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West Nile Virus, WNV, is a vector-borne disease that has become an increasingly prevalent issue in Colorado and across the United States. Chet Moore, microbiology professor at Colorado State University, has tested weekly samples of mosquitoes from 43 trap sites across Fort Collins, Colorado from 2009 through 2012. Attributes including mosquito count, species type, and WNV prevalence were recorded. The Colorado State University Geospatial Centroid has created spatial representations of Chet’s compiled data using ArcMap. The created maps explore spatial topics of species distribution and WNV outbreak intensity. Pertinent land cover layers were overlaid onto these maps to reveal spatial correlations between mosquito harborage, distribution and WNV outbreak. Issues of sample size error and other spatial statistics will be addressed along with current plans to overcome these barriers.
Together with the CSU Institute of Learning and Teaching and Erica Suchman, another CSU microbiology professor, the Geospatial Centroid used this project to show undergraduate students the power of geospatial technologies in the field of microbiology. The presentation showed extreme success as the students began to ask open ended questions using critical thinking skills and spatial understanding.