To provide access to specific natural resource related information, both detailed and summary, in an organized, useable and concise manner, whether in tabular, graphical, visual or cartographic format.
Gail Brown – Scientific Database Coordinator
Cindy Rendl – Part Time GIS Specialist
Lost Valley Visitor Center
7210 Keystone Rd
The Database and Cartographic Resources Section of Natural Resources is a new section created through a grant program with the Chicago Wilderness Consortium, the Conservation Design Forum, and the McHenry County Conservation Foundation in 2002. The section’s specific charge in its creation was to digitize over 35 years of scientific inventory and monitoring information in a user-friendly, easily-queried database format. In 2003, GIS resources were added to the section, augmenting the existing database conversion with detailed digital maps.
To date, the Database and Cartographic Resources Section has converted over 3,900 biological inventories in four major species groups from a difficult-to-access hard copy format to an easily searchable digital format. Over 4,000 digital maps have been created covering all District sites and including such diverse information as parcel boundaries, previous owners, management and burn units, prescribed burn histories, and completed natural community restoration projects. Additional map resources have been tied to the biological inventory database to identify areas where surveys have been conducted since the District’s creation in 1971.
Major Areas of Concentration
The Database and Cartographic Resources Section is closely integrated into the operations of all other NRM Sections. It maintains all existing biological survey and land management records archived within the District. All new biological survey information, land management projects, land acquisition purchases, and many special research projects are added to the existing databases on a monthly basis by this section to maintain an accurate up-to-date understanding of District NRM activities. In addition to the regular database work, this section cooperates on numerous special projects including educational displays for the Glacial Park Field Station, public information posters for NRM field projects, and special requests from other District departments for detailed information related to current District activities. Specific areas of responsibility include:
- Conversion of data collected in the field for all major species groups monitored by NRM into a digital format for easy access, search and cross-referencing. These groups include, but are not limited to, breeding birds, reptiles and amphibians, small mammals, fresh water mussels, fish, butterflies, and plants.
- Conversion of cartographic information collected in the field pertaining to the distribution and management of natural resources on District sites to a digital format using Geographic Information System technology (GIS) for easy access, search, and manipulation as map layers. The cartographic information includes, but is not limited to, all biological survey maps for all species groups sampled, prescribed burn records, tile removal records, planting project records, natural community distribution, parcel boundaries, management units, burn units and soil distribution.
- Conversion of the natural resource photo/slide database to digital format (10,000 images) and organization of those images for easy access by all District departments for us in public education, grant applications, brochures, and public displays.
- Creation of special maps and databases for specific programs such as the bluebird nest box program, Blanding’s Turtle recovery program and gypsy moth monitoring project.
- Creation and updating of the NRM project database used to allow closer tracking of material, labor, and equipment costs for individual restoration projects.
- Creation and regular updating of the Land Acquisition Database to provide accurate figures on overall and individual site acreages for use in future land acquisition reports to the District’s Board of Trustees.
- Creation of a master index database system to catalog all scientific specimens of plants, animals, and archeological materials currently under curation by the Natural Resource Management Department.
- Creation of a master index database system to inventory all written materials (books, articles, periodicals, and microfilm resources) currently available in the research library to staff, interns, and outside researchers