The learning curve for the program ArcGIS Map is quite steep. A quick scan of my fellow students’ faces during the agonizing sessions in front of our computer screens would render me within a pretty strong coalition of head-scratchers. That the learning curve is even steep for me, is especially impressive.That I have used computers, daily, since the age of 10 (whether to access the internet or more technical applications such as Adobe Photoshop) and that I can be considered a fairly tech savvy computer user are especially especially disenfranchising notions; what is a tech-novice, who say, is taking a GE in a certain technicalized department, to do if even a proficient user is struggling to catch up? I say this, however, not to toot my own horn, but rather to demonstrate one of the primary pitfalls of proprietary GIS software; lack of accessibility.
The accessibility of mash-up mapping/ othersuch bubble-up Neogeographical applications comes with its own set of faults; questionable accuracy of source data, the potential for faulty intents and the easy mass distribution of what may be potentially misleading, misinformed data in a professional-looking format. However, that this technology is widely accessible demonstrates the sole differentiating pitfall between proprietary GIS and Neogeographical GIS. Within ArcGIS itself, one has access to infinitely more design and data layering features than one has dropping a pin, line or polygon on a characteristically predefined google map. Within this lab alone, I was able to add a noise contour line/ layer and find all the potentially affected parcels that this noise contour affected. That, in the real world, this feature is not only stunning visually, but provides the knowledge for urban planners, architects, soil scientists and even pavement engineers to act upon can present the full danger of ArcGIS (and other proprietary GIS Software Application in the same vain). The ‘if’ clause can be somewhat hackneyed, that is to say, the ‘ IF someone did not have the proper initial data with which to make this GIS assertions (ex that the noise contour affected parcels x & y) then time and capital would be wasted in employing this technology to land management.’ Of course ArcGIS is used properly most of the time, by novices and trained professionals alike, however, because the level of professionalism surrounding the input data (that is, the raw data) creates a film of credibility, the data will be questioned far less as the process of ArcMapping continues to the point of on the-ground fruition.
Another obvious flaw of ArcGIS is something that it inherent in all purchasable technology (and what my point in paragraph somewhat strongly asserts); that it can not be purchased by all. Although access to the internet, and its font of freeware resources, is not completely ubiquitous, it is much more accessible than a specialized application. If a leader of a small town in the DRC(ongo) can gain access to the internet through satellite phone technology (for say internet purposes combined with GPS technology) he or she then has the ability to map some basic resources around his or her own environs. ArcGIS, however, has two layers of complication; acquired skill-set employment and price barriers; although ArcGIS has its inherent flaws in creating an air of credibility when it may be false, it is indeed more useful than simple mash-up mapping, for reasons stated above. To make GIS technology more accessible on both fronts, it is essential to de-propritize ArcGIS (and other professional GIS software) . Doing so may provide yet more keys to providing an effective service (more users=more complaints rendered and better ability to analyze and solve interface problems), over and above existing neo-geographic freeware and current ArcGIS software.
That my own experience with computer/software technology has not gained me enough experience to know ArcGIS from day one is a seemingly small problem. My own personal issue demonstrates that users with experience at par (or less than that of) with my own may find the barriers to entry into GIS limiting to the point of refusing to use it; the artificial barrier for me, presented by need of my own grade prevents me from refusing its nomenclature spun webs of data. All of its jargon and difficulty aside, ArcGIS is an effective tool that must be expanded in its access to more users/
Light Rail is a subway like technology that is almost exclusively above ground. Light rail serves as a rail mass transit resource, and like all other mass transit, it creates noise and light pollution, requires its own alignment, free from most on ground obstacles, and also requires a sufficient amount of alignment space (aka, the width of its foot print) in addition to the length of its track. In effect, Light Rail track forms a kind of urban river, which can only be crossed at specified locations and forms its own noise-basin/ight and buffer.
My question is, given that above ground Light Rail does cause all of these unpleasant detractors, who would want to live in the areas so affected by these quality of life zappers/ industrial behemoths? Who does live around them?
My hypothesis is that only those can not afford to live further away from these rail freeways do live in the vicinity of them…the data I compiled trends towards affirming this.
The Write Up:
NeoGeography As An Effective Resource: Given a little bit of research, and general knowledge of LA’s mass transit system, I was able to map, with relative ease, my question’s base and hypothesis. It allowed me to not only visualize my idea but also distribute it with relative ease (note, its appearance on this blog, as opposed a static paper map, which would have been harder to create and to distribute in a physical fashion).
NeoGeography’s Potential Issues: The design of my map, which can serve as a fairly basic demonstration of many other Google Mashups, tends to oversimplify the details on the ground. At some points in LA, a region can be marked by poverty just South of a certain street, while most everything North might be marked by gentrification or middle-classdom. A perfect example, from my map, is that more than 10% of the region along the MidWilshire/Koreatown district is lives under the poverty line. If you were to go South of Wilshire Boulevard, in this district around Western, Normandie or Vermont Avenues, you would find this to be true; if North, you’d find a region classified by young-urban-professionals and gentrification unfit to be considered impoverished.
NeoGeography and Its Consequences:
Although I did a fair amount of research in compiling my data, I could have very well contrived this info from the ether, and made my map look just as professional and unfortunately, just as convincing.
-The consequences of NeoGeography are similar to the consequences of any web-oriented content: who polices accuracy?
From a NeoGeog perspective, even accuracy may not be enough (policed or not). The data you many want to map may be more complex, and require more sophisticated layering of data.
For instance, if you look at the poverty levels in my map, and the rail alignments, alternative hypotheses may not present themselves, given a fairly obvious correlation between poverty and loud Metro lines. If you were to layer, however, freeways/interstates, that have similar noise/light pollution effects with their own proximity to Metro Rail Lines, you’d miss that Freeways have quite the correlation to poverty…and in fact, interstates in LA almost form a more distinct bounding box of poverty than do Metro lines.
How did I get this info on poverty and how did I choose to map it?
The LA County Poverty mapping info I imitated as best I could with Google Maps’ polygon tool.
I chose to map areas that had a 10% of higher density of residents living below the poverty line.
As per which districts I chose to map, it was within the Metro Rail general area, and followed no exact asymptotic buffer zone.
The original poverty map can be found here:
Below is the Mashup that my lab discourse refers to:
1. What is the name of the quadrangle?
The Beverly Hills Quadrangle: California-Los Angeles Co.
2. What are the names of the adjacent quadrangles?
Canoga Park, Van Nuys, Burbank, Topanga, Hollywood, Venice & Inglewood
3. When was the quadrangle first created?
The Topographic data for this quadrangle was first assembled in 1966
4. What datum was used to create your map?
Several datums were compiled in the making of these maps: NAD 27 & 83
5. What is the scale of the map? 1:24,000
6. At the above scale, answer the following:
a) 5 centimeters on the map is equivalent to how many meters on the ground?
b) 5 inches on the map is equivalent to how many miles on the ground?
c) one mile on the ground is equivalent to how many inches on the map?
d) three kilometers on the ground is equivalent to how many centimeters on the map?
7. What is the contour interval on your map?
8. What are the approximate geographic coordinates in both degrees/minutes/seconds and decimal
a) the Public Affairs Building; degrees of: 34.07419 N, -118.43933 W; 34º4’27” N, -118º26’21”W
b) the tip of Santa Monica pier; 34.00753 N, -118.49995W; 34º0’27”N, -118º29’59”W
c) the Upper Franklin Canyon Reservoir; 34.12039 N, -118.41034W; 34º7’13” N
9. What is the approximate elevation in both feet and meters of:
a) Greystone Mansion (in Greystone Park); 560ft, 170.68M
b) Woodlawn Cemetery; 160ft, 48.76M
c) Crestwood Hills Park; The Center of the park is 700ft, 213.36M
10. What is the UTM zone of the map?
11. What are the UTM coordinates for the lower left corner of your map?
3,763,000 Northings and 362, 000 Eastings.
12. How many square meters are contained within each cell (square) of the UTM gridlines?
13. “Obtain elevation measurements, from west to east along the UTM northing 3771000, where the eastings of the UTM grid intersect the northing. Create an elevation profile using these measurements in Excel (hint: create a linechart). Figure out how to label the elevation values to the two measurements on campus. Insert your elevation profile as a graphic in your blog. ”
14. What is the magnetic declination of the map?
15. In which direction does water flow in the intermittent stream between the 405 freeway and Stone Canyon
16: UCLA, as depicted within the context of Westwood Village for scope and to delimit UCLA property outside the main campus.