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Wednesday, April 6 • 9:40am - 10:50am
The USFS Northern Region Existing Vegetation Spatial Database (VMap)

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Consistent, continuous, and current vegetation data are fundamentally necessary to support the ecosystem and land management assessment and planning process. The US Forest Service’s Northern Region Vegetation Mapping Program (VMap) helps to meet this information need by providing the US Forest Service’s Northern Region with a geospatial database of existing vegetation condition that is produced following consistent protocols that utilize the most current tools and technology available. VMap is a remote sensing derived product. As such, it uses a combination of satellite imagery and airborne acquired imagery. The image data (i.e., pixels) are put through a process of aggregation to derive spatially cohesive units (i.e., polygons). These polygons better reflect homogenous patches of vegetation rather than single pixels, providing land managers with a better inherent understanding of the spatial nature of the classification. A small proportion of these polygons are then sampled to determine their composition and are used to develop spatial models that are then applied to the remaining area to derive probability based estimates of vegetation composition An independent accuracy assessment is conducted to provide a validation of the data, giving an indication of reliability of the map products, so that managers are fully informed throughout the decision making process. VMap is used for a variety of applications including vegetation analysis, wildlife habitat mapping, and others to support Land and Resource Management Plans and project planning and analysis. The VMap database is designed to be used for Forest and Landscape level analysis. However, the database is constructed so that it can be used at the project level with minimal additional work done by leveraging the local knowledge of Forest and District specialists. This presentation will illustrate the process that is undertaken to produce the VMap database across the Northern Region including: image selection and preparation, polygon derivation, field data collection, image classification, model verification, and examples of how the data is used to help support analysis and decision making with the Northern Region.


Steve Brown

Regional Remote Sensing Program Lead USDA Forest Service Northern Region

Wednesday April 6, 2016 9:40am - 10:50am MDT
Britain Room Heritage Inn

Attendees (6)