What problem is your team trying to solve?
Using GPS and GIS technologies, we purpose to digitally map and identify the possible concentration (focus) points for stray or loose cats and dogs in a major residential area of Lewiston, Idaho, in order to produce an efficient animal control plan.
Why did your team choose this problem?
We are very concerned about the health of the animals and the local environment. We are concerned about the number of animals killed in traffic, those neglected by their owners, and those who are genuinely homeless.
Who in your community will benefit from your team’s efforts to solve this problem?
1. city and county animal control officials
2. the regional humane society
3. the city sanitation department
4. our neighbors
What research (e.g., Internet, library, interviews) have you done and what have you learned so far?
1. We are going to work with Mr. Branting to learn how to use GPS units and the software application ArcView. Mr. Branting works on maps for the Lewis & Clark Bicentennial.
2. We are talking with the local animal shelter to learn what they do to determine where the greatest problems exist for stray animals. The animal shelter has a “no kill” policy.
State your hypothesis.
Concentrations of loose or stray cats and dogs will be found in distinct “pockets” throughout the study area.
If your hypothesis turns out to be correct, how do you think it might affect your community?
1. Animal control officers will be better informed as to where to patrol for loose animals.
2. The animal shelter and city health department will know where to concentrate their mailing efforts about spaying and neutering animals.
Describe the experiments your team used to test your hypothesis.
1. We mapped out areas for each team member, so we could cover more ground and not duplicate our findings. We did assist one another for safety.
2. We walked throughout the neighborhoods on our maps and marked the positions of every stray or loose animal.
3. As we found an animal, we used a simple log to keep track of whether it was a dog or cat.
4. We then met with Mr. Branting and downloaded the points from our GPS units into ArcView so the points could be shown on a map of Lewiston ID.
5. We used ArcView to distinguish between points for dogs and cats. Each genus now has its own map, along with a map combining all of the data.
6. Maps were also created showing problem areas for dogs and cats.
Present the results of your experiment(s).
Please refer to the maps attached to this section. We found that there are clusters of cats in one area and dogs in another. This seems reasonable, since a large number of cats would not gather in an area where there is a large concentration of dogs. It seems that there are many more stray cats than dogs. Cats are more likely to escape from yards, jump fences, or wander.
What happened during your experiments that you didn’t expect?
Some neighborhoods had few if any stray animals. We think this may be caused by regular patrols of the animal control officers in certain neighborhoods. We did not expect to find so many animals in small areas.
Based on your research and experiments, what did you learn?
We did prove our hypothesis. We obviously learned that stray dogs and cats do not live near each other. The type of neighborhood does have an effect on whether there is a concentration of strays.
If more research/experimentation needs to be done, what are the next steps?
Even though we did complete a large test area, it is not the whole city. To ensure that a complete survey is done, we will have to continue to survey other sections of the community. Also, we only saw a selective glimpse of the animal population. Some of the animals seen in our survey may not have been native to that neighborhood. We also were not able to determine the travel patterns of the animals. Since we took points on specific days, we now lack a time sequence of points (eg. a three-day period).
Describe your solution and how it helps your community.
Even at this point, we have identified two (2) major areas of stray animal concentration. See the maps in the preceding page. We can now talk with the local animal shelter and the city’s animal control office. We have also considered offering to work for the city to complete this survey.
List all of the sources (web sites, books, magazines, community resources, experts) used to complete your Mission Folder.
Nez Perce County data sets
Photos: internet sites
Describe what each team member did and why.
1. Each team member was responsible for marking waypoints in a selected area of the city that we studied.
2. Each team member was responsible for his/her GPS unit.
3. Each team member was responsible to keep an accurate log of all waypoints, to be submitted when the points were downloaded.
4. Each team member was responsible to meet together with the group to complete the eCybermission mission folder.
How did your team work together (communication, scheduling, assignments)?
We met regularly and reminded each other of our meetings. We also walked with each other through neighborhoods for safety, even though we used our individual GPS units to mark waypoints. Walking together also helped us observe more carefully and record our data accurately.
Who did your team contact for help?
Our parents made sure that we were transported to our study areas and that we were safe. Mr. Branting worked with us at school.
Describe how your team has worked (or will work) to put your solution into place.
1. We will assign two (2) of our team members to contact animal control with our findings.
2. We will begin discussing the possibility of working with the city to map a larger portion of the community.