Ohio River bend at Dayton, Kentucky

Newport levee system

Dayton levee system

Dayton, Kentucky depends on a levee system to prevent flooding by the Ohio River. From this overlook at Eden Park in Cincinnati, Ohio, we can clearly see in the left half of the image how much the city is protected. The inside channel of the meander (the Kentucky side) historically had a much lower slope created by the mechanics of stream flow. As stream flow congested and slowed on the inside channel, sediment dropped from the river that mounded into a point bar and usable land.  However, periodic high river flows would inundate the whole point bar and the challenge became flood management. Dayton’s point bar was secured by this artificial levee system that is only so high. Our engineering of cities depends on knowledge of climate change.

We have created a zoomable photograph that you can use to inspect this levee:

Full-screen view of the photograph.


Eagle Rock and Boulder Canyon views

Eagle Rock climbing area in Boulder City canyon

We’ve made a series of 3D views for Wolverine Publishing’s climbing guidebook for Boulder Canyon, Colorado. This image shows Eagle Rock and was made with high-resolution aerial photography and LiDAR elevation data. The data was supplied by Boulder Canyon Climber Community.

Drafts of Cumberland Gap map

Map packaging artwork

We’ve been hard at work finishing our trail map for the Cumberland Gap National Historical Park and surrounding area. This project is an update of our first Gap trail map. Our new map is on a larger sheet size and at a scale of one-inch to a half-mile. We should them in stock by the end of April 2017.

Please explore the drafts via links below and let us know if you have any suggestions.

Artwork drafts

Map side: https://outragegis.com/gap/map

Elevation profile side: https://outragegis.com/gap/legend


Cumberland Gap NHP interactive map

Interactive 3d map using Leaflet

Interactive 3d map using Leaflet

A bird’s eye view map of Cumberland Gap National Historical Park created in conjunction with our 2016 new release of the park map. This map is not georeferenced to real-world coordinates and uses a javascript mapping library, Leaflet, to generate the interactivity. We think of the developing project as a gateway for multimedia about the park’s environment and history that we want to share.



Pilot Knob State Nature Preserve student mapping project

Students in NRE 355 (a GIS calass at the University of Kentucky Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences program) visited the 740-acre Pilot Knob State Nature Preserve on September 21, 2016, and used mobile devices to collect GPS data for the existing trail network. They mapped approximately 3.2 miles of trail then used ArcGIS and CARTO to measure the trails and create a 2D map and 3D visualizations of the nature preserve. Students then created websites to showcase their work.

http://sweb.uky.edu/~blshea1/nre355/pksnp contains maps, animations, and links to student pages.

3D views and animations of Pilot Knob State Nature Preserve

3D views and animations of Pilot Knob State Nature Preserve

Elevation profile of connected interior spaces


Enlarge this graphic

It’s downtown Lexington, summer, and hot. Poor air quality and oppressive heat are hazards for older walkers and those with cranky babies. An interior (mostly air conditioned) pedway exists that connects various buildings downtown and is a walking convenience for many folks. When Lexington has more shady pedestrian paths away from city streets, walking inside wouldn’t be so inviting and necessary. [Read more…]

Cumberland Gap trail map at Woodland Art Fair, August 20-21

2016 Cumberland Gap trail map, hiking information

2016 Cumberland Gap trail map and hiking information

The update to our Cumberland Gap National Historical Park is almost complete. Much like the old map, our 2016 version is a 1 inch to 1/2 mile scale map with 50-foot contours, trail elevation profiles, and  GPS-mapped trails shown in vivid full-color printing. This year we added a layer that shows density of canopy coverage and GPS-mapped Caldwell Gap Trail. The size of the park has increased since our last update, so we’ve included most of the additional land. [Read more…]

Audio driving tour on SoundCloud

Listen to audio

Listen to audio

We’ve added our audio driving tour for Cumberland Gap and Pine Mountain to SoundCloud. This self-guided tour will show you over ancient buffalo traces and Native American trails that frontier settlers cut into roads seeking the fertile lands of Kentucky. You will walk through Cumberland Gap where the Wilderness Road and the Warrior’s Path meet and look out upon America’s First Frontier. Along the Kingdom Come Scenic Parkway, you will hear the rushing headwaters of the mighty Cumberland River.


Download audio and maps: http://www.firstfrontier.org/tour/FirstFrontier-Audio196kbps.zip

Lexington Bike/Ped versus Car Collision Analysis

Website of collision maps

Website of collision maps

For a GIS course at the University of Kentucky Department of Geography (GEO 409), we mapped and analyzed the incidences of car collisions with pedestrians and bicyclists. Using data from Kentucky Crash Analysis Wizard (crashinformationky.org), we harvested collisions for Fayette County from January 2004 until April 8, 2016, the entire dataset at that point in time. 

The website of collision maps is available here: http://boydx.github.io/collisions/ and the bike map is http://boydx.github.io/collisions/bikes

[Read more…]

Weather station almost full!

Happy New Year to you! We invite you to our four year anniversary of documenting weather animations in the Great Smokies. When we move into 2016, we’ll cycle out the observations for 2012. Over the past dozen years we’ve documented weather for areas our maps cover. More recently, we’ve offered an online media library of webcam and satellite animations and daily weather summaries for the Great Smoky Mountain National Park. They’re offered as animated GIFs for three webcams and a visual GOES satellite for the region.

Four years of webcam animations

Four years of webcam animations

In short few hours, we’ll have four complete years of these webcams. If you need a nice sunset or sunrise, feel free to explore the archive.

As we look to the future, we’re excited to investigate the public data that many personal weather stations are feedings services like Weather Underground and Netatmo. We’ll start aggregating weather station data for our hiking areas and offer it here. That’s a goal for 2016!

Sheltowee Trace South, 2015

Six 19" x 27" pages

Six 19″ x 27″ pages

We’ve finished our Sheltowee Trace South, 2015 map. This rich color topographic trail map includes almost the entire Big South Fork National Recreation and River Area and the southern half of the Daniel Boone National Forest.

Map is six 19″ x 27″ pages and is available laminated. Check it out!

Woodland Art Fair, 2015

Come down to the Woodland Art Fair this Saturday and Sunday,  August 15 and 16. We’ve made big progress on the Sheltowee Trace South map and we’ll have samples to show at our booth.  While in the same format as Sheltowee Trace North map, we’re adding an additional sheet to cover the Big South Area.

Working draft of the Sheltowee Trace South map

The fair runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., or there abouts. We’ll stay as long as you’re visiting!

Our booth location and coordinates are shown on the below map. We’ll be between Troublesome and Difficulty Creeks, at least spirit! Find us on the Woodland Christian Church side of the fair at the shady bottom of the hill.

Robinson Forest Camp Trail Map Exercise

Robinson Forest Camp trail map

Robinson Forest Camp trail map

As part of UK Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences 2015 Summer Camp, I taught a one-day GPS and GIS exercise to map the interpretive trails around base camp. With seven undergraduates and their mobile devices and one Trimble ProXRS, we split into three teams. One team focused on the trail network and GPS mapped trail alignment and intersections. A second team mapped interpretive sites on the left-side of trials, while a third-team mapped right-side features.

In the second-half of the day, we worked in the classroom and on laptops to make a map in ArcGIS. Some students had GIS software experience and helped their fellow classmates to make a map as a geospatial PDF and use on their mobile devices. A GeoPDF is a mobile map that doesn’t require a cellular data connection to function.

Student Observations and Analysis of UK Campus Celebrations

Basketball Celebrations

Map of basketball celebrations

During two weekends this spring, students in UK GEO 309 (Introduction to GIS) were asked to log celebrations associated with UK men’s basketball NCAA tournament around campus in selected zones. Student teams were then tasked to map and analyze these patterns of celebrations during the last week of class. Their maps and photographs are shown here.

Their topics include: locations of campus rental properties, noise pollution from major party locations, population density, and changes in social media engagement during and after games. 

Distress In Kentucky

Distress In Kentucky: Link to image

Link to image

Severe socioeconomic distress exists in both urban and rural block groups. Of the 311,000 people in severely distressed block groups, 60% are urban. In rural block groups, as socioeconomic distress increases, so do indicators of environmental distress. Rates of wildfire and surface coal mining nearly double between distressed and severely distressed rural block groups (chart 1).


A broader point can be made with this analysis. Adventure tourism is a growing business nationally and a determined focus of economic development in Kentucky. Many of these types tourists seek a large network of land and water trails, especially in pristine areas. Much of eastern Kentucky had this potential, except for the cycle of unsustainable surface mining and the attending boom-bust economy that left derelict landscapes. Poor areas with scarred lands face a much harder path attaining success in this new tourism. But there is always hope. Perhaps the type of adventures grow (e.g., ATV and bridal parks on large reclaimed strip mines) or maybe regional coalitions stitch together corridors of unaltered land. The benefits are not just in tourism dollars, but also in the activity of recreation. Imagine a distress index map that also included bad health indicators.

Map was created by Boyd Shearer for GEO 309, Introduction to GIS in the Department of Geography, University of Kentucky during the Spring Semester, 2015.

Sources of data:
Kentucky Department for Natural Resources, Division of Forestry. January, 2015.
Kentucky Department for Natural Resources, Surface Mining Information System (SMIS) database, accessed March 15, 2015: http://minepermits.ky.gov/Pages/SpatialData.aspx
Short, Karen C. 2014. Spatial wildfire occurrence data for the United States, 1992-2012 [FPA_FOD_20140428]. 2nd Edition. Fort Collins, CO: Forest Service Research Data Archive. http://dx.doi.org/10.2737/RDS-2013-0009.2
US Census Bureau. 2015. 2009-2013 American Community Survey (ACS) 5-year Estimates.