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WWRC 97-05eee
GIS and the Wyoming Water Resources Center


The Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Lab at the Wyoming Water Resources was established in 1992. The mission of the Lab is similar to that of the overall mission of the WWRC, involving four major components: (1) Applied Research; (2) University and State GIS Support; (3) Information Transfer; and (4) Education and Training.

Funded primarily through state and federal grant monies, the WWRC GIS Lab's primary focus is on conducting applied GIS research associated with all aspects of natural resource management, from groundwater vulnerability assessment and wellhead protection, to basin water use inventories, cutthroat trout habitat mapping, and wetlands management. In 1994, the WWRC GIS Lab become a participant in the Wyoming Initiative, a state/federal, multi-agency partnership established to address coal mining and reclamation issues in Wyoming's Powder River Basin (e.g., hydrologic modeling, electronic permitting, and technology transfer). Last year, the Lab broadening the scope of its work by partnering with the University of Wyoming's Institute for Energy Research to establish the Spatial Data and Visualization Center (SDVC). The SDVC's goal is conduct both basic and applied research in the geographic information sciences, with an emphasis on decision support tools for natural resource management in Wyoming.

In addition to its cooperative efforts with the WWRC's Water Resource Data System, the Wyoming Initiative and SDVC, the WWRC GIS Lab provides both technical GIS assistance and digital cartography support to University departments affiliated with the WWRC and a wide range of state and local entities, including the State Engineer's Office, the Department of Environmental Quality, and the interagency Snake River Corridor Project. In addition, the WWRC GIS Coordinator also currently serves as the University of Wyoming representative to the Wyoming Geographic Information Advisory Council.

In 1993, the WWRC GIS Lab initiated publication of Wyoming HydroMaps. Widely distributed throughout the state, this digitally generated map series is designed to provide a spatially-based overview of the many facets of Wyoming's water and related land resources. Wyoming HydroMaps is just one vehicle for realizing the WWRC GIS Lab's goal of serving as a spatial data clearinghouse for natural resource data for Wyoming and the Rocky Mountain Region. The Lab's education function also extends to provision of training and practical, "on-the-job" experience to a number of undergraduate and graduate students in a wide range of natural resource related disciplines. Finally, the Lab also provides, in cooperation with the Wyoming Initiative, GIS application short course training for land and water resource managers throughout the region.

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