Students at the University of Texas at Austin have found a reengineered GIS in Water Resources class this fall. The GIS class, which was first offered by Dr. David Maidment in 1996, has changed the way that the information is accessed; replacing zip files and organization web pages by the Esri landscape services.
The students work with the San Marcos River located north of San Antonio, TX as a study case. They used the “Watershed delineation tool” to get the river basin and the “USA Soils Available Water Storage” layer to analyze the mean soil water storage per subwatershed.
The students were also extracting NHDplus data directly within ArcGIS desktop using the “USA_NHDPlusV2” map service. The students also used the “Profile” geoprocessing service and the “Elevation” image service to easily plot the elevation profile of the main channel in the basin. In one of the exercises, the students are looking on the influence of the San Marcos springs on the mean annual flow in the river reaches.
This new approach allows the students to get reliable information quickly within a single system: ArcGIS; taking advantages of several of its platforms: desktop, online, and server. The main benefit is that now the students spend more time in the understanding of the hydrologic features rather on how to get data.
The tight link between geography, hydrology, and natural resources within ArcGIS have empowered the water resources field, providing new analysis capabilities and easing the data access. For more information, visit the Esri landscape services page or the GIS in Water Resources web page where you can find the exercises and lectures presentations.
by Gonzalo E. Espinoza Dávalos, Ph.D. student, UT-Austin