10,000 words?

If a picture is worth a thousand words, I figure a good map’s worth considerably more. Pictures and words are really apples and oranges, but a map is an apple-orange smoothie.

I started making maps within a few years of arrival in Alaska. This one, of Asx’ée, twisted tree (Eagle River delta) took about 10 days of stippling in 1983.

Estuaries are dynamic places. Some features of this 1983 habitat map no longer exist, such as Shifty Spit and Dabbler Lagoon. For historical series, see my summary document on Eagle Beach.

Today the maps churn out faster—typically several per day. What I’ve lost in patience is gained in efficiency. Modern cartography also allows us to sit on the shoulders of legions of GIS masters, assembling datasets we couldn’t have dreamed of in 1983. Today, at my computer, I can measure the height of any tree between Ch’eet’ Taayí, murrelet fat (Cowee Creek) and Chaas’héeni, humpy creek (Sheep Creek). Or with a click, sprinkle my maps with Lingít place names, their translations (and even an Important White Guy or two).

For how-to information on Maps, check out the Tools section, sub-categories Field navigation and GIS (Geographic information systems)

Switching to the ArcGIS Online site fills your screen. Here’s some features and options.

Below are some of my favorite maps. Some are simple downloadable .jpgs. Some are collections of maps for our favorite destinations, including historical series that can be toggled across time with your keyboard arrows. But increasingly, maps are becoming interactive—leaving the world of static paper and giving the user more control:

ArcGIS Online

Some of my  maps are hosted by ESRI’s ArcGIS Online.You can view them in windows within JuneauNature, or directly, full-screen, on ESRI’s site by clicking view larger map.

Why is this more useful than a simple jpg or pdf-based map that I prepare and post? Let’s say you want to customize your own map, of glacial and marine landforms in Shaanáx Tlein, big valley (lower Lemon Creek). Open my surficial geology map. choose view larger map to jump to ArcGIS Online. Frame it just the way you want (mouse roller is best for zooming) Change the basemap to whatever best suits your needs (that 4-square icon on the left). When you’ve got a nice composition, right click and select Take a Screenshot.

Open this clickable map to select downloadable geoPDFs for navigation with your phone or tablet


Others of my downloadable maps are geopdfs (spatially rectified pdfs for use in navigational apps such as Avenza). These are presented in pairs: a hillshade and an air photo. I like to load both to my tablet for hikes, and often alternate between them depending on whether I’m investigating landforms or vegetation cover. The free version of Avenza holds only 3 geoPDFs at a time. We just have to remember to clean off the old ones and load the new ones before each hike.

So far, the geoPDF collection covers most of the popular local trails, and all of the surroundings of public schools—places where Discovery Southeast naturalists bring students on field trips. If your favorite hike isn’t covered, let me know.

In this section

GeoPDFs Áak’w Táak lower (Mendenhall Valley)

High-resolution GeoPDF pair for field navigation in lower Áak’w Táak, inland from little lake (Mendenhall Valley). Includes on-foot destinations from…

2018 | Richard Carstensen | 2 geoPDFs

GeoPDFs Airport flats

High-resolution GeoPDF pair for field navigation on the Airport Dike Trail and adjacent tidal wetlands. Also shows coastline on the…

2018 | Richard Carstensen | 2 geoPDFs

GeoPDFs Shaanáx Tlein (Lemon Creek)

High-resolution GeoPDF pair for field navigation on trails in lower Shaanáx Tlein, big valley (lower Lemon Creek watershed). All of…

2018 | Richard Carstensen | 2 geoPDFs

GeoPDFs Sayéik (Gastineau Community School)

High-resolution GeoPDF pair for field navigation on trails behind Sayéik, spirit helper (Gastineau Elementary). In apps such as Avenza, on…

2018 | Richard Carstensen | 2 geoPDFs

GeoPDFs Downtown

High-resolution GeoPDF pair for field navigation on roads and trails of downtown Juneau. In apps such as Avenza, on your…

2018 | Richard Carstensen | 2 geoPDFs

Clickable map of Southeast provinces

Hover over each numbered province; a click takes you to that sub-category

Clickable map of Áak’w & T’aakú Aaní

Hover over each numbered watershed; a click takes you to that sub-category. Red dots showing trailhead signs are also linked;…

Southeast glaciers from IfSAR, ArcGIS Online

On receipt of the new DSM (digital surface model) from IfSAR missions at 5-meter pixel resolution, it became possible to…

2018 | Richard Carstensen | 1 page

GeoPDF Chookan Aaní (Mend-Penn) & West Refuge

High-resolution GeoPDF pair for field navigation around Chookan Aaní, grassy land (Mendenhall Peninsula) and the western Refuge, where Pederson Creek…

2018 | Richard Carstensen | 2 geoPDFs

Montana Creek Map Series

This document assembles aerial imagery and other GIS-based maps of Montana Creek for use by teachers in class and field.…

2013 | Richard Carstensen | 22 pages

Herbert Glacier Trail

The Herbert and neighboring Eagle Glaciers advanced and receded synchronously with the much better known Mendenhall. They‚’ve always been strenuous…

Asx’ée (Eagle Beach) maps & historical series

I created an early version of this compilation while still living at the Scout camp at Asx’ée, twisted tree (Eagle River),…

2017 | Richard Carstensen | 33pages

Bedrock geology ArcGIS Online

Bedrock geology for Áak’w & T’aakú Aaní. Units based upon a shapefile by USGS, but color coded by 6 broad…

2015 | Richard Carstensen |

Surficial geology, ArcGIS Online

Surficial geology for the Juneau area, hosted by ESRI. I used most of the geologic surface types of R.D. Miller,…

2015 | Richard Carstensen |