Geographic Information Sciences

Past Projects

Topographic Assessment of the Oculina Banks, Florida:

A GIS is being developed to characterize the habitats of the Oculina Banks. Using multi-media including side scan sonar, video, multibeam bathymetry and historical fish surveys, a habitat analysis is being performed to determine the health of the area. Results are being disseminated via cd-rom and Internet GIS. See for a complete description as well as GIS tools. Preliminary results can be found in:

Halls, Joanne N., 2004. The Oculina Banks Experimental Research Reserve: A Habitat Assessment Using Multi-Media and Internet GIS. In, World Minds: Geographical Perspectives on 100 Problems, AAG Centennial commemorative volume. D. G. Janelle, B. Warf, and K. Hansen (eds.), pp. 331-336.

Modeling Change in Back Barrier Marshes: Change detection, fragmentation statistics, and spatio-temporal modeling of back barrier marshes.

A GIS has been developed for Topsail and Masonboro Islands, in Southeastern North Carolina, to quantify change in the marsh habitats. Seven dates of high spatial resolution aerial photography, dating back to 1938, have been rectified, interpreted, and digitized to provide a series of temporal maps of the islands. GIS spatial analysis techniques have been utilized to quantify habitat change, develop spatial indices to model the potential for future change, and to investigate the geomorphological and topographical variability in the marsh habitats.

Calculation of Flushing Time in the Cape Fear and New River Estuaries:

The purpose of this research is to use various spatial analysis methods to calculate volume of the Cape Fear and New River estuaries, couple this with field measurements of salinity and tide height, and then calculate the time it takes for each estuary to flush water from the upper reaches of to the ocean. Results from this analysis can be found in:

Ensign, Scott H., Joanne N. Halls, and Michael A. Mallin, in press. Application of digital bathymetry data in an analysis of flushing times of two large estuaries. Computers and Geosciences, vol. 30 (5): 501-511.

Migratory Patterns and Habitat Use of Cranes in Northeast Asia:

This research investigates the georeferencing of satellite telemetry tracks of Cranes with land use derived from AVHRR imagery. The study area spans from the Russian tundra to the southern coast of China. Figures from this paper can be viewed here: fig 1, fig 2, fig 3, fig 4, fig 5, fig 6, fig 7, fig 8, fig 9. Tables 1-4 can be found here. Research results can be found in:

Minton, Jason S., Joanne N. Halls, and Hiroyoshi Higuchi, 2003. Integration of Satellite Telemetry Data and Land-Cover Imagery: A Study of Migratory Cranes in Northeast Asia. Transactions in GIS, vol. 7 (4): 505-528.

River Run:

Two grants have been awarded (1999/2000 and 2000/2001) for the study of Internet applications for disseminating water quality information for the Lower Cape Fear River watershed. The water quality data are both spatially variable and temporally dynamic; therefore we have developed a web site that incorporates dynamic graphic software and interactive GIS software for visualizing the temporal and spatial components for several water quality variables. The River Run web site ( was developed in collaboration with the Lower Cape Fear River Program (LCFRP), the Center for Marine Science, the Spatial Analysis Lab, and the Watson School of Education. Joanne Halls, Rich Huber (Education), and Marian McPhaul (LCFRP) are co-PIs on these grants. Results of this project can be found in:

Halls, Joanne N., 2003. River Run: An Interactive GIS and Dynamic Graphing Website for Decision Support and Exploratory Data Analysis of Water Quality Parameters of the Lower Cape Fear River, North Carolina. Environmental Modelling and Software, vol. 18: 513-520.

Halls, Joanne N., 2001. A Decision Support System of Animated Graphs, GIS, and Temporal Ecological Data to Quantify and Disseminate Water Quality Information, In, Environmental Software Systems, volume 4: Environmental Information and Indicators, pp. 195-206. Edited by David A. Swayne, Ralf Denzer, and Gerald Schmik, International Federation for Information Processing.

Tidal Creek Phosphorous Compounds:

This project, in collaboration with Dr. Lynn Leonard (Earth Sciences and Center for Marine Science) and Dr. Stephen Kinsey (Biology), is a spatial sensitivity analysis of the distribution of land cover/land use and sediment phosphorous compounds in small tidal creek watersheds of coastal New Hanover County. The journal article resulting from this research is:

Halls, Joanne N., 2002. A Spatial Sensitivity Analysis of Land Use Characteristics and Phosphorus Levels in Small Tidal Creek Estuaries of North Carolina, USA. Journal of Coastal Research, Special Issue 36, pp. 340-351.