Great Lakes FieldScope

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

In Great Lakes FieldScope, you can explore data layers like:

  • 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)

Using FieldScope

Explore the national FieldScope and Great Lakes FieldScope project websites. Are you new to FieldScope? Download the introductory guide:

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 points are added. For example, data entered by different groups, as well as additional layers including dissolved oxygen, turbidity, and temperature, will enrich the available information.