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be sure to describe
1) the data sources used,
2) the tools/software used for analysis,
3) all steps used to prepare and analyze the information.
Provide citations or URLs for each data source and online tool. Strive for
1) Organization:
a. Group like ideas. If you start a paragraph describing how you used the
ModelMyWatershed tool, make that the topic for the whole paragraph, and if possible
include your complete description of using that tool in that paragraph. Don’t jump
b. Present your analysis with a logical flow of steps…I did this, then this, then this…that
reflects your final analysis. It’s likely that in your real analysis you’ll go in circles, trying
one thing out and then backtracking to try something different. We don’t need to know
about this, what we want to know if the final sequence of steps that produced your
2) Clarity: You’ll need to focus on trying to break down complicated analysis tasks into simple
descriptions the reader can follow. Try to present enough of your logic that we can understand
both what you did and why you did it.
3) Specificity:
a. Try not to make up names for things, find/use their official names so the reader knows
what you’re talking about! Be consistent with your language, if you call it elevation in
one part of the paper don’t refer to the same thing as altitude elsewhere. Conversely, if
your talking about two different things, make sure you’re not using the same term to
describe them.
b. Provide variable names, numbers and units where relevant. If you removed
precipitation measurements with a frequency value less than 1,000 hertz from your
dataset, tell us “Twenty-two measurements had frequency values below 1,000 Htz, and
these were anomalous compared with neighboring data, and I removed these
measurements from the dataset.”
The test of a good methods section is whether another scientist could read your description and exactly
replicate the work you did. Strive for that!]
Topographic, geologic, and land surface analysis
[Methods for these analyses]
Topographic, land surface and geological context
[Results of week 11 work
Elevation and land cover characteristics
What is the mean and distribution of elevations within the watershed
§ Include at least 3x profiles
o What are the mapped characteristics of the soils and land cover
§ Types
§ Patterns of occurrence relative to slopes, aspects
Geology and topography
o What geological units occur within the watershed
o What are the associations between geological and topographic and land cover features
§ Slopes, ridgelines, drainage divides
§ Soils and vegetation
here are the step-by-step instructions for anyone who was struggling with Google
1) Install Google Earth Pro. The online version won’t load the file type used for our
watershed boundaries, so you need the desktop version. You may need administrator
privileges on your computer to do the installation.
2) Download and unzip the watershed boundary you created in
ModelMyWatershed.org. Once you’ve downloaded, find the .zip archive that was
saved to your computer and extract the files to a folder on your hard drive. Both Mac
and Windows operating systems should be able to do this for you…on Windows when
you double click on the zip folder to view it in Windows Explorer you should see an
“Extract” tab at the top of the Explorer window that lets you do this. If in doubt, search
for instructions on the internet!
3) Download and unzip the SaltLakeCity3060.zip geological map
dataset: SaltLakeCity3060.zip
download(see discussion above)
4) In GE, select File -> Open. At the bottom of the window, choose the file type “ESRI
Shapefile (*.shp)”. Navigate to the folder where you unzipped your watershed boundary
layer, and select it (it will be named “area-of-interest.shp”). Choose open, then click no
when asked if you want to apply a style. In the “Places” toolbar on the left of your GE
window click the checkbox next to the new layer to display it.
5) If you want to change the display properties of the new layer, right click on it and
choose “Properties” (Windows) or “Get info” (Mac), then the style/color tab. The
opacity value controls transparency, I suggest 50%.
6) To load the geology layers do the same thing, but this time select the file type
“Google Earth (*.kml *.kmz…)”. The two fiels you want are named “geolines.kmz” and
7) To draw a profile line in GE, click on the new path button at the top of the map
window (looks like dots connected by lines w/ a plus sign in the upper right). Move the
popup window to the side so you can see the map. Click on the starting point for your
profile, then the ending point. You’ll see a line connecting them. Now click “OK” in the
popup, and the path will be added to your Places list. To view the topographic profile
along the path, right click on the new path in your Places window and select “Show
Elevation Profile”
Rubric, week 11 write-up
1. Methods are reported fully and with precision (5)
0. Section missing or content unrelated to assignment
1. Most methods or data sources undocumented or inaccurately or unintelligibly
2. 3. Documentation for some methods and data sources is missing, and/or incomplete or
unclear descriptions in many descriptions
4. 5. All methods and data sources documented; Presentation is linear and logical
2. Results include robust description of patterns related to topography, geology, and land cover,
and the interaction between these (10)
0. Section missing or content unrelated to assignment
1. Only one type of pattern addressed, observations are cursory or superficial in nature
2. Only one type of pattern addressed
3. –
4. Only two pattern types are addressed, observations are superficial and/or no
assessment of interaction between patterns
5. –
6. Only two pattern types are addressed, some consideration of interaction between the
7. Only two pattern types are addressed, critical and logical assessment of interaction
between the two
8. Observations related to each pattern type are reported, but little or no consideration of
interaction between topography, geology, and land cover
9. –
10. Insightful observations related to each pattern type included; Work demonstrates
careful attention to and logical evaluation of correlations between features; Writing
critically addresses limitations of the data that might affect results
3. Writing is clear, concise, and logical (5)
0. Section missing or content unrelated to assignment
1. Writing poorly organized and unclear or unintelligible
2. –
3. Some inefficient or poorly organized sections; Frequent inconsistencies that detract
from readability
4. –
5. Writing is well organized and logic easy to follow; Terminology is used consistently;
Writing is efficient, without extraneous content or redundancy
4. Results are supported by well-composed figures and/or tables
0. No figures or content unrelated to assignment
1. Few display items and those presented are indirectly related to content and poorly
2. –
3. Appropriate display items included but with some presentation problems, for example
sloppy presentation, missing captions or legends/descriptions; Over-use of display items
(i.e. extraneous or repetitive figures)
4. –
5. Display items used effectively and judiciously to support the section’s text, e.g.,
illustrating key observations and/or providing quantitative support for
results/conclusions; Display items look professional and are well documented (captions,
legends, axis labels, etc) and can be quickly understood
Topographic and landscape analysis of upper Red Butte Creek
This week we will be working with digital topographic and landscape data to describe the geologic,
topographic, and land-cover context of the upper Red Butte Creek watershed.
1. Use web-based resources to
a. Delineate a watershed based on digital topographic data
b. Extract information on watershed land cover, soils, and terrain
2. Load external GIS layers, including watershed boundary and geological maps, into Google Earth
3. Use profile tool and views to explore and describe the geology and topography of a watershed
1. Gain basic familiarity with methods used to create digital land surface data
2. Learn key properties of GIS data and how they can affect interpretations, including
a. Format (raster vs. vector)
b. Resolution
c. Projection/coordinate systems
3. Observe and interpret relationships between surficial geology, topographic land forms, and land
cover/hydrology characteristics
We will work through the project in the following steps. You should be able to complete all data
manipulation and analysis steps in class, allowing you to focus your out-of-class effort on documenting
your results and writing.
1. Use the watershed delineation tool at https://modelmywatershed.org/analyze to map the
boundaries of the upper Red Butte watershed (pour point on Red Butte Creek immediately
upstream of the reservoir)
a. Explore the data layers and summaries provided by this tool, including topography, land
cover, climate, and soils data
b. Download and/or record results, including the watershed boundary file and the land
surface/land cover information. You may want to take screenshots of some of the map
layers for later use
2. Import your watershed boundary layer and the digital geological map (provided) into Google
Earth, and describe relationships between geology, topography, and land cover. Reference the
results for the surface cover layers you were able to view in the ModelMyWatershed tool. Think
both about the relationships you observe, and the characteristics of the different data layers,
and how these might affect your interpretations.
3. Use the Google Earth Path tool to create at least 3 paths across the watershed (2 oriented ~N/S,
1 E/W) and view the topographic profiles along these paths. Describe, examine, and document
the distribution of topographic slopes and relationships between slopes and geological and land
surface features.
You will submit a partial draft of your research paper that includes 1) a methods sub-section describing
this week’s work, and 2) a complete section reporting on the geological and topographic context of the

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