Several ESF departments perform research and offer graduate programs in GIS.
Environmental and Forest Biology (EFB) uses Geospatial Modeling and Analysis to study ecological interactions among and between components of spatially distributed ecosystems. These components consist of both external forcing and internal process functions. The first include such inputs as sunlight, precipitation, temperature, and nutrients, which vary over terrain, rivers, lakes, soils, watersheds. The second include the energy flows and feedbacks that occur between for example, various plant communities, animal and fish species, etc. which also vary over a landscape as a function of their environmental gradient requirements.
The Environmental Resources Engineering (ERE) Department offers MPS, MS and PhD degrees in Geographic Information Science and Engineering. This option area targets graduate students interested in environmental monitoring using remote sensing methods and environmental modeling through the use of geographic information systems (GIS). The graduate program in ERE includes a strong quantitative component ranging from statistical methods to advanced artificial intelligence techniques (e.g. genetic algorithms, neural networks) addressing a wide range of environmental and engineering problems. Spatiotemporal analyses and modeling are of particular emphasis, for example animal movement, land use/land cover change detection, and socioeconomic change. Research interests include environmental remote sensing focusing on urban and vegetation, GIS-based modeling, algorithm development, satellite and aerial image analysis, spatiotemporal geographic modeling using machine learning methods, and spatial statistics.
The Graduate Program in Environmental Science (GPES) draws upon faculty from throughout the College to emphasize a multidisciplinary social and natural science approach to environmental understanding and stewardship. All nine of the GPES Areas of Study integrate geospatial technologies in their research projects, particularly, Environmental Monitoring and Modeling (EMM), which focuses on multidisciplinary approaches to measuring and modeling environmental systems and processes; Environmental and Community Land Planning (ECLP) concerned with orderly, efficient, equitable and aesthetic development of land; and Coupled Natural and Human Systems (CNHS), which fosters interdisciplinary research and scholarship that explicitly integrates the social and biophysical dimensions of environmental issues using a systems approach.
The Forest and Natural Resources Management (FNRM) Department uses spatial information for studies in forest and natural resources management, forest dynamics and climate change, sustainable energy management, and GIS technology and implementation. Within FNRM, the Monitoring, Analysis and Modeling (MAM) area of study focuses on the application of statistical and geospatial methods to sample, describe and predict how individual trees, forest stands and terrestrial ecosystems change over both temporal and spatial scales. An example of FNRM efforts is the Northern Forest Lands Study. This project involved developing and managing spatial data for more than 4 million hectares of land in New York State. Other research projects study the accuracy assessment of land use/land cover data, mapping forest feedstock for sustainable bioenergy production, spatial arrangement of trees and forests and their influence on harvest intensities and forest growth, and the spatial pattern of criminal activities across managed public forest lands.