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Geospatial Data Curation Toolkit

By Melinda Kernik Have you ever saved data in a new file format and then later realized that it no longer looks right?  This is a common problem for geospatial data!  If you work with geodatabases but sometimes share data in alternate file formats, this post is especially for you.  Geodatabases are popular among GIS researchers, but there are a limited number of software in which they can be opened. Because of this, it is a common practice to convert feature classes into shapefiles when archiving or sharing data. Shapefiles have substantial limitations, however, which can lead to loss of data and functionality during file conversion.  You may have come across the truncation (and frustration) that can result from the 10 character limit on field names. There are many other limitations shapefiles have that are more difficult to notice, including limitations on the length of text fields and lack of support for time within date fields. It is easy to unintentionally alter a dataset while try
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Important Farmland Map Collection

Important Farmland Map Collection   According to the American Farmland Trust, 2,000 acres of agricultural land in the United States are paved over every day (The Trust, 2022). This results in negative effects on our waterways and coastal waters not to mention decreased capacity for producing food and other agricultural products. This trend was seen decades ago by the USDA Soil Conservation Service. In response, the Service created and published county maps that colorfully delineated prime and unique farmland.    The purpose was to help city planning and other officials understand the high quality land resources in their area [and thereby avoid if possible in future urban growth projects]. As the multi-year project unfurled, it prioritized counties experiencing rapid land use change.    Map production continued into the early 1980s, but then took a turn for the worse. The project fell far short of the intended 1,200 counties - perhaps the recession of the early 1980s

The Adventures of Mark Twain

By Laura Kane McElfresh Featured Item: The Adventures of Mark Twain What is the item? Pictorial map of the life and works of Mark Twain, a.k.a. Samuel Langhorne Clemens. This map was issued by Warner Brothers Pictures to promote their biographical movie, The Adventures of Mark Twain (1944). The map's border features images from the biopic, starring Fredric March and Alexis Smith as Samuel Langhorne and Olivia Langdon Clemens.  What BTAA Library submitted the item? University of Michigan Interesting tidbits: The map illustrates Clemens' extensive travels across and beyond the United States Shows his connections to some unexpected places -- such as Bear Creek, near San Antonio, TX Cities that figure prominently in Clemens' life and career are marked with stars on the map Both appearances of Halley's Comet during Clemens' lifetime are commemorated Caption: The map is illustrated with events in Samuel Clemens' life and characters from his writings. Where can I find

Wisconsin Official State Highway Map Digital Collection

By Jaime Martindale, Map and Geospatial Data Library, University of Wisconsin-Madison Coming soon from the University of Wisconsin-Madison:  Official State Highway Map Digital Collection A digital archive of the “Official State Highway Map” of Wisconsin has recently been completed by the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT).  Dating back to 1916, the state highway map collection contains 82 unique editions (some single year, others spanning two years.) The print editions were digitized by the American Geographical Society Library (AGSL) at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, the Wisconsin State Historical Society (WHS) and the WisDOT Cartography Division to create a comprehensive collection of digital maps in both PDF and TIFF formats.  The digital map files will be archived by the Robinson Map Library at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.   Official State of Wisconsin Highway Map, 1916 (PDF by WHS)   Wisconsin’s earliest official highway map is date

BTAA GIS Conference 2022: Tuesday, November 15

By Laura Kane McElfresh, Cartographic Metadata Librarian, University of Minnesota Final preparations for the third annual BTAA GIS Conference are underway! With technical infrastructure and support from the Big Ten Academic Alliance headquarters office, the Planning Committee is pleased to present this slate of programs on geospatial applications in the sciences, social sciences, humanities, and medicine. The conference will feature a map gallery plus lightning talks, three papers sessions, and two panels on GIS careers and professional development, centered around a keynote presentation by Tanya Ruka and Rudo Kemper of  Native Land Digital . The day begins at 9:00 AM CST/10:00 AM EST with lightning talks on a variety of geospatial topics. Two papers sessions follow: "Justice and Social Geography" at 10 AM Central (11 AM Eastern), and "Climate and Carbon" at 11:15 AM (12:15 PM Eastern). After a break for lunch, the conference will reconvene at 1:00 PM CST (2:00 PM

Collection Highlight: Government Open Geospatial Data Collection

By Tara Anthony The BTAA Geoportal provides opportunities for users to discover individual maps and geospatial items, along with collections of items within websites, online portals, and ArcGIS Hub Sites. One of these collections focuses on government open data portals that span multiple geographic locations of BTAA institutions. This post will highlight a selection of the content found in the BTAA Government Open Geospatial Data Collection.   What is in this collection?   Breadth of BTAA Government Open Data Collection   Viewing all items within the BTAA Government Open Data Collection provides you with over 14,000 records of content covering Pennsylvania, Maryland, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Jersey, and Wisconsin. This includes resources classes of datasets, web services, imagery, websites, and maps. The website resources at the county and state levels provide discovery of geospatial data layers and content to t

Featured Item: Lake Monroe Land Suitability Study Topographic Map, 1975

By  Ronda L. Sewald, Cartographic Resources Cataloger, Indiana     Lake Monroe Land Suitability Study Topographic Map, 1975 Topographic map of Lake Monroe accompanying the 1975 land suitability study. https://geo.btaa.org/catalog/e36066e5-5875-47fc-88c9-f751b8c89f69   Overview of Item Lake Monroe was formed in 1965 by flooding the Salt Creek Valley located in southeastern Monroe County, Indiana. The Wabash River Basin, which covers most of Indiana and adjacent portions of Illinois and Ohio, was highly prone to flooding before this time. A 1933 report by the United States House Committee on Harbors and Rivers estimated the annual average cost of flood damage in the basin at $2,000,000 (roughly equivalent to $60,000,000 today) (page 9). The creation of Lake Monroe formed part of a basin-wide solution.   Comparison of topographic map from 1975 study with the United States Geological Survey’s 1947 7.5-minute series topographic map of “Allens Creek Quadr

Interface Sprints: When We Go Looking For Oddities

  Image Source: US Department of Defense We just finished our 3 rd  Interface Sprint, where we do different challenges to see if we can test recent changes to the interface, find problems, or even to see if we can "break" something. This doesn't always result in interface issues. For example, at our most recent sprint, we put forward the challenge of finding maps of countries in their native language. This was used to test the new language facet. But it's revealed that we don't seem to have maps of several countries in their native language. China in Chinese being very prominently absent.  The Geoportal does have over 1700 Russia maps in Russian. One issue found during this sprint has already been fixed! We had a task to explore the site for potential accessibility concerns. An automated checker found some of the colors used to have concerns with contrast. So the color scheme was updated to give better contrast!  So what do we do with

Redlining in Lincoln, Nebraska

By Meg Mering Featured Item: 1930s map which divided Lincoln, Nebraska into sections, rating the levels of risk for bank lenders What is the item? This map rated the level of risk for lenders by color. The green or aqua sections were the best areas. The blue sections were still desirable. The yellow sections were definitely declining. The sections marked in red (thus the term "redlining") were hazardous. Interesting tidbits The map was largely based on poverty and racial makeup. The areas marked as "hazardous" were the parts of the city where African American families lived. In 1916, Sheridan Boulevard became the first neighborhood in Lincoln to stipulate that only "those of the Caucasian race" could buy homes. Many African Americans who lived in almost every section of downtown Lincoln were displaced as the University of Nebraska-Lincoln grew and took over properties. Where can I find out more? Mapping Inequality: Redlining in New Deal America https://dsl

Featured Collection: Illinois Height Modernization (ILHMP): LiDAR Data

By Wenjie Wang, GIS Specialist at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign    Height Modernization (ILHMP) LiDAR Data [Illinois])  https://geo.btaa.org/catalog/0f26df9b-15b9-4877-b235-55ed19e20d66     What is the item?  ILHMP has established data sharing agreements to archive and distribute elevation data for select Illinois counties. Data have been acquired using Light Detection And Ranging (LiDAR) technology, in compliance with different contract specifications. Data are offered as originally deliver LAS tile or as the derivative product of DEM/DTM or DSM.  What BTAA Library submitted the item?  Illinois Geospatial Data Clearinghouse  Interesting tidbits  Historically, Digital Elevation Model (DEM) data for Illinois have been mainly based on 5- to 10-foot contour data. Large-scale, digital topographic maps are most common; many data resources contain elevation information acquired in the 1920s and 1930s. DEM data collections are now being developed

Data-Driven ArcGIS StoryMaps

Data-Driven ArcGIS StoryMaps How to Create a Story Map by Batch Attaching Media to Points Using ArcGIS StoryMaps By Jay Bowen, University of Iowa Libraries Tags: ArcGIS StoryMaps, data-driven, map tour, batch attachment, images, spreadsheet, csv Overview There are a lot of questions on the GIS Q&A sites about how to create a story map from a spreadsheet of point data with images using the newer version of ArcGIS StoryMaps , but very few answers. If you are like me, you liked how Esri's Classic Story Maps allowed you to upload an entire csv of points with image urls to create a data-driven story map in one quick step without having to do this point-by-point. You may have agonized over this process in the newer version and you might be unaware that, by implementing a few extra steps using ArcGIS Desktop, you can also do this with the newer version. In the post that follows, I will walk you through the steps involved so that you can create a data-driven tour in ArcGIS StoryMaps u