New Bike Lex Map


Online map for shared-use trails and bike lanes

A new Bike Lexington map was released in June 2013. We developed a Tilemill online map version and it is online here. I have two directions we would like to go with this map. One, I’d like to establish legibility at all zoom levels so it can work on mobile devices. Two, I want to develop a version where users can submit reports on important or problematic locations with a focus on safety. It would be obvious to first map accidents and fatalities to communicate and understand how they happen.

We welcome any recommendations or contributions.

Hello TileMill: looking at Sheltowee Trace mileage

Landuse and trail with mile markers

Sheltowee Trace trail with mile markers and landuse background image. First draft.

As we update the Sheltowee Trace maps, I took a diversion and looked at Tilemill from the folks at MapBox to create an interactive online map of the new alignment. Tilemill is pretty awesome app and allows you create a projects using a variety of spatial data, including Shapefiles, GeoTIFFs and GeoJSON (a new format to me, but shows some interesting possibilities).

map legendThe strength of Tilemill centers on few features; you can style layers in markup very similar to CSS, attribute data can be used for styling and interactively shown on the published map, attributes and features can be displayed differently at different zoom levels, and you publish to an MBtile file, a SQlite database. This format contains many thousands, no millions, of raster tiles that are served quite fast in your browser. In my opinion, a ton of creativity can be found in this free app.

For the Sheltowee Trace map, I pulled in a GeoTIFF of landuse with elevation hillshading, the ST trail with mile markers, and polygons of county and larger towns. After tinkering with the style sheets, I made a fairly simple map. I wanted to add so many more layers, but I had to see how it looked online. The simplest way to publish it to use MapBox’s service, but the .mbtiles file was 300 MB and I wanted to host on I needed to to use a few javascript libraries to serve this map on our server. I chose Leaflet through MapBox’s Wax library (inspired by this post) and it was fairly easy to setup. One thing I learned after a little frustration, the newest version of Leaflet.js will not work with the .js files in Wax. Use only the files included in Wax and it will work perfectly. The only other bit of code needed is something to read the data in the mbtiles file and format it properly for Wax. I used tileserver.php and it is important link if you want to display attribute data interactively.

While the map is very simple, it has some potential I think. Obviously the base map needs finishing with a good legend, but some exciting options include adding popup photos of significant trail features (with the future hope make this an interactive submission for users) and using Leaflet’s geolocation feature for mobile devices (pretty buggy now and there’s issue of offlining the data for use in the field).

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Please provide contact information for your designer, if needed. We can build your ad from content you provide. We can also directly place your designed ad, if it does not exceed the ad’s dimension.

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Late May in the Mountains

May 24 weather animation for Cold Mountain

Cold Mountain clears into view after the morning fog burns off and reveals the marvelous green from this spring’s abundant moisture. One can see that spring is just reaching the summit and a beautiful sunset occurred on this spring day.

Spring Day

April 15 weather animation

A nice cloud swept sunrise this past Monday and a fantastic afternoon to follow. Special days ahead.

UK Campus Native Tree Tour

The University of Kentucky’s Native Tree Trail

The University of Kentucky Native Tree Trail

The great document was made by Forestry students in UK’s College of Agriculture in 2007 and we just found it! This 2.2-mile tour locates 45 native tree species on UK’s campus and includes pictures. From the description, the document appears to be a class project for FOR 599: Geographic Information Systems in Natural Resources. Now this is a great example of using classwork & technology to keep us green and appreciate our diverse flora.

By: Lee Moser and Matt Strong
Course Instructor: Dr. Songlin Fei

This project is supported by the UK Service-Learning Grant Program, Department of Forestry, and College of Agriculture.

Download and for other local tours, visit the Department of Forestry website and click on the left-hand link, “Links and Opportunities.”

Tale of Two Years

We have a late spring this year and you can see it with the Look Rock webcam. The first image is from April 1, 2013 and doesn’t show much greening of the trees. The second image is an animation from April 1, 2012 and you can quickly notice much more tender green.

[Read more…]

Early Spring Snow in the Great Smokies

Snow on Mt. LeConte

In winters past, the highlands of the Great Smokies could expect an average of 8-10 feet of snow. This winter we’ve had much less, though the average temperatures have about normal. On March 26, however, we saw a dramatic snowfall with Mt. LeConte getting about 20″ in one storm with little snowfall at lower elevations. These images clearly show the snow line and give a unique feeling to the mountain scenery.

[Read more…]

Web page update

As we update the site for our 2013 hiking season, please don’t mind our fuss, too much. We’re trying organize our site better and offer more maps for spring.

Rephotographing Lexington’s Streetscapes

Rephotographing Lexington’s Streetscapes. Click to view Google Map.

A collaborative final project for GEO 172, Introduction to Human Geography, Fall 2012, BCTCS

The class was tasked with rephotographing the streetscapes of downtown Lexington captured by Asa Coleman Chin in 1920-1921. Sanborn maps of the areas Chin photographed are provided as a reference.

Students then researched Lexington newspapers for information about city life during the period 1907-1921. Historic themes of urban improvement, segregation, and riots emerge. Students’ photographs & research show monumental change in areas of civic life, but often little change in many areas of the city’s built environment.

Sources: Kentuckiana Digital Library & Lexington Public Library

We won an award!

We submitted the Bike Lex Map for the Kentucky Association of Mapping Professionals 2012 Kentucky GIS Conference map competition. We competed and won 2nd place! It was a great conference in Louisville and I must say that I probably gained a few pounds from all of the great food.

Woodland Art Fair!

We invite you to visit our booth during the Woodland Art Fair this weekend, August 18-19. We are located in the back section of the Woodland Christian Church portion of the fair.

Click on map to expand

This year we have friends for neighbors, Cricket Press. They were near High Street for many years, but decided to join us in the tree covered corner of the fair. They design and handprint all kinds of awesomeness.

This map shows our locations with bike lanes (blue lines) and preferred bike routes (orange lines) to help cyclists navigate this car crazy event. Bluegrass Community & Technical College is offering bike valet parking this year.

National Weather Service Update

Within the past few months, the National Weather Service updated many of their websites, which impacted our weather services on We are happy to announce that we have completed updates on our end so we can continue to serve up weather information for the Daniel Boone and Great Smokies.

The biggest change was to their home page and to the point locations’ weather and forecast pages. This caused our 7-day forecast to break, but we have fixed the problem. Also, the rss feeds for watches and warnings were dropped for point locations, so we had figure out a work around to pull in these important messages. While we didn’t replicate the rss feeds, we were able to pull in hazardous weather discussions for our locations. It kinda works and thank goodness for the command line utilities pcregrep and sed.

Never Summer Wilderness

We visited Colorado this June & July and had a remarkable journey through the Rocky Mountain National Park and Arapaho National Forest. The Never Summer Wilderness area borders the western side of Rocky Mountain NP and straddles the Continental Divide. 13,000-foot peaks with 11,000-foot alpine lakes on their flanks were this trip’s scenic destinations. Parika Lake provided one nice, large trout, but photography was our challenge. Look at some photos or [Read more…]

2012 Bike Lexington Map

This map is freely available at local bike shops and as an electronic download.

We are proud to announce the release of the Bike Lexington Map which locates bicycling facilities and preferred routes in Lexington, Kentucky. The purpose of the map is to show existing facilities (such as bike lanes and shared-use paths) and preferred routes (wider roads with low volume and/or low speed)  to encourage cycling and help cyclists plan trips through the city.

This 27″ x 39″ free, full-color map can be found at local bicycling shops and the Bread Box’s Broke Spoke and West 6th Street Brewing. UK students can pick up the map at Wildcat Wheels. Other outlets are sure to be added.

Digital PDF copies are offered in a few versions.

  1. The official map (7 megabytes) is the version printed.
  2. A map with aerial photography (49 megabytes) shows the built environment and surrounding countryside.
  3. A map book (27 megabytes) allows for easier printing and mobile use.

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