"High Tech, High Touch" Professional Development in Geospatial Applications for Invasive Species Management

Project Overview

Project Type: Professional Development Program
Funds awarded in 2007: $60,560.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2008
Region: Western
State: Arizona
Principal Investigator:
Barron Orr
University of Arizona


  • Animals: bovine, sheep


  • Animal Production: free-range, preventive practices, range improvement
  • Education and Training: demonstration, display, extension, farmer to farmer, networking, participatory research
  • Pest Management: eradication, integrated pest management, prevention, weed ecology


    Control of invasive species begins with mapping. Recent field and web-based approaches including the “Geospatial Tool Kit” (GTK) which combines GPS, GIS and imagery in a turn-key field mapping solution while online collaborative mapping options help volunteers from across jurisdictional boundaries work together regardless of location. These technologies are not enough unless backed with professional development educational materials. The solution: interactive web tools (online learning modules, wiki-based education material generation and peer-review, FAQ and “Ask the Expert” systems) leveraged via the eXtension.org Map@Syst community of practice provide the foundation for an invasive species mapping program. Called “GTK Learner” for short, this initiative has resulted in completed self-paced online learning module and 47 peer-reviewed articles currently in press on eXtension.org. Over the life of the project, we engaged 1,613 participants in 49 educational events (presentations, field days, meetings, workshops, conferences, etc.). A significant proportion of the participants have been from groups traditionally underrepresented in STEM fields (43.7% women, 25.6% minorities).

    Project objectives:


    --Regularly scheduled GTK-based training events (20 participants each) with CWMAs and as part of existing programs (e.g., Master Watershed Stewards).
    --Products will be demonstrated for agricultural professionals at the Farmington Short Course (150 participants).
    --Products will be demonstrated at On-Target Professional Development Seminar (20 participants).


    --Self-paced online training modules linked to the NGTEN Map@Syst website. Content will include text, images, audio, video, and interactive exercises.
    --Two forums added to the NGTEN Map@Syst website (one for general questions/comments about using GTKs, the other specifically for questions/comments related to invasive species mapping.
    --Frequently Asked Questions page added to the NGTEN Map@Syst website
    --Wikis created for image and video contributions.
    --Final printed fact sheet for subsequent distribution describing the system capabilities and on-line training opportunities.

    Note: the National Geospatial Technology Extension Network (NGTEN) launched its Map@Syst community of practice educational website as part of eXtension.org in February 2008. Where the original objectives and performance targets indicate the “NGTEN website” we have updated these to indicate “NGTEN Map@Syst website.”

    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.