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

Thursday, May 30, 2019

Conservation Northwest Sagelands Heritage Program Map

Late last year I was asked by Conservation Northwest to produce a map highlighting their work to preserve sagebrush ecosystems in north-central Washington and southern British Columbia, an effort they call the Sagelands Heritage Program.

I worked with Jay Kehne at CNW to consolidate a variety of marked up paper maps to produce a large format (34" x 44") poster showing their area of interest, movement corridors, protected lands, and other features. The map also needed to illustrate which animals inhabit shrub-steppe habitats, so we used silhouette icons and photographs to provide a more complete understanding of the landscape.

This map was a lot of fun to create, and last week it won Best Cartographic Design at the WAURISA Washington GIS Conference!

Below is a low resolution JPG of the map (a full resolution PDF of the map is available here).

The basemap was created in ArcMap, and exported to TIFF.  In Photoshop, I created a copy of the map within the study area only and placed it above the basemap. I added a drop shadow to the study area with these settings:

The animal icons were created in Illustrator, in some cases using Image Trace. Movement arrows were created in Illustrator by drawing lines with start/end 45 degree arrows and a very heavy stroke, then converting the path to outlines so the map would be visible under the arrows:

The Photoshop map was placed in InDesign, the animal and arrow Illustrator files were layered on top of the PSD, and text, photos, logos, a QR code, and other map elements were placed on the map. 

Monday, November 5, 2018

Raise Your Hand Texas SB 1882 Web Map

Raise Your Hand Texas is a non-profit educational advocacy group based in Austin, Texas. We worked with RYHT to produce an interactive web map showing the potential changes to school funding under District Partnership Agreements,which enable a school district to be funded similarly to a charter school. This could result in substantially more money for schools, up to $2,300 per student.

We built this map using a custom Mapbox style and the Mapbox GL JS API. The map features a zoom-to-district functionality (in the fly-out on the left hand side), information about each district will appear in a pop-up when a district is clicked, and zooming into the map will reveal individual campuses. Hovering over the campus location will reveal the name of the school.

You can view the interactive map here, or click on the screenshot below.