Significant accomplishments in research

Paul F. Anderson



Since 1982, my research activities have involved 65 grants and contracts totaling $1,822,798. I was principal investigator on 38, co-principal investigator on 13, and associate investigator on 14.

Principal  Co-principal Associate  Totals
Investigator  Investigator  Investigator
Number  27  9 8 44
Amount  $220,709 $156,284 $882,524 $1,259,517
Number  11 4 6 21
Amount  $100,600 $330,797 $131,884 $563,281
Number  38 13 14 65
Amount $321,309 $487,081 $1,014,408  $1,822,798

 In addition, my research includes an unfunded project to create a database of place names for Iowa. Major research efforts since 1982 included the following ten projects. These best exemplify my goal of integrating teaching and outreach with research.

Iowa Wetlands and Riparian Areas Conservation Plan

This four-year project culminated this year with the release of our final report, Iowa Wetlands and Riparian Areas Conservation Plan. My contractual responsibilities involved research and writing information about 

  1. Iowa's wetlands (past and present), 
  2. GIS databases and modeling for managing wetlands and riparian areas, and 
  3. Procedures and data collection for monitoring changes in wetland and riparian location, size, and condition. 

For reasons discussed above, I spent the first half of the project sharing coordinator duties with Julia Badenhope.

My research and writing for the Plan occurred in the second half of the project. Specifically, I wrote the following sections of the Plan: mission statement, guiding principles, planning process, Iowa's wetlands and riparian area resources (past and present), regional patterns, data sources (National Wetlands Inventory), and an analysis of media coverage of wetland and riparian area issues. I assisted in writing the section on strategic focus—issues, goals, and strategies. I supervised the graduate student who authored two appendices: glossary and references. I also developed all of the Iowa maps for the plan, including the map and table summaries of NWI wetland types by percent and acreage in each county and each landform region. Julia Badenhope and Ann Robinson wrote the remaining sections of the Plan

The entire Plan was peer-reviewed by EPA. Julia and I supervised a total of nine student assistants, including Kevin Lyles, who was awarded the ASLA Certificate of Honor and helped with an analysis of media coverage. Although the work Julia and I did exceeded our contractual obligations, we were quite pleased with the results because they compare quite favorably with similar plans of other states in the region. The endorsements of EPA, seven state agencies, and Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack constitute an achievement that has garnered respect for ISU across the state and increased respect for Iowa in EPA. This research and outreach project provided the basis for several class projects involving wetlands and riparian areas, including a Wetlands Suitability Study in Landscape Inventory and Analysis (LA 361).

Iowa Wetlands and Riparian Areas Conservation Plan (1999)

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Wetlands Suitability Study for the Deep Loess Region of Western Iowa for LA 361 (1996)

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GIS Predictive Modeling of Archaeological Sites in Camp Dodge

This research was conducted in 1997-1999 for Mary Jones of the Environmental Section, Facilities and Construction Office, Iowa Army National Guard, Camp Dodge Military Reservation in Johnston, Iowa. This research provided information for a component of the environmental management plan for Camp Dodge, an area of 4,500 acres (1,820 hectares). Seven GIS predictive models of archaeological site location were developed based on knowledge of prehistoric peoples in the central Des Moines River valley, surveys of archaeological resources by field archaeologists, and descriptive modeling of archaeological sites in Iowa using a combination of location variables.

Predictive models were developed using Boolean logic, environmental diversity, and map arithmetic approaches. Geographic data input into the seven models included landform, soils, surface water, historic vegetation, proximity to stream confluences, and proximity to valley. Areas of high potential on the seven models showed substantial agreement along Beaver Creek south and west of Herrold. Recommendations included additional field surveys of the high potential areas by field archaeologists, use logit modeling techniques for future descriptive modeling and predictive modeling, develop similar predictive models of the nearby Des Moines River valley for comparison, and develop models of specialized activities and resources (for example, lithic resources for tool-making and pottery-making).

I was assisted by two students who helped digitize the soil survey of the area in ArcView format. I completed all other research activities.  One of the student, Steve Morgan, used his research experiences as a basis for his current thesis research.

Based on our recommendations, I submitted a proposal for additional research to the National Guard Bureau under the Legacy Grant Program.  The proposal has passed initial Department of Defense reviews and is awaiting final approvals.

GIS Predictive Modeling of Archaeological Sites in Camp Dodge (1998)

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Iowa Pilot Land Use Inventory

For the past two years, I have served as a technical advisor to the Commission on Urban Planning, Growth Management of Cities, and Protection of Farmland and its Subcommittee on Farmland Inventories and Farmland Preservation. In October 1997, I testified before the commission at the state capitol. In March 1998, I met with the subcommittee, presented an overview of data and analytical resources, and developed a set of recommendations. The recommendations were developed by an ad hoc advisory team consisting of Gerry Miller (ISU Extension), Jim Gulliford (Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship), and Les Beck (Story County Planning and Zoning Commission). I served as recorder for the team and prepared the recommendations for their review. The recommendations involved a survey of local agricultural land preservation issues, data sources and procedures, and technical issues in measuring the agricultural quality of land converted from agricultural use. 

Based on our recommendations, the Legislative Service Bureau contracted with us to assess statewide trends in agricultural land conversion since 1982 and develop more detailed assessments in seven counties as a pilot study. Our ISU team included two faculty members, three staff members, and nine students.  My responsibilities included collecting and analyzing the statewide data from the Iowa Department of Revenue and Finance and the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, supervising collection of data from assessors in seven counties, supervising digitizing of GIS data, analyzing the quantitative data on land use change, analyzing the GIS spatial soils data on the quality of agricultural land in the affected parcels, preparing recommendations to the Legislative Commission, designing the final report structure and layout, preparing report illustrations, writing 55 percent of the final report, and presenting project procedures and results to Commission members and local officials. 

This research was completed November 30, 1998.  The research was presented to the commission, which used this research as a basis for a land use bill introduced in the Iowa Senate (Bill 1063).  Incorporated into the bill were our recommendations for land use inventories and monitoring changes, protection of Iowa farmland, and technical assistance to Iowa counties in GIS for land use studies and updating comprehensive land use plans. Involvement of students and county officials in the research was important to my mission of integrating teaching, research, and outreach.

Iowa Pilot Land Use Inventory (1998)

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GIS Modeling of Floodplain Land Uses and Resource Management Alternatives

This research was requested in 1995-1996 by the USDA Golden Hills RC&D with funding from the US Environmental Protection Agency. Golden Hills sought EPA funding to develop alternative land use strategies for flood prone-areas. This was part of their assistance to local governments following the Midwest floods of 1993 with the goal of eliminating or reducing future flood damages. My research had two goals: (1) develop a hyperlinked, hypermedia GIS reference system to provide GIS suitability map models to local land owners, managers, and public officials, who use the maps to make decisions about land use and management in floodplains and (2) develop GIS predictive models of high potential sites for wetland restoration, conservation, or enhancement.

The GIS reference system incorporates image editing software to overlay raster GIS maps on an aerial photo background for presentation, similar to familiar USDA county soil survey map atlas sheets. The study area included 188 square miles in Fremont County. Software tools used were Geo-Transformer, GRASS/GIS, Photoshop, and Adobe Acrobat (for distribution of files to local officials and land managers). GIS descriptive modeling compared 24 biophysical characteristics of 19 existing wetland sites with characteristics of a random sample of 313 non-wetland sites in the Fremont County study area. Three statistical measures (Chi square, cumulative percentage, and coefficient of areal correspondence (CAC)) identified which of the 24 biophysical variables were most significant for predictive modeling. After predictive modeling results were mapped using a map algebra approach, a multiple regression technique called logit modeling measured the improvement in predictive power of the model over random chance selection of potential wetland sites.

My role in the research was design of the GIS reference system, all predictive modeling activities, report writing, and an interview on KMA radio in Shenandoah about the relationship between land use and flooding. Six students assisted me in the project. The Golden Hills RC&D staff liaison for the project was Gregg Hadish, 1992 BLA graduate and ASLA student award winner. My final report of research results was collated with Gregg's report from Golden Hills RC&D, then peer-reviewed by EPA, Region 7, in Kansas City. The final report was provided to EPA and distributed in electronic form (CD-ROM) using Adobe Acrobat PDF files. This was the first such report provided to EPA in electronic form. This research and outreach project provided the basis for image editing assignments in Computer Graphics for Landscape Architecture (LA 411/511) and hyperlinked, hypermedia database design in Jane Chen's thesis research.

GIS Modeling of Floodplain Land Uses and Resource Management Alternatives in the Deep Loess Region of Western Iowa (1996)

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Historic Vegetation of Iowa

Each year from 1992 to 1995, I was asked to submit a research proposal to the State Preserves Board of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. Each year I was awarded funding to digitize historic vegetation data in GIS format from the US General Land Office surveyors' field notes and maps of 1832-1859. IDNR officials were so pleased with results from the first year of research that I eventually received funding to complete the entire state. Each year I completed a portion of the state (14 counties in 1993, 25 in 1994, 31 in 1995, and 29 in 1996). Research results included one Arc/Info coverage for each county in Iowa and two microfilm directory database files (one database file for each microfilm set purchased). I documented the GLO data sources, along with digitizing observations about each vegetation type in each county.

After review, IDNR placed all 99 county coverages and one statewide coverage on their on-line GIS data server, Natural Resources Geographic Information System (NRGIS). NRGIS is available through the IDNR World Wide Web pages and through their Internet FTP site. This on-line database is used regularly by many students, resource professionals, and land managers with whom I work. I use it often in my own teaching, research, and outreach activities.

My role in the research was to design the database, develop the digitizing process, supervise database digitizing activities, document data sources, prepare statistical and analytical summaries, and write the progress report and final report. A total of 12 students assisted me during the four-year period. Based on my recommendations, additional research continued using the same GLO data sources. Michael Miller's descriptive modeling thesis research was completed in 1995. The thesis research of Jane Chen (who was awarded the ASLA Certificate of Merit) involves designing and demonstrating a hypermedia database for General Land Office surveyors' field notes using hyperlink and GIS technology. Said Musli developed descriptive models of GLO vegetation types in Hamilton County as part of his thesis research. Patrick Brown is developing GIS measures of historic and existing habitat fragmentation in his thesis research for the Prairie Rivers RC&D. I have prepared a research proposal for the Iowa Agriculture and Home Economics Experiment Station concerning the variability of GLO soil ratings and modern soil classifications.

To further integrate outreach with research, the final report of research findings from the four-year study was selected by Steve Holland of the Iowa Department of Transportation for reprinting and distribution to county roadside management officials. This information on historic vegetation is being used in vegetation restoration and conservation programs of the Living Roadway Trust Fund administered by IDOT.

GIS Research to Digitize Maps of Iowa 1832-1859 Vegetation from General Land Office Township Plat Maps (1996)

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Raccoon River Greenbelt, Dallas County

The Dallas County Conservation Board and the Iowa Historic Resources Development Program asked me to complete three research projects for the Raccoon River Greenbelt. The first was GIS database development and suitability modeling (1988-1993). The second and third consisted of GIS descriptive and predictive modeling of archaeological sites in the South Raccoon valley (Phase 1, 1993-1994) and the North Raccoon valley (Phase 2, 1995-1996). The Raccoon River Greenbelt was created in 1989 to develop and implement management policies and plans for cultural and natural resources. Concern for preserving archaeological sites in the Greenbelt increased recently due to extensive flooding in 1993 and rapid urbanization in the past decade. In 1993, the Dallas County Conservation Board initiated an archaeological study to document known sites and locate additional sites.

Descriptive modeling compared the characteristics of known sites with those in a sample of non-sites. Measures of frequency, cumulative percentage, Chi-square, significance, and areal correspondence identified four variables on which to base the predictive models: proximity to stream confluences, proximity to stream valleys, soil landscape position, and historic vegetation. Predictive modeling used logistical multiple linear regression (logit model) techniques to identify areas with high potential for additional sites. Results of six models were compared using measures of mean, significance, cumulative percentage, percentage correctly classified, and improvement over chance. Improvement over chance ranged from 26.0 percent to 55.7 percent.

My role in the research was to design the GIS database, supervise the development of the database digitizing, prepare the suitability models, present results in workshops involving landowners, complete all descriptive and predictive models, and write the research reports. I was assisted by nine students (including ASLA award winner Paige Bulkeley), whose primary responsibility was preparing the GIS database at the beginning of the research. Research methods and results have provided a case study useful in teaching Landscape Inventory and Analysis (LA 361) and Principles of Research for Landscape Architects (LA 541). In addition, the research methods and results have been presented to students in Environmental Archaeology (Anthropology 316/516) and Archaeological Field School (Anthropology 429/529).

GIS Modeling of Archaeological Sites in the Raccoon River Greenbelt, Dallas County, Iowa (1995)

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GIS Modeling of Archaeological Sites in the Raccoon River Greenbelt, Dallas County, Iowa (Phase 2: Minburn Unit) (1996)

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Iowa Tourism Database System

I was asked to complete this research in 1989-1991 for the Iowa Department of Economic Development, Division of Tourism under contract with Dunbar-Jones Partnership, a planning and design firm in Des Moines. In Phase 1 (1989-1990), I was asked to (1) conduct a telephone survey of all 50 states and several countries to determine their use of a digital database system for use in tourism information centers, (2) develop scenarios (predictions) of database use in 1989, 1995, and 2001, (3) design a digital audio/video database system for use by visitors and staff in Iowa's Welcome Centers. In Phase 2 (1990-1991), I was asked to implement the system in three Welcome Centers: LeClaire (Interstate 80), Amanas (near Interstate 80), and Missouri Valley (Interstate 29). I completed all research activities with the aid of one graduate assistant, who was responsible for conducting the telephone survey, digitizing data, install hardware and software components in the three Welcome Centers.

This project exemplifies my integration of research and outreach to Iowa's public officials who have responsibilities in developing, restoring, conserving, and protecting Iowa's natural and cultural resources.

Conceptual Design for an Iowa Tourism Database System for Iowa Welcome Centers (1989)

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Iowa Tourism Video Database System Overview (1990)

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Iowa Soil Survey Atlas Map Digitizing

From 1982 to 1991, my research responsibilities in the Department of Agronomy concentrated on a statewide effort to digitize map atlas sheets from county soil survey reports. The goal of the research was to create three GIS data layers for the entire state: soil mapping units, spot conditions, and drainage features. The project team included Tom Fenton (project coordination), Gerry Miller (interpretations for the digital Iowa Soil Properties and Interpretations Database (ISPAID)), Herb Wilson (quality control), Bob Mortenson (quality control), Glenn Beavers (software and procedures for digitizing soil mapping units and data distribution), and Tim Shuck (training, scheduling, and supervision of digitizing staff). My primary responsibility was developing software and procedures for digitizing spot conditions and drainage features from soil survey map atlas sheets. My secondary responsibilities were (1) developing software and procedures for digitizing horizontal control points from 1:24,000 scale USGS 7.5 minute quadrangle maps, and (2) developing software and procedures to convert the digital raster soils data to data formats compatible with a variety of GIS software packages, both raster and vector, and (3) developing software for preparing GIS interpretive soil maps (such as Corn Suitability Rating) and overlay maps with land use/land cover data.

The results of this statewide effort are now available on-line through USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service Web pages and FTP site. The data are available in the export (E00) format for use with ESRI Arc/Info and ESRI ArcView, an industry standard format for the most widely used commercial GIS software. Separate coverages are available for soil mapping units, spot conditions, and drainage features. Data files are available for individual sections and for townships (in progress). These digital soils data are in great demand by agricultural producers and land managers . I use the data in a variety of teaching, research, and outreach projects. My most recent application of the soils data is a detailed study of the quality of agricultural land in seven pilot counties for the Iowa Legislative Commission on Urban Planning, Growth Management of Cities, and Protection of Farmland. Measures of agricultural quality include Corn Suitability Rating (CSR), Land Capability Class (LCC), estimated yield, and USDA Prime Farmland Classification.

The importance of this research is that it dramatically increases access to soils data through computer and communication technology. Digital files available through the World Wide Web and Internet FTP have made soil maps more useful to an increasing number of people involved in precision agriculture, resource management, and land use planning. This is an example of my teaching, research, and outreach goal to help people make informed decisions and, thereby, increase environmental quality and the quality of life. These concerns and procedures developed during the research were described in my paper presented at the 1988 American Society of Agricultural Engineers International Meeting in Rapid City, South Dakota.

Digital Soils and Land Use Data: Geographic Information System for Rural Land Use Planning (1988)

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Design and Planning Applications of Computer Technology: a National Survey

This research was conducted in 1983 with support from the Design Research Institute. In addition to my interest in measuring the use of computer technology in public practice, private practice, and academic practice, I wanted more experience with survey research methods. Though I had worked on professional projects and research projects with planners and sociologists who conducted surveys, I wanted hands-on experience. With help from an advisory panel of ISU faculty, Don Dillman's Total Design Method: Mail and Telephone Surveys, and ISU's Human Subjects Review Committee, I sent a cover letter and questionnaire to a random sample of architects (AIA members), planners (AICP members), and landscape architects (ASLA members). The return rate was 63 percent. Of the six hypotheses, four were supported by the survey results.

I completed all research activities with the aid of one undergraduate assistant, who was responsible for preparing the mailings and key-entry of survey results. In 1984, this project won two research awards: Merit Award from the Iowa Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects and Honor Award from the national American Society of Landscape Architects. This survey was later adapted for use by the Computer Committee of the American Society of Landscape Architects. It also became the basis of similar surveys by graduate students at Kansas State University and the University of Maryland. This survey provided me with the experience needed to conduct a survey of department alumni as part of 1992 national accreditation activities. This survey also provided me with information helpful in preparing a 1985 initiative to integrate computer applications throughout the undergraduate curriculum.

Design and Planning Applications of Computer Technology: a National Survey (research report) (1983)

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Design and Planning Applications of Computer Technology: a National Survey (ASLA research award) (1984)

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Rural Development Planning Program for Guatemala

In 1979, I was asked by Jerry Knox to participate in a USAID planning assistance project in Guatemala. During the next four years, I had four short-term in-country assignments. My responsibilities were to assess planning data needs, investigate data sources, design a GIS database for the highlands study area, supervise data digitizing, develop suitability models, design and implement a link between GIS mapping software and SPSS, and train staff members in the Ministry of Agriculture and other resource management agencies. I was assisted in my responsibilities by 11 students, including ASLA award winner Wendy Feuer, who is now Assistant State Attorney General for Public Lands and Natural Resources for the State of Alaska.

This research provided a basis for my later involvement with international practice and writing for the Landscape Architecture Technical Information Service (LATIS), American Society of Landscape Architects. It also led to additional research in GIS software development supported by the World Food Institute, Iowa State University, and to cultural diversity lectures in Landscape Inventory and Analysis (LA 361).

A Rural Development Planning Program for Guatemala (1983)

Carrying the harvest

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Composite investment priority index for rural development

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Last update: 21 September 99