Tuesday, March 26, 2013

GIS4043 Introduction to GIS Student Spotlight- Data Search

GIS4043 Introduction to GIS, Instructor, Mrs. Amber Bloechle

Data Search

This week we continued on our quest of downloading data from online sources. This lab will require us to download data from from online sources and to create 1-3 maps that best represent the data you are presenting which included county boundaries, cities/towns, major roads, hydrology data, public lands, DEM data, a DOQQ, and 2 environmental layers, all using the same projection.

Student Learning Outcomes:

  • Review and record metadata for data coming from multiple sources
  • Select GIS data that meets the needs of a defined project (scale, attributes, geographic extent, time sensitive, software being used or required format)
  • Download data from online sources
  • Practice data management of GIS data coming from multiple sources
  • Detect and correct data errors for use in a GIS
  • Intelligently select a geographic projection to be used in a defined project
  • Detect and correct geographic projection issues
  • Reproject data from Albers to UTM 
  • Utilize select by location and clip tools in ArcGIS to isolate a study area
  • View selected records and create a new map layer from selected feature
  • Create easy to interpret maps presenting multiple downloaded data layers using ArcGIS


The following student was chosen for their exceptional work on the Data Search assignment:

 Chris Handly

About Chris: Chris Handly lives in the Tampa Bay area and works for the NGA (National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency) at US Special Operations Command.
He has been with the NGA for over 21 years and has a background that includes geospatial analysis and integration of geospatial methods into traditional imagery and intelligence analysis, especially with the advent in geospatial tools and software.
When away from his desk, Chris enjoys hunting and fishing.  Welcome to the center stage Chris!

What we like: Chris created an easy to read set of maps that clearly portrayed all of the required data. We really liked his color and layering choices as well as the identification of the DOQQ location within the county. Great job!

"This week's assignment was to retrieve several layers for counties in Florida. I was assigned Pinellas county. Finding the data wasn't difficult since most everything we needed is on FGDL and LABINS, although I did explore a few other sites including the Census Bureau, but ultimately downloaded everything from the first two sites. Initially, I downloaded, projected and clipped all my data, but was unsure how I wanted to organize this. I started by playing with a large map (36x36) using multiple data frames, but thought it was too cluttered, so I settled on individual maps showing less information.

I used a hillshade I made for all the maps and set most of the layers to be a little transparent. There isn't much elevation in Pinellas, but there is a little so it gives the map some texture. I also found that raster clip doesn't do a very good job so I used extract by mask to clean up all the rasters as well. I also made a mask to help clean everything up by erasing the boundary of Pinellas from a rectangle polygon. I also briefly considered finishing these in Illustrator, but spent all weekend getting this far and am tired of looking at Pinellas county right now. The maps are 14" x 8", so if they aren't legible open them in another browser window so you can zoom in."

GIS3015 Cartographic Skills Student Spotlight- Choropleth Maps Lab

GIS3015 Cartographic Skills, Instructor, Mrs. Trisha Holtzclaw

Choropleth Maps

In the "Choropleth Mapping" laboratory assignment we produced two separate choropleth  maps, one in color and one in black and white, illustrating population change of the United States with the utilization of  census data. 

Student Learning Outcomes:

  • Choose an appropriate color scheme for your choropleth map
  • Create an appropriate legend for your classification scheme
  • Calculate data from Census tables
  • Implement an appropriate classification method for your data


The following student was chosen for their exceptional work on the Choropleth Maps assignment:

Justin Coryell 

About Justin: Welcome to the spotlight Justin!  Justin is Aerographer's Mate Chief Petty Officer in the US Navy stationed in Gulfport, MS.  He and his wife are the proud parents of two kiddos under two.  Whew. He is a graduate of Mississippi State University with a bachelor's degree in meteorology. Justin is currently teaching a GIS 101 course on base and is on track to receive his graduate GIS certificate in the fall.  Justin - it's late March, where is all the warm weather?!

What we like:  We like the map layout and the fact that he went the extra mile and made the map his own by creating a nifty legend box in the bottom corner. His labels were appropriately sized and legible. He also displayed his data in a very clear, easy to read manner.

Color Choropleth State Population Growth 1990-2000
Black and white State Population Growth by Divisions 1990-2000

"Week 7 – This week’s assignment was to complete two maps and generate the choropleth mapping skills learned throughout chapter 14. We had to build a black and white version and a color map while indicating which way we classified the data. As the first color image shows in Natural breaks, in a yellow to red hue, Nevada was clearly the largest growth populated state. This is the reason for choosing to use the Natural breaks over the others of quantile or standard deviation. The color selection was chosen by using http://colorbrewer2.org to render a more usable color selection in sequential fashion and color blind friendly.
The black and white version was developed to break out the divisions in the nation that had the greatest growth based off of their location. Pacific, Mountain, West North Central, etc... As shown in the map above. "

Thursday, March 14, 2013

GIS4043 Introduction to GIS Student Spotlight: Projections Part Il

GIS4043 Introduction to GIS, Instructor, Mrs. Amber Bloechle

Projections Part 2

This week we took a more detailed look at map projections In this lab everyone was assigned a county and we were required to download data from online sources, create 1 map and 1 screenshot. The deliverable map and screen shot needed to display a shapefile of STCM data, major roads, county boundaries, the quad index, and aerial imagery all in the same projection.

Student Learning Outcomes:

  • Explore and download aerials, topographic quadrangles, shapefiles and tabular xy data from two different online data sources for Florida
  • Identify .sid and .swd files
  • Define a spatial reference for an unknown data set
  • Reproject GIS data to a common coordinate system and projection
  • Recall the difference between defining and projecting a file
  • Convert coordinates to decimal degrees in Excel
  • View map scale, cursor coordinates and bing aerial basemap as a reference to determine if the defined projection is correct
  • Identify UTM and state plane zones for a specific area
  • Decipher Federal Information Processing Standards (FIPS) code
  • Create x,y data using Microsoft Excel and import to ArcGIS
  • Identify workable Excel file formats for ArcGIS
  • Locate important accuracy information regarding GIS/GPS data
  • Determine if retaining the “seconds” measurement in a dataset is appropriate based on the accuracy of the data
  • Relate coordinate values to the appropriate earth hemisphere and double check calculations make geographical sense
  • Generate a map displaying aerials, topographic quads, shapefiles and tabular xy data


The following student was chosen for their exceptional work on the Projections Part 2 assignment:

Michelle Cryder

About Michelle: Michelle hails from Aimes, Iowa where she lives with her husband and her cat. She has a bachelor's degree in Environmental Science with a minor in Meteorology from Iowa State University.
She is currently working with the Agricultural Research Service in the hydrologic department. She is hoping that this certificate program will give her the extra boost in the professional world.  A week in the spotlight is a great way to start!  Congratulations Michelle!

What we like: Michelle presented all of the required layers in a clear, easy to read map.In addition to her excellent symbol and color choices we like that she included all of the data layers in her legend. Great job!

"In Intro to GIS this week, I went through the second week of learning about projections. For this map, I downloaded aerials, vector files, and XY data. Using the projection of the aerials, I had to reproject the other data into the same projection. For the XY data, I used Excel to convert coordinates into decimal degrees via a formula. I then inserted the data and changed it into a .shp file. The following map shows the petroleum storage tank locations for two quadrants in Escambia County, FL. The second image is a screenshot of my layers, and what projection they are all in."

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

GIS3015 Cartographic Skills Student Spotlight- Typography Methods Lab

GIS3015 Cartographic Skills, Instructor, Mrs. Trisha Holtzclaw

Typography Methods

This weeks laboratory exercise was designed to reinforce the ideas of typography discussed in class. The assignment included correctly labeling and placing text on a map of one of the Keys in southern Florida. 

Student Learning Outcomes:

  • Demonstrate general typographic guidelines when making a map
  • Employ proper type placement for different feature types (point, line, area)


The following student was chosen for their exceptional work on the Typography Methods assignment:

Nick Toscano

About Nick: Nick has been in the Army since 2002 and also has experience working with the Navy. He is currently working towards his master's degree in cyber security (slowly, but surely!) Nick has a background in business, but works in GIS. He hopes that this course work, along with the certification, will help him formalize his knowledge from street smarts to industry smarts. Nick you are well on your way! Congratulations! (Note: The photo posted is of Mr. Jack Dangermond, President of ESRI, sent to us by Nick. He was recently at a conference where we was able to snap the picture. Thanks for sharing!)

What we like: Nicholas did a terrific job with the typography and labels this week. His labeling methods were clear and his font color and size choices were exactly what we were looking for this week. He also made the map his own by adding a special touch in the title and header. Great map Nick!

"This week I worked with the rules of typography, using Adobe Illustrator. The map of Marathon, Florida and the surrounding Florida Key islands was labeled using Adobe Illustrator typography tools.  In addition to adding text labels, I also used color to both direct the reader’s eyes to important areas of the map and make it visually exciting.    Using the zoom functions, I worked from upper right to lower left to configure each text label, map feature, and icon.  The legend had to be made independently.  I put the legend items into their own group, so I could work with them independently.  This map took about 8 hours to make in Adobe Illustrator."

Monday, March 4, 2013

GIS4043 Introduction to GIS Student Spotlight: Projections Part I

GIS4043 Introduction to GIS, Instructor, Mrs. Amber Bloechle

Projections Part I

This week we began part one of a two part series investigating map projections. In this lab we explored projections and created one map with three data frames that allowed us to view three different projection types.

Student Learning Outcomes:

  • Locate Coordinate Systems help for ArcGIS
  • Recall the basis in which projected and geographic coordinate systems are measured
  • Observe software rules and “on-the-fly” functions while adding data with and without a defined coordinate system to a map data frame
  • Add geographic data to a map
  • Utilize the Project tool in ArcGIS to reproject a data layer to a common Projected Coordinate System
  • Recognize .prj file as projection information associated with GIS data files
  • Recall where the Project tool is located and when it should be used
  • Utilize the Search tool to quickly locate desired tools in ArcGIS software
  • Work with data being displayed among multiple data frames in ArcMap
  • Visualize data being displayed in three different projected coordinate systems on a single map and note the differences
  • Quantify the difference in area (square miles) between data being displayed between three different projected coordinate systems
  • Create a single map displaying multiple data frames

The following student was chosen for her exceptional work on the Projections Part I assignment:

Ritza Anitsakis

About Name: Ritza is a recent college graduate and currently works in the oil and gas industry.  Her hopes from the certificate are to obtain a better understanding of GIS and become more efficient in her daily tasks.  When not working and producing great labs, she enjoys baking, reading and spending time with friends.  Welcome to the spotlight club - you deserve it!

What we like: Ritza made excellent decisions regarding the design and overall clean presentation of her map. Her legend is easy to read and her font and color choices compliment her map. We also like that she kept her color scheme for her counties the same for each projection which made the map easy to read and comprehend. Great work!

"The lab this week introduced students to one of the most important items in GIS, projections. Map projections are what allow us to transform 3D earth data onto a 2D map. There are numerous  map projections, all for different needs. The map projection process distorts shape, area, distance, and direction of data. 
This can be observed in the maps I created for this lab, which are displayed below. Four counties in Florida are focused on in these maps, each showing a different projection type. Though the counties are consistent between the maps, in the legend it is obvious that they are not projected the same due to the differences in area calculations. This is due to the fact that the earth is an ellipsoid, which cause great differences in distance across the globe. The first map, Albers Conical Equal Area, is the best for this activity due to the fact that it accurately represents area across Earth, despite distorting the map."

GIS3015 Cartographic Skills Student Spotlight- Map Composition Lab

GIS3015 Cartographic Skills, Instructor, Mrs. Trisha Holtzclaw

Map Composition Lab

This laboratory exercise was designed to reinforce the ideas of map composition discussed in class. We created a full-color map based on the given map elements. A key part of this weeks deliverables was to arrange the various map elements so they present the data in a cohesive, well-organized map that emphasizes good map design and organization.

Student Learning Outcomes:

  • Demonstrate proper map design technique through appropriate placement of and distinction between main map and inset maps
  • Demonstrate proper map design through appropriate placement of map elements
  • Apply proper color choice to tie elements together into a cohesive whole
  • Choose proper fonts and text size to show importance of various elements.


The following student was chosen for his exceptional work on the Map Composition Lab assignment:

Brandon Griswold

About Brandon: Brandon currently works as a GIS Specialist for an engineering firm in Bernards Township, New Jersey.  He is a proud dad of two boys (10 and 4) as well as a coach and cub scout leader. Brandon has spent a lot of his time in the recent months working with Hurricane Sandy data.  Very cool stuff and also related to a new project with Online GIS this summer! Welcome to the stage Brandon!

What we like: Brandon definitely went the extra mile this week in Adobe Illustrator. His had an excellent map design and his layout was very clear and easy to understand. He also added his own color-scheme, really making the map his own. Great job Brandon!

"For Week 5 in Cartographic Skills we looked at Map Composition and organization.  The focus was on the percentage of Hispanic population in Southern Florida.  The above map highlights these areas utilizing a monochrome color scheme from a lighter shade to a darker shade.  The goal in this is to allow the reader to easily recognize Hispanic population density.  Also utilizing feature-ground techniques I applied a lighter shade to the background.  This in turn caused the focus of the map to be accentuated. 

Adobe Illustrator was utilized entirely for this project and in this lesson we learned more about the AI program and the features and tools that are available to the user.  Primarily we learned about the different ways to change colors within AI."