Tuesday, May 10

Final Project

For the final project we were given free reign to really come up whatever we want as long as it was able to utilize the skills that we learned in this class.  There were a few other parameters too such as very basic things like having a legend, north arrow, utilizing some queries by location and attribute, and a minimum number of point, line, and polygon data sets. I exceeded the minimum requirements  by a long shot, I'm not even sure how anyone would do a project of this magnitude with the minimum requirements.  This is what I came up with:

So the idea here was rather simple, to design a neighborhood bike map for my daughter to explore our new neighborhood.  I discovered upon moving here that the residential streets around here (which is basically any street except highway 98) are laid out in a very disorderly fashion, almost like a labyrinth.  I don't necessarily think that is a bad thing, but I did think it needed a little help guide.  Enter my map!

I used roughly 15 data sets from 6 different sources throughout the internet to come up with all the data you see (such as Florida Department of Transportation, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, US Census Bureau, etc).  It's really amazing how hard it is to find a data set on the internet.  You would think that this kind of information would be what the internet is good for. But much of the data that I found was either lacking information, would not match the particular data that I needed, or worse yet, making you pay for it!  I found myself having to use bits and pieces of data from different sources and finding 1 field to match up with the other data set to join the tables together.

Anyhow I came up with a short path and a long path for the routes. I wasn't sure how to symbolize the route itself, so I did a little research.  Turns out this is how subways and bus's many times will mark the routes for their maps, and I found that worked out great for me too.  I made the labels on the streets that were on the route stand out more than the streets that were not utilized for the route.

I also used a slight overlay on top of base elements of the map to make them appear a little less "in your face".  One of the requirements for the project was to include a chart, so that is why that exists in the top left corner.  It kind of reminded me of a highway system, at the smallest scale possible.

I spent a while on the state map in the lower left, finally ending up happy with how I chose to symbolize Gulf Breeze. I wanted it to stick out more versus the other 2 cities that I had there just for reference.  I also used the color orange in Florida because of oranges. And then I took that color and used it as my base color for the graphical elements in the map. I chose complimentary colors of this orange as is seen in the font's and scale, among other items.

The city map has hwy 98 run through the middle, along with a few other random roads just for aesthetic purposes.  I was able to get the three bridges in the shot and label both Pensacola and Pensacola Beach as well as the Gulf of Mexico. I thought this gave the viewer a great idea of where Gulf Breeze is actually located.

Lastly for the parcels (buildings) I used a key at the bottom to identify the type from the main map.  I used the colors as are seen because I thought they contrasted well together.  As I wrote before I am colorblind, so these types of shades of colors are the types that I can distinguish easily.

Saturday, April 16

Predicting landslides in San Bernardino

This week we took the same map used last week, but we had a different focus for what we were trying to accomplish with the presentation.

This was actually rather straight forward in that the most important aspect of this map is to show the viewer where potential landslides are in conjunction with the type of land that exists in a given area.  For instance water, industrial, residential, commercial, and so on.  So for this map more than some others I have done, it was especially vital that the colors at least had a feel for the feature it was representing. Water being blue is the most obvious. But forestry having a green or brown and maybe even industrial having a gritty ugly color might make some sense too.

Lastly it was absolutely vital that the landslides stuck out like a sour thumb. So when I need to do that, I typically will revert to a bright yellow. Luckily most of the landslides occurred over the "chaparral" areas, so the light green/tanish color was perfect to allow the landslides to be quite evident.

Monday, April 4

Faults, Landslides, and Geologic Structures

Building on last weeks into to elevation, we continued this week with a map of geologic features (soil, rocks, etc) and mapped that against the DEM.  This is in relation to the landslides and faults that are mapped out too.
Map of Landslides by Geographic Structures, San Bernardino County

So this week I used a hillshade on the DEM at 50% transparency again.  However the difference this week is that I used the top layer and the hillshade again on the bottom.  I think the colors I chose are both very Earthy and also very view-able for a colorblind person. When I say "view-able", I of course mean they are "distinguishable  from each other".

I think I learned from my mistake with the legend last time and made the legend quite a bit better.  Forget the horizontal format, I am speaking more of the format.  Geologic Features is obviously one entity, faults is another entity, and landslides is another. Therefore they all need to look the same.  The actual geologic features themselves are just a subset.  As such I kept them the same font but made the font smaller and changed to small caps.  This is the perfect kind of use for the "small caps" function.  I really dislike how the label of faults does not just extend to the end instead of just cutting off.  You don't really have too much control over how these legends are made using the tool.

We were instructed to make a regional map this week.  I messed around with some variations of it, but in the end I thought that given the space available, giving it a background with a shadow was the best choice.  One can make out that small study area, that's the whole point.

Last thing I did was realize that my faults were blending in with the rest of the map. So I changed them from the reddish color that they were originally to a blue.  Typically blue means water, but since water is not conveyed anywhere on this map in any capacity, using it for something you need to stick out is fine I think.

I also messed around with the layers of the faults, landslides, and 50% transparency top geologic feature layer. I decided to have the geologic feature layer by the very top layer, followed by the last 2 feature classes.  Reason being is that they were just too rigid, dark, and course on the very top.  It distracted from the beauty of the map as it is now.

Monday, March 28

My first map using a DEM

This week the theme was to make a map of the places where a helicopter can land in order to install a "bear box".  Obviously this is the first map in which we utilize DEM's, to display elevation.

Helicopter land spots, seki
Helicopter Landing Spots, SEKI 

So looking at my finished results, the first thing I love about it is the colors. It's hard to come up with a color pallet that both looks good and is viewable due to my colorblindness. But each of those 5 colors fit the bill.

I am new to mapping terrains and I have to say they are really interesting.  What you see here is actually a hillshade of the DEM with 50% transparency.

Placing the bear boxes was easy, pretty stragiht forward.  We did so by selecting 11 pre-determined locations from the entire campgrounds feature set.

Like last map, what I find myself doing is colorizing the map with however method fits the theme of the map. Then using the eye dropper tool to just randomly select 3 distinctly different colors and saving them in the color pallet.  Then I use those 3 colors for all of the jazz around the map (fonts, north arrow, scale bar, title).  I think this really makes the map feel more professional.

Every week I seem to struggle with how to approach the key, this week was no different.  I only had 1 feature class for the key, and a bunch of elevation values to display.  ArcMap doesn't allow you to have the name on the top and the label (picture) below it. They force you to fit a certain kind of mold for their legend maker.  Looking at it now, not very satisfied with the format. It appears as if elevation is a subset of Bear Boxes, whcih it is not, it's entirely it's own thing.  Elevation should have stayed small, but I should of given that whole group a name, such as Hills.

The title is too squooshed together, not enough white space.  That's the thing that sticks out to me the most. We were told to add a table to the map this week too, so I placed mine in the corner as such.

Can't wait for more DEM's!

Monday, March 21

John Muir Trail never looked sweeter

Behold, my 2nd map. This assignment we were told to make a map of the John Muir Trail which is located inside the Sequoia National Park.

The most important feature of this map obviously is the John Muir Trail itself. I experimented with various thicknesses of the trail, masks, and tried several different spacing to compose the trail itself.  One thing that I did in the end was design the other trails on the map with the same special design as the John Muir Trail.  Obviously they were thinner and a less prominent color to not stand out as much. But making them adhere to the same spatial design I felt was important so the viewer knew it was the same type of road (trail).

I didn’t particularly like the way the paved roads turned out, but that is just the way they are drawn up in the database.  I’m curious why they look so twisty and twirly and not more like actual roads.

I tried to adhere to a color scheme, even incorporating it into my scale, north arrow, and fonts.   I like the placement of my north arrow, and I tried various scales but ultimately I thought placing it dead center of the map was the best bet.

I thought my legend came out nice, even made the trails and roads an S shape for something different. We were told to include the total length of the John Muir Trail somewhere in the legend. I thought the best place for this was simply right next to it. Not really happy with that though because it looks so random as if it’s just floating out there for no reason. I considered putting an asterisk * next to the JMT and placing the length at the bottom, but decided against it.

Wednesday, March 9

My first map - Rae Lakes Camping Map

Well we finally got our first assignment this week to produce our first map. Up until this point we have mostly been studying theory and solving problems.  The assignment was to take this park map and produce a loop for the campers.  We were instructed to include a regional map and a state map to show the reader exactly where this is at.
my first map
Rae Lakes Adventure Camping Map

This is what I came up with. First order of business was to produce the main map. I really struggled with coming up with a color set that set each of the types of vegetation apart. I also experimented with the Rae Lakes Loop quite a bit in my attempt to make it stand out. No matter what colors I went with though it just seemed to blend too much in the background. 

One thing that bothered me that I just couldn't figure out how to avoid the Rae Lakes Loop washing out in the legend due to the white color. It's a small detail I should be able to figure out down the road.

I also tried various placements of the camping spots labels to avoid overlap and wound up going with bottom placement. 

We also had to make a regional map and a local map, both of which I was very happy with. I particularly love the placement that I came up with. I purposely made the square pointing to SEKI on the regional map the same color as the local SEKI map. I really love the design that I ended up with.