October 23, 2008

A map should be worth 1000 words and more than a simple PDF

Indeed a map is worth at least 1,000 words in my mind.. I wish the mainstream media would realize this. The only reason I bring this up is because today I'm browsing through the local paper (The Colloradoan) which serves the Fort Collins area. Within the paper I see a story titled "Windsor Map shows future trails". The article rambles on about a new map the Town has created, then meanders off into discussing future proposed crossings etc... so what about the map?? Unfortunately there was no picture of a map with the article, no link to a website where a map could be found etc... pretty strange! So I investigate for myself and hit the Windsor website where a link is found to trail map - there I find a lone PDF showing what appears to be trails along with the proposed trails. I can't help to think how much more useful the article in the paper would have been by simply posting the actual map or a link and forget about all the blabber. Hopefully by the time the trails are done the maps provided online by the Town may be more informative, perhaps at the minimum served up as Geo PDFs, heck, even a Google map that provides more information, perhaps some multi-media or ?? The town does have a GIS and a GIS Dept. so seeing some form of webmapping should be expected shouldn't it? A tip for you small towns, see also some of the tools offered up by Avenza Systems , TerraGo Technologies, or Alta4 to help bring your webmaps alive or at a minimum give them a pulse!

Windsor trail map PDF... yawn! Imagine how much more effective a map with imagery as a base layer would make this. Much more is expected of local government agencies in my mind, particularly given the fine, low cost tools that are available.


Rpnolet said...

I agree completely about the online access and printing the map with the article, but I am not so sure that additional content would improve the usefullness of this map. I think as GIS professionals we sometimes go for glitter and miss intent. perhaps air photos would show vegetation cover and increase the benifit I am not saying it wouldn't but 'more' is not always 'better'.

Glenn The GISuser said...

thanks for the feedback.

I guess I digressed into trying to make 2 points.
1. the newspaper referencing a map should have atleast printed a copy of the map - particularly as it was the focus of the article title.
2. after finally finding said map it turns out to be a PDF showing very little effort going into it - pretty sad.

Adam Estrada said...

I geopdf'ed in so that now you can at least measure and mark it up!



Anonymous said...

That's not a very good map in other respects. No date, no indication of who made it.

However, I must say that even if a local govt has a GIS staff person or two, that they can have their hands full doing lots of other things (i.e. parcel updates).

I run a county GIS dept. This consists of just 2 staff. There are 33 communities in the county, only 2 of those have staff. Only one has interactive maps of any sort. It's not an easy task.. heck, some of our communities don't have a web site or email.