Monday, December 19, 2022

Holiday Card, 2022 Edition

Mappy Holidays from CORE GIS! We backpacked in the Swiss Alps this summer and I enjoyed the beautiful topographic maps we saw along our route so much I wanted to apply a similar style to our own Alps--the Alpine Lakes Wilderness! In this map, Snoqualmie Pass is visible on the bottom left. This map mimics the cartographic techniques pioneered by the Swiss map maker Eduard Imhof, and translated into modern mapping technology by John Nelson.

Monday, December 20, 2021

Holiday Card, 2021 Edition

 Mappy Holidays from CORE GIS! Original artwork by Matt Stevenson.

Tuesday, July 6, 2021

Hiking Washington's History, 2nd Edition--Now With Maps in Color!

Last year I worked with the University of Washington Press to produce an entirely new set of maps for the second edition of the book Hiking Washington's History, available here, here, and here, and I received my cartographer's copy last month.

I produced the maps for the first edition in black and white (ten years ago!!), which presented its own set of unique cartographic challenges. For the second edition, I was able to work in color, but the second edition format is slightly smaller, so even the maps that were carried over with minimal changes (other than switching to color) had to be modified to fit the new dimensions and aspect ratio.

The final result turned out beautifully in my opinion. The book is well written and full of great photos and stories. My family has used it to select several hikes and it adds a nice layer of meaning and context to an already enjoyable activity.

HWH 2nd Ed Cover
The map for Deception Pass State Park, one of my favorites

One of the many mind-blowing historical photos

It always makes me smile to see a cartography attribution in a book

Friday, December 18, 2020

Holiday Card, 2020 Edition


Mappy Holidays from CORE GIS! Original artwork by Matt Stevenson. It's been a challenging year that none of us will soon forget. Here's to a healthier, happier, and more prosperous 2021!

Monday, December 16, 2019

Holiday Card, 2019 Edition

Mappy Holidays from CORE GIS! Original map illustration created using imagery from the Atlas Van der Hagen, accessed here.

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Comparing Northwest Cities to European Cities

One of the many excellent organizations I get to work with is the Sightline Institute, based here in Seattle. They are a think tank focused on urban sustainability, social justice, and environmental health.

They ask interesting questions, and every once in awhile, they will ask me to help them answer these questions with maps. In June, I was asked by Alan Durning to make a geographic comparison between three Northwest cities and three European cities:  Seattle and Paris, Vancouver and Barcelona, and Portland and Vienna. His article, "What Would Our Cities Look Like if We Took Our Climate Change Values Seriously?" is thought provoking and makes some good points about the disconnect between the way we in Seattle talk about fighting climate change and the land use and transportation policies we actually put in place.

Making these comparisons was fun, but finding the data for five different countries was not always straightforward. I obtained data from a number of government sites, but the excellent Boundary.Now and OSMexport tools ultimately proved to be the most useful.

The maps themselves were very simple to make once I had the data--each required three layers:  the city boundary, waterbodies/rivers, and parks. Since we are comparing the size of these cities, I used the Europe Albers Equal Area Conic projection for the European cities, and the North America Albers Equal Area Conic projection for the US/Canadian cities. The city pairs are displayed at the same scales:

Portland, OR , and Vienna, Austria:  1:220,000

Seattle, WA, and Paris, France:  1:210,000

Vancouver, BC, - Barcelona:  1:125,000

I generated a set of simple maps for each city, shown with its companion below (click to embiggen):

Vancouver / Barcelona

Seattle / Paris

Portland / Vienna

I sent these files in Adobe Illustrator to the talented Devin Porter, and he worked some graphic design magic to remove smaller parks, rotate Seattle from the original projection so north is oriented up, and produce side-by-side comparisons with labels and stats:

Finally, he extracted vectors from the AI files to create these cool animated GIFs, which are featured in Alan's article:

My favorite comparison is between Seattle/Paris, not only because I live in Seattle, but also because there is such a stark difference between the number of people in each place.

Which comparison made the biggest impression on you?

Friday, July 26, 2019

An Actual Printed Map! The Mount Tahoma Trails System Map

Yesterday I received my 'cartographer's copy' of the Mount Tahoma Trails Association Trails System Map. I worked closely with Dave Stonington from MTTA to ensure the map was accurate and easy to use. Dave and his colleagues at MTTA had 2,000 copies of this map printed at Printco in Auburn, Washington (the same outfit that prints all of the maps I've worked on for Cascade Bicycle Club).

We worked through seven drafts of this map to ensure we got all of the details right. My favorite part was designing the 'info side' on the reverse of the map. Dave was very open minded and let me take a non-linear approach to presenting a whole lot of information.

Folded, front cover
Front and back cover
Map side
Info side
Detail from map side