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Own Your Map

      This past week in Introduction to GIS, the assignment was to create a map showing the location of the University of West Florida main campus and important surrounding features. Through the assignment students familiarized themselves with the different map elements; including title, scale, legend, border, date, data source, and cartographer name. Prior to creating the map students were instructed to consider the information, audience, and function of the map.
     To begin, an inset map was created to provide a reference for the location of Escambia county within the state of Florida. To do this it was necessary to create multiple data frames. As part of the assignment students familiarized themselves with the different utilities of data view and layout view. Next, the UWF campus location, interstate, major rivers, and Florida cities were added. To limit the boundary of these features, students learned to clip data frames. To show specific cities the lab instructions laid out the procedure to create a query to select specific attributes. Once done, the temporary layer was used to create a new layer. The rest of the assignment involved editing and fine tuning map elements to refine the appearance of the map. This involved inserting the essential map elements and changing colors and symbols.


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Projections Part I

This week in lab the assignment introduced map projections and coordinate systems. To understand the importance of projections students created multiple data frames and reprojected a map into Albers Conical Equal Area, Universal Transverse Mercator, and State Plane map projections. Activating the each data frame demonstrated the shape and size change of the map in the different projections. Further demonstrating the difference in map shape and size, the students were instructed to find the area for four counties in Florida. Each projection works best for it's specific range. For this reason the similarity between calculated areas diminishes the further away from the range of the projection. This resulted in the most varied calculated areas being in Miami-Dade and Polk counties.


For the georeferencing, editing and ArcScene assignment students had to georeference the location of buildings on aerial rasters of the UWF campus. The georeferencing tool was used to match recognizable points on the raster with the same points on the vector shapefile. With sufficient points matched with a reasonable root mean square error the georeference was updated. This assigned the raster a spatial reference system. The raster of the southern portion of campus could not be matched fully because the photograph was distorted. To correct this issue the transformation was changed from 1st to 2nd order polynomial. The two rasters with the overlaid buildings and roads shapefiles is shown below to the right. The map also shows a digitized building and road and the location of a protected eagle's nest on campus with a two buffer zones. In the last portion of the lab students used the georeferenced raster files to create a 3D map in ArcScene, shown in the map to the left.