Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Rachel Soobitsky is a Geospatial Project Manager at the Chesapeake Conservancy’s Conservation Innovation Center (CIC), based in Annapolis, Maryland. She has a Master’s degree in Geospatial Information Science and a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science and Policy with a minor in Sustainability, both from the University of Maryland, College Park. At the CIC, Rachel helps to develop data and analyses in support of a variety of conservation programs. Her current role leads her to interface with local governments, municipalities, project partners, and stakeholders to support high-resolution land cover and land use mapping in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. Prior to joining the CIC, she held GIS analyst positions at NASA and NOAA on a variety of environmental projects (ranging from satellite interference monitoring to invasive species tracking).


The Chesapeake Bay High-Resolution Land Cover Project classifies natural and human-made features on the landscape at a 1-meter resolution, therefore providing 900 times the amount of information as the conventional 30-meter resolution land cover data. This allows users to practice “precision conservation”- getting projects the right size, in the right places, at the right scale, and making sure they are working.

The Chesapeake Conservancy’s Conservation Innovation Center (CIC) is working alongside the University of Vermont (UVM) Spatial Analysis Laboratory to create a newly updated dataset for the Chesapeake Bay Program (CBP). The first step of this project is to update the 2013 High-Resolution Land Cover dataset for 2017/18 for the entire Chesapeake Bay watershed. Second, we will perform a change detection between the two datasets to study and analyze how the land in the Chesapeake is evolving. Last, we will be doing a land use conversion from the land cover. These updated datasets will be extremely helpful for local and state governments and organizations to better target and implement on-the-ground agricultural and conservation best management practices to meet Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) goals and improve prioritization for precision conservation.