Intro to GIS

Geographic Information Systems (&/or Science) is art and methods of representing data as it relates spatially. This is most commonly done via maps and they're quite literally everywhere. Eg. On the news showing political representations, in parks showing location data of landmarks, in your realtors office, everywhere. Which is why I was so shocked when I found out about this field, I had never heard of GIS or any of this before, yet I'd see its work almost everyday.

So without further ado, here are some basic examples I've created so far this year in my introductory course to the GIS software by ESRI, ArcMap.

As you can see, this is a super basic map and without a doubt sucks. However, this "project" was a useful tool in teaching about the differences in projections. If you know the geography of the States, then you know Colorado is a simple square. This map shows how even similar projections can vary. You can see in the "UTM Coordinate Systems Zone 13" map, the upper bound of CO is much more curved than in the "State Plane Coordinate System Colorado Central." We also had to manipulate the projection in each map such that the county lines layer would be correct.

This map is much more interesting, comparatively. Given a USA map with two empty data frames, I had to correct the projection and adjust the scale so that the continental USA fit with in the main frame. Then repeat for Hawaii and Alaska, adjusting their projects as well to help eliminate distortions. Distortion is the main reason we have so many different projections.

The maps just keep getting better, I know, its crazy. Here I was given a data set on the average wind speeds in areas of Utah. I believe the data originated from and is available for anyone to use. In this map, I set a base map layer that would provide info relevant to the data set. Then overlaid the data vectors such that the darkness of the pink color represented higher average wind speeds in that area.

This map is missing many important elements that we learned about later.

Now this is a map. A map of the bioregions of Queensland, AUS. I had three data frames to
manipulate to show different levels of detail. The largest has the most detail, showing the sub-bioregions, and has the long legend to provide further info. Then the medium frame with the bioregions, where I created a legend to show what the color represented for easy and fast comprehension. Lastly we have the small frame with the full scale Australia to show what region I'm working in here, if one is not versed on Aussie geography. This map contained all relevant info and elements.

This is the first map I've created completely from scratch. I was provided with a bunch of data sets to utilize and told to create a map that would be of interest to me. As I was suppose to be canyoneering in the North Wash area this weekend (darn weather), I chose data that contained the mountains in UT, the trails in UT, and the trail-markers in UT. These were 3 different data sets that I created layers for. I used a "basic" grey map for the base. However I found that by importing a base topo map, I could keep some geologic features from that set on top of my base map without having the complicated topography map instead. I set my data frame to just show the areas within driving distance from the canyon. The most complex part of this map was changing the trail-markers labels from labels to a graphic so I could move them to more appropriate places. Once accomplishing that, I added the required elements (north arrow, legend, scale, date, projection info, and title). This concluded my first solo map project! In hindsight, I would have put a smaller data frame to show where this map is in relation the to state of UT. This would have provided some clarity to the map.

More maps to come!