kmusser: (cartographer's conspiracy II)
Since my website is now old enough to drink I figured it's time to redesign it. Stripped it down so it's basically just a brief plug for my mapping, but it now has a small store section. Check it out at
kmusser: (weird map)
The book on the Trans-Siberian Railway which features a bunch of my maps has been released. Should you have any interest in such a thing you can buy it at Sample maps under the cut (and I think they came out very nice if I do say so myself).
Maps! If you want more than this, than buy the book. )
kmusser: (cartographer's conspiracy II)
For the record, Swampoodle is an awesome place name.
kmusser: (cartographer's conspiracy II)
So its been a bit since I did any maps for fun, there has been business, but today I had a lazy day and got a new one done. Since the release of the awesome National Hydrography Dataset I have access to much more detailed stream data than I used to, and I decided small streams deserve some love too. So here is my map of Tuscarora Creek, by far the smallest stream I've mapped. The stream has a sad little wiki article, maybe the map will encourage some expansion.

Map is under the cut! )
kmusser: (Earth)
As NASA is busy showing off their awesomeness I thought I'd write about one of their other successes. While I was at a mapping conference recently I was reminded that it is Landsat's 40th anniversary. It's sort of weird to think that as long as I've been alive, Landsat has been up there taking pictures. That's 40 years of continuous imagery covering the entire Earth, and it's all public domain. Every satellite image basemap you've ever seen is based on Landsat imagery.

Turns out we're very lucky to have that archive. The program launched 5 satellites from 1972-1984, each with a planned 3 year lifespan. Due to budget fuckery in the late 80's-early 90's Landsat 6 was delayed. Fortunately the earlier satellites were lasting longer than planned, 5-6 years, but by 1993 Landsat 5 was the only one operating, and it going on 9 years. Landsat 6 was finally launched . . . and failed to make orbit. Landsat 5 was in it's 15th year before Landsat 7 was launched and began taking over the bulk of image taking duties. Landsat 7 was planned for a 5 year mission and is still flying, now in its 13th year. Landsat 5 is also still taking pictures, 28 years old! Hopefully (fingers crossed) they'll get some relief with a new Landsat satellite scheduled for next February.

View the entire archive online (use Advanced Query to get at the earlier years) - for any fellow GIS users this is also available via ArcGIS Online.
What's Landsat 7 imaging right now?
kmusser: (weird map)
Is in awe of the Google maps quest mode.
kmusser: (cartographer's conspiracy II)
There is something about evocative place names that just make me want to go there. While working on a recent map discovered that there is a Worlds End Creek in Maryland. I want to check it out. What's more, it flows through the Hell Hook Marsh. Hmmm, then again it's close to Crapo, maybe not.
kmusser: (cartographer's conspiracy)

Been awhile since I wrote about maps.

I recently had a request to map the rivers in the Puerto Rican municipio of Ponce. I had already made a map of the barrios of Ponce for the same guy so I had my base map - I just needed to add the rivers themselves. I have several sources of digitized rivers but ran into a problem. A municipio is not a very large area, none of my river layers were detailed enough to capture the ones I wanted to show.

So I turned to the font of all geographic information - the USGS topo map. Topo maps remain the most detailed maps available for most of the U.S. and thanks to the wonder of the internet you can download scanned versions of them. Using GIS I can overlay the topo map on my base map and then literally trace the river lines.

So I finished and uploaded my map and then the downfall of using topo maps. Most of them are quite old. You don't think of rivers changing much, but they do. The requester pointed out where one of the rivers was re-routed from draining into the ocean to drain into an adjacent watershed by the army corp of engineers some 30 years ago. The new path is shown clearly on Google maps. With a little fudging I fix the map, check out the result at wikipedia .

Posted via LiveJournal app for Android.

kmusser: (weird map)
I have a new favorite comic:

Yay for geography in-jokes. I'm generally an Albers Equal Area guy myself.

Surprised he didn't go for a Buckminster Fuller joke in there.
kmusser: (weird map)
Today a bit about air route maps. I've made a bunch of these for Wikipedia and I have to admit I'm a bit sorry I did because they are a pain to keep updated. But anyway, I thought it would be neat to be able to visualize all the non-stop destinations from a given airport - a quick way to show that airports reach.

The maps are relatively simple, just outlines of the countries and dots for the locations. Country borders are available from a variety of public domain sources and my mapping software can convert a list of latitude/longitude coordinates to dots. I debated adding lines between the cities like they do in airline magazines, but they just made the maps harder to read. Compiling the lists of destinations is the somewhat time consuming part, the airport articles have a list, but I quickly learned those weren't to be trusted. Some airports will maintain a list of destinations on their website, but most do not, so I'd need to visit individual airline web pages and track down their timetables and then look up the coordinates for each destination.

These are also among the few maps where I mess with the map projection. All maps have some distortion that comes from trying to portray a 3-D object in 2 dimensions, generally they'll have a center line that is accurate and distortions will increase from there and different projections will minimize different kinds of distortion. For most maps I'll use an equal area projection - those keep the size of areas correct in exchange for a bit of distortion in terms of shapes and directions - if I'm doing a map for graphic visualization rather than actual navigation that's usually what I want. For these I switched to a Azimuthal equidistant projection which centers on a point rather than a line and keeps directions and distances from that point correct while distorting shapes and sizes so straight lines on the map going out from the airport would be straight lines for an airplane as well.

So the problem with these maps are 1) while I think they look ok at full size, they really aren't all that great at the size they're actually used in Wikipedia articles. The labels are too small to be legible, and most airports have too many destinations too close together for me to increase the size significantly. 2) airport destinations are far more fluid than I ever realized, the maps are out of date almost as soon as I make them. I've settled on updating them every year or so if they're still in use.

The map below is one I just updated for Panama City's Intl. airport, it's interesting in that it's exclusively Intl. and it's often used as a transfer point between North and South America, so it has a broader reach than would be usual for a city of that size. The two European destinations caused a problem in that if I put everything on the same map, the Caribbean area with most of the destinations was too small to see properly, so I made an inset with a more standard projection for Europe.

map is below the cut )
kmusser: (cartographer's conspiracy II)
Only 21 responses out of over 200 “friends”? Oh LJ, how far you have fallen. Anyway, maps are leading so you get a maps post.

This one was a request – a map showing the results of the Treaty of Prairie du Chien in 1829. This was really two treaties negotiated at the same time, one with the United Nations of Chippewa, Ottawa, and Potawatomi Indians and the other with the Winnebago (Ho-Chunk) Nation– largely a consequence of a brief Winnebago uprising which was used as an excuse to seize valuable lead deposits in what is now northwest Illinois around Galena.

What is interesting is trying to match the land cessions specified in the treaties to a modern map. The text fortunately survives – for the first treaty there are 2 sections defined:

details below the cut, this ended up being really long, hopefully it's interesting )
kmusser: (fantasy mapping)
Some amazing medieval style maps based on George R.R. Martin's Song of Fire and Ice series:

A relief map of Europe made with Legos!


kmusser: (Default)

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