Environmental Geochemistry and Sediment Quality in Lake Pontchartrain

CD-ROM Development and Interactive Electronic Publications

Chris Polloni, E.J. McFaul, Frank T. Manheim and Laura Hayes



The purpose of developing this CD-ROM was focused on compiling information related to contaminants and other sediment properties of Lake Pontchartrain in as comprehensive a manner as possible. The data and images in this CD-ROM are delivered to the user through a variety of public-domain and commercial software applications via the standard desktop computer interface. The data are formatted for mapping and display in ways that are compatible with desktop Geographic Information System (GIS) tools such as MapInfo, ArcView, Landview III and ArcExplorer (Polloni and others, 1995, Polloni and others, 1998c, Polloni and DiGiacomo-Cohen, 1998d).  MapInfo was the primary GIS development and analysis tool for this project, and ArcView was used as a secondary viewing tool. A set of project files for both tools has been archived and is included for users who may have compatible software (see Data Visualization).  Landview III and ArcExplorer can be downloaded directly from this CD-ROM, and each can serve as a stand-alone mapping application to display and query the data.

This CD-ROM is an experimental product combining research data with information for a wider public, including K-12 students. The educational curriculum guide was developed in collaboration with the outreach staff at the Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation (LPBF). A future goal in such hybrid products is to integrate the outreach material and the research information so that related topics are electronically linked. This would allow students, teachers or other interested persons to pursue subjects of interest in greater depth without a separate literature search.


The first CD-ROM produced for this project (Kenwood et al, 1996) was designed as a web- compatible product with imagery and database information that was viewed through the user's browser. One of the primary components of this CD-ROM was the environmental and geological bibliography. It also included a map atlas that was out of print. Subsequently, a GIS prototype CD-ROM was produced (Polloni et al, 1998c) which used Landview III as the map coverage viewer. The goal was to integrate scientific data collected around the Lake and provide the user with a map viewer to display selected coverages (data layers). Landview III is still available and can be used with the latest version of the sediment database included on this CD-ROM. However, we have found that other free software may be more user-friendly and easier to integrate with the existing database coverages.

The sediment database was developed in Microsoft Excel and then migrated to Microsoft Access to accommodate relational structures and permit complex querying (see Appendix D of the Sediment Database section to download the database). The mapping software tools accept database files (Excel, Access, DBF files, tab delimited files) as data sources.


The inclusion of mapping tools allows users to generate custom maps using all or any subset of the data and develop new displays to test the data.  The interactive nature of the interface allows users to query the database, explore new relationships, perform additional analysis, and draw their own conclusions. The users may also query web connections to supplement the knowledge and data presented here and build resources to facilitate decision-making in today's complicated world.


The GIS tools included on this CD-ROM are available on the web as free public-use software and should be downloaded from the web to assure that the latest version is obtained (ArcExplorer). The web is also a good source for tips on how to use these GIS tools and guidance on troubleshooting. The content of this CD-ROM is also available on the web at   with the latest revisions annotated by release date. Users are encouraged to correspond with the authors through e-mail to ask questions and provide input on matters that relate to this publication.


Kenwood, Clifford, Manheim, F.T., Polloni, C.F., and Williams, S.J., 1996.  An Environmental and Geological Bibliography for Lake Pontchartrain:  U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 96-527, CD-ROM.

Polloni, Chris, 1998a.  Mapping Tools for CDs and the web, GRIPS'98, session chair, in session listing of the SIGCAT'98 CD/DVD Conference and EXPO, Baltimore, MD, May 17-22, 1998.

Polloni, Chris, 1998b.  HTML - XML:  An Effective Authoring tool for today's CDs, in session listing of the SIGCAT'98 CD/DVD Conference and EXPO, Baltimore, MD, May 17-22, 1998.

Polloni, Chris and DiGiacomo-Cohen, M.L., 1998.  Visualizing Long Island Sound Data Layers using Geographic Mapping Tools, in Long Island Sound Environmental Studies, Poppe, L.J. and Polloni, Chris, eds, U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 98-502 CD-ROM.

Polloni, C.F., Manheim, F.T., McIntire, A.G., 1998c.  Interactive Electronic Publication of Chemical-Environmental Data from Lake Pontchartrain Basin:   Exploration of Applications with LandView III, the New Interagency Database/Map Query system: Basics of the Basin Research Symposium, University of New Orleans, New Orleans, LA, May 12 and 13, 1998.

Polloni, Christopher, Tripp, B., and Truesdale, P., 1998d. An Illustrated Environmental Bibliography for Buzzards Bay, Massachusetts. U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 98-50 CD-ROM.

Polloni, C.F., Schmuck, E.A., Denny, J.F., Prisloe, M.P., and Babb, I.G., 1995.   Marine Geologic Atlases on CD-ROM, A Method of Assembling, Integrating and Displaying Information: Northeastern Section GSA Abstracts with Programs, Cromwell, CT, Vol. 27, no. 1, p. 74.


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