Rural System's

The GIS Group
Serving all Units of Rural System

Staff of Rural System has been active in developing and using geographic informations systems before the process and facilities became known by that phrase or its acronym of GIS.

See also

Primary uses will be within The Trevey and the thrust of work will be to produce unusual, highly useful products for a profit. Data are expensive; hardware declines in price, and the important issues still lie (and will do so for the future) in very practical maps. We see these as pictures of the results of the mental processes of experts. We sell these maps for use on the land.

Some of the maps are beautiful and deserve treatment (and sale) as an art form. Others show the parts of decisions and are needed by decision makers as a type of decision aid or support.

Elevations have over 20 different uses and many maps can be made from observations of the land stored in a square grid matrix (the UTM coordinates) called a digital elevation model (DEM). Whether each of the following is a new map or a simple transformation of a single data set can be debated. We propose any use that seems to bear on improving a decision. A simple two-factor map can be created such a greater than 3000 feet elevation and less than that amount. It may be shown as one map. There may be the need for two maps (perhaps to use with other data. We propose to develop ease with boolean comparators (e.g., greater than x and less than y or less than q.) Three dimensional land surface appearance can be meaningful, especially as new staff become acquainted with an area.

Other GIS layers to be developed are:

  1. Slope
  2. Aspect
  3. Solar radiation
  4. Monthly temperatures (mean, max, and minimum)
  5. Precipitation (Other than snow)
  6. Fog drip
  7. Snow
  8. Evaporation
  9. Moisture ratio
  10. Evapotranspiration
  11. Runoff
  12. Precipitation
  13. Growing season length (with start and end dates)
  14. Ground water surface
  15. Surface water channels
  16. Soil depth
  17. Soil type
  18. Slope (% and angle in degrees)
  19. Aspect Type 1
  20. Aspect Type 2
  21. Flatland
  22. Probable depth to bedrock
  23. Groundwater (depth, detectable nitrogen, pH)
  24. Well locations
  25. Campsite locations
  26. Trails
  27. Trailheads
  28. Land cover
  29. Boundaries
  30. Public-ownership lands
  31. Species specific maps, probability of occurrence
  32. Others...

Triplets of these are simple, interesting, and make sense to many people and may be sold ...and lead to more requests.

Specifically for one marketable product: We create and sell growing season maps for the counties and state (a refined agricultural or plant suitability map).

Specifically: Sell a sepia colored chestnut-wood framed map of a property boundary superimposed on a wire-frame, three-dimensional view of a region.

Specifically: Sell an Alpha Unit (selected at random) on federal land (say for $23.98), include a 3-d map of the point and its surrounding area (say a 10 mile by 10 mile area). Include education and marketing. Use the money to fund studies (through the Foundation...each supervised and guided by Rural System staff ) that directly adds to the GIS power of our system (and whoever else that has the system and structures and experts.

Other plans are for sale of select GIS software. The primary work will be in sales of products such as those listed above. The Trevey products may consume all of the activities of the group, but others may include:

In October, 1980, Giles used the following notes in a Virginia Tech lecture:

Geobased Information Systems for Health Systems Planning in Virginia


A lecture on the role of computerized goegraphic data systems in comprehensive city, county, and regional planning, particularly health components of such plans. The infromation or input component of a general systems theory is emphasized. An existing system is shown and its potential role in a Commonwealth Data Base (CDB then being proposed) discussed. Potential uses, with examples, are shown.


  1. Comprehensive plans (potential components)
  2. Denial of previous land-use emphasis and focus on a plan for a total system.
  3. The difficulty of goal-setting for large social systems
  4. The potential of one or more health parameters or indices as perforrr2ncc measures for goal-achievement
  5. People as the synthesizers, over time, of their sociological, economic, and ecological milieu
  6. The need for governmental or group action, to move the system down a desired course (where people set the destination and thus course, cost-effective of time, risks, energy, money, and available human and spatial resources.)
  7. The guidance mission, the managerial role is to so understand and manipulate the factors of the environment that the course can be predicted and modified, either to shape trends or respond to new events. The quest: health system cybernetics.

The Environmental Factors:

(page 2 missing)

Uses and Applications

The Need:

  • A total health system with clearly articulated goals (objectives): see Dynaplan chapter or
  • with a solid data base - the union of the present Va. Dept. of Health data base with the CDB (moving away, as quickly as possible, from disease and health-problem atlases, to decision-making capabilities and aids)
  • with computer models (using data) that
    1. describe and explain
    2. predict
    3. write readable reports for decision makers e.g. Dynaplan
    4. allow allocation of limited state or regional resources where probabilities of change are greatest
    5. that separate decision variables (e.g. smoking) from ecological variables (e.g. background levels of lead or radiation)
    6. that adjust for (or standardize) populations living under different conditions (e.g., minimum temperatures; mountains vs flat lands)
    7.  Location is  Everything
      that optimize the complex allocation strategy to achieve a well-articulated goal-set
  • with feedback at all levels to test, check, correct, improve, update, fire, reward, and transfer new system components into a vital, ctynamic system hungry for continual, adaptive improvement
  • with feedforward, providing guidance so the system is wrong today, wrong In some future day, but most right over the longrun. This is a design concept that by many techniques keeps the system related to the furure and inevitable, rapid human population changes.

    A special human health-related set of applications (suggestions prepared in 1985)


    Notes from prepared presentation for 2003

    Giles applications

    A Private GIS Enterprise affiliate

    GIS Examples from Bill Card and his Contours GIS enterprise

    See ESRI site for related GIS work.

    See for software and shape viewer.

    Ideas and assistance may be available from Doug Johnson (Illinois).

    See Penn State, riparian forestry, via the Forestry Department

    See EPA maps on demand

    See Tiger map server, US Census

    See NOAA web site

    North Carolina has a GIS CD ROM

    Heuber, Va. Dept Cons may have data on Mossy Creek in Augusta County

    UVA Library has GIS data/maps

    Cathy Smith (?State Forestry) has data on forest stands

    Raven maps and images, PO Box 850, Medford Oregon

    New policies suggested for data sharing:
    "The data distribution policy developed by the Open Data Consortium will enable local governments to move responsively in handling public requests for spatial data and will reduce barriers to interagency data sharing," said Kathy Covert, associate strategist for the Federal Geographic Data Committee Secretariat. "This framework will help advance the National Spatial Data Infrastructure vision for a National Map and a Geospatial One-Stop portal to map data."

    GeoPrinter Service provides walmap size GIS maps from images supplied.

    The model policy is available at the ODC Web site ( along with documentation of the collaborative work process, additional data studies, data policy documents used by other agencies and links to useful geodata information. Methods to promote free distribution of geospatial data are offered in the document "10 Ways to Support GIS Without Selling Data."

    The ODC hopes to move into a second phase as soon as adequate funding is secured. The second phase will focus on educating the GIS community about its findings and on funding GIS operations by changing government accounting practices to allocate some of the benefits of using geospatial data back to GIS operations departments.

    "We expect support from government and private companies, because this is a win-win-win policy recommendation," added Joffe. "It serves local government, private data service providers and, most importantly, the general public."

    Tele Atlas has acquired many data sets for US and Europe and has a USDA access due to a recently acquired (2004 blanket purchase order agreement)

    Other applications and "maps" or map layers.

    1. Bear Habitat Probability
    2. Bear! Wildlife Encounters
    3. Potential Wolf (or other furbearers) Areas
    4. Hunter Zones and Units
    5. Game Poaching Levels
    6. Fish Law Enforcement Problems
    7. Large Animal Species (200 maps)
    8. Lepidoptera (Butterfly/Moth)
    9. Total Species or Richness
    10. Game Species Richness
    11. Trapping Areas
    12. Winter Range Dynamics
    13. Human Activity
    14. Roads (multiple types)
    15. Trails (horse, foot, bike, snowmobile)
    16. Elevation
    17. Slope Steepness
    18. Aspect
    19. Aspect Transformed (type I and II) 20. Land Form
    21. Slope Position
    22. Solar Radiation (monthly)
    23. Radiation in the Growing Season
    24. Precipitation (monthly max,min, and mean)
    25. Degree Days
    26. Temperature (monthly max,min, and mean)
    27. Evapotranspiration (monthly)
    28. Moisture Index
    29. Streams
    30. Ponds, Lakes and Waterholes
    31. Wetlands, Marshes, and Seeps
    32. Watershed Boundaries
    33. Beaver Activity
    34. Gas, Utility, and Powerlines
    35. Historic Sites
    36. Burial Sites
    37. Permanent Water and Baseflow
    38. Waterfowl Areas
    39. Ancient Forests and Designated Wild or Natural Areas
    40. Fish-Watching Zones
    41. Bird Watching Areas (general)
    42. Avi (sport area and potential areas)
    43. Research Areas and Picture Points
    44. Noise Zones
    45. Viewscapes ('to' and 'from' series)
    46. Air Pollution Zones
    47. Government Boundaries (county, political, etc.)
    48. Census Bureau Enumeration Zones (and related census data)
    49. Topographic Map Boundaries
    50. Location (world, US, vicinity)
    51. Dust Zones
    52. Range Types
    53. Forest Stands
    54. Alpha Units
    55. Pseudo-soil Type
    56. Hopkins Bioclimatic Zones
    57. Bioregions
    58. Kuchler' s Potential Natural Vegetation
    59. Current Cover and Vegetation (Landsat)
    60. Solid Waste Disposal Sites and Potentials
    61. Bailey Ecoregions
    62. Seismic Activity
    63. Lunar Forces
    64. Springs and Caves
    65. Broad Landuse Classes
    66. Key Angling Sites
    67. State and Federal Ownership at Boundaries
    68. Flood Zones
    69. Ungulate Winter Range with Key Areas
    70. Fire History
    71. Fire Probability
    72. Fire and Soil Erosion Relations
    73. Fire Attack Rates
    74. Fire Control Access
    75. Prescribed Burning Areas and Schedules
    76. Smoke and Wind Patterns
    77. Smoke and Inversions
    78. Smoke and Probable Patterns
    79. Individual Plant Species (1000)
    80. Groundwater
    81. Groundwater Toxic Sources
    82. Groundwater Radiation Levels
    83. Geomagnetism
    84. Lightning Strikes (occurrence and related acres and control effort)
    85. Campsites (with trails)
    86. Heliports and Emergency Rescue Pathways
    87. Wildlife Law Enforcement Patrol Routes and Zones
    88. Cliffs, Slides, and Talus
    89. Geological Strata
    90. Erosion (3 types)
    91. Humus Layer Depth
    92. Probable Depth to Bedrock
    93. Croplands
    94. Structures and Scheduled Maintenance
    95. Emergency and Rescue Centers
    96. Recreation Areas (dispersed)
    97. Probable Financial Net Gains
    98. Production Risk Levels
    99. Grazing Plan elements
    100. Range Condition and Trend Classes
    101. Potential Losses from Fires
    102. Ski and Snow sled Routes
    103. Potential Utility Corridors (underground)
    104. Deer Management (50)
    105. Riparian Vegetation
    106. Wild Turkey and Grouse (20) 107. Area reconnaissance notes 108. Areas suiatble for use for rubber-tired tractors (wood ahrvests) 109. Logistic regression - probability of higher than a standard max temperature; lower than a minimum 110. Relative forest productivity index (Stage, 1963, 69, 76) 111. Daylight hours based topographic shadow 112. Relative suitability for deer based enery costs of living in a map cell (Rayburn's thesis)

    See African-American student Kevin Wheatley who studied GPS and GIS for accuracy of area determinations (2003) at Tech (McNair scholar)

    See Post ing GPS coordinates (either UTM or Lat/Long) on the Terrain Navigator series of digitized topo maps (MAPTECH, 655 Portsmouth Ave, Greenland, HN 03840 Tel: 800-627-7236

    See Koeln, G. T. 1980. A computer-assisted general aviation airport location and evaluation system for Virginia. Unpub. Ph.D. Dissertation, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, Va. xii + 235 pp.

    Dr. John McGee, Geospatial Extension Specialist in the Department of Forestry, 231-2428, 210-E Cheatham Hall may be a consultant.

    Official state lands database is now online (2003) at For information contact Steve

    Tom Holcomb 303-442-8800 of CommunityViz - GIS software about $300 for a "seat" with educational discounts

    Preliminary Request
    Minimum maps for Tracts
    1. National Forest Boundary
    2. Reserves - equipment areas, parks, wilderness, borrowpits, mines, powerlines, planned area of ponds to be constructed
    3. 1 + 2 - exclude National Forest land and exclude reserved areas
    4. swamps an d marshes
    5. water - second order and ponds
    6. buffer zones around all water (2 images) 66 feet and 100 feet
    7. roads
    8. hunter zone (2 images ) 0.7 miles plus and minus 100 feet
    9. maintained trails
    10. trail zone (100 feet on both sides) (later adjust for steepness of area)
    11. forestes areas
    12. logging zone - forested area + roads - water zones -steep areas if greater than 25% - southwest areas if greater than 15 degrees
    13. vistas - every 300 m along roads vistas of 2 miles

    See Giles, R. H., Jr. and L. A. Nielsen. 1992. The uses of geographic information systems in fisheries, p. 81 – 94 in R>H> Stroud (ed.) Fisheries management and watershed development, American Fisheries Society, Symposium 13, Newport, R.I.;Bethesda, MD 282 pp.

    Geographic Information Systems in Fisheries by William L. Fisher and Frank J. Rahel, editors
    summarizes a growing body of information on applications of (GIS) in fisheries research and management. It is the first book of its kind to provide examples of GIS applications for all components of a fishery (i.e., organisms, habitats, and people), in both freshwater and marine environments. The book introduces ways GIS can be applied to fisheries, identifies challenges associated with using GIS in aquatic environments, reviews fisheries applications of GIS in freshwater (streams, rivers, lakes, and reservoirs) and marine (nearshore and offshore) environments and in aquaculture, examines GIS as a tool for fisheries decision making, and concludes with the future of GIS in fisheries.
    275 pages, American Fisheries Society February 2004, ATTN: Orders Department Stock number: 550.41, 1650 Bluegrass Parkway, Alpharetta, GA 30004 List price: $69.00 678-366-1411

    See The USGS's Geographic Names Information System..

    See GoFish, a Global Gateway to Geographic Information Systems (GIS), Remote Sensing and Mapping for Aquaculture and Inland Fisheries. GISFish is a brand new Web site (2007) of the Aquaculture Conservation and Management Service (FIMA) of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO) and a number of collaborating institutions.

    See CGIT for GIS at Virginia Tech.

    Perhaps you will share ideas with me about some of the topic(s) above .

    Rural System
    Robert H. Giles, Jr.
    July 3, 2005