GEOG 863:
Web Application Development for Geospatial Professionals




In this lesson, we’ll walk through the configuration of a web map that can be viewed using Esri's Field Maps mobile app and used to record observations made in the field.  This will give you exposure to another app development framework, one that has a specifically mobile device focus.

We'll actually be replicating work done recently by a Penn State MGIS student for his capstone experience.  To set the stage for what we'll be doing, let's begin with a bit of background.

The Pennsylvania Department of Conservation of Natural Resources (DCNR) is the state agency charged with maintaining the state’s parks.  One of their maintenance tasks is the remediation of invasive plant species.  Unfortunately, limited funding makes it impossible to conduct remediation in all of the park locations where invasives are observed.  For this reason, DCNR worked together with a Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences researcher to devise a methodology for prioritizing which of the infestations should receive the agency’s attention. 

Within each park of interest, DCNR staff first delineate areas of similar ecological characteristics (habitat management zones, or HMZs).  Each HMZ is assigned to one of 7 habitat types: Mature Forest, Pole Forest, Young Forest, Wetland, Riparian Corridor, Lakeshore, and Herbaceous Opening. 

In developing an invasive species management plan (ISMP), priority scores ranging from 0-9 (?) are derived based on the following factors:

  • Stewardship value – What is the HMZ’s value from an ecological stewardship standpoint?
    2 = highest ecological value
    1 = medium ecological value
    0 = lowest ecological value
  • Outreach value – How much interest does this HMZ generate with outside groups (as a funding or volunteer source)?
    2 = highest interest
    1 = medium interest
    0 = lowest interest
  • Extent value – How large is the species infestation?
    2 = not present or in very low numbers
    1 = medium presence level
    0 = large infestation
  • Impact value – How severely does the species affect the HMZ’s native plant community?
    1 = Super Bad
    0 = Regular Bad
    The impact a species has on the various habitat types is a known relationship that can be looked up as needed.  For example, the Japanese knotweed has an impact value of 1 in an HMZ of the Lakeshore type, but 0 in the Forest types.
  • Restoration effort value – What level of effort will be required to eliminate the invasive?
    3 = lowest effort; native plants fill in on their own after invasive is suppressed
    2 = at least two seasons of suppression required
    1 = elimination of invasive possible, but likely requires seeding/planting native plants
    0 = highest effort; complete elimination of invasive unlikely
    These values are also known ahead of time and vary based on the species and its extent value.  For example, the Norway maple has a restoration score of 1 when its extent is rated as 0 (large infestation), a score of 2 when its extent is rated as 1, and a score of 3 when its extent is rated as 2 (in low numbers). 

The priority score is calculated as follows:
priority = stewardship + outreach + extent + impact + restoration

The original form of this ISMP was an Excel workbook in which staff entered HMZ info and species observations into multiple tabs.  VBA macros automated the priority score calculations.  Unfortunately, this system had no spatial component.

More recently, a Penn State MGIS student devised a version of the ISMP for ArcGIS Field Maps.  Through this application, DCNR staff can conduct their work in a spatial context by clicking/tapping an HMZ of interest on the map, recording the species found within it, and automatically obtaining a remediation priority score.


At the successful completion of this lesson, students should be able to:

  • build their own online/mobile map using Field Maps
  • have a better understanding of the various map development / deployment frameworks available
  • be able to choose an appropriate map framework for a particular task
  • use Esri's Arcade scripting language to populate form fields automatically


If you have any questions now or at any point during this week, please feel free to post them to the Lesson 2 Discussion Forum.