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Sierra Nevada (CA, USA) Online Map

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#1
Dan C

Dan C

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Hello,

I've created a map of the Sierra Nevada mountain range in eastern California, USA focused on a popular peak climbing list. I've been working on this map on and off for about a year and have recently been soliciting feedback, usually from my intended audience, backcountry hikers.

The map was created from publicly available data and rendered with Mapnik. Of course a large number of other software packages, tools, and techniques went into it as well.

The map has several zoom levels with different styling; I've focused most of my efforts on the 3-4 most zoomed-in levels and little effort on the most zoomed-out. I feel like I have much more to do on this map and I'm sure I will continue to work on it in the years to come.

Anyway, the site with my map is http://www.closedcontour.com.

There is also a blog that chronicles many of the cartographic decisions and techniques involved: http://blog.closedcontour.com.

And for those less inclined to follow a link, here's an image:
Attached File  closed_contour_sample.jpg   187.41KB   140 downloads

This is the first time I've sought comments from cartographers at large and look forward to hearing your feedback.

Thanks,
Dan

edit: added image as attachment.

Edited by Dan C, 01 April 2011 - 11:37 AM.


#2
razornole

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Hello Dan,

Great work. I would also like to the legend, but I think that I have a pretty good idea of what your fills represent.

I'm also a backcountry hiker, and I can easily discern where meadows are, deciduous forests (I think), glaciers, and glacial kettles/bogs. The later of which I would never had thought to use the swamp symbol. That was one of the first things that I noticed and it struck me a strange to see a swamp in the Sierras. I'm not quite sure what your dots represent but I am guessing a scree field/talus slope.

I have always been tempted to utilize a land use land cover data set on my maps, but have found that this layer will dominate a map. The resolution is also pretty coarse which results in too many angular line. I like my angular lines to be restricted to cultural boundaries. Straight lines don't occur in nature.

If you intended audience are backcountry hikers I would think that a UTM grid would be a necessity. I noticed on your site that the mouse will read the UTMs. Is this map just for planing purposes in the frontcountry? I would never rely on technology in the backcountry, but maybe I'm getting old. I just like a printed map a compass, nothing to break, nothing to charge.

In short I would love to have a resource like this the next time that I plan an adventure.

kru
"Ah, to see the world with the eyes of the gods is geography--to know cities and tribes, mountains and rivers, earth and sea, this is our gift."
Strabo 22AD

#3
Dan C

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Hello Dan,

Great work. I would also like to the legend, but I think that I have a pretty good idea of what your fills represent.

I'm also a backcountry hiker, and I can easily discern where meadows are, deciduous forests (I think), glaciers, and glacial kettles/bogs. The later of which I would never had thought to use the swamp symbol. That was one of the first things that I noticed and it struck me a strange to see a swamp in the Sierras. I'm not quite sure what your dots represent but I am guessing a scree field/talus slope.

I have always been tempted to utilize a land use land cover data set on my maps, but have found that this layer will dominate a map. The resolution is also pretty coarse which results in too many angular line. I like my angular lines to be restricted to cultural boundaries. Straight lines don't occur in nature.

If you intended audience are backcountry hikers I would think that a UTM grid would be a necessity. I noticed on your site that the mouse will read the UTMs. Is this map just for planing purposes in the frontcountry? I would never rely on technology in the backcountry, but maybe I'm getting old. I just like a printed map a compass, nothing to break, nothing to charge.

In short I would love to have a resource like this the next time that I plan an adventure.

kru


Hi Kru,

Thanks for the comments. Yeah, at some point I will need to provide a legend but right now I'm still actively making decisions about how things should look. The forest coloring is a function of both type of ground cover and density (the legend would be very helpful here). Point taken on the swamp symbol, I will definitely consider some alternatives. And, yes, the dots are scree and/or talus.

I really like the land cover as the primary coloring for the map. Both Yosemite and Sequoia/Kings Canyon have really good landcover data that works well. Here's a great example, compare the Closed Contour map with the Google Aerial map. The Yosemite data is really quite good. Granted, however, that there are sections where the data are not so good and result in an unnatural look.

I decided against a UTM grid being baked into the map and will at some point create an overlay that can be turned on and off.

As far as carrying the map into the backcountry I have experimented with some printable versions of the map. Here's an example map of the Mt Morrison/Baldwin area (warning ~10MB) that is meant to be printed 12"x18" at 240dpi resulting in a 1:24000 scale.

Thanks,
Dan




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