University of California
Informatics and GIS Program

Posts Tagged: cool old maps

Wrap-up from ESRI User Conference 2019 Day 2

Day 2 Highlights

Morning sessions included using ArcGIS Pro for Lidar analysis. This was a great overview of working with LAS files within ArcGIS Pro: data formats, including LAS related data structures multipoints and multipatches, data diagnostics to examine data quality and coverage, and basic processing of Lidar data in ArcGIS Pro. Very useful. Thanks to ccrawford. Next Shane and I checked out Data Science in ArcGIS Pro: Using R and Python. This is an update from last year’s session on R and Python in ArcGIS, and again we started with the classic battle of the bands. The python demo showed PySAL, and how to do a quick spatial econometric analysis in PySAL within Pro. Need more time, obvi. The R demo was a nice walk through of data input - vector and raster - via the R-bridge, and showed how easy the framework is. Very useful. 

Afternoon sessions included a bunch of stuff, but the highlight was the always funny, always useful, always inspiring wizards of cartography Kenneth Field, John Nelson, and Edie Punt and Mapping with Style. Another great session! Edie discussed the excellent Styles capacity in Pro, which I am aware of but not an expert at. She helpfully pointed out some key things to pay attention to: USE STYLES FOR COLOR CONTROL! because of the new graphics engines used in Pro, TRANSPARENCY is available on all colors, and will be transferred to your PDF! Also, color locking is great! And color brewer schemes are available in Pro Styles. So much love! Interspersed with Edie’s slide were John and Kenneth delivering their usual hilarious take on making beautiful maps: John showed off some nice and creative new published styles: Firefly, Imhof, and Lego; and Kenneth presented a whimsical case study bringing to life a 1930s map of Redlands using the watercolor style from John. See other styles here. Good day.

Wrap-up from Day 1

Posted on Wednesday, July 10, 2019 at 2:05 AM
Tags: conferences (40), cool old maps (4)

New digitization project: Soil-Vegetation Map Collection

Between the years 1949-1979 the Pacific Southwest research station branch of the U.S. Forest service published two series of maps: 1) The Soil-Vegetation Maps, and 2) Timber Stand Vegetation Maps. These maps to our knowledge have not been digitized, and exist in paper form in university library collections, including the UC Berkeley Koshland BioScience Library.

Index map for the Soil Vegetation MapsThe Soil-Vegetation Maps use blue or black symbols to show the species composition of woody vegetation, series and phases of soil types, and the site-quality class of timber. A separate legend entitled “Legends and Supplemental Information to Accompany Soil-Vegetation Maps of California” allow for the interpretation of these symbols in maps published 1963 or earlier. Maps released following 1963 are usually accompanied by a report including legends, or a set of “Tables”. These maps are published on USGS quadrangles at two scales 1:31,680 and 1:24,000. Each 1:24,000 sheet represents about 36,000 acres. 

The Timber Stand Vegetation Maps use blue or black symbols to show broad vegetation types and the density of woody vegetation, age-size, structure, and density of conifer timber stands and other information about the land and vegetation resources is captured. The accompanying “Legends and Supplemental Information to Accompany Timber Stand-Vegetation Cover Maps of California” allows for interpretation of those symbols. Unlike the Soil-Vegetation Maps a single issue of the legend is sufficient for interpretation. 

We found 22 quad sheets for Sonoma County in the Koshland BioScience Library at UC Berkeley, and embarked upon a test digitization project. 

Scanning. Using a large format scanner at UC Berkeley’s Earth Science and Map library we scanned each original quad at a standard 300dpi resolution. The staff at the Earth Science Library completes the scans and provides an online portal with which to download. 

Georeferencing. Georeferencing of the maps was done in ArcGIS Desktop using the georeferencing toolbar. For the Sonoma county quads which are at a standard 1:24,000 scale we were able to employ the use of the USGS 24k quad index file for corner reference points to manually georeference each quad. 

Error estimation. The georeferencing process of historical datasets produces error. We capture the error created through this process through the root mean squared error (RMSE). The min value from these 22 quads is 4.9, the max value is 15.6 and the mean is 9.9. This information must be captured before the image is registered. See Table 1 below for individual RMSE scores for all 22 quads. 

Conclusions. Super fun exercise, and we look forward to hearing about how these maps are used. Personally, I love working with old maps, and bringing them into modern data analysis. Just checking out the old and the new can show change, as in this snap from what is now Lake Sonoma, but was the Sonoma River in the 1930s.

Thanks Kelly and Shane for your work on this!

Posted on Wednesday, September 21, 2016 at 3:38 AM
Tags: accuracy (4), cool old maps (4), data (20), vtm (9)

New digitization project: Soil-Vegetation Map Collection

Between the years 1949-1979 the Pacific Southwest research station branch of the U.S. Forest service published two series of maps: 1) The Soil-Vegetation Maps, and 2) Timber Stand Vegetation Maps. These maps to our knowledge have not been digitized, and exist in paper form in university library collections, including the UC Berkeley Koshland BioScience Library.

Index map for the Soil Vegetation MapsThe Soil-Vegetation Maps use blue or black symbols to show the species composition of woody vegetation, series and phases of soil types, and the site-quality class of timber. A separate legend entitled “Legends and Supplemental Information to Accompany Soil-Vegetation Maps of California” allow for the interpretation of these symbols in maps published 1963 or earlier. Maps released following 1963 are usually accompanied by a report including legends, or a set of “Tables”. These maps are published on USGS quadrangles at two scales 1:31,680 and 1:24,000. Each 1:24,000 sheet represents about 36,000 acres. 

The Timber Stand Vegetation Maps use blue or black symbols to show broad vegetation types and the density of woody vegetation, age-size, structure, and density of conifer timber stands and other information about the land and vegetation resources is captured. The accompanying “Legends and Supplemental Information to Accompany Timber Stand-Vegetation Cover Maps of California” allows for interpretation of those symbols. Unlike the Soil-Vegetation Maps a single issue of the legend is sufficient for interpretation. 

We found 22 quad sheets for Sonoma County in the Koshland BioScience Library at UC Berkeley, and embarked upon a test digitization project. 

Scanning. Using a large format scanner at UC Berkeley’s Earth Science and Map library we scanned each original quad at a standard 300dpi resolution. The staff at the Earth Science Library completes the scans and provides an online portal with which to download. 

Georeferencing. Georeferencing of the maps was done in ArcGIS Desktop using the georeferencing toolbar. For the Sonoma county quads which are at a standard 1:24,000 scale we were able to employ the use of the USGS 24k quad index file for corner reference points to manually georeference each quad. 

Error estimation. The georeferencing process of historical datasets produces error. We capture the error created through this process through the root mean squared error (RMSE). The min value from these 22 quads is 4.9, the max value is 15.6 and the mean is 9.9. This information must be captured before the image is registered. See Table 1 below for individual RMSE scores for all 22 quads. 

Conclusions. Super fun exercise, and we look forward to hearing about how these maps are used. Personally, I love working with old maps, and bringing them into modern data analysis. Just checking out the old and the new can show change, as in this snap from what is now Lake Sonoma, but was the Sonoma River in the 1930s.

 

There are also challenges. Like where do I put my tie-point for this corner?

 

Here is the final mosaiced product. 

Thanks Kelly and Shane for your work on this!

Posted on Wednesday, August 24, 2016 at 1:35 AM
Tags: cool old maps (4)

Wolf Hall meets GIS: Mapping musings for the holidays

Here are some evocative words about mapping from an unlikely source: in her astounding and engrossing book Wolf Hall, Hilary Mantel has Thomas Cromwell say:

But the trouble is, maps are always last year's. England is always remaking herself, her cliffs eroding, her sandbanks drifting, springs bubbling up in dead ground. They regroup themselves while we sleep, the landscapes through which we move..."

Lovely stuff! and a great holiday read (or re-read, or re-listen). It reminds us that mapping is a continual effort, a continuous process. All that we map changes: crops are harvested and fields are replanted, cities evolve, forests burn and re-grow, and people move across the face of the earth leaving traces. Our task is to capture in virtual space the key functional elements of space and time - through maps, through spectral reflectance and lidar, through text and discussions - so that we can find answers to to the key questions facing society today.

Excerpt From: Mantel, Hilary. Wolf Hall. Henry Holt and Company, 2009. iBooks.

Posted on Sunday, December 20, 2015 at 6:39 PM
Tags: art (3), cool old maps (4)
 
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