your app before going to the field. You can still make changes to
the design and add/remove/adjust fields and widgets in the form. If you
work in a team, make sure that you do a test with the entire team before
leaving to the field.
Fieldwork data is very valuable and it is therefore important to keep a double administration the field observations. For hardcopy fieldbooks it is good practice to copy the field observation at the end of each field day. Obviously, the copied data are not to be taken
into the field and kept in a safe, dry place during the fieldwork. An additional copy in a digital document is also recommended and, if set up in a good way, this can make processing of the data easier after the fieldwork.