Toward a scenic trail index

Sheltowee Trace, Daniel Boone National Forest, and Big South Fork scenic trail index
Visit the web page

Over the years we’ve pursued some measure that reveals the character of 900+ miles of trail here. Often we talk about a trail’s length or steepness with other dimensions gleaned from the base map. In this experiment, we are creating zones at discreet locations along trails and estimating the character of that location.

Over 14,000 polygons are shown on this 3D Mapbox map. The color indicates the type of scenery and height shows how much relief is the area. Future additions to this map include adding a searching tool and summary statistics for each trail.

Time-lapse animation

Downtown Lexington, Kentucky in July evening

Red River Gorge t-shirt

T-shirt front

Looking for a new fashion statement?

We’ve printed a map of the Red River Gorge on a 100%-cotton, heavy-weight t-shirt.

This double-sided t-shirt will be first available at the Kentucky Art Market, which is adjacent to the Woodland Arts Fair. This August 2019.

T-shirt back

West Sixth Farm trail map

Took an afternoon to GPS map the trail network at the West Sixth farm outside of Frankfort, Kentucky. You can download the map here

West Sixth Farm trail map
Preview of the map

The farm maintains a mountain bike trail with technical features and one-way trails. Enjoy a ride and then a brew.

lidar point cloud render
View an interactive 3D map of the area

As an experiment, we added a 3D map from a lidar point cloud viewable here:

OSM highways

OpenStreetMap highway lines
Using QGIS layer blending mode to imply population density

Selected attributes symbolized from the North American extract:

New Maps Plus projects

Visit the full-screen map.

I began teaching at New Maps Plus in October 2015. Students have made many awesome maps since then. This ‘map of maps’ shows projects going back to early 2017. Many of the early projects utilized CartoDB (now CARTO), which has evolved considerably over the years. While technology and visualization techniques change, a map is also an artistic pursuit and perhaps can withstand the ebb and flow of tech design styles.

New images and data from GOES-16

Visit the page to view and download imagery

Over Christmas break, it was time to automate collecting and displaying the incredibly detailed imagery from the GOES-16 Advanced Baseline Imager. A problem that plagued previous efforts was not accessing the raw data, a netCDF formatted file for the contiguous U.S. which can be downloaded freely from a variety of cloud data hosts. With the raw data, one can project, modify and use it in web mapping libraries like Leaflet.

This page offers a slippy map of grayscale and color imagery and is updated every 15 minutes. You can download GeoTIFFs of rendered layers that can be used in GIS applications.

Arches mapping project

During the Fall 2018 semester, students mapped and visited arches and waterfalls in Kentucky’s Red River Gorge Geological Area. They adopted an arch or waterfall and produced maps, analyses, 3D visualizations, and a web page that explores their arch. Visit the site.

Arches in the Red River Gorge

Article about Boyd’s mapping classes

Thanks to students and crew in the University of Kentucky’s Natural Resources and Environmental Science (NRES) for this article in their Fall 2018 Newsletter.

Article about Boyd’s teaching experience at UKy (with little Ona in tow)

New position in the Department of Geography

Department of Geography, University of KentuckyI am happy and proud to announce that I have accepted a faculty appointment as Lecturer in the University of Kentucky Department of Geography. Since 2008 I have been teaching in the department as an adjunct. With a potential move to the University of Wisconson Madison to teach GIS, I reflected on the possibilities of focusing on Kentucky and decided to stay in the Bluegrass. New Maps Plus, Geography @ University of KentuckyMy current teaching assignment spans open source and ArcGIS mapping platforms in both the traditional classroom and through online courses in New Maps Plus. Learn more about the opportunities and successes in mapping at the University of Kentucky and consider getting a Masters in Mapping or a graduate certificate in open source mapping.

How will this impact outrageGIS mapping? Not much. The topographic map shop will continue as normal and I will still explore and make unique maps and data for Kentucky and surrounding areas. The main change will be a deprioritizing client work in favor of university projects. For example, this year is the 75th Anniversary of the Department of Geography and is a priority project. outrageGIS mapping will also support the department’s Pauer Center for Cartography, so if you need a custom map we can make through the Center.

Red River Gorge map update

Natural Bridge profile from point cloud

Natural Bridge profile from point cloud

This summer we are planning an update to our popular Red River Gorge trail map. Since the release of the Lidar point cloud data for Daniel Boone National Forest, we have been excited to start the project. With a pixel resolution of 5-foot, this is the most detailed elevation layer we have for the Red River Gorge. Let’s take a look at some samples. An elevation profile of the well-known landmark, Natural Bridge arch, shows canopy slightly dimmed and you can clearly see the arch.

Cliffs over 100 feet in Chimney Top area

Cliffs over 100 feet in Chimney Top area

Many other interesting analyses are planned; for example, where are the high cliffs and overlooks? In the right image, we show the cliffs over 100-feet in height. We can clearly see the high cliffs of Pinch ‘Em Tight, Chimney Top, and the other high cliffs the line the Red River.

Cliffs over 220 feet in Small Wall area along Red River

Cliffs over 220 feet in Small Wall area along Red River

Of course, the inclination is to find the highest cliff in the Red River Geological Area. With a preliminary analysis, we have found the Small Wall climbing area has one of the highest cliffs at 220-feet.

Bluegrass trails, a student mapping project

Bluegrass trails, a student mapping project

Over the course of the spring 2018 semester, UKy Geography students mapped public areas in the Kentucky Bluegrass that offered hiking, walking, or recreation to the public. They could select from one of 10 areas that offered strenuous cliff-lined hiking, sculpture garden walks, or lake-view dog parks.

Lexington Neighborhood Tree Canopy Study

Class mapping project

Web page for student maps

NRE 355, Introduction to Geospatial Applications for Land Analysis, is a class at the University of Kentucky (UK) that uses Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to study our environment. Every year NRE 355 constructs various maps centered around an environmental theme. Past themes have included Pilot Knob State Nature Preserve and Pine Mountain, both in Kentucky.

This semester our class focused on tree canopy coverage in specific neighborhood associations inside New Circle Road in Lexington, Kentucky to feature ecosystem services provided by urban tree canopy. We use ArcGIS software to process vector, raster, GPS, and lidar data that determines vegetation density, tree canopy coverage, and tree height. We publish GeoPDF and interactive maps that show our work.

This tree canopy study was conducted in several different neighborhoods within the area of New Circle Road in Lexington, Kentucky.

The neighborhoods involved were:

The neighborhood with the most tree canopy per acre was Ashland Park, while the lowest counted tree canopy per acre was in the MLK Neighborhood. The tallest tree was located in the Ashland Neighborhood, a spruce or tulip poplar measuring, with lidar technology, at 114 feet tall.

Visit the website:

Bird’s eye view of the North Limestone Neighborhood Association showing tree heights relative to building heights


Free MapshomepageMapsNews

New GOES-16 satellite imagery for Kentucky

High-resolution weather imagery from GOES-16

Though GOES-16 is not officially operational, the availability of imagery has steadily increased. We found the Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences at the University of Wisconsin-Madison hosts a set of imagery. The satellite will become fully online in November and undoubtedly many other data sources will be available.

This weather satellite captures 16 spectral bands with time resolutions as quick as every 30 seconds. The spatial resolution (the size of each pixel) is between 0.5 km and 2 km and the visible grayscale image for the continental US is 12,000 x 9,000 pixels and is collected every 5 minutes.

We wrote a series of crontab jobs to automate the processing of weather imagery to display on our website.

Real-time satellite image maps

Great Smokies solar eclipse images and animations

2:45pm looking across Rich Mountain and Cades Cove

For over a decade we’ve collected views from reliable weather web cams to build daily time-lapse animations for the Great Smoky Mountains. We’ve called the project Yesterday in the Great Smokies and offer a daily archive for the past three calendar years.

The August total solar eclipse in the southern Great Smokies offered a great opportunity to showcase some unique images from the archive.  [Read more…]


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