ABOUT THE COLLECTION

The University of Arizona Geographic Information Systems Technology (UA GIST) integrates GIScience, cutting-edge GISystems, and geospatial technology, with management skills for use in government, corporate, non-profit, and academic settings.

This collection showcases the master's reports and projects from graduates of the Master's of Science in Geographic Information Systems Technology Program.

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Graduating students are invited to submit their master's reports and projects each semester at the conclusion of their MS-GIST program.

  • Log in to the repository using your NetID and password
  • Click the "Submissions" link in the left sidebar (under "My Account")
  • Start a new submission in the MS-GIST (Master's Reports) collection
  • You will receive an email with a persistent link to your submission when it is approved.

If you have questions about the submission process, contact us at repository@u.library.arizona.edu.

Questions?

Contact UA GIST for more information about the Master's Reports in this collection, or about the UA GIST program.

Recent Submissions

  • GEOGRAPHIC INFORMATION SYSTEMS (GIS) ENHANCED COMMUNITY COMMUNICATION: IMPROVING PUBLIC HEALTH

    Yoganand, Korgaonkar; Stanley, Patrick (The University of Arizona., 2022-12)
    Local governments need to develop technologies for analyzing and maintaining the health of their cities and improving the reporting and communication of incidents with their citizens. A user-friendly mobile application using location services with the ability for citizens to easily report incidents and for local governments to distribute resources is needed. City governments need a method of locating issues, increasing accountability, and allocating resources. At the same time, citizens need a way to voice their concerns without having to navigate the maze of government departments. To address this problem, a prototype of a mobile application and a dashboard was constructed using GIS technologies. To assist with the creation of the prototype, multiple departments within the city of San Ramon, California were contacted to provide data on their prior experiences as well as their current needs. The resulting prototype application and dashboard allow multiple city departments to access the incident database including photographs and submitter comments, while also having the ability to view the various GIS attributes of the incident location using cartographical technologies. Use of a system with GIS functionality allows users to effortlessly communicate incidents of concern and at the same time allows local governments to more efficiently and transparently allocate public resources.
  • Modeling the Hydrological Impacts of the Yarnell Hill Fire Using the Automated Geospatial Watershed Assessment (AGWA) Tool

    Korgaonkar, Yoganand; Shafer, David (The University of Arizona., 2022-12)
    The highly publicized 2013 Yarnell Hill Fire is the deadliest wildfire in Arizona history, killing 19 members of the Granite Mountain Hotshots firefighting crew. Wildland fires like Yarnell Hill have immediate effects on human life and property, but they can also increase the frequency and severity of flooding events due to loss of vegetation and hydrophobicity of soils and ash. This study seeks to model hydrological impacts due to land cover change following the Yarnell Hill Fire using the Automated Geospatial Watershed Assessment (AGWA) Tool. AGWA can enable hydrologic modeling using the Soil & Water Assessment Tool (SWAT) or the Kinematic Runoff and Erosion Model (KINEROS2) and can help land and water resource managers make quick decisions regarding flood mitigation strategies following a wildfire. In this study, AGWA is used to model the change in land cover due to the Yarnell Hill fire based on a burn intensity map created using the differenced Normalized Burn Ratio (dNBR) and based on pre- and post-fire Landsat 8 Operational Land Imager (OLI) imagery. Storm conditions included in the model represent a variety of storm recurrence intervals based on National Weather Service (NWS) data for the town of Yarnell. For all post-fire storm conditions modeled, flooding increases more rapidly and with greater volume as compared to pre-fire conditions.
  • THE SPATIAL RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN NORTH AMERICAN MANATEE AND INDUSTRIAL POWER PLANTS

    Korgaonkar, Yoga; Goff, Jessica (The University of Arizona., 2022-12)
    The NPR podcast series Planet Money published a special series titled How Florida’s manatees got hooked on fossil fuels, it talked about how manatees in Florida were dependent on the hot water that power plants are releasing into the ocean and how that might be a cause for an increase in manatee populations. This poses an interesting environmental industrial relation predicament where manatees are in danger of extinction and power plants might be a solution to saving this species, but power plants are also part of environmental degradation and climate change. This study looks at the relationship between power plant sites and observed manatee locations as well as manatee recovery locations throughout the state of Florida. Spatial statistics and hot spot analysis will help understand distribution of manatees and power plants. Point data sets for the years 1991-2019 were used to create density map, hot and cold spot analysis, and colocation analysis that concluded that manatees do conjugate around industrial power plants. However, manatees do cluster more around natural gas power plants as compared to Florida’s other leading power plant facilities.
  • INTEGRATION OF GEOGRAPHIC INFORMATION SYSTEMS TECHNOLOGY AND FLOOD ANALYSIS FOR GEOLOGICAL AND SOCIAL-ECONOMIC HAZARDS ON THE NAVAJO NATION

    Korgaonkar, Yoga; Cunningham, Letyraial (The University of Arizona., 2022-12)
    Flooding events have caused many considerable losses to individuals and businesses all over the United States. Floods are the most frequent severe weather threat and the costliest natural disaster in the nation. Ninety percent of all natural disasters in the country involve flooding. In order to effectively mitigate and prevent flood disasters, flood risk and flood management needs to be implemented in areas that are vulnerable and susceptible to flooding. The area of study will be the Navajo Nation region in the state of Arizona. Analysis and evaluation of flooding events near Marble Canyon and the city of Winslow between the years 2010 and 2020 are the main objectives of this project. Flood susceptibility analysis in ArcGIS Pro can determine the risk of flooding near these areas and how it affects their geology and economy. Major flooding of these areas has caused severe damage to roads, homes, crops, businesses, schools, hospitals, and emergency services. The following factors are included in the flood analysis, slope, hydrology, rainfall, and land cover. Using the reclassify and weighted overlay tools in ArcGIS Pro for each of these factors, a flood risk map of each area shows the severity of flood risk. Each flood risk area has an allocated value from “very low,” “low,” “medium,” “high”, and “very high” flood risk. This shows what areas are more vulnerable than others in both regions of the Navajo Nation. These results can be used to highlight areas that require planning and action to avoid or mitigate damages and loss of lives.
  • A Socioeconomic Tier Study of Tucson Unified School District

    Korgaonkar, Yoga; Keaster, Julianne (The University of Arizona., 2022)
    Tucson Unified School District (TUSD) has taken steps to ensure they are not segregating students based on socioeconomic status in their schools. At the bequest of their Office of Desegregation, a case study of TUSD’s schools was performed. This case study included determining the geographical distribution of schools across the district boundary and analyzing socioeconomic traits as proxies for student segregation. The socioeconomic traits examined were household income, educational attainment, rent vs. owned households, and single-parent vs. two-parent households. The socioeconomic status analyses detailed in this report drew from the Texas Education Agency’s 2018 study and aimed to replicate a socioeconomic tier study of their school-aged residents. To complete this study, socioeconomic tiers within TUSD were created. Socioeconomic tiers were calculated based on creating an index from multiple census variables. Tier data was joined to school attendance boundaries to obtain raw percentages of each tier as it was distributed within each TUSD school. Next, schools with disproportionate percentages of students represented by one or more socioeconomic tiers were identified. Lastly, the distribution of tiers across TUSD attendance boundaries was visually analyzed. This research will allow TUSD to determine which students and schools need additional program and financial support. Other school districts in the United States can utilize the model from this study for the same purpose.
  • Effects of Redlining in the Twin Cities

    Korgaonkar, Yoga; Crowe, Timothy (The University of Arizona., 2022-12)
    The depression era Home Owners’ Loan Corporation (HOLC) bought troubled mortgages from banks and refinanced mortgages with borrowers directly. The HOLC also graded neighborhoods by risk of mortgage default using racist criteria in a process now commonly called redlining. Scholarly work indicates that redlining resulted in adverse socioeconomic conditions in the decades since the depression. This study examines the possible long-term effects of redlining in the Twin Cities, Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota, using decennial census and American Community Survey data. Trends were identified using socioeconomic measures at the census tract level in four areas: population, housing and rent, employment, and income. Analysis including geographically weighted regression identified significant variation in measures between best and worst rated tracts. As a percentage of a tract’s population, non-White population grew while the White population declined. However, non-White population grew mostly in census tracts with the lowest HOLC grades. Home values in the lowest graded tracts increased over time yet lagged well behind better graded areas. Median rents in worst graded tracts doubled when compared to other tracts. The best graded area outpaced median income growth in all other tracts. Generally, the influence of HOLC grades was less in later census years. While regression analysis of median home value using the selected census data failed to provide a reliable predictive model, useful explanatory variables were identified for future study. Overall, the results show that multiple adverse socioeconomic conditions continue to exist in formerly redlined areas.
  • Landsat-Based Evaluation of Vegetation and Snow Around Hoh Glacier, Olympic National Park, Washington Between 1987 and 2022

    Korgaonkar, Yoga; Drake, Charlie (The University of Arizona., 2022-12)
    Glaciers within the Olympic Mountains, Washington, occupy a significant role in local ecosystems by providing cold meltwater to feed rivers and forests downstream. Atop Mount Olympus, glaciers are fed by storm clouds inundated with moisture from the Pacific Ocean during the autumn, winter, and spring seasons. The Hoh Glacier, alongside the Blue and White Glaciers, provides cool meltwater during rain-starved summers to the Hoh Watershed, allowing keystone salmon and bull-trout populations to flourish. However, due to anthropogenic climate change, glaciers worldwide have receded or outright disappeared. The glaciers atop Mount Olympus are no exception to this global trend and are estimated to disappear by 2070. This project uses remote sensing to quantify how vegetation and snow cover around the Hoh Glacier have changed across 35-years in 5-year intervals starting in 1987 and concluding in 2022. Multispectral Landsat imagery of the watershed surrounding Hoh Glacier will be quantified and classified from the normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) and the normalized difference snow index (NDSI). Land cover classified by NDVI revealed that barren, rocky, snowy terrain decreased over time while sparse vegetation increased. Through NDSI, land designated as possessing snow fell, while terrain which lacked snow increased between 1987 and 2022.
  • ANALYZING THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN CRIME AND TREE CANOPY IN AUSTIN, TEXAS

    Korgaonkar, Yoganand; Gonzalez, Abraham (The University of Arizona., 2022-12)
    The purpose of this project is to analyze the relationship between tree canopy and violent crime in the city of Austin, Texas. Using only recent 2022 data on violent crime and the most up-to-date data on tree inventory in Austin, a Heat Map was generated to assess the density of the crime data source. The Aggregation of Points was made to assess the density of tree inventory. A Tree Priority data map was also used to build upon by joining the crime data to it and creating a Bivariate Choropleth map from the output. Median Household Income was analyzed against crime to determine whether low-income households are areas that might benefit the most from the planting of more trees. Furthermore, a Pareto (80/20) analysis was created, where violent crimes were aggregated based on the closest input comparison polygon feature. Police station locations, policing districts, and parkways were also used to provide background features when analyzing the results. Data came mostly from the Austin Texas Open Data Portal and from the US Census Bureau. Preliminary results show an inverse relationship between tree canopy and crime rates. Ergo, where crime rate was high, tree canopy in that area was at its lowest. Results also indicate that the low-income households are in high need of tree priority compared to higher-income households. The results described in this analysis can help identify areas that may require more extensive attention from law enforcement agencies and establish better community effort to plant more trees in Austin.
  • Normalized Burn Ratio (NBR) and Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) Study of Vegetation Health and Regrowth Rate Post 2018 Mendocino Complex Fire in Northern California Coastal Mountains

    Korgaonkar, Yoga; Boden, Matt (The University of Arizona., 2022)
    The Mendocino Complex fire burned for two months from July 27th 2018 to September 18th 2018. The Mendocino Complex fire comprised of two fires: the River and the Ranch fire. Both wildfires burned 459,136 acres of the Mendocino National Forest in the Northern Coast Range of northwestern California. This study tries to measure the impacts and understand the forest structure and recovery through the use of Landsat 8 imagery to analyze Normalized Burn Ratio (NBR), Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI). NDVI is calculated to understand the impacts to the vegetation health and was studied to understand which index would provide the best results for the study area. The NBR was calculated to understand the overall burn severity in the study area. To understand the impact to the specific types of vegetation, 50 evenly distributed control points were established across the five dominant vegetation types that make up 95% of the study area. There is a positive correlation between the dNBR and dNDVI with an R² of 0.8635. The dNBR indicated that the vast majority of the burn area was a low to moderate severity burn. Post fire NBR and NDVI showed that over the five vegetation types shrubland observed the highest post fire loss in terms of reflectance values, -122.75% and -78.67% respectively. May 28, 2020 NDVI showed the largest increase of NDVI values across all control points with an average of 0.228 up from 0.117 for a 95% increase from one month post fire in 2018, thus proving that the forest is in its early stages of recovery.
  • GIS AND FREE ROAMING DOG MANAGEMENT: USING SUITABILITY ANALYSIS TO DETERMINE POTENTIAL LOCATIONS FOR ORAL RABIES VACCINATION ON THE NAVAJO NATION

    Korgaonkar, Yoganand; Owens, Ashley (The University of Arizona., 2022)
    Over 250,000 free roaming domestic dogs are estimated to live on Navajo Nation land, raising animal welfare and public health concerns. Due to the high dog to human ratio in Navajo communities, dog bites are a common injury. Free roaming dogs can contract and spread rabies after interactions with infected wildlife, and less than 20% of dogs living on the Navajo Nation are vaccinated against the disease. Research on oral rabies vaccines emphasize how important efficient delivery methods are in adequately vaccinating enough dogs to reach herd immunity. Suitability modeling can further improve vaccination rates by mapping preferred habitat to locate unowned dogs. This research-based project aims to model suitable locations for oral rabies vaccine delivery using the geographic information systems software ArcGIS Pro. Suitable habitat in the study area is based on proximity to human development, preferred land cover, and water sources - as documented in existing free roaming dog research. Habitat is combined with Boolean overlays for slope and road buffers, to determine valid delivery sites. The results indicate 648 of 1663 square miles, or 38.96% of the total study area, is suited for both free roaming dog habitation and oral rabies vaccine delivery. Within this habitat, two main areas have the highest suitability scores; totaling 140 miles, or 8.41% of the study area. Conducting a local suitability analysis before implementing oral vaccine deliveries could improve efficiency by eliminating areas unsuitable for free roaming dogs. Determining suitable habitat may lead to the discovery of more dogs, especially when dogs may be unrestricted or completely feral.
  • Exploratory Regression Analysis of Crime Trends in Richmond, Virginia

    Korgaonkar, Yoga; Faircloth, Jamie (The University of Arizona., 2022)
    Crime negatively affects the safety and lives of citizens daily and has been one of societies’ worst byproducts. If one can identify the underlying influences that cause certain crime trends, then resolutions could be found to address these issues and to possibly curb future crime. This study observed the potential spatial relationships and distributions between crime locations, crime type, socioeconomics, and demographic for Richmond, Virginia. Richmond was divided into 148 neighborhoods and crime incidents occurring between January 1, 2020, and December 31, 2021, were analyzed. Crimes were separated into two dependent variables: violent crimes (assault, murder, sex offenses, robberies) and property crimes (larcenies and burglaries). These two variables were then analyzed using Exploratory and Ordinary Least Squares linear regression to determine if any of the socioeconomic and demographics statistics had a relationship with crime trends in Richmond, VA. The three explanatory variables that were found to explain crime occurrence best were population density, percent of the population renting housing instead of owning, and the percentage of the population with a high school level education or less. The Global Moran’s I test was used to determine if any of the two crime categories had any significant clustering. Only 34% of violent crimes and 18% of property crimes were supported by the three explanatory variables and both crime categories are considered to have random distributions. These results indicate that the socioeconomic and demographic variables used do not accurately explain crime trends in Richmond, VA.
  • Retrospective Landcover Analysis of Urban Growth and Deforestation in Flagstaff, AZ Using Unsupervised Classification Methods on Landsat Surface Reflectance Imagery

    Korgaonkar, Yoganand; Gerber, Zachary (The University of Arizona., 2022-12-01)
    In this project, I describe a method for automating historical land use/land cover change analysis for the Northern Arizona, greater Flagstaff area. The method investigates deforestation as a result of urban growth, the results of which are displayed in a timeseries. The area surrounding Flagstaff, Arizona is interspersed with areas of urban development as well as a diverse population of spruce, fir, and pine trees. In recent years, more forest and grassland areas have been removed to make room for more urban development, both within and outside the city limits. I obtained one surface reflectance raster image per year taken in Spring from 2022 back through 2000. These scenes were obtained from the United States Geological Survey Earth Explorer data collection and were captured by the Landsat 8 Operational Land Imager/Thermal Infrared Sensor and Landsat 5 Thematic Mapper satellites. After initial processing, scenes were classified using an unsupervised ISO Cluster classification technique. The land cover classifications were identified via manual interpretation techniques aided by high-resolution, Google Earth historical imagery. Analysis of these classifications provided land use and land cover data for understanding the recent extent of urbanization and deforestation in this region. The results of this study demonstrate approximately 3,946.6 acres of forest were lost to urban development, between 2000 and 2022, which equates to a 15.44% loss in forest acreage. In addition, ArcGIS Pro Model Builder models were developed to allow for a reproducible method of performing similar analyses in other study areas.
  • A SPATIAL ANALYSIS OF INVESTOR-OWNED SINGLE-FAMILY RENTALS IN PHOENIX

    Lukinbeal, Chris; Zovko, Stanko (The University of Arizona., 2022)
    The City of Phoenix is the fifth most populous city in the United States as well as one of the fastest growing. According to the Census Bureau, from 2010 to 2020 Phoenix grew by 11.2% from a population of 1.4 million to 1.6 million. While it has long been characterized as a relatively affordable place to live which offered a high standard of living, the combination of a serious decline in the production of new housing units and the influx of new residents has greatly impacted housing opportunity and affordability. As of February 2022, Phoenix has seen the highest housing price increases in the country with a 33% year-over-year price increase compared to the national average of 19.8%. Phoenix's land use is dominated by suburban sprawl and single-family housing stock and was hit especially hard during the Great Recession. This created a real estate market attractive to large institutional investors aiming to purchase single-family homes as rental units. These investors often outcompete typical homebuyers with cash offers and aggressive outreach to potential sellers who have not yet entered the market. This study aims to analyze the spatial pattern of investor-owned single-family homes and compare the socioeconomic, racial, and ethnic composition of the neighborhoods where they are found. Using data from the Maricopa County Assessor's Office, the City of Phoenix, and the US Census Bureau; a methodology was established to identify investor-owned single-family rentals which were then plotted against the characteristics of the neighborhoods in which they were located. Understanding the impact these investor-owned properties have on the City’s housing stock can help better shape housing policy at the local and regional levels.
  • COVID-19 IN THE AMERICAN SOUTHWEST

    Sanchez Trigueros, Fernando; Bianchi, Nicholas (The University of Arizona., 2022)
    This paper examines the progress of the COVID-19 virus through the Southwestern United States and the factors that raised or lowered the infection rates with a particular focus on the response of state and county governments. In it, this project shows that preventative measures being implemented only partially changed the rate of infection in the study area and that seasonal trends impacted the spread of the disease as well. This paper will also show that there were two major seasonal spikes in COVID-19, a summer spike and a winter spike, and prove that the temperature fluctuations associated with the changing seasons triggered surges in COVID-19 infections.
  • Monitoring the Mega Drought and the effects it has on Reservoirs in Southwest Colorado using a Change Detection Analysis

    Sánchez-Trigueros, Fernando; Busby, Blake (The University of Arizona., 2022)
    All across the Western portion of the United States water is an increasing topic of concern. A majority of the mainstream discussion revolves around Lake Mead and Lake Powel the two largest reservoirs in the United States. This project aims to shed light on the “Mega Drought” impacting three reservoirs in Southwest Colorado, McPhee Reservoir, Lemon Reservoir, and Vallecito Reservoir. The way the impact of the “Mega Drought” will be monitored is by generating a Normalized Difference Water Index (NDWI) every year from 2013-2021. The NDWIs were generated by using Landsat 8 OLI data. The data was compiled into ArcGIS Pro software. That data was compiled into a multidimensional raster format so a time series analysis could be performed as well as the generation of a change detection raster. To quantify the results of the NDWI sample points were generated to extract the pixel values. The results of this study showed that over the nine-year study that reservoir levels rose to the highest value in 2016 and have continued to fall to the year 2021. In 2021 all their reservoirs are registered with an average NDWI value that is classified as a moderate drought, non-aqueous surfaces. The results of this research are showing that these 3 reservoirs in Southwest Colorado are decreasing in volume year after year. Mostly caused by decreasing snowpack, warmer spring and summer temperatures, and increasingly unproductive monsoon seasons.
  • A SITE SUITABILITY ANALYSIS FOR THE CREATION OF NEW GREEN SPACE IN MARICOPA COUNTY

    Mason, Jennifer; Barnard, Heather (The University of Arizona., 2022)
    Greenspace is an area of vegetated land (grass, trees, shrubs, etc.) within an urban context. Green spaces can be community gardens, parks, common land, playing fields, and green corridors like exercise paths, rivers, and canals. Green spaces play an important role in an urban ‘ecosystem’ by providing a place for physical activity, relaxation, social interaction, community events, and so on. In high-density urban areas, green spaces can provide a place relatively free from air and noise pollution. Green spaces with water features can play a critical role in cooling cities. Maricopa County added more new residents than any county in the nation from April 1, 2020, to July 1, 2021, according to the Census Bureau. With the growth of the population and many new developments, it is important to determine the best placement for new green spaces. This analysis uses GIS processes to perform a site suitability analysis that locates potential sites for new green spaces within Maricopa County. The first part of this analysis performs a Boolean Suitability Modeling which identifies areas best suitable for new green spaces based on different criteria. The criteria for making a new green space are more suitable areas further away from existing parks, unused/undeveloped land, higher populated areas, lower income areas, and areas closer to public transportation routes. The second part of the analysis performs a weighted suitability analysis. The outcome of this project will provide a roadmap for the county to determine areas best for new green spaces and to meet the community’s needs.
  • A TIME SERIES WEB MAP AS A WAY OF COMMUNICATING WATER QUALITY AND LAND USE CHANGES IN THE LAS VEGAS WASH AND MUDDY WATERSHEDS IN SOUTHEAST NEVADA, USA

    Sánchez-Trigueros, Fernando; Przyborski, Matthew (The University of Arizona., 2022)
    Important scientific findings can be underutilized if not communicated effectively. Communication is especially important when human health and environment are at risk as water resource managers must make important decisions based on this information, often requiring public buy in. This paper describes an exploratory analysis of water quality and land use changes in the Las Vegas Wash and Muddy watersheds in Southeast Nevada, USA, and how those results can be effectively communicated to water resource managers and the public with use of a time series web map. Publicly available water quality data was downloaded from the USGS, EPA and regional sources, uploaded to ArcGIS Online, and published as two Web Experience applications, one for each watershed. These web apps are time enabled so that changes in water quality and land use can be visually presented and better appreciated by the map viewer, especially those living within and/or making decisions for either watershed. Results indicate a rise in some pollutants over time as well as differences between the two watersheds.
  • Land Suitability Analysis of the Fredericksburg Viticulture Area in the Texas Hill Country

    Sánchez-Trigueros, Fernando; Teet, Stacy (The University of Arizona., 2022)
    In the last 50 years, commercial vineyards in Texas have increased to more than five hundred. Wine production has tripled since 2012, making Texas the fifth largest wine producer in the United States. Like California’s Napa Valley, the Texas Hill Country is ripe for agritourism and wine cultivation bringing millions of visitors and billions of dollars to the state annually. Vineyards continue to increase, but most new owners lack agricultural experience. Due to its unique climate and lack of historical data, Texas growers and winemakers are still determining the best use of terrain while navigating harsh weather and regional hazards. Proper site selection is crucial. Spatial analysis of climate, soil and terrain characteristics was used to determine variables with the most impact on land suitability in the Fredericksburg viticulture region of the Texas Hill Country. Geospatial software was used to create a weighted overlay model of potential variables. Surface analysis found aspect, slope, solar radiation, flood frequency, drainage class, current land usage and available water storage to be statistically significant to this study. Potential areas were ranked on a scale of one to five, with one being permanently unsuitable and five being highly suitable for viticulture. Results found 594 acres or 27% to be highly suitable, 1,158 acres or 53% to be moderately suitable, and 430 acres or 20% not suitable for viticulture. Results of this study could help growers select prime areas for viticulture, but site-specific climate, environmental, and varietal specific factors should also be taken into consideration.
  • Using Earth Observations to Map the Spatial Distribution of Buffelgrass in the Sonoran Desert

    Lukinbeal, Chris; Olsson, Aaryn; Batres, Victor (The University of Arizona., 2022)
    The Sonoran Desert is recognized as an arid ecosystem with a year-round warm climate and biodiverse desert flora. The desert spans across the southwestern United States and northwestern Mexico. Much of the native flora, like the saguaro cactus (Carnegiea gigantea), are important members of the Sonoran Desert for native wildlife and human society. Currently, the ecosystem is being threatened by the rapid spread of an invasive grass species known as buffelgrass (Cenchrus ciliaris), as it is changing the desert landscape to a grassland and contributes to more flammable fuel of surging wildfires. This project, in partnership with the Tucson Sonoran Desert Museum’s “Save our Saguaros” initiative, utilized satellite imagery of Tumamoc Hill and Sentinel Peak from Google Earth to develop and assess an optimal workflow marking the spatial distribution of buffelgrass via manual mapping. This would aid in early detection and rapid response management not only within the study area but other areas of the Sonoran Desert. Geographic Information System (GIS) analysts worked with a predetermined buffelgrass identification key to manually plot growth sites of the species across the study site. Satellite Imagery from 2016-2020 was found to provide the best visual reference for historical buffelgrass growth and through remote mapping and ground truthing a significant accuracy level was achieved.
  • Crime in Tucson: Violence and Vulnerability

    Lukinbeal, Chris; Pells, Alexis (The University of Arizona., 2022)
    Crime throughout the Tucson city area reaches six figures every year. Over ten percent of these crimes are considered to be violent: murder, aggravated assault, rape, and robbery. It is a widely accepted belief that violent crime is a factor of vulnerability in a neighborhood and can be found in conjunction with certain socioeconomic factors. In 2020, a study conducted by the University of Arizona and the City of Tucson determined that five major socioeconomic factors determine the vulnerability of a neighborhood. These factors did not include crime, but the percentage of residents identifying as anything other than “non-Hispanic white alone”, percent of households who rent, rather than own, their homes, percent of residents aged 25 and over who lack a four-year bachelor’s degree or higher, percent of households with incomes below 80% of the Area Median Income (as determined by HUD), and the share of children that live in households below the official poverty line. This Master’s Project analyzes the five major socioeconomic factors along with violent crime statistics to determine whether vulnerable neighborhoods are also victims of violent crime. The analysis consists of City of Tucson crime reports between 2019 and 2021, spanning the time before and after the study was done to show that neighborhood vulnerability factors and violent crime are statistically significant to each other. Using spatial autocorrelation and regression analysis and ESRI’s ArcGIS Pro, violent crime can be associated with almost all factors of what is considered a vulnerable neighborhood. Analyses conducted include Kernel Density, Average Nearest Neighbor, Global Moran’s I, Geographically Weighted Regression, and Exploratory Regression. The results will be able to aid the City of Tucson in furthering its efforts to prevent violent crime throughout the city and aid the neighborhoods that need the most help.

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