Montana State University

MSU GPS Lab

Montana State University
PO Box 173120
Bozeman, MT 59717-3120

GPS Lab Manager:

Diana Cooksey
Tel: (406) 994-5684
Fax: (406) 994-3933
E-mail: dcooksey@montana.edu
Location: 245 Leon Johnson Hall

Student Map Gallery

College Office

Project Descriptions and Map Links

Selected maps for each semester are presented here by students taking GPHY 357, Global Positioning System Fundamentals and Applications in Mapping. In the course, students use Trimble GeoExplorer mapping grade or sub-meter mapping grade GPS receivers and PathfinderOffice software to design and implement their own GPS mapping projects. After collecting and processing the GPS data, students use GIS software to create final project maps.

A graphic file for each map can be accessed by clicking on the links below. Each file shows a "picture" of the student(s)' final map layout. Maps are presented as PDFs. To view PDF files, you must have Adobe Reader installed on your computer. It can be downloaded here: Adobe Reader. You can zoom in (or out) to specific areas on the map to get a better view.


Service Learning Projects

Students participating in service learning projects take GPHY 358 in conjunction with GPHY 357. They gain real-world mapping experience and provide a community service at the same time.

E-911 Mapping Project
AGAI Mapping Project


Other Projects

Fall 2013 Student Maps
Fall 2012 Student Maps
Fall 2011 Student Maps
Fall 2010 Student Maps

Spring 2010 Student Maps
Fall 2009 Student Maps
Spring 2009 Student Maps
Fall 2008 Student Maps
Spring 2008 Student Maps
Fall 2007 Student Maps
Spring 2007 Student Maps
Fall 2005 Student Maps
Spring 2005 Student Maps
Fall 2004 Student Maps




Fall Semester 2013


Michael Akerlow
Bozeman Trail
Bozeman Trail

This mapping project was done to inform the public of a recreational hiking trail that has several tree species and a park. All features were collected using a Trimble GeoXH 3000 receiver.  Point features were collected by standing as close to the feature as possible and collecting positions for at least 30 seconds with a 1 second logging interval.  The trail was collected by walking the trail in its entirety, with a logging interval of 5 seconds.  Average vertices were used to collect point location for the corners of the park, the receiver automatically connects the corners to form a polygon that represents the park. The precision of the map features are: park 10 cm, trail 12.5 cm, trail access 10 cm, trees 13.5 cm.  The 1 m accuracy objective was met.  An aerial photo was used with an accuracy of 5 m, so the map accuracy is 5 m. The main purpose of this map is to inform the public of the tree species along Bozeman Trail.  The map will also help people to locate a nice hiking trail and park where they can walk their dogs and take in a wonderful view of the Bridger Mountains.

Russell Callahan
Practice Rock Climbing Area
Practice Rock

The project goal was to create a guide to the Practice Rock climbing area located in Hyalite Canyon approximately 3.5 miles south of the intersection between Hyalite Canyon Rd. and South 19th Rd.  This data includes location and attribute information about parking areas, trails, and climbing routes.  The data is meant to show the location of specific routes along with grade and type of climb.  This data was mapped using a GeoXH 6000 GPS receiver.  A Contour XLRiC laser rangefinder and external Hurricane Antenna were used for mapping the locations of routes.  After collection the data was differentially corrected using the MSU CORS base station.  After correction 94.7% of this data is accurate to 2 meters based on a 68% confidence interval.  The rest of the data is accurate 5 meters based on a 68% confidence interval.  The base layers for this map are accurate to 5 meters so this map can be considered accurate to 5 meters.  The objectives of this project were met and a map showing the location and details of each route at Practice Rock is now available to climbers.

Jon Hageness
Shafthouse Mountain Bike Trail
Shafthouse Mountain Bike Trail

The goal of mapping the Shafthouse trail was to provide a mountain bike specific map that accurately portrayed trail conditions and important features. When considering this trail, mountain bikers should be able to read the map and know what to expect before heading out. Data was collected using a Trimble GeoXH 6000 GPS receiver, differentially corrected, and imported in to the GIS. Features were edited minimally, but some were later added with the assistance of high quality aerial imagery. All data is estimated to be accurate to 2 meters or better. This is sufficient for mountain biking purposes, especially when shown at a smaller scale. Features include the trail with its various conditions, a fence crossing, historic mine shafts, and the trailhead parking lot. The objective is met in that the map produced is a better reference than existing maps and is targeted toward mountain bikers. It will serve as a general trail reference and best depict the important features.

Amber Knutson
Bird Survey: Bozeman, MT
Fall Population Bird Survey , Fall Species Bird Survey

Goals:  Understand bird species and populations in the city limits of Bozeman, MT using city parks as reference.
Purpose: Urban wildlife monitoring.
Methods: GPS data collection in the following parks in Bozeman, MT: Glen Lake Park, Gallatin County Regional Park, Valley Unit Park, Bozeman Pond, Kirk Park, North Grand Park, Centennial Park, Cooper Park, Southside Park, Langhor Park, Pete’s Hill/Burke Park, Grafs Park, and Gardner Park. Offsets were used for some collections using a compass and range estimation. Binocular observations as well as calls were recorded.
Data Quality: >5m
Main Results: Imported features included sid files for background, road layer for reference. Obtained from NIRS, MSL, and Gallatin County GIS.
Objectives Met: Yes
Applications: Population studies, species tracking, fall migration patterns. Used by biologists, city planning officials, hobby bird watchers.

Danny Louth
Bozeman Climbing Boulders
Man-MadeBoulders

For my project I chose to map the location of six man-made climbing boulders built in five separate parks in Bozeman Montana between 2008 and 2013. I began my project with the objective of producing a general reference map highlighting the location and distribution of these unique recreation features within the community. I used a Trimble Geo XH 3000 mobile receiver to collect the GPS locations by either occupying the point I wished to collect or traversing a line I wished to collect; to collect the park perimeters I used the average vertices technique coupled with traversing the boundaries. Overall I am very happy with my data collection with an accuracy of less than one meter for 99.41% of my data collected and I think it is safe to say that all my objectives were met. I intend to have my map available to the general public specifically geared towards people trying to find a unique outdoor recreation activity. My map is intended to help those interested, to find the location and spatial distribution of the boulders in the community and potentially help them navigate to and between the parks. 

Michael Mackie
BangTails Trail
Overview , Zoom Road , Zoom Trail

For my project I wanted to achieve a map that was easy to read and help recreational users of the BangTail Trail be able to locate and access the trail. My goals were to show where the trailheads are, where it is safe to park, where the forestry road is and where the trail goes. The purpose was that if an emergency or breakdown on the trail occurs users know where they are and be able to get to a forestry road. The methods I used were mapping with the Trimble on the handlebar of my dirt bike and on the backseat of an ATV as I rode the trail. The data quality for all my features was less than 1 m horizontal accuracy; my trail data quality was .5m horizontal accuracy which was satisfactory for the amount of multipath from tree cover. I met my objective in creating a simple trail map to aid recreational users in knowing where the trail is located and easy areas to access the road in case of emergencies. My hope is anyone using the trail will use this map.

Jason Reese
Kimberly Elementary
Kimberly Elementary

This mapping project was designed to create a unified and updated map of Kimberly Elementary School in Kimberly, Idaho. The school facilities have underwent many major changes in the past 10 years which resulted in no single comprehensive map of the school grounds. Features mapped are buildings, fences, playground equipment, entrances, fire hydrants, and emergency shutoffs for gas and electrical services. The resulting map had the desired horizontal accuracy for all features of less than 1 meter. This type of map is useful for school faculty to better visualize and plan for special and routine activities. It can also be used as a reference map for possible hazards to students or emergency responders during school emergencies or safety drills.

Max Shchemelinin
Southern Bridger Range Trails
South Bridgers 1 , South Bridgers 2

The trails in the southern Bridger Range were mapped to classify the trails according to the running potential based on Fun Factor, defined as the sum trail steepness and surface difficulty, as well as other features such as peak access. Mapped locations included all the known trails south of Mount Baldy accessible from both the 'M' and Sypes trailheads. Mapping was performed using a Trimble GeoHX GPS receiver and a compact external antenna. Surface type and vegetation cover was also recorded. Key features such as trailheads, peaks, parking lots, and creek crossings were mapped. Trail gradient was calculated using 1/3 arcminute resolution DEM data provided by the NRIS. Satellite visibility was sufficient to successfully map the entire study area. Horizontal mapping precision was at worst a few meters, a sufficiently precise value for the scope of the project. The related maps show the trail surface, gradient, and Fun Factor.

Kyle Becker, Eamon Clancy, Jhanek Szypulski, Emery Three Irons
Red Bluff Research Area
Red Bluff

The Red Bluff project was conducted to provide baseline data for the 2012 Bear Trap Canyon fire that burned portions of The Red Bluff Research area.  Beyond mapping the fire’s perimeter, access points and wetlands that were unburned as well as line features consisting of the access roads and the dozer line that was cut were also mapped. To map the features of the project, Trimble GeoXH 3000 GPS receivers were used and the fire perimeter, dozer line and point features were walked as could best be defined for a year old fire.  The resulting map of the burn accurately represents the project member’s best interpretation of the fire perimeter.  Overall the data quality was quite high (<5 meter) considering the limiting accuracy of this project was the human judgment of a year old burned area. The project was successful in its intent for baseline data and the map created accurately shows the data collected in the field. This data will be used in ongoing land studies by Dr. Clayton Marlow and associates of Montana State University. 



Fall Semester 2012


Gustave Sexauer
Bear Canyon Ski Area BearCanyonSkiArea1, BearCanyonSkiArea2

This project was created to accurately map Bozeman’s historic ski area. Bear Canyon, owned by the Mt. Ellis Academy, lies at the south end of Bear Canyon Road a few miles east of Bozeman. Two maps were to be created, the first detailing the location of the ski area equipment and infrastructure. This map is to aid the owners in maintaining and keeping inventory of the premises. The second map is for recreational users that may use the area by permission. This map illustrates the ski lift, trails, and trees within the boundary.  The data was collected using a GPS receiver and was later refined through post-processed differential correction. Advanced collection methods included offsets to decrease multipath from forest canopy, electrical equipment, and buildings, nesting features to reduce walking time, and mapping averaged vertices to more accurately record the shape of geometric features. The overall estimated horizontal accuracy for the project is 0.8m, which met the initial objectives. Although the Bear Canyon Ski Area no longer operates regularly, this project may increase awareness of this local gem and push outdoor enthusiasts to maintain the area for future enjoyment.


Ben Rice
Fort Keogh FortKeogh1, FortKeogh2, FortKeogh3

Fort Keogh is an agriculture research station that is in cooperation with Montana State University. The objective for this project was to map the corrals, buildings, fire hydrants and grain bins that are located at Fort Keogh.  The buildings were collected and the uses of these buildings were noted in the attributes. The method of collection was using the Trimble GeoXH receiver; also digitizing buildings using an aerial digital orthophotoquad image. During the collection of features with the Trimble GeoXH receiver I was able to get accuracy from meter to three meter accuracy. Because the corrals are made up of mobile panels, this accuracy was more than adequate. The Fire Hydrants were recorded with a one and a half meter accuracy allowing these hydrants to be located quickly.
The objectives of this project were met, by accurately recording desired features at the Research Station. The features recorded are easily recognizable once combined with a digital aerial orthophotoquad. This data quality is more than adequate for mapping features at this scale. After differential correction this data was all under three meters accuracy. 
To conclude; this data will be used by Montana State University and possibly by Fort Keogh. Using this data anyone who is interested can easily see the layout of Fort Keogh. This map could also be useful for the visitor center to hand out; Fort Keogh is a frequented destination for Fishermen and Hunters. Having accurate maps of where cattle are held and adding references to maps will greatly help visitors navigate through the Research Station and to their fishing and hunting destinations. 


Jason Hew
Gallagator Trail
GallagatorTrail

The purpose of this mapping project is for the recreational use of the Gallagator Trail system that runs throughout the town of Bozeman, MT.  This trail system is one of, if not, the most used trail in Bozeman.  Heavy pedestrian traffic on the Gallagator necessitates a recreational grade map of features, such as parking areas, trashcans, trail signs, and benches, which a user might utilize while enjoying a stroll on the trail.  A Trimble Geo XH receiver along with an external mini antenna was used to collect data.  An overall map accuracy of 2 meters was desired, and nearly achieved, probably due to thick canopy cover in some areas.  Because this map is only for recreational use, the purpose of this map was met, although 3.16% of the data collected was not the accuracy stated.  Whether planning a picnic in a relaxing setting, or going from College Street to Peet’s hill to enjoy a winter sledding adventure, or anything in between, residents of Bozeman can utilize this map to plan accordingly. 


Neto Garcia
Ground Water Study at Red Bluff GroundWaterStudyatRedbluff1, GroundWaterStudyatRedbluff2, GroundWaterStudyatRedbluff3

Mountain big sagebrush is the most likely species to capitalize on additional water generated by forest thinning so this project will evaluate the effect of the woody species Artemisia tridentata vaseyana on groundwater levels in a foothills environment. Four levels of sagebrush thinning will be conducted over a four year period to learn how shrub cover affects groundwater levels and stream flow. The study area map include wells, vegetation transects, drainage lines, basin areas, and vegetation cover type areas. The GPS data was collected in September of 2012 using a Trimble GPS receiver model “Geo XH”. The data from the area features were collected walking on the perimeter of each area. The data from the line features were collected walking over the line. The data from point features were collected positioning the receiver over the feature. For the most important features wells and transects the accuracy achieved was 0.1 meters. The accuracy for the entire project is 5 meters. The results achieved met the project expectation. The map will be used for compute and locate the treated areas also be a safe way to preserve the geographic locations of each feature.   


Trevor Wood
Haugland Ranch Pasture Fencing HauglandRanch

The purpose of the Haugland Ranch mapping project was to provide the owner with a map of his fence lines for a pasture that had a great deal of fence in need of repair. The goal was to provide him with a map that would allow him to locate the areas that need repair without working through the whole fence line. I also mapped and reported the condition of the gates and h-braces within the fence lines. This process was done using a GeoXH handheld GPS receiver on foot and on an ATV. The results of the mapping successfully mapped the fence lines and the features accurately (< 5 meters), which was the required accuracy I determined. I also chose to map the pond that cattle are able to access within the pasture. The owner now has a high quality map to help him repair the fence in that pasture.


Ellie Southworth
Peet’s Hill
PeetsHill

The goal of this project was to create a map of the Peet’s Hill Trails including additional features such as parking locations, trailheads, mileage information markers, bench locations and doggie bag locations. Peet’s Hill is located in downtown Bozeman near the public library and is a popular trail system in both winter and summer months. The data for this project was collected using a Trimble GeoXH handheld receiver. The final map’s accuracy was limited by the background aerial photograph, which had an accuracy of 5 meters. All mapped features had accuracies of 2 meters or better and met the requirements specified for the project. The main features mapped were the trails. Trail attributes included trail name, surface type and designation of main or secondary trail. The objectives of the project were met. This map will be useful for walkers, runners and dog walkers to familiarize themselves with the area as well as locate benches and places where they can get doggie bags to clean up after their dogs.


Aaron Watson
Ross Pass Berries
RossPassBerries1, RossPassBerries2, RossPassBerries3

Everyone loves to pick and eat wild berries, but finding them can sometimes prove a difficult and time consuming task. The goal of this project is to build a map that will help increase a berry picker’s efficiency and overall enjoyment. Providing the berry picker with a neat easy to read map that has an overall accuracy of ≥ 2 meters is essential. All data was collected using a Trimble GEO XH GPS unit with a magnetic mount antenna to help improve accuracy and ease backcountry travel. The main features of the map included travel routes, which consist of multiple types of trails, berry patches, which are separated into two categories large and small patches, and multiple campsites to help make your berry picking experience the best. Of all the data mapped only 3% failed to meet the ≥ 2 meters accuracy standards. The only data that failed to meet the standards where the bushwhacking and road lines in the travel routes feature. Three maps have been created to help improve readability, one main overview map and two larger scale (closer view) maps. These maps will be useful to anyone who is up for an adventure and wants to collect berries. 



Fall Semester 2011


Scott Roden
Sod Farm SodFarm PDF

The goals of this project were to complete an accurate survey of Springhill Sod Farm to meet the needs of the farm's purveyors. This project was designed to be a real world exercise involving actual clients and analysis that would be useful in their business operations.  They wanted to know the overall acreage of the sod farm, the acreage assigned to each type of sod grown, the actual sodable acreage of each type of sod, and the infrastructure in place for the day-today operations. The base map created allows for assessment of current operational status and allows for future planning and management. Data collection methods for this project were challenging to develop due to the size of the study area (the perimeters of the sod rings total to approximately 12 miles). Traveling by Segway (to avoid damaging the sod) and using offsets, made collection of sod-ring data much easier as it allowed for quick travel across smooth land. In addition to these methods, triple distance offsets were used to combat multipath interference around buildings. The overall estimated accuracy for this project is approximately 2.7m; however the estimated accuracy for the sod-rings layer is 0.3875m which is well within accuracy required by the clients.


Todd Kirby and Josh McFarland
Bear Canyon Recreation Area Climbing Locations ClimbingAreas PDF, MysticLake PDF, NewWorldGulchTrail PDF

The New World Gulch trailhead is located southeast of Bozeman, Montana in Bear Canyon. From the trailhead you are able to travel back to Mystic Lake by foot, mountain bike, ski, snowshoe or horseback. The Bear Canyon area is located in the Gallatin Mountain Range. The main purpose of this project is to map recreational aspects of the Bear Canyon area. Features that are mapped are Mystic Lake, parking areas, the New World Gulch trail, trailheads, climbing locations, campsites, signs, outhouses, and forest service cabins. These will be presented on an aerial photograph at a scale of 1:24,000. The features mapped will allow the user to understand the Bear Canyon area and use the data to his/her usage. For the features collected contain the attributes relevant to each individual shape file. The features collected are points, area and line features. The overall estimated accuracy for this data set is 1 meter or less. The final resulting product includes a different shape file of the main features that comprise this recreational area. Some multipath was faced as a tree canopy covered the path of the trail. Velocity filtering and editing were used to clean up the multipath spikes. Recreationalists will use this information to understand and have an interactive template for backcountry travel and recreation in the Bear Canyon area. All data was collected on foot using a GeoXH GPS receiver. Our goals were met by the end of the project. We successfully mapped out our projected project area.


Aaron Mason
Hyalite Reservoir Recreation Area Hyalite11 PDF

The goal for this project was to map the Hyalite Reservoir water body in October 2011, as well as selected features, such as a newly built pavilion and the Hood Creek Campground road.  The purpose of the project was to create a reference map that could be used by all recreational users of the area.  It was an objective of the project to observe water levels in the reservoir in October 2011.

The project was mapped on location using a handheld GPS, Trimble’s GeoXH.  Many of the features were mapped 1:1, unless noted otherwise in the metadata.  The main water body shore line was mapped by canoeing the entire perimeter of the reservoir and recording an offset, to map the actual shore line.  The overall data quality of the project was excellent. The map that was created has an accuracy limited by the background image; therefore the level of accuracy is 5 meters.  All features met the accuracy objectives set at the beginning the project. The mapping project is intended to be used by all recreational users of the area as a reference map. It was also intentions to demonstrate the water levels in October of 2011, for any parties interested, such as the Bozeman Water Department.


Chet Cook and Drew Lewis
Long View Estates Long View Estates PDF

Long View Estates is a property that consists of approximately 42 acres off rolling hills and grassland. It is located on Blackwood Road, near Elk Grove Subdivision. The property is owned by Jeremy Henrichon. The objective of the project was to map the property boundary and it’s attributes at sub-meter accuracy to provide the landowner with up-to-date details on the features located on the property as a reference for potential land buyers. His plan is to sell the property as an entire lot, or broken up into different parcels based on buyers wants.

During our data collection process we used advanced mapping techniques such as “nest”, “offset”, and “pause/resume” to collect features with the best possible accuracy. The data quality report stated that 97% of our positions had an estimated horizontal accuracy of less than one meter, and all of our features were mapped with an estimated horizontal accuracy of less than one meter. This met our project objective.

This project map and data can be used by the landowner and potential land buyers. Further survey-grade mapping must be done to designate exact lot boundaries once a lot is purchased. This dataset is not intended as a legal survey.



Fall Semester 2010


Kailee Bickford
Bickford Ranch Bickford Ranch PDF

The purpose of the Bickford Ranch Project was to create a useable map of the ranch for general planning.  The ranch is located in north central Montana, southeast of Havre approximately 4 miles.  The goal was to map fences, water sources, water tanks, arena, and the creek all within 50cm accuracy.  80.8/% of the project was estimated to be within 50cm accuracy once completed.  The data is all within 5m which is still useable for the planned use of the map.  With the background files included the map is only accurate to 5 m.   A Trimble GeoXH receiver was used to collect all the features.  The software programs Pathfinder Office and ArcMap were used for processing the data and making the map.  Advanced mapping techniques used include pause/resume, continue feature, averaged vertices, and offsets.  The Bickford family will be able to use this map for planning purposes such as grazing management. 


Neil Mauws
Mauws Ranch Mauws Ranch PDF

Goals: Map the Martin Place, a field located on the Mauws Ranch, in order to compare past use with current use.
Purpose: Look at field rotation. Over time, farmers and ranchers rotate their crops in order to provide adequate nutrients for the soil instead of depleting them. Fields are rotated between grain, winter wheat, spring wheat, or barley, and grass-alfalfa hay fields.
Objectives: Map out land features that will not change over time, such as water and land features, dams and coulees. Also, map the areas of land that are used for production agriculture. These areas are used for grain and hay production. Manmade structures, buildings, water tanks, and wells, will be mapped to point out areas that will never be used for production agriculture.
Methods: A Trimble GEOXH GPS receiver was used to map out all features. Most features could be collected using average, but buildings required average vertices with an offset. Data was differential corrected using Pathfinder Office, and exported to ArcMap for creation of the final map.
Applications: Land owner, Marvin Mauws, will use this map and information in planning crop rotations in the future. It will also help with records and documentation for the part that he is doing to conserve his land.


Nick Petshow
Hyalite Creek Trail Hyalite Creek Trail PDF

As one of the most popular outdoor recreation areas around Bozeman, the Hyalite Creek drainage basin is an ideal area for a recreation guide.  The purpose of the project was to map the Hyalite Creek trail along with scenic features.  This would then be used to build a virtual guide that will eventually encompass several more hiking trails around the Bozeman area.  An additional objective is to compare the results with several different publications (USGS, online mapping services).  A Trimble GeoXH receiver was used to collect the features.  The resulting map contains the main trail as well as several offshoots, waterfalls, and mapped elevation of Hyalite Peak (8 feet higher in elevation when compared with USGS 1:24k maps).  Even under a heavy tree canopy the results fall within the specified 5 meter accuracy.  The objectives of this project have been met.  Hikers, other outdoor recreationists, or tourists can use this guide to plan a trip, or gain further knowledge of the area.  The GPX file will be made available to aid in these activities.


Matt Shortland
Fairy Lake Bowl Finge Season Ski Map Fairy Lake Bowl PDF

The purpose of this project was to map the extent of early and late season skiable lines in the bowl above Fairy Lake.  Originally the goal was to map out all the lines, but there was not a high enough resolution base image that would show all of these features.  I mapped out the main lines though, and give the reader a good idea of where they should go to find decent skiing in this area.  I skied the lines while logging points, and used offsets for the smaller playground areas.  I used a Geo XH for my data collection.  99.9 % of all features collected were estimated to be within 5 meters of true.  This is appropriate for a map of general areas to ski.  The important features were ski lines, boot pack, ski track, major points on the way, and smaller playgrounds.  The map includes the skin track and boot pack, the smaller playgrounds, and the ski lines with vertical feet labeled and symbolized by exposure.  The objectives of the project were met.  Backcountry enthusiasts can use this map to plan their day, and determine what and where to ski.



Spring Semester 2010


Tyson Berndt
Sunshine Ranch Sunshine Ranch PDF , Sunshine Ranch Debris PDF , Sunshine Ranch Utilities

The Sunshine Ranch property has been controlled by multiple owners for the past fifteen years. This land partnership was recently dissolved, which resulted in land exchanges and boundary alterations. In order to reach a fair agreement between the negotiating parties a clear and concise assessment of the land needed to be carried out. The purpose of this mapping project was twofold: to identify the current infrastructure within the property boundaries and to analyze the current state and condition of the previously separated tracts of land. This included mapping roads, trails, utilities, homes, structures, and debris piles. This information was collected using a GeoXH GPS receiver and then compiled into a series of reference maps using ArcMap 9.3 software. These maps could then be used by the owners for the mitigation and removal of debris as well as for future land planning. Overall, 65% of the data was accurate to within 30 centimeters, and the resulting 35% of the data was accurate to within 1 meter. These accuracies either met or exceeded the initial accuracy requirements.



Fall Semester 2009


Schaun Lingohr
Ehlke Hereford Ranch Ehlke Hereford Ranch 1 PDF , Ehlke Hereford Ranch 2 PDF

The map is of the Ehlke Hereford Ranch east of Townsend, MT. The Ehlkes requested a map that was easy to read and use to give to hunters and for the Ehlkes to use. The map features includes fences, gates, water improvements, corrals, and buildings. A Trimble GeoXH receiver was used to collect all the features. The software programs Microsoft ActiveSync, Pathfinder Office, and ArcMap were used for processing the data. Mapping techniques of Pause/Resume, Continue Feature, and Offset were used during data collection. All the positions collected were within five meters. Gates were the most accurate feature and buildings were the least accurate. The map was intended for a reference map for hunters as well as the Ehlkes so accuracy within five meters of any of the features is acceptable. Overall, the map was a success. With this map, hunters will be able to easily locate their position on the ranch and prevent trespassing on neighboring property. The Ehlkes have a easy to read reference map they can use for anything that might come up.


Michael Jensen
Off-Road Vehicle Trails in Hyalite ORV Hyalite PDF

In developing an idea for a project I decided to take the love for taking my Jeep off-road and the use of GPS to develop a more descriptive map of one of the areas to go in Hyalite Canyon.  Because Montana does not have any ORV maps that describe the different trails, it would be nice to start developing some of these maps and distributing them to the off-road community.  This may help in keeping people on the trails rather than having them go and make new trails, which is the main cause for the closure of many roads throughout Montana. To obtain the data I need to make a descriptive map of the trail system I used Trimble GeoXH GPS Receiver and an external antenna to attach to the roof of my Jeep.  I marked out the level of difficulty on all legal trails and other possible areas of interest.  The difficultly level can change depending on weather and time of season so drive with caution.  This will hopefully help to make everyone that uses the map enjoy a fun and safe experience. .



Spring Semester 2009


Glenn Owings
Western Ag Research Center, Corvallis, MT Corvallis Ag Exp PDF

Montana State University (MSU) Safety and Risk Management requires an address for each structure on MSU grounds for insurance purposes.  The Western Agricultural Research Center in Corvallis, MT did not have recorded addresses (in the form of NW building corner coordinates) for its structures.  The purpose of this project is to provide said coordinates, as well as a general reference map for public and institutional use. 
The Western Agricultural Research Center is comprised of a 30 acre parcel and associated buildings and plant test plots.  The area was mapped using a Trimble GeoXT receiver (accuracy:  sub-meter +1ppm RMS after differential correction) and the map itself was produced using ArcEditor software. Features collected include building corners, test plots, parking lots, and roads.  The mapping was conducted with an accuracy goal of <1m.  Results show that 94.1% of the data was under 2m, with only 45.8% of the data under 1m.  Despite reduced accuracy compared to the expected parameters, the map meets its proposed goals.



Fall Semester 2008

Shannon Jones and Hank Pieper
Beartooth Acres
Beartooth Acres PDF

Beartooth Acres Ranch is a piece of property that is located 30 miles east of Cooke City, Montana. Our goal was to create an accurate map of the boundaries, buildings, creeks, and fence lines of the Beartooth Acres Ranch. The use of the Trimble GeoXT receiver was the primary piece of equipment used for mapping. Field reconnaissance was performed to take note of any problems or obstacles we might encounter during mapping. A data dictionary was created that included features such as: property line, fence lines, roads, creeks, corrals, bridges, buildings, and gates. Techniques used during data collection included averaged vertices, velocity filtering, nesting and area offset. After the data was collected, it was transferred to the computer where it could be further modified. GPS Pathfinder Office software was used to differentially correct the data and export it for use in ArcMap software. Our objective for this project was to create a final map with 5m accuracy or better, 95% of our data met that requirement. Our most important features of the map: the property line, creek and road had an accuracy of 3m or better. The map that was created should only be used for personal use.


Dylan Gibby
Crazy G Ranch
Crazy G 1 PDF , Crazy G 2 PDF , Crazy G 3 PDF

The main purpose of this project was to collect data pertaining to the location and condition of the fences and irrigation on the Crazy G Ranch which is located 12 miles north of Big Timber, Montana in Sweet Grass County.  Other main features of the ranch, including roads and buildings were mapped as well.  This information was used to make a series of maps.  Ranch features were mapped using a Trimble GeoXT receiver while on foot and using a 4-wheeler.  The data quality of the project as a whole was 5 meters due to the background image used.  This was not within the range of the initial desired accuracy of 2-3 meters.  As the main concern was to record the condition of the fences and ditches the project was still successful.  The maps showing the condition of the fences and ditches are to be used by the property manager to help prioritize maintenance projects and orient potential subcontractors.  A general reference map that was produced is to be used by the property owners to help orient guests and visitors to the ranch layout.


Jessica Ahlstrom
Land Use Surrounding Mandeville Creek on the MSU Campus
Mandeville Creek PDF

Mandeville Creek is a spring fed creek that runs through the Montana State University campus where it collects urban runoff, impairing the creek water quality.  The overall goal of this project is to map areas of the MSU campus which divert storm water runoff into the creek.  The objective of this project is to produce a map of the land use on the MSU campus surrounding Mandeville Creek to aid in decisions regarding creek management when efforts are being made to mitigate the effects of storm runoff.  Parking lots, storm culverts, and a stream emergence which divert water into the creek were mapped as features with surface type as the important attribute value (parking lots).  These features were differentially corrected using Pathfinder Office version 4.10, and exported into ArcMap version 9.2 to create a final map.  The desired overall accuracy for this project of 5m was met.  The functional objective of producing a map of the land use on the MSU campus surrounding Mandeville Creek was also met.  This map will provide a better understanding of the land use surrounding Mandeville Creek, and will be a tool in future management decisions regarding how to mitigate the effects of storm water runoff on Mandeville Creek water quality.   



Spring Semester 2008

Linnaea Jurich
Kalispell Northwest Ag Research Station Northwestern Ag PDF

The property holdings on the Kalispell Northwest Ag Research Center were mapped using a Trimble GeoXT GPS reciever in March of 2008. The research center is located in Creston MT. The builings corners were mapped along with grain bins, a well head, a scale, a scale shed, a hazardous waste tank, an irrigation pump, a gas pump, and a weather station to display the holdings of Montana State University. The data is entended to be used by departments within the Montana State University for better understanding of what is located on the research center, and to provide locations of buildings for insurance purposes.



Fall Semester 2007

Dan Kettman
Kettman Property
Kettman Property PDF , Kettman Fence Plan PDF , Kettman Fence Future PDF

The Kettman Property Mapping Project was conducted by Dan Kettman, a student at Montana State University. The purpose of the project was to accurately map the Kettman property in order to plan projects in the future. A perimeter fence needs to be created to keep free-range cattle off the property, one map did exist but its insufficient quality and detail make it almost useless. The primary objective was to use the created maps to plan a fence construction project. To achieve the objective the entire property will be mapped using a GPS receiver and then maps will be created using ArcGIS.  The features that will be mapped are the boundaries, fence lines and various other features, which can be used by the Kettman family to complete the partially finished fence perimeter fence, and perhaps plan future projects. The data should have 1-2 meter accuracy in order for the maps to be accurate enough to plan the fencing project. The data quality table shows that 89% of the data was sub-meter; so the accuracy standards have been met. Also, the measurement tool in ArcGIS was used to measure the amount of fence needed to complete the project.


Phil Reierson
Reierson's Irrigated Farm
Reierson PDF

The purpose of this project was to create a detailed map of the 60 acre irrigated farm owned by my parents that could be used for management purposes. The map will include roads, ditches, culverts, field breaks, head gates, trees and tree groves, fences, and a garden. The desired accuracy of all features is  <5m. The mapping methods used will be regular mapping techniques with offset mapping used for trees, fences, and ditches. All of the data fell within the required accuracy, with 92.4 % falling in the sub-meter accuracy range. The ditches, culverts, and the head gate all had sub-meter accuracy and those were the most important features. The overall accuracy of the final map fell below the 5m desired accuracy. The objective of the project was met, the map was created and accuracy was better than expected. This map will be put to good use by my mother and father in the day to day farming operations on this property.



Spring Semester 2007


Matthew Hall
Hall Ranch
Hall Ranch PDF

The goal of the project was to map features on the hall ranch, those features included the irrigation system, streams, buildings, fence lines and gates. This was done to provide a base line for ranch managers who are looking to maximize production of crops and grazing. This base line will give them the number of acres in each field to help calculate production of that piece of land.  To produce the maps a Trimble Geo XT GPS receiver was used to record data. Before mapping was done the setting was customized to the area and the satellites available.  A data dictionary was also developed and transferred to the GPS. Mapping of the ranch could then be done. Once the mapping was complete differential correction and editing of the data took place and maps could then be created from the data in Arcmap. The data quality report shows all features being greater than two meters of accuracy. The lowest accuracy were point features with an accuracy of 1.628 meters. This will produce a very accurate and detailed map, 49.9% of the data is in .5-1m accuracy and 43.1% of the data is in the 1-2m accuracy range.  The objectives of the mapping were successfully met.


Matt Ladvala
Hollenbeck Draw ATV Trail System
Hollenbeck Draw PDF

The Goal of this project was to create an accurate (<10m) map of the Hollenbeck Draw, ATV trail system.  This map was created for use by other ATV riders.  The features were mapped using a mapping grade global positioning system (GPS) receiver and an ATV to get around the project area.  The data was then transferred to a computer where it was processed and edited.  The map was then created in a geographic information system (GIS) environment.  The map show trails based on their difficulty, as well as roads and other features of interest.  The data quality of the project easily exceeded the required accuracy with all of the data having greater than 5m accuracy.  This map will likely be used by other ATV riders and hopefully inspire others to create maps of their favorite trail systems.



Fall Semester 2005

Ryan Melin
Melin Ranch Melin Ranch PDF

The Melin Ranch is a family owned cattle ranch that lies on the banks of the Tongue River in southeastern Montana.  This map depicts all of the important features on the ranch that would be useful in developing management strategies for the future of this ranch.


Steve Jay
Solfatara Thermal Areas
Solfatara PDF

This dataset is of the two thermal areas near the Solfatara trail in Yellowstone National Park. Data were collected to assist in the Thermal Biology Institute's outreach program. The data will be used to help with safety while traveling in this thermal area.



Spring Semester 2005


Alison Smyrk
Yellowstone Trail Subdivision
Yellowstone Trail PDF

This map was created for the Park County Department of GIS. It was intended to show the major features of lower half of the proposed Yellowstone Trail subdivision near Pray, MT. Its main use will be for emergency personnel attempting to navigate the new subdivision, but it is also accessible to property owners, realtors, the developer of the subdivision, and anyone else who is interested in the area.



Fall Semester 2004


Sabine Mellmann-Brown
Noxious Weeds on Private and Public Lands - Beartooth Cooperative Weed Management Area, Cooke City, MT
Reference Map PDF , CC Weeds1 PDF , CC Weeds2.PDF , CC Weeds3 PDF

The Beartooth Cooperative Weed Management Area (Beartooth CWMA) comprises the upper Soda Butte and Clarks Fork Watersheds, and covers an estimated 600 square kilometers (~150,000 acres) of public and private lands. During the summer and fall of 2004, areas near
roadways, residences or other human disturbances were surveyed for noxious weed infestations. The lower section, from the Yellowstone National Park boundary to Cooke City, was mapped with a Trimble Geo XT GPS receiver with an accuracy < 1 meter. The upper section includes Cooke City and extends to the Montana / Wyoming Stateline to the east. This area was mapped with a recreational grade GPS receiver (Pharos), achieving an accuracy of 10-15 meters.

A total of eight noxious weed species listed by the state of Montana were located in the valley, covering an estimated 54,386 square meters. The most abundant weed species were oxeye daisy, Canada thistle and houndstongue. Infestations were mapped as 108 separate
points, areas and lines. The vast majority of weed infestations (93%) occurred on private land. These results document the urgency of public education and the need for support by the Beartooth CWMA.