March 28, 2016

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!

March 21, 2016

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.

March 9, 2016

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.