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Exploring the Underwater Terrain of Wisconsin Lakes Topic of UW-Eau Claire Alumni Association Luncheon

RELEASED: May 17, 2006

Let's Do Lunch postcardEAU CLAIRE — Exploring and mapping what lies beneath the lakes and rivers of Wisconsin's landscape and how these bathymetric maps are used for scientific and recreational purposes will be the topic of a May 31 luncheon presentation hosted by the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire Alumni Association. Dr. Sean Hartnett, UW-Eau Claire professor of geography and anthropology, will give a presentation from noon to 1 p.m. at Sweetwater's restaurant titled "Exploring West-Central Wisconsin Lake Maps." The presentation is part of the Alumni Association's "Let's Do Lunch" series.

"Bathymetric mapping is part science and part art," Hartnett said. "The science involves using a boat outfitted with sonar depth sounders and sub-meter accuracy global positioning systems to collect depth data and transform it into three-dimensional models of the underwater terrain. Art is involved in conveying the contours of the water depths through color-coded shading and through symbols depicting vegetation, the location of boat landings, fish cribs and navigational hazards."

The finished maps are prized by anglers who consult the maps for potential fishing sites. The maps also are useful for scientific purposes such as calculating the volume and flushing rate of the water body which are vital statistics for lake monitoring. The maps also are useful for studying sedimentation.

Hartnett has been teaching cartography and computer mapping skills at UW-Eau Claire since 1984. He began mapping Wisconsin lakes and rivers in 1986 and has developed new techniques for utilizing global positioning systems and geography information system technologies to produce the maps. He has produced a total of 20 bathymetric maps of Wisconsin lakes.

Hartnett has a bachelor's degree from Beloit College, and master's and doctoral degrees from UW-Madison. He is a broadly trained geographer, having won the Andrew Hill Clark award for his dissertation in historical geography. His extensive research and publication record on bathymetric mapping and the geography of the marathon have received international recognition.

Upcoming "Let's Do Lunch" speakers, dates and topics include: Dr. Justin Patchin, assistant professor of political science, June 28: "Cyberbullying Among Adolescents: What Parents Need to Know"; Dr. Donald Mowry, director of the Center for Service-Learning, July 26: "Building Mutually Beneficial Community-University Partner ships"; Dr. Timothy Bawden, assistant professor of geography and anthropology, Aug. 30: "The Geography of Fans of Professional Baseball and Football.

The speaker series is open to the public. The cost is $10 per session and includes the presentation, buffet, beverage, tax and tip. To reserve tickets, send e-mail to alumni@uwec.edu or call (715) 836-3266 for more information

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KH

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