Marianas Variety

Last updateThu, 18 Jul 2019 12am







    Tuesday, July 16, 2019-6:56:12A.M.






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Reef Tips: GIS: Getting to the point!

Finding information on swimming areas has never been more accessible and exciting through online mapping publications. With a click of a button you can gather valuable information about the different points available on your map using Geographic Information System (GIS) applications.

Hafa Adai and Tirow, my name is Nathan Angui, I am a student at the Northern Marianas College (NMC), pursuing a degree under the Natural Resources Management (NRM) program. This summer I received the opportunity to work with the Enforcement section under the Division of Coastal Resources Management, through the Coral Reef Initiative Summer Internship. My project focused on creating maps for swimming zones located in our lagoon. Location to be mapped depends on the places where swimming takes place frequently and if there is any recreational activities taking place in or near the area.

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Contributed photo
Contributed photo

On the field we would deploy our Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) or Drone. While taking aerial shots, a flight pattern is created depicting a rectangular prism of the areas where swimming takes place. Global Positioning System (GPS) points are gathered at each corner point of the rectangular prism. After gathering all data needed for this project, the data is inputted into an excel sheet. GIS Specialist, Rodney Camacho, assisted me with inputting the data into ArcGIS program and creating the map. It took a few trials and errors, till I got comfortable with the program.

This project is important because “GIS technology interfaced with a relational database provide an effective method for analyzing and displaying the impacts of extension education and outreach projects” (JOE). When completed we want this document to be accessible to the public so they are able to use it to determine areas where it is safe to swim and there is no high risk of commercial operation in the area. A great example would be the area in between Hyatt and Fiesta Resort, where there is high activity of boats coming in and out the lagoon near the potential swimming zones.

At this time, all three (3) mapping projects: swim zone, major siting and coral head formation are ongoing and hope to complete them by the end of this internship and ready for the public. Through the help and guidance of my mentors, I would not have gotten this far. This internship was a great experience and has definitely expanded my knowledge in the NRM field.


(JOE), The Journal of Extension. “GIS, GPS, and Remote Sensing Technologies in Extension Services: Where to Start, What to Know.” The Low-Income Single Parent,