Mapping in Places
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Tree Cover


Earlier this week, I posted several maps of the 2015 Albany County Executive Primary race. After giving it some consideration, I decided last night to re-render the maps because they were not up to my quality standards. 

I often like to experiment with new features, and while the shadow feature of QGIS can greatly enhance a map, it can also be a bit too much and actually detract from the readability of maps. I took off the shadow and re-adjusted the colors, which seemed to previously be too biased towards Egan over McCoy (the Egan colors were darker on a vote-basis on then McCoy).

I will post the enhanced maps over the next few days. I might experiment with other races. I don’t have a 2014 shapefile, but it looks like I can convert the numbers over relatively easily in Excel to match the EDs, possibly creating Super EDs as neccessary. We will see how nasty the weather is on Saturday, but that’s something I may with further over the weekend if the weather is bad.

After the map is displayed on screen, a composer must be set up with adjusted grids and proper centering

After the map is displayed on screen, a composer must be set up with adjusted grids and proper centering

Every map requires that the composer to be set up prior to being set into a PDF file. The map has to be focused on the desired location and the scale has to be set. Additionally, many maps require the grid to be adjusted from 45 seconds, to an appropriate grid based on the scale. Occasionally elements must be changed to allow the map to fit. I have a vertical and horizontal template set, which can assist in this process. FInally, the map title has to be set.

Making Maps Is Not an Automated Process

Making Maps Is Not an Automated Process

Each map requires creating the topographic lines and hillshades, which uses a script and software like ogr2ogr and gdal_contour. The process is somewhat automated, although I still have to manually invoke the script, then appropiately style the contour lines and hillshade (background that makes the mountains pop out). The brightness and contrast of each hillshade must be manually adjusted, to ensure it does not appear blocky or overly dramatic. Each map requires a separate set of contour lines, based on what topographic map they are originally derived from.

State Land Tracks and Waypoints

They are now available for download as  zip-files containing 62-county based files. Each file contains DEC Land Boundaries, OPRHP Land Boundaries, DEC Roads and Trails, OPRHP Roads and Trails, DEC Assets, OPRHP Assets, Public Fishing Access, and Additional Campsites featured on maps found this blog.

Added 5/15/15 – Federal and local park land boundaries (e.g. Finger Lakes National Forest), Mason Lake/Perkins Clearing Campsites. Further revisions to these files will be made as corrections to the data is made.

Regional Google Maps made from these files will become available on this blog over the next month. They will contain up to 10 counties, in specific regions of state. They are labeled Google County Maps.

Google Earth KMZ (individual county files 12 KB to 3.0 MB):

Google Earth KMZ Without State Land Boundaries — better importing into some GPS (25 MB):

GPX Tracks — trail data in GPX tracks format for GPS, contains no style data or facilities details except name (15 MB):

GPX Waypoints — asset data in GPX waypoints for GPS, contains no style data or asset details except name/type (250 KB):