Friday, April 28, 2017

The Grand Finale!

The Grand Finale!

Evaluating the Bobwhite-Manatee Electrical Transmission Line Project

Well, here it is, the final lab assignment for GIS 5050/L. I've learned a lot in this class and this final was no exception. It was a great way to test the many skills I've learned in the framework of a real world application. 

Our task was to assess a selected corridor for an electrical transmission line spanning two counties in Southwest Florida. We needed to determine the impact of the transmission line on homes, schools, environmentally sensitive areas, and the length of the transmission line with associated costs. Below are links to my PowerPoint presentation as well as the transcript for the presentation, if I were actually giving it. I hope you enjoy!

More than anything, I am proud of my maps. They look good, have all the essential map elements, and display the necessary data. I also enjoyed using the many functions within ArcGIS to analyze the data. The project was time consuming, but in the end, rewarding. I look forward to implementing all the skills I've learned in future coursework or in a professional capacity.


Thursday, April 6, 2017

Georeferencing, Editing, and ArcScene

Georeferencing, Editing, and ArcScene

The catch-all lab!!

The above map is from ArcScene where I was able to use a DEM to add topographic relief to the ground surface as well as create 3D buildings using the height data from my Buildings layer. It depicts georeferenced raster images of the UWF campus using the buildings and roads, as well as the features I added to the map. It turned out really cool. Definitely a sexier map than the one below. It took me a minute to figure out how to accurately add the legend, given that the map was imported from a jpeg, but in the end I think it has a good look to it.
The above map displays the georeferenced raster images of the UWF campus using the buildings and roads, as well as the features I added to the map. I also have an inset map that displays the location of a Bald Eagle's nest not to far from campus. The conservation easement and protected area buffers around the nest are also displayed. I used an ESRI base map to put the eagle's nest, as well as campus, on the broader landscape. All in all I think it turned out pretty well. I struggled with the look because of all the information that was required. I think since we were trying to do so many things, and display so much data that doesn't necessarily have a corresponding theme, there was no way to really make it look as good as some of my other maps. The map, however, displays what is required of the assignment, despite not being my prettiest.

This lab was challenging to say the least, informative, but challenging. We basically learned a number of different tools in ArcMap that we hadn't used before and were introduced to ArcScene. The Georeferencing portion of the lab was tedious, but very cool, and definitely a useful tool. Editing our data as we add features, etc. is also a very important thing to know. ArcScene is clearly a very cool component of the ArcGIS software and this brief introduction didn't even scratch the surface. I wish time had allowed for becoming more familiar with the program, as it has the ability to make some super sexy maps!!

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Week 12 - Geocoding, Network Analysis, and Model Builder

Week 12 - Geocoding, Network Analysis, and Model Builder

 This weeks lab was a bit treacherous and time consuming, though very informative. Gecoding is a pretty cool feature of ArcGIS and it was fun to navigate around the map and snap addresses that the address locator couldn't place. I'm still not completely comfortable with the concepts of the Model Builder, but hopefully a bit more practice and I'll understand it better. This lab took me well over 8 hours, possibly as much as 16. The geocoding and network analysis took some time, but creating the map on top of learning how the tools worked almost doubled my time investment. Then adding the Model Builder on top of it just made it a very rough week.

Regardless, it is now complete, and I think my map looks decent. In hindsight, I should have picked stations closer together before establishing my route, though I suppose the purpose was more about how to establish the optimal route. My large make of all of Lake County shows all the EMS stations and their addresses, as well as the optimal route from stations 141 to 171 to 311. I made sure to put a scale in for each map since the scale is different for each. I used red crosses to symbolize the stations because they are health related. Lastly, I used my customary north arrow and my staple font of Baskerville Old Face. I would do some things differently if I was to do this lab again, but all in all, I think my map displays the information well and has character.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Vector Analysis 2

Vector Analysis 2

This week we worked with the Buffer and Overlay tools in ArcGIS, as well as issuing multiple commands through ArcPy. The map above displays the possible camping locations in De Soto National Forest in Mississippi. The camping locations were derived by creating buffers of various distances around water sources and roads, and then exempting any of the remaining data that overlapped with conservation areas. I used a National Geographic basemap, which I thought looked quite nice.

All in all, I learned a lot this week, though Buffer and Overlay analysis can be a bit complicated. Made a useful map, and the tools I worked with have much practical utility for my future map making.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Data Search Lab - Midterm

Data Search Lab - Midterm and Lessons on Proper Data Management Practices

Needless to say, this has been a challenging lab for me, but also one filled with lessons on data saving practices and just how quirky ArcGIS can be. I also learned some new tricks just from exploring all the software has to offer when making an attractive map.

The above map displays the State Parks, Ecological Resource Conservation Areas, and Land Cover within Alachua County, Florida. I chose to use the Land Cover as the main background, then overlaid the State Parks and Ecological Resource Conservation Areas as crosshatched, but transparent. This allowed for seeing some overlap, particularly with the main bodies of Surface Water located within the county. I also displayed the Southwest quad of the DOQQ which incorporates a portion of Gainesville, with a zoomed in view. This map demonstrates that there is some overlap between State Parks and Ecological Resource Conservation Areas, though much remains in private hands. There are clearly a lot of Ecological Resources within the county that should be or are being preserved.

This lab was important because we spent a lot of time locating and sorting through data that can be found online, so navigating these websites was a key component of the lab. We also had to become very comfortable with projecting data into a uniform projection. Additionally, blending the different data layers into attractive and informative maps was important. My second map demonstrated how elevation, using a DEM, and invasive plants correlated to certain areas, such as high population regions, elevation, surface water bodies, and often transportation routes. This, I hypothesize, is either related to individual data collection practices of the invasive plant species, or the invasive species truly correlate to where people are most often located.

So it was after much work and interpretation of my first map that disaster struck. Somehow, my data and even the first map I completed and exported to a JPEG became corrupt and could not be viewed or opened in ArcGIS. All my work was lost. I had to start over, sorting through the data I had and obtaining uncorrupted data from the original sources, in order to complete the assignment. That said, the lesson in all of this is not to save your data to thumb drives, or any "external" drive for that matter, at least not before zipping them up. Apparently, ArcGIS does not like moving data from one place to another. I will, therefore, be using my H and I drives for my GIS data and working mxds. Lesson learned. I've also become somewhat convinced that the program really doesn't like me much. However, I will persist, and hopefully, persevere. It is an excellent tool, I enjoy learning how to use it, and clearly see its many utilities for archaeology as well as many other professions.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Projections Part II - Like a Champ!

Projections Part II - Like a Champ!

Projections Part II - GIS5050/L

This week's lab was extremely long and tedious. However, I learned a lot. So much, in fact, that I was able to assist other students in class who were working on the assignment. Some of the difficulties I ran into were minor, but required repetition of reprojecting and defining that has permanently embedded the process into my brain. Another skill was having to pay attention to the projections of multiple layers, and how they were layered, in order to produce the finished product you see above.

The above map depicts the potential petroleum spill locations in Escambia County, Florida, based on tank coordinate data. I chose to make the quad index transparent, and I laid it over my Florida counties layer so I could see how well the quad aerial images lined up.

Reprojecting and defining coordinate systems are important skills that I am sure I will use extensively in the future. There is clearly a wealth of information accessible online to GIS practitioners, so knowing how to convert the data for optimal accuracy and use is a key component of using the full benefits of GIS.

All in all, despite my struggles, and some hair pulling, I feel comfortable and confident with the skills we learned this week. I look forward to putting them into practice regularly.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Georeferencing & Projections Part I

Georeferencing & Projections Part I - Week 5

Georeferencing & Projections Part I

This week we investigated the differences that are present when you use different coordinate systems and projections. We focused on counties of Florida that were represented in different coordinate systems, which made their area different. This highlighted the necessity of using the correct coordinate system, depending on what you want to show, in order to display the most accurate information. Albers Conical Equal Area is the one most often used for the contiguous United States and it was, indeed, the one that seemed most accurate for the area of each county. The Albers and State Plane systems were clearly the better two of the three options. The differences that were present in the area of each county had to do with many of the counties being in UTM zone 17, not 16, and also that they were spread across different State Planes. 

I struggled a bit with getting my maps to look the way I wanted them to. I utilized the example map as a framework, but had some difficulty editing the Legend to display the information I wanted and in the font style and size I wanted. It turned out okay, but they formatted differently, even though I spent a long time trying to make them the same. The point of the lab, however, was clear, and I am getting better at navigating the software.

We also did an exercise with a raster image of the UWF campus and placing it on the map. Associating a coordinate system with it, so the program could put it in the correct place. This was also a useful skill that I'm sure will be needed in the future.

I made sure to include all my essential map elements and, in general, feel pretty good about this weeks lab.