Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Trimble Geo 7x: by Vincent S. Irizarry

The device that I am holding above is called a Trimble Geo7x. It is a Real Time Kinetic Global Positioning System (RTK GPS) device that connects to satellites around the world which relay a signal to the upper round disk in the photo. RTK systems can be used for a variety of field work purposes from documenting plant species in a programmed database, to photographing plant species, but most importantly the Trimble helps with spatial mapping. Under the guidance of Dr. Keryn Gedan I was able to survey a range of tidal marsh plots on the Blackwater Refuge area from previously forested lands that have now been cut (controlled) to our no vegetation/vegetation Control East & West sites. The Trimble RTK is capable of finding elevation of the lands in meters which precision as close to 1 centimeter.

“Why is it so important that you find the elevation of the lands in such precise measurements?”

In the beginning of our research project, we already started knowing that there was a high marsh elevation, a mid elevation, and a low elevation due to the changes in plant species and habitat, but the land is so flat that it is difficult to perceive these small differences in elevation. Under the supervision of Dr. Keryn Gedan I learned that although we can visually see the physical change in ecotone elevation, this proposal needs to be backed by actual numerical values. While using the Trimble RTK we acknowledged that on the Control Sites some of the numerical values did in fact correspond with what we expected but, in other areas where variation looked significant different the data showed the numerical values were less dramatic in change.

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