Monday, April 24, 2017

Cartographic Skills: Google Earth

In this week’s class we worked in Google Earth. We overlaid our dot density map in Google Earth which we created a few weeks ago.  As seen below, my screenshot shows the dot density data for South Florida overlaid in Google Earth.

Google Earth comes with many layers of data but we turned off most of the layers in order to show our data overlaid on the earth. Google Earth’s base map is actually satellite images stitched together and projected on an interactive globe.  We wanted our data shown on top of the South Florida Peninsula. We did this by taking the dot density map in ArcMap and converted it into a Google Earth KML file. Arc has toolboxes in which you convert your map layers in KML or KMZ format. ArcMap. Once we had our data converted we simply clicked the dot density kmz file and Google Earth opens directly to South Florida, showing out dot density map overlaid on the earth.

After our map was layered in Google Earth, we created a tour of the data. We placed pin locations for for locations we wanted to tour. When creating tours in Google Earth you can choose viewpoints at each pin location and then start a record feature which will record each pin location to your preset viewpoint. When you click each pin, Google Earth smoothly fly’s to each location. So we started with an overview of all of South Florida and then flew into each preset viewpoint and then flew back out to the whole South Florida view again, created a seamless fly over of our data. 

I personally love Google Earth. I’ve been an avid user since it first came out. I actually have a computer hooked up to my big screen where I like to fly around and explore the earth. There are so many things to see from Google Earth’s perspective, that you’ll never see in person. You can put yourself on the ground, anywhere in the world, which is amazing! 

I have a joystick lynched into Google Earth and they have another awesome feature for a flight simulator. You can fly anywhere in the world in a single engine aircraft or an F-16. My favorite place to fly is in the Grand Canyon or the Himalayas. The joystick is also useful for navigating around the globe as the joystick features allow you to change the viewpoint very easily. I actually used the joystick to create my South Florida Tour. It’s a little trick to get it smooth but with practice you can create stunning fly by visuals. 

The visual power that Google Earth brings to anyone too explore the entire world, I think one of the greatest inventions of modern computer era. It’s one of the reasons why I’m in this class and working in the GIS industry as it opened my eyes to the world.  

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Cartographic Skills: Flow Maps

This week we created a Flow map depicting the flow of immigration to the United States. The type of flow map we created is a distributive flow. Distributive flow maps show the movement of people, commodities or ideas. In the map we created, we are showing the movement for the immigration of people into the United States.

We created our flow map entirely in Adobe Illustrator. In creation of our map we started with a pre-made base map in a Winkel Tripel projection which is a compromise between shape, area, distance and direction but a good choice for creating flow maps on a global scale. 
I started by adding bright colors to each continent and then created flow lines using the pen tool to draw lines from each continent to the USA. I used bright vivid colors for each continent and corresponded the same color to the flow lines. This makes it clear which continent the flow line is related to. I also carried the same colors into the lines within the map legend, corresponding to individual immigration total amounts. 
We created proportional line widths based off the total number of immigrants from each continent. So the larger line widths represent higher amounts and narrow line widths represent lower amounts. We used 2007 immigration statistics from the US Department of Homeland Security.  Based off a formula for creating line widths for total amount of immigrates to the US, we calculated higher to  lower amounts in reflecting our line widths. The formula is: Width of line symbol = (maximum line width) x (SQRT value / SQRT maximum value).
Using the Eclipse tool, I created an ellipse shape with blank stroke and matching color background. I layered this behind the world map in order to center an Inner Glow behind the map. This created a sun like effect for further creation of drop shadows for each continent. I adjusted each continent to have their drop shadow offset towards the center of the ellipse, giving the effect that sun is projecting center and not left or right of the map. Offsetting the drop shadow in this way also gives and effect to the projection of the map, in that it shows a more roundness or globe effect to the map.