The GIS (Geographic Information Systems) team of Archipelagos Institute is spread out over Samos and Lipsi islands. They work in collaboration with other teams to create tools that facilitate better research, field work and communication of data. This means that GIS projects encompass smaller, more supportive tasks in addition to their own major projects.

The most recent project completed by the GIS team was the digitization of Ikaria island. This allows the region to be categorized by land use, i.e. roads or agricultural lands. Hence, it will make later research planning for the region more efficient, as it provides data that is otherwise difficult to access or to download online. Additionally, because the GIS team can focus specifically on regions related to Archipelagos’ research, the level of detail achieved is much greater than can be acquired from open sources.

Members of the GIS team are also stationed on Lipsi island to aid in Archipelagos’ Seagrass Mapping Project. This project aims to map the abundance of seagrass surrounding Lipsi island using a new method of detection involving a Lowrance sonar and the specialized  algorithms.

Most recently the GIS team has taken on a seagrass mapping project on Samos. This is to begin collecting evidence for the ecological significance of the Mykali strait, the water body separating south-eastern Samos from Turkey. Archipelagos has proposed the establishment of a Peace Park on the straight. This region provides important ecosystem services and is furthermore habitat for many charismatic animals such as Delphinus delphi (common dolphin) and Caretta caretta (loggerhead sea turtle).

Seagrass can also be mapped remotely using aerial photography.

To improve upon existing satellite imagery, Archipelagos’ volunteer researchers and students have been using drone technology to create more detailed photography of the Samos coastline.

  This will hopefully result in more accurate estimation of seagrass in shallow waters without the need for more work-intensive in-situ mapping.

Emily Doan, University of British Columbia