Medium-resolution GeoPDF pair for field navigation in Aak’w Táak, inland from little lake (Mendenhall Valley) and contributing valleys or ‘tribsheds’.…2018 | Richard Carstensen | 2 geoPDFs
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, with a fine-tipped rapidograph drafting pen. Last time I tried to procure one of those, it took hours of searching, even in the canyons of Manhattan where you can buy pretty much buy anything.
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).
In setting up the hierarchical structure of JuneauNature, I bumped into some fuzzy boundaries between potential categories. For example, where exactly should we draw the line between a map and a picture? Is there a fundamental difference between a no-brainer “map”—the folded or robo-voiced road map, say, that leads you through strange cities—versus the cellphone picture you just snapped of your friends? Or (shudder) a selfie? Even that selfie is a map of your face. Why excommunicate these info-rich graphics from the realm of cartography? It can’t just be a matter of scale. I think you’d agree that a map of mite-routes through a 2-inch-square liverwort jungle is still a map.
I also confronted this definitional question when segregating out the Navy’s 1926-&-29 oblique air photos, shot opportunistically over the sides of their biplane cockpits, from my GIS and Maps sections. Instead, they’re described under Repeat photography, alongside pedestrian historical photos taken pretty-much horizontally on the plain old ground.
Meanwhile, those same Navy pilots shot vertically downward images through a hatch in the fuselage belly that could be removed when airborne. Those images, stitched and georeferenced, do populate my GIS projects, and like the constantly evolving and updating constellation of orthophotos, are legitimately considered maps.
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:
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.
ESRI (Environmental Systems Research Institute) is the world leader in GIS (Geographic Information Systems) cartography. Their online portal is so complete that I rarely use Google Earth or BING anymore. AOL’s World Imagery WGS84 is typically superior in resolution and currency for any area-of-interest. Personal accounts are free, and you don’t need ESRI’s arcmap software to use the AOL viewer. I encourage anyone who frequently usesthose better-known map portals but would like more options in “Basemap imagery” (mostly rasters) plus access to thousands of user-created AOL projects with custom-built layers, to start a personal or organizational account.
A related portal from ESRI is called the Wayback App. Because AOL imagery is so frequently updated, their archives often include half a dozen or more prior “historic” orthophoto covers for any particular area. They may not offer ‘deep history’ such as the 1929 and 1948 Navy photography, but Wayback is a great way to review the past 20 years or so successional and anthropogenic change.
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
Medium-resolution GeoPDF pair for field navigation in Kaawa.ée Héenak’u, Kaawa.ée’s little creek (Kowee) and Shgóonaa Héenak’u, schooner’s little creek (Lawson)…2018 | Richard Carstensen | 2 geoPDFs
Medium-resolution GeoPDF pair for field navigation in Dzantik’i Héeni (Gold) and Chaas’héeni (Sheep) watersheds. In apps such as Avenza, on…2018 | Richard Carstensen | 2 geoPDFs
High-resolution GeoPDF pair for field navigation at Chaas’héeni, humpy stream (Sheep Creek), and Koosh, oozing sore (Thane area) The Olson/Kunz…2018 | Richard Carstensen | 2 geoPDFs
High-resolution GeoPDF pair for field navigation at Angooxa Yé, where slaves put up food (Fish Creek) on northern Sayéik, spirit…2018 | Richard Carstensen | 2 geoPDFs
High-resolution GeoPDF pair for field navigation at Aanchgaltsóow, nexus town (Auke Rec) and X’unáxi, camping place (Auke Cape). In apps such…2018 | Richard Carstensen | 2 geoPDFs
High-resolution GeoPDF pair for field navigation around inner Áak’w Tá, little lake bay (Auke Bay). Includes Áak’w, little lake, and…2018 | Richard Carstensen | 2 geoPDFs
High-resolution GeoPDF pair for field navigation in upper Áak’w Táak, inland from little lake (Mendenhall Valley). Includes on-foot destinations from…2018 | Richard Carstensen | 2 geoPDFs
geopdf_valleyloweraerial2019 High-resolution GeoPDF pair for field navigation in lower Áak’w Táak, inland from little lake (Mendenhall Valley). Includes on-foot destinations…2018 | Richard Carstensen | 2 geoPDFs
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
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
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
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
Hover over each numbered province; a click takes you to that sub-category
Hover over each numbered watershed; a click takes you to that sub-category. Red dots showing trailhead signs are also linked;…
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
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
I created an early version of this compilation while still living at the Scout camp at Asx’ée, twisted tree (Eagle River),…2020 | Richard Carstensen | 38 pages
The Herbert and neighboring Eagle Glaciers advanced and receded synchronously with the much better known Mendenhall. Reaching their termini has…
Bedrock geology for Áak’w & T’aakú Aaní. Units based upon a shapefile by USGS, but color coded by 6 broad…2015 | Richard Carstensen |