Assignment: Explain the argument of your final project and the intellectual and practical justifications for the choices you made in creating it. How will you evaluate your work?

Argument of Final Project

Point Clouds over Sovereign Lands explains why lidar data collected by the 3D Elevation Program of the USGS is required to engage in consultation with Indian Tribes and Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA) Corporations. Consultation with USGS is required before taking any action affecting tribal or ANCSA Corporation interests. USGS has determined that the publication of airborne lidar over tribal lands requires tribal notification.

The goal of the 3D Elevation Program (3DEP) is to complete nationwide data acquisition in 8 years, by 2023, to provide the first-ever national baseline of consistent high-resolution 3D elevation data — collected in a timeframe of less than a decade.

I also present background on Tribal sovereignty. Sovereignty refers to the right of American Indians and Alaska Natives to govern themselves. The U.S. Constitution recognizes Indian tribes as distinct governments and they have, with a few exceptions, the same powers as federal and state governments to regulate their internal affairs. Sovereignty for tribes includes the right to establish their own form of government, determine membership requirements, enact legislation and establish law enforcement and court systems.

Evaluating Project Results

ArcGIS StoryMaps is a story authoring, web-based application that enables you to share your maps in the context of narrative text and other multimedia content. Its part of the ArcGIS Cloud platform and integrates really well with the desktop Geographic Information Systems software ArcGIS Pro. StoryMaps offers a simple to use scrolling experience with interactive features I hope makes it easy for everyone to access and enjoy. It’s a great tool for curating content as it offers lots of embedding and linking functionality. Content curation is a great way to save time and leverage expertise and it also is great for building trust. Building trust, shows users that you care about them enough to find the most valuable information and then to share it with them.


There are tons of tools and techniques to use to evaluate a digital platform’s performance.  I just wish I could get out of the gates running and not have to sift through all the available options. There are a few essential tools though that I think would help to monitor whether content curation is effective.

A StoryMap is hosted on the cloud through an organization account and made available to the public with the proper sharing credentials. There isn’t any built-in user tracking but you can embed links to social media accounts and there are iframe and tiny urls generated that you can use to share links back to. As this is an academic project I do not have access to social media accounts but I do plan on elevating this project on social media platforms through work so let’s pretend this will be released at work for now so I can discuss a few tools for evaluating access.  

For managing social media performance there is a platform called Hootsuite. Hootsuite is a social media marketing dashboard, available in both free and paid options. And it lets you manage your social media profiles from one place. You can also measure interactions and schedule posts. 

My focus is on tracking where users are going, where they’re coming from both in terms of what page they were on before, were they on a web browser search, were they on another website, then I can also see what part of the world they came from, so that I can tailor my content curation efforts. Google Analytics which is built into the Google marketing platform is the tool to use. It gives thorough view of how people are interacting within your website. 

Search Console is another Google tool that tells you the performance of your website in terms of are pages loading correctly. It’s a lot of the technical details about your website which I would use through my website management team. If people clicking on an embedded link are going to a landing page that takes 15 seconds to load, and you have your site set up with Google Search Console you might see that that page is taking forever to load so people are clicking away from it before they even see what’s on it. So when we talk about marketing and these analytic tools, sometimes we need to use tools that aren’t directly correlated with our project so that we can see what’s happening on the back end and then use that information to improve our marketing efforts. 

There are some drawbacks and limitations to the basic tools like Google analytics, so there are some more robust tools to better see the funnel and the flow of users on our website.

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