Planning Critical Mobility For The Less Abled

In 1995, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was signed into law, creating an unprecedented awareness of mobility issues for the disabled. The ensuing decades have seen much effort by public transit providers to comply with The ADA and accommodate the most in need of enhanced transit options.

Though many major transit providers, including Amtrak, have attempted to comply with ADA, there remains a pervasive lack of funding and oversight for ADA compliance. According to the “Equity in Transportation for People with Disabilities” report, communities rural and urban lack appropriate access to mobility leaving an estimated 560,000 people shut in their homes due to lack of mobility options. 6,700 individual providers support paratransit services nationwide, yet the disjunction between front door and the outdoors pervades.

Providing access for those in need given the resources available is not impossible. Streamlining paratransit agencies has created efficiency in rural counties and could be modeled elsewhere. Traditional transit options, like bus and rail facilities that are ADA compliant are often underused due to lack of patron knowledge. Providing greater outreach for existing services can bridge the mobility gap that is so pervasive in the United States.


Lab 8

This assignment only seems pointless, in that the obvious geographical connotations that are associated with certain regions and their respective demographic compositions are yet again redemonstrated here.

-That we are able, with census data, to pull race data about African Americans, Asians or other race groups off the reliable site, and prove those stereotypes to be in some respects, true, demonstrates why this lab was indeed worthwhile.


One might hypothesize, that given Asian Americans are a relatively new ethnic group to the United States, arriving after the predominantly agrarian 1800s, that Asians settled primarily in Cities (around centers of industrial production). Within the context of this map, it is demonstrated that, even though the first waves of Asians hit California, that Asians are now distributed relatively evenly throughout the nation, per national population density, with a relatively large dose of spatial autocorrelation. As per California, the Urban centers are particularly saturated, as almost every county between Marin and San Diego is at least 2% Asian (by pop.)


This demographic spread is fairly predictable. Many African Americans live in major urban zones, as well as in the rural South Eastern United States. We can see a significant clusterings of predominantly African American counties along the Mississippi Valley, as well as the urban belt of the Central South. The converse is true of the Plains States, Midwest and Western states with small proportions and volumes of Black populations West of the Mississippi, excluding parts of Texas, Louisiana, Chicagoland and the urban centers of California.

-A notable caveat: that these maps show Black Populations per capita yet individual county total population may obscure the Black presence in a given county. The average county in Mississippi may have a higher percentage than say, Los Angeles County, of African Americans, but LA has many more actual African Americans via population than the entire state of Mississippi. The dichotomy, via these maps, shows African American populations as either being exceedingly rural or incredibly urban.

Given that this demographic group specifically targets TWO ethnic group disables its true functionality: note the clustering of Native Alaskans in Central Alaska relative to the counties of the Continental US, which are bound to have this disparity due to their geographic esotericism._When indeed looking at the distribution of Native Americans in the concentration of the Continental US, they are predominantly clustered in the SouthWestern United States, which follows, given some of the largest “Indian” Reserves in the US are located there.

As Per THE CENSUS SERIES:This assignment only seems pointless, in that the obvious geographical connotations that are associated with certain regions and their respective demographic compositions are yet again redemonstrated here.-That we are able, with census data, to pull this data off of the reliable site, and prove those stereotypes to be in some respects, true, demonstrates why this lab was indeed worthwhile.

As Per GIS

GIS, for me, still needs to develop and polish itself before being unleashed into the hands of students. The interface of GIS was not at all intuitive, and if GIS were brought to a ‘Mac vs PC’ type dichotomy, it would most certainly ‘be a PC’.

Indeed, the rough interface inhibited a general understanding of the lab materials, but provided another layer of disconnect…between the course material and the labs’ purpose.

-GIS felt as though it were two courses, and this sort of fission takes mightily from the value of the course.

Lab 7: The Station Fire

Above: Los Angeles County Map (Reference) with Station Fire Extent

Above: Los Angeles County Map (Thematic)

Within the context of the two maps I have presented, The Station Fire seems almost like fate could not intervene with the raw biological resources available for it to burn so widely and for so long. Indeed, this fire was one of the largest fires in modern times (, 11-24-09)  for Los Angeles County and carved out a significant amount of the heart of the county.

Why I chose to demonstrate my thematic map as such, with pre-established Fire Readiness areas along with fuel rank, is to illustrate that this fire ought to have been no surprise to anyone. That it started at the peak of the dry season also surprised no one, given the Southern California is quite susceptible to wildfires due to arid conditions alone.  Indeed, these fires, as well as this poorly written report, were are quite obvious. That they happened in  the midst  of Fire Preparedness zones and engulfed 11 such fire preparedness stations demonstrates the long standing occurrence of wildfires in the inland, elevated zones of Los Angeles County

Indeed, the area that actually burned in the fire was not populated. No one with any knowledge of a chaparral (Shin Nov. 23) would build within what came to be the Station Fire perimeter. Southern Californians are generally more privy to the effects of Wildfires, and the State itself hunkers down for fire season as demonstrated by seasonal firefighting hiring. (CA Dept. of Forestry Website.)

Further demonstrating the obviousness of this fire are the areas which are presently urbanized (per my reference map) that flank the perimeter. It is difficult, if not just for general public services (plumbing, et al), to exist within highly topographic areas, as well as for housing and urban development to flourish in these aresas. That hospitals are a fair demonstrator of urbanization is why I chose for them to be represented on my thematic map; to demonstrate the lack of density in the fire zone due to the available knowledge of these conditions

What I am trying to preclude with these layers of juxtaposing urbanization and low density, is the notion that even though the media hyped this fire, along with public officials, that relatively few people were directly affected by this fire. That the cities of La Cañada-Flintridge and Altadena ( 9-2-09) located on the flanks of the fire were affected added to the hype. The lesson to be learned from these maps and this fire is that people who choose to build their homes in high risk burn areas and that leaders who organize communities within these regions take on the extreme risk of damaging the longterm wellbeing and prosperity of their own communities.




Works Cited

“CAL FIRE – Fire Protection Careers – Seasonal Firefighter Hiring.” CAL FIRE Home. 2 Nov. 2009. Web. 25 Nov. 2009. <;.

“California Fire Is Pushed Back.” The New York Times – Breaking News, World News & Multimedia. 2 Sept. 2009. Web. 24 Nov. 2009. <;.

Shin, Michael. “Geography 7: Cartographic Conventions.” Geography 7 Week 9 Lecture 1. Kinsey Pavillion, Los Angeles. 23 Nov. 2009. Lecture.

“Station Fire report: Don’t take weapons out of the arsenal – LA Daily News.” Home – LA Daily News. 24 Nov. 2009. Web. 25 Nov. 2009. <;.

Lab 6: SaMo Mo. Topo

The average image many people, the world over, associate with the beach is that of a palm tree and a scrolling beach with either a jungle behind it, or a series of low scrolling dunes forming a low bluff abutting golden sands. California, however, is an exception ; in  few other places on the globe do you find large, depositional beach coastlines abutted by mountain ranges…indeed, this is an Eastern Pacific Phenomenon occurring along South America, but the extreme sand to mountain juxtaposition I chose is indeed home. This stretch of California beach in particular, where the Santa Monica Mountains meet the flank of Santa Monica Bay demonstrates this wondrous effect with great visual acuity.

Extent Data:

Top: 34.283ºN

Left: -118.881ºW

Right: -118.256ºW

BottomL 33.984ºN

a. A  3D rendering of this stretch of mountain:

b. An aspect map of this same segment:

c. A map indicating slope:

d. A shaded relief map:

LAB 5: Write Up

Oncemore, as per the previous lab exercises, the obvious pitfalls, perils and significance demonstrate themselves. The obvious pitfalls; if a map’s purpose is misunderstood, the geographic information within can be used greatly misused. The basic instance of this is with that most ubiquitous of map projections: the Mercator. One would not use a Mercator map to discover land-area disparities between Greenland and the whole continent of Africa, for the intent of a Mercator projection is to preserve angles for navigation. That this common misrepresentation can not only jeopardize knowledge for action, but also impede upon cartographic misunderstanding is dangerous in a world so dependent upon self-motivated research (ie; Wikipedia). If a flashed glance over a map is taken without careful care to the  cartographic projection in use, one can have a drastically skewed worldview. Of course, on the flip side of that heavy coin we find that if used with appropriate understanding to the conventions of projection, we can navigate from point to point, measure distances appropriately and compare areas sufficiently well as to properly navigate the world in two dimensions.

Within photography, the notion of distortion can completely change how one views a work of art or a piece of passively collected survey data. The same is true upon the surveying of a map. The standard by which, in this lab, we can measure obvious distortion is within the distances between two fixed points, each with their own fixed coordinates. When viewing the range of these distance values, using several different types of projections (the types being equidistant, equal area and conformal projections) we can see a disparity of up to 5000 miles (at least betwixt the Fuller and Mercator Projections). That this distortion is confusing to the young students of geography is but a challenge; to someone peering a map with a fleeting glance and little knowledge distortions may be confusing. Especially confusing are Equal Area Maps. These maps distort the shapes of land masses horrendously yet preserve relative areas. For instance, on an equal area Hammer Projection the Eastern Coast of Greenland looks tremendously arced Westward (relative to the North Pole) when indeed it follows a fairly passive N to SW taper in reality. This projection, however, avoids turning Greenland into a monster continent as the Mercator Projection does. That these questions arise are the primary pitfall of the diversity of map projections.

However, the genius of potential misunderstanding is invariably found in the reciprocal level of difficulty; the more sophisticated the map projection, the more useful it may be. For instance the Fuller Projection below uses triangles to divide the world into sections. This method, although it does not use a conventional ovular or rectangular structure preserves both equal area projection in addition to preserving the angles/native shapes of the land masses. Its non conventional usage of distinct shapes shows itself to be useful also in projecting a distance of 6385 Miles, which is only slightly higher than the average distance measured in my six projections (assuming my 6 projections are a random sample of the available projections); making it a likely contender for the best overall projection.

The map projections which we use in this lab, that I find to exemplify both the pitfalls and potential diversity of map projection usage (whether in GIS or not) are indeed the equidistant projections; Cylindrical and Sinusoidal. These maps may demonstrate that distances are preserved in equal proportion within a map yet they do not do anything more productive than their very esoteric task. They demonstrate the key crux in why certain types of projections are indeed useful and how they can be unfortunately misconstrue the readers’ own mental map of how they see the world by meddling in the basic elements of area and angles to produce an esoteric product.

Lab 5 Projections: Equadistant Map- Sinusoidal Projection

EquiDist Sinusoidal

Lab 5 Projections: Equidistant Map- Cylindrical Projection

EquiDist Cylindrical