Category Archives: Maps

Point Map of Summit Libraries

Below is a point map which displays all of the current the academic library members (their institutions) that are apart of the Orbis-Cascade Alliance Consortium. The consortium is made up of 37 universities, colleges, and community colleges in Oregon, Washington, and Idaho Private and public institutions Serving 258,000 students. The current catalog, which is actually under development with a different vendor, is called SUMMIT. So if a student is looking to borrow a book from another library, we’ll refer them to the Summit catalog.

Any guesses as to how many books, videos, etc. are in represented through these libraries? 9.2 million titles representing over 28.7 MILLION items! And those numbers continue to grow each year, along with the number of consortia members.

Some interesting fact to ponder… 360,000+ packages are delivered by our courier system per year to 83 drop sites. This services helps circulate items to 293 libraries in Oregon, Washington, and Idaho as of February 2013.

The Red Flag on the map represents the Mark O. Hatfield Library at Willamette University where I work. The Green Push Pins represent all of the main institutions, which includes many but not all of the drop sites.


Firehalls in the City of Vancouver, and Parks & Garbage Centers of Mesquite Texas

This is a demo map of a GIS map I created using pre-existing latitude and longitude data in an Excel spreadsheet.  The spreadsheet was uploaded into Google Drive and saved as a CSV file which is shared to the general public (to provide access to my account).  Then the URL for the Google CSV file is copied and shared in my ArcGIS file and over layed on top of a street base map.

The hardest part of this process was getting Google to save the document as a CSV file format.  The rest was pretty straight forward.  Once the Google Doc is linked to the ArcGIS map, you can modify the data in the Google Doc and the changes will be reflected in the ArcGIS map.  It is a pretty slick system.

Here is a link to a sample map (don’t forget to share your file to everyone):


The example below is using existing kml files (Keyhole Markup Language, which are over glorified xml files) and side stepping kml file editing issues with AcrGIS by using Google Earth.  This was a little bit more of a stretch for me because actually finding and saving kml files was an issue (the directions I was following were a little less descriptive).  Once I had the files, the process was easy.  I’m not sure if I know exactly WHY or in what situations one would use kml files over other types of files; this reason wasn’t explained in the tutorial directions, but perhaps in the book the class is following (which I don’t have).  The map below is much larger in scale (viewed higher in the sky) intentionally as to provide perspective of where Mesquite, Texas is located.


Intro to ArcGIS

I’m currently taking a three week intro course to GIS.  At first I was a little hesitant to take it since I have a background in GIS already, but then reconsidered and am using this opportunity to view this course from a beginners perspective.  Plus it would be nice to refresh some of my skills.

The first assignment is basically getting our feet wet with, which offers a free public website created by ESRI for creating and sharing interactive maps and other types of geographic information. Its website address is and is moderately intuitive to use.  I say moderately because there are quite a few things you can manipulate with this resource, such as adding lines for custom roadways or paths, compared to the last time I used this site a few years ago.basemap-types-arcgis

There is also several types of base maps that allow you to use existing satellite maps, topographic (elevation maps with lines), road maps (abstract maps with pre-drawn line for major roadways), and hybrid maps (combined satellite and  which are maps that you can draw over and add layers, and more.  I took a screenshot of what the options are and the interface.  Below is a basic map I created as a tutorial assignment of a path between the Dana Porter Library and the Waterloo Map Library.  Ironically, I can’t embed the image into WordPress because for security reasons WordPress doesn’t allow external files and links to be embedded directly in its web pages.  SO the screenshot will have to do!  I’m testing the capability of the ArcGIS links to the larger and direct map below.  I choose not to directly host the web applications on WordPress for the reasons just mentioned (incompatibility).


View Larger Map

ESRI Will Use Map Tilting Function with Google and BING Maps

ESRI recently announced that it will officially start migrating its map tilting function to Google Maps.  In a way, this really isn’t too surprising because ESRI has not produced a good three dimensional mapping program.  Both Google and Microsoft have developed slick programs that allow users to tip a map to view it three dimensionally.  If the data is available for Google Maps or BING Maps, the picture becomes a three dimensional representation of a place.

ESRI has migrated its hosted ArcGIS Online map services to the Google Maps/Bing Maps tiling scheme. This change is in response to feedback from many ArcGIS users who have requested that ESRI use a common map tiling scheme matching other popular online map providers. The new services will particularly enable ArcGIS web developers to more easily combine popular web map services with ArcGIS Online map services including those from Bing Maps, Google Maps, and other providers that use the same web map tiling scheme.

The existing services in the ArcGIS Online tiling scheme will remain available for at least six months and, depending on demand, may remain available longer. Although the services will remain available, the content in these services will no longer be updated.

For information on the common attributes for the Bing Maps/Google Maps tiling scheme, see Common attributes for maps using the Google Maps/Bing Maps tiling scheme.

Here are some details about the migration, including things you need to know, limitations, information on using the new services, and frequently asked questions.

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Google Camera Car

A number of people have asked me how Google gets their Street View images for their mapping service. I asked a Google representative at a library conference how the images were obtained, and was informed that a camera was basically strapped to the top of a car which is driven up and down local streets. Thanks to the NY Times, here is a great image of the setup.

One of the topics that is inevitably brought up is how does Google get permission to post images of people and personal property online. My answer is always “they don’t get permission.” Current law does not prevent Google or anyone else from taking these images or displaying them publicly. In fact, Microsoft has a similar project underway. However, Google has recently been threatened by the Germany legislation which has much stricter regulations on privacy.

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