Intelligent maps could be the answer to deer herd overpopulation.
The University of Wisconsin’s Geography Department and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources are working together to use cartography to help combat overpopulated deer herds. Cartography is the science of making maps to represent a data set or geographical area.
A recent article from The Badger Herald shows that Wisconsin is currently experiencing an extreme case of deer overpopulation. Gov. Scott Walker recently invited Dr. James Kroll, a renowned whitetail deer expert to discuss the state’s deer problem. Kroll stressed that the state needed to update its Geographic Information System (GIS) and its geographic areas in order to effectively study the deer overpopulation problem.
Governor Walker successfully received grant funding from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to perform the necessary updates to the state’s dated GIS data. GIS data was collected in the field by survey technicians. The technicians were asked to identify areas of land cover that would tend to support deer populations. The survey data was then combined with aerial images derived from satellite imagery to help build an overall map of the state.
The data also allowed Wisconsin’s Geography Department to create a map that can model deer populations and predict where hot spots for overpopulation may occur or are already occurring. Urban and suburban areas seem to be the areas most affected and were the areas that required the most updating during the map making process.
The overall goal of this project was to create updated maps for the State of Wisconsin that could be used to track and predict the deer population in any region of the state. Deer population modeling is one of the most effect tools that state wildlife officials can use to regulate the deer population. The map will now allow them to adjust harvest goals for specific regions of the state. Areas of overpopulation can be reduced without harming deer populations that are stabile in other parts of the state.
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Do you think more states should be using this type of map to help manage their deer herds?