Great Lakes FieldScope

Michigan Sea Grant partnered with National Geographic and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Great Lakes Science Center to develop Great Lakes FieldScope. This web-based mapping and graphing collaboration tool is designed to engage students, volunteers and citizens in Great Lakes science. FieldScope is part of a nationwide initiative to share, analyze and interpret data.

In Great Lakes FieldScope, you’ll find data layers to explore, such as:

  • Areas of Concern (pollution)
  • Fish Spawning
  • Beneficial Use Impairments (pollution)
  • Detroit River Sediment Contamination
  • Lakes and Streams
  • Watershed Boundaries
  • Wetlands
  • Elevation
  • Land Cover
  • Bathymetry (water depth)

New to FieldScope?

Download the Introduction to Great Lakes FieldScope (PDF) and check out the National Geographic video tutorials below for an introduction to FieldScope:

More About Great Lakes FieldScope

Participants can choose from a few starter map options (with preselected layers, observation data and descriptions) and example graph options, or start from the beginning and create new maps and graphs of their own.

Users may enter their own field data, including quantitative and qualitative measurements, photos and field notes. They can integrate their fieldwork and data with that of peers and professionals, adding the opportunity for further analysis and student investigation. This type of learning provides a rich geographic context that encourages understanding of how we are connected to the Great Lakes.

The data can be investigated at different scales. For example, users can look for information at the hyper-local level, tracing the path of water from a particular yard or neighborhood to the Great Lake that it eventually drains to. They can also explore on a wider, regional scale, pinpointing all Areas of Concern in the Great Lakes or gaining an understanding of how the lake basins are linked.

FieldScope will continue to evolve as more data is added. For example, data entered by different groups as well as additional layers including dissolved oxygen, turbidity and temperature will enrich the available information.

Great Lakes FieldScope is made possible by Michigan Sea Grant, National Geographic Education, the Great Lakes Observing System and the USGS Great Lakes Science Center.

Explore FieldScope

Fieldscope graphic

There’s an App for That

Check out the smartphone app to collect data on-the-go using mobile devices:

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