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Georgia URISA Virtual Luncheon — Georgia Forestry Commission Meter Reading and Google Earth Projects

December 8, 2020

12:00 pm to 1:30 pm

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Presentation Synopses:
1. GFC/EPD Agricultural Water Meter Reading Project: In 2003, the Georgia legislature passed a
bill requiring the permitting of agricultural water users capable of using 100,000 gallons or more per
day. The next year they commissioned the Soil and Water Commission (now the NRCS) to install water
meters on all applicable agricultural well and surface sources in the state. There are now over 13,000
meters that require monitoring and measurement. In 2016 the Governor designated the EPD to manage
these meters and obtain annual readings. As they lack the field staff to effectively complete this task,
the EPD executed a contract with the GFC to obtain these readings. GFC GIS has devised a system to
efficiently facilitate this process. Leveraging mobile GIS field applications with cloud-based resources, we
expect to complete these readings in approximately ten weeks with a target accuracy level of 97%. The
system uses mobile devices, web hooks, dashboards, and automated triggers to streamline collection
and quality control procedures.

2. Google Earth Engine Script to Delineate Forest Disturbance for BMP Surveys: The GFC has a
mandate to conduct biennial surveys to determine water quality impacts from forestry operations.
Generally the greatest impact is associated with timber harvesting, which can be effectively identified
with remote sensing procedures. The objective is to obtain a random sample of all harvest sites within
the subject areas. We are now using a script in Google Earth Engine to extract disturbance sites using
the ESA’s Sentinel 2 satellite imagery. The routine uses a threshold difference in NDVI values between
the pre and post disturbance periods to identify forest disturbance sites for evaluation. The project is
now underway and the reported results are very favorable, with false positive levels currently below 5%.

Speaker Bio: Cob Bailey has been the GIS Manager for the Georgia Forestry Commission since 2012 and has worked for the
agency since 1995. He has a degree in Environmental Spatial Analysis from the University of North
Georgia. He is a certified GISP and qualified GIS Specialist (GISS) under the national Incident Command
System (ICS). He works from his home in Clarkesville and has two terrific kids with whom he greatly
enjoys playing.

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