Saturday, April 29, 2017

Mod 4 Map - Finally!


Good evening everyone!  I realize it has been awhile since I blogged last time, but I’m back.  The Mod 4 assignment has been my most difficult one to date and if anyone has followed my blogs, you know I’ve skipped around to different assignments.  There was just so much information to display on this one and trying to make sure it was well – balanced and the map was presented in accordance with Gestalt’s principles, visual hierarchy, achieving the adequate contrast, as well as ensuring the schools were jumping out at the viewer (figure-ground).  For contrast, I wanted to choose a color that was going to remain neutral in the background, so that the focus of the map (Ward 7) jumped out at the viewer as the focus.  I started with Sand and then modified the color somewhat.  For the road, water, and park features, I chose brighter colors, but I tried to make sure they did not detract too much from the focus of the map.  One issue I ran into were the roads in Ward 7 did not appear as smooth as the student examples that were provided.  No matter what I did, I could not get the roads to appear as smooth and well-defined as the student examples.  I spent so much time on this part that I got frustrated and had to walk away for a little.  I finally decided to let the map go as it was and attempt to adjust later on.  I also realized the maps appeared to be more refined, perhaps they were fine tuned with AI.  By this time, I had surpassed my self-imposed deadline for the map and decided to forego the refinement and press ahead.  I used ESRI for my ‘school’ icon as suggested by the instructions, but I could not create more space between the schoolhouses that were located close together (16 and 12 as well as 11 and 10).  I decided to label the schoolhouses with numbers that corresponded with the box in the top right hand corner of the map, but schoolhouses 11 and 10 were still too close together.  I toyed around with a couple of different alternatives, but none of them worked well  initially (leading line and icon size).  Finally, I adjusted to the icon sizes as well as placement on the data map and achieved a somewhat presentable map.  I utilized the splined-text to label the river and presented most of the text with masking to make it stand out – especially in the Ward 7 street areas.  I inserted all essential map elements – however, I strayed from my norm when it came to the Legend.  I chose a different presentation method to emphasize the difference in schoolhouses.  I felt this was appropriate because it really showed a “step” pattern from elementary school to middle school to high school – a true representation of our school system.  Anyways, I finally completed the map, despite the difficulties the lesson presented.  I hope you enjoy – stay tuned for another map soon!


Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Projections Part 1

Hello again!  Today I learned about the hundreds of different projection systems available and the differences between a geographic coordinate system and a projected coordinate system.  Through our readings and research, I found a blog which summarized the differences quite nicely, 'a GCS is used to define the shape of the Earth while a PCS is used to show a 3D earth on a flat 2D sheet using projection methods'.  As far as the lab was concerned, I felt it helped demonstrate to the reader how one map projection can be more or less accurate than the other.  The lab itself was not as difficult as previous labs, but did take some time.  I hope you enjoy the map, which shows the state of Florida represented using three different projections:  Albers, UTM 16, and State Plane.  The differences are highlighted in the sq miles of each county within Florida.  While many of the counties share the same data, the four counties chosen that are different were: Escambia, Polk, Miami-Dade, and Alachua.  I hope you enjoy the map - please stay tuned for the next map.

 

Monday, March 27, 2017

Hello everyone!

My next assignment in Cartography was creating a flow line map.  As usual, this map presented some difficulty which can be compounded when working under time contstraints, daily distractions, and battling fatigue.  I still have difficulty keeping my layers straight as I've found endless polygons and no real easy way to organize it all except to start from the beginning.  The map I created was based off statistics provided to us by the instructors who gathered them from the '2007 Yearbook of Immigrations Statistics'.  The map presents the total number of people who immigrated to the United States in the year 2007.  It also shows: what regions of the world they traveled from, and by percentage, which states took on the most immigrants that year.  I spent the majority of my time re-familiarizing myself with the awesome capabilities and subsequent frustrations of AI.  Overall, I'm pleased with the map and what I learned.  I do feel I could have done a better job with the flow lines and the overall layout of the continents.  I initially planned to have a larger legend box, which is why I put the 'Unknown' icon just below Texas.  In hindsight, I should have placed 'Oceania' in that location and maybe moved 'Unknown' to the spot North of Montana.  I hope you enjoy my blog, I'll be back in a couple days with another one!

 

Friday, March 24, 2017

Lab 4 Sharing GIS

This lab was not too difficult and I learned how to create many types of files, most notably, shapefiles and kmz files.  Additionally, I learned how to use a map sharing program (MPK) which was very easy to use and useful.  After brainstorming and debating with myself, I finally decided on a subject and created a list of Top 10 restaurants to dine in within the United States according to Trip Advisor.  The greatest difficulty I encountered was when I had completed the assignment.  I didn't like how my .shp file was named "Import_Export" so I changed the name to "top10rest".  Unfortunately, this threw off the other files that were created along with the shp file.  If you do this, you must rename the remaining related files the exact same name or your .shp file will not function and you will get an error.  I learned how to use ArcMap to create points with information on each restaurant added by using Microsoft Excel and then creating a text document from the inputs.  I felt more comfortable using ArcMap and felt extremely comfortable using MPK, but I'd definitely like to familiarize myself with Google Earth more.  Anyways - here is the map link which is available on the the the ESRI site. The link to my map can be found here:  http://arcg.is/1Cju9r - stay tuned for my next post!



Monday, March 20, 2017

Typography, Adobe Illustrator, Coffee, a Red Bull, and all the frustration in the world....

It's a long and difficult road back, but I am taking it one assignment at a time.  I really appreciate the instructors for all their hard work and understanding.  This assignment was another challenge that seemed to catch me off guard a little.  I've always prided myself at how well I can copy and paste a map using Microsoft software, but having to utilize Adobe Illustrator was a complete curveball.  There is just so much you can do with it!  I have to admit, my layers kind of got out of hand and even after I did some major culling and rearrangement, I still have quite a few more layers than I should.  I learned quite a bit from this assignment and became more familiar with Adobe Illustrator and it's capabilities.  I worked so much with it I almost liked it - hahahaha.  I'm sure with a few more assignments, I will become more familiar and comfortable with it as I plod along.  Looks like there are quite a few more YouTube videos and Adobe Help searches I have in store for me.
     The assignment wasn't too difficult...nothing a coffee and Red Bull couldn't cure.  A little bit of frustration later, I started to get the hang of it.  Ultimately, the assignment helped me become more familiar with the standards and expectations for a good map.  I did my best to employ the typographic guidelines discussed in Chapter 11 of the text.  I am sure I've made a few mistakes here and there, but for the most part, I believe I've gotten the majority of what the instructor was looking for.  I kept the different 'Key' labels as plain font, Times New Roman, size 12.  I did italicize the hydrographic features as well as added a few modifications to make it mine.  In AI, I learned how to type on a curve and did so on a couple of the labels.  Additionally, I added the 'HWY' symbol from the AI library.  I did not label the Marathon Airport with text, I utilized the AI library and labeled it in the Legend.  I did label the state park, the country club, and the city of Marathon, but I utilized symbols from the AI library that I felt fit the map well.  I did have to do some searching and used my brain for a few things - for example, having to create a Legend from scratch was difficult, but not impossible.  I even went as far as using YouTube to learn how to build a realistic looking road to represent US RTE 1, but when I shrunk it down, it did not look too realistic and I settled for the red colored highway.  The biggest challenge for me however, was trying to build a Scale from scratch.  I had to resort to using Google Earth, screen capturing, pasting, matching similar locations, shrinking, drawing a line, etc. in order to get an accurate representation of scale - man was I wishing I had created the scale on ArcMap before I transferred it over.  Well, on to the next map assignment.  I know I had set a goal to have two assignments in each course done this week, but I fell well short.  Please let me know what you think - I'd love some feedback.  I do think I'm getting the hang of it though, please stay tuned to see if I can get caught up by 10 April....

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Good evening everyone!

I know it has been a while since I've blogged about my courses, but I've been out of the United States for work.  I've fallen behind with the work, but my intent is to finish strong and make up all my missing assignments, so stay tuned or additional postings in the near future.  For this past assignment, we learned about classification methods and the different ways one can inadvertently, or purposefully, influence the customer just by presenting the data a different way.  As a student and a follower of good ethics, I know one must strive to present the data as complete and unbiased as possible.  After reviewing all the different classification methods: Equal interval, quantile, standard deviation, and natural break - this is a very challenging task.  Just to spin you all up, I've broken the methods down by definition:

Equal Interval: data is presented in groups that contain an equal range of values.  Pros - easy to understand and can be computed by hand; Cons - some classes will contain no values, or some may have a large number of values while others have very few.

Quantile: divides the distribution into categories with an equal number of values.  Pros - won't suffer from the disadvantages of equal interval; Cons - can place similar values in different classes or very different values in the same class.

Standard Deviation: groups classes according to where they are from the mean.  Pros - groups data that is similar while avoiding grouping those that are not; Cons - missing natural clusters of data by concentrating only on the largest breaks.

Natural Break: class ranges are determined based on algorithms that attempt to make all values within a class as similar to one another as possible and as different as possible in the other classes.  Pros - Method considers outliers and will place them in their own category; Cons - clusters of data could be placed in one or two categories.

Confused?  I was too (and still may be), but I will attempt to clear that up as much as I can in this blog.  It helped me to see everything graphically, so I have chosen the best presentation of the data addressing a hypothetical question presented by the instructors.  If the Miami Dade County Commissioners were attempting to find out an accurate depiction on the distribution of senior citizens (those 65 and up) how could one present the information as complete as possible?  I felt that presenting the number of senior citizens, although a little more tedious than presenting the same subject by percentage, offered a more accurate depiction.



While I failed somewhat to line the maps up in this presentation, I felt the quantile presentation provided the more accurate depiction of the 65 and older crowd.  If I had broken the classes into more than 5, I feel the presentation itself would offer more accuracy as far as where these senior citizens were located.  Thanks for reading my post!  I welcome any and all feedback and I will post another soon - have a good week!

Monday, January 30, 2017

This latest assignment had us using Adobe Illustrator - I found this to be challenging at first due to my lack of sleep the last few days.  Adobe Illustrator gives the user more options and interfaces easier with products created on ArcMap.  There are a ton of self-help videos out there and Adobe has several videos aimed at improving the user's familiarity with Adobe Illustrator and it's many useful tools.  The map below is of Florida and labels a few of the major cities of Florida.  Colors were somewhat customized, but not too much.  Although the project was challenging, it was rewarding when it was finally completed.