Surveying, Mapping and GIS

Exploring all aspects of mapping and geography, from field data collection, to mapping and analysis, to integration, applications development and enterprise architecture...

  • Geospatial Technology, End to End...

    Exploring all aspects of mapping and geography, from field data collection, to mapping and analysis, to integration, applications development, enterprise architecture and policy

EPA GIS Workgroup

Posted by Dave Smith On 5/12/2008 09:37:00 AM 0 comments

While everyone else is off to Where, et cetera - I'm going off to the EPA GIS Workgroup meeting in New York City...

Always great to see what's going on in terms of GIS and remote sensing for visualization, modeling and analysis in the realm of environmental protection - usually most EPA regions and program offices are represented, along with other organizations and agencies... Lots of geo friends in attendance.

Looking forward to it.

US Streets

Posted by Dave Smith On 5/11/2008 06:53:00 PM 2 comments

This is an interesting view of the United States:

- found on Ben Fry's website,

The author compiled all local roads, and visual patterns of density and human use rapidly emerge. Here, a mix of physical barriers (such as valleys within the Appalachians) can be seen along with major corridors of development. There are still some blocks within some states which are not fully populated (shown as generally-rectangular, lighter-density areas in some of the midwest states), Fry ascribes this to differences in how roads are characterized and classified.

Why I Haven't Moved To The Beltway...

Posted by Dave Smith On 5/06/2008 11:00:00 PM 2 comments

Given most of my work is in the DC Beltway, and I have a 4 hour + "commute" one way - some of my friends and colleagues keep asking why I don't move south.

Simple answer... quality of life. I wouldn't be able to afford the great house that I have, I wouldn't have the great natural setting nearby...

I walk just a few houses down to the end of my block, and from there, I'm in a park - I can take a lengthy hike in any number of directions, a different hike for every day of the week... and the scenery?

More "photos of the day" to come...

Thematic Mapping

Posted by Dave Smith On 5/05/2008 09:52:00 PM 0 comments

After just spending a chunk of time tonight reading article after article on his site, I have to give my kudos to Bjørn Sandvik, and his blog, Thematic Mapping -

There's just a ton of eminently cool and accessible stuff for visualization there...

The latest buzz here in Northeastern Pennsylvania here in the last few months revolves around revised estimates of natural gas potential residing in the Marcellus Formation, which is a deep layer of black shale running throughout southern New York State, across Pennsylvania and into Ohio and West Virginia.

Per Wikipedia, the Marcellus Formation is believed to contain as much as 500 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, 10% of which may be recoverable using current technologies.

Notably here in Northeastern Pennsylvania, the Marcellus Formation is exceptionally thick, with some areas up to 350 feet thick - the map illustrates the extent of the Marcellus formation in grey, with isopach lines denoting layer thickness.

In terms of stratigraphy, the Marcellus Formation is part of the Hamilton Group, lying deep, however far deeper gas deposits are currently being developed elsewhere in the world.

While the economic boom is welcome - with one potential outcome being preservation of farmlands and forestlands in Northeastern Pennsylvania - in an area which has been struggling for some time, and while this deposit becomes a welcome find in an imminent energy crisis, the longer-term pros and cons are yet to be known - specifically, what are the potential environmental impacts, to aquifers, of hydrofracturing, impacts of surface activities - what needs to be done in terms of pipeline infrastructure, and so on...

Appalachian Electoral Dynamic?

Posted by Dave Smith On 5/04/2008 06:05:00 PM 1 comments

I just came across an interesting blog, which presents a different spin on election dynamics, in the aftermath of the primary we just had here in Pennsylvania -

Here, counties in blue represent larger wins for Hillary Clinton, whereas the green counties represent larger wins for Barack Obama... "Appalachia" is outlined in black.
During the 1992 presidential campaign, Democratic political consultant James Carville described Pennsylvania as "Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, with Alabama in between." - Now here's yet another similar analogy... I'm just presenting it as a Pennsylvania voter, reserving my own mix of comments, whether bemused or amused - I'll leave folks to draw their own conclusions...

"The Electoral Map" -

[edit - interestingly, the delineation of "Appalachians" on the map appears to concur more with congressional boundaries which generally touch on the Appalachian range]

The Onion: County Surveyors

Posted by Dave Smith On 5/02/2008 06:05:00 PM 0 comments

Between spending a lot of time on the road and wearing my fingers to nubs writing proposals, I unfortunately haven't had much time to blog - but I did just come across this humorous bit:

Aye, indeed... we surveyors are full of humility... Even though those who behold us are heard to utter such things as,

"There goes a man whose ability to record and maintain elevation benchmarks once a year rivals that of Atlas himself. That, son, is a man far better than I."

And, if you find yourself drained from your own bitter political battle for your own County Surveyor, think:

"Well, thank God we elected a county surveyor who is free from ego, modest to a fault, and is just generally the Joe DiMaggio of land-parcel mapping and plat checking."