New WI-MN Sea Grant collaboration integrates geospatial research and outreach

The complex relationships between people and places have attracted research attention for years, and geospatial research increasingly contributes to this work through spatially explicit monitoring and analysis. This year the first-ever Minnesota Sea Grant and Wisconsin Sea Grant research project was launched in July to assess at-risk aquatic habitats in the St. Louis River watershed and estuary. The work is intended to inform future monitoring, restoration, remediation, land-use planning, and contribute to spatial literacy and stewardship.

Led by UW-Madison Associate Professor Dr. Janet Silbernagel, the research integrates geospatial research with outreach and communication through the construction of innovative spatial narratives that tie water quality data with interviews, photos, videos, and historical data to create “deep” maps. Geospatial data in the form of spatial narratives are now being built into outreach materials to include multifaceted land, ship, and internet-based outreach materials. These materials will include vignettes of local communities, augmented reality games, geo-tours, and a rich web-based “deep” map where enthusiasts can learn and explore the rich environmental and cultural landscape of the area.

The project compliments the November 1st, 2010 designation of the Lake Superior National Estuarine Research Reserve, located along the St. Louis River.

For more information on the project, contact at (608) 265-8093.

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