About Michael Howser

Michael is the Director of the Connecticut State Data Center and the Digital Scholarship and Data Curation Team Leader at the University of Connecticut Libraries. Michael is focused on providing increased access to archival collections, maps, aerial photography, census data, GIS data, and other spatial based data for Connecticut and beyond.

Discovering and Downloading USGS Topographic Maps

On a nice summer day, you may be thinking about going for a hike or exploring areas for your research. Whether you are looking for current or historical topographic maps, there are a number of options to discover and download this maps for free. Included below are examples of how to locate printer friendly, historic, and Connecticut focused USGS Topographic Quadrangle maps.

Printer-Friendly USGS Topographic Maps

Recently National Geographic released a U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) topographic map PDF Quad interface which allows users to search for a location and then obtain printer friendly topographic maps for that area in PDF format. Included below is an overview of the process for searching and downloading your own topographic map which will print on an 8.5″ by 11″ paper as a multi-page map.

  1. Go to http://www.natgeomaps.com/trail-maps/pdf-quads and scroll down to the interactive map.
  2. In the search bar at the top right corner of the interactive map, search for a town, quadrangle, or place. search_national_geo_quad_PDF
  3. The map will zoom to your area of interest. If you do not see any red pins on the map, zoom out the map by clicking the minus (-) sign on the left side of the map. pins_maps_national_geographic_quad_PDF
  4. Click the red pin closest to your location of interest, this pin represents the center of the topographic quadrangle which covers the area. The pin will display a preview quadrangle map. Click on the quadrangle map image. map_preview_national_geographic_quad_PDF
  5. This will download a PDF map of the quadrangle map which includes a total of 5 pages, the first being an overview quadrangle map, the next 4 maps which include a section of each quadrangle. These maps are designed to be printed on 8.5″ by 11″ paper and include scale, latitude, longitude, along with all the other details included on a USGS topographic map. If you want to know more about the different symbols on the map, check out the USGS Topographic Map Symbols legend.

Historical Topographic Maps from USGS

The USGS also offers a national index of digitized historical topographic maps called topoView which allows you to search by location for historical topographic maps and to download the maps in JPEG, KMZ, GeoPDF, and GeoTIFF format. While these maps may not be as printer-friendly as the PDF Quads from National Geographic, the topoView interface provides nationwide access to historical topographic maps at a range of scales. Included below is a quick overview of how to use the topoView interface:

  1. Go to http://ngmdb.usgs.gov/maps/topoview/ and click on Get Maps.topoView_interface
  2. From the topoView browser, search for a location and hit enter. This will zoom the map to area of interest. From the map scales menu (along the right side of the map screen) select the map scale you are interested in viewing or select Show All to see all the scales available. topoView_mapscales
  3. Click on the orange map pin to bring up the map preview and download menu which will appear in the bottom left corner of the map. This will provide the option to download the map in JPEG, KMZ (Google Earth friendly format), GeoPDF, and GeoTIFF formats. If there is more than one map available, just to the right of the preview map will be a link with the number of maps available. In the sample below there are 13 historical maps to choose from for Hartford North, Connecticut.topoView_map_preview

Connecticut Historical Topographic Maps from MAGIC

If you are interested in more topographic maps for Connecticut, MAGIC offers a number of digitized topographic quadrangle maps which can be accessed via MAGIC’s website with a majority of this historic topographic maps available via the topoView application. Included below is a quick outline of how to locate and download topographic maps for areas in Connecticut from MAGIC’s website:

  1. Got to http://magic.lib.uconn.edu/topographic_maps.html and from the interactive Connecticut USGS Topographic Maps Mash-up interface, search for town (ex. Hartford, Connecticut).
  2. The map will zoom to the area of interest which will show a pin and an outline of the topographic quadrangle(s) nearby. Multiple scales of topographic maps may be available for your area and you can select which scale you want from the Toggle menu along the top right corner of the interactive map interface. More detailed maps will be at 1:24k scale while more general maps will be available at higher scales up to 1:125k.magic_topographic_maps_interface
  3. Click the topographic quadrangle outline which covers your area and a pop-up menu will appear. Select the map of interest and click the View and Download link.magic_topographic_maps_interface_popup
  4. This will take you to MAGIC’s Flickr page where you can download the map as a JPEG (down area in right corner of map view window) or as a full-quality TIFF image (link is located below image). magic_topographic_maps_flickr

Three separate interfaces, each providing access to USGS topographic maps and providing access to current and/or historical quadrangle maps. Enjoy exploring each interface!

 

 

 

 

WMS Server Outage – 1/27/2016

MAGIC_WMSThe Web Mapping Service (WMS) for the Connecticut State Data Center and MAGIC, a service that provides access to the 1934 aerial photography layer and historical maps for use within GIS applications and is utilized within a number of the interactive map mash-ups for MAGIC will need to be offline part of today (1/27/2016) to resolve connectivity issues with the server. This server experienced an unplanned outage and we are working to resolve this issue ASAP.

During this WMS server update period there may be periods of time when the WMS service could be temporarily unavailable or load times for layers may be impacted.

This maintenance will identify and address additional performance issues with the WMS server and we apologize for the inconvenience any short duration outages of the server may cause.

For users needing access to aerial photography layers via a WMS, the Connecticut Environmental Conditions Online (CT ECO) site offers a WMS with several aerial photography layers which can be accessed at: http://cteco.uconn.edu/map_services.htm

Posted in GIS

Web Mapping Service Maintenance – 12/23/2015

MAGIC_WMSThe Web Mapping Service (WMS) for the Connecticut State Data Center and MAGIC, a service that provides access to the 1934 aerial photography layer and historical maps for use within GIS applications and utilized within a number of the interactive map mash-ups for MAGIC is undergoing maintenance on 12/23/2015. During this maintenance period there may be periods of time when the WMS service could be temporarily unavailable or load times for layers may be impacted.

This maintenance will identify and address performance issues with the WMS server and we apologize for inconvenience any short duration outages of the server may cause.

For users needing access to aerial photography layers via a WMS, the Connecticut Environmental Conditions Online (CT ECO) site offers a WMS with several aerial photography layers which can be accessed at: http://cteco.uconn.edu/map_services.htm

 

State Data Center Affiliates Training Event

uscensusbureaulogoThe Massachusetts State Data Center at the UMass Donahue Institute is hosting free in-person data training from the U.S. Census Bureau on September 21, 2015 in Hadley, MA.  This event will feature two sections, a morning session focused on the 2012 Economic Census and the OnTheMap data tool for emergency management and the afternoon session will focus on how to use Census data to spur economic development. Participants may attend the morning, afternoon or both but please register using the Evenbrite links below. Seating is limited to 35 attendees per session and the sessions are filling up fast.

Session descriptions

Economic Census and Programs Session – Morning

The morning session (9am-12pm) will start with a general overview of the 2012 Economic Census and Census economic programs in general.  Then there will be a demonstration of Census’s OnTheMap data tool for emergency management.  Your local Census Bureau partner from the New York City regional office will close this session with an overview of the regional office’s activities and other training opportunities they offer.

Register for the Sept 21, 2015 Hadley, MA morning session here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/us-census-bureau-training-hadley-ma-morning-session-tickets-18444290369

Census Data to Spur Economic Development Session – Afternoon
The afternoon session (1pm-4:30pm) will begin with Census teaching us how to use Census data to spur economic development.  Then Census will show us how to access Longitudinal – Employer Household Dynamics data (LED data), an important new set of data we have been eagerly anticipating.  Your local Census partner will close this session with a demonstration of the Census Reporter web application and an overview of the regional office’s activities and other training opportunities they offer.

Register for the Sept 21, 2015 Hadley, MA afternoon session here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/us-census-bureau-training-hadley-ma-afternoon-session-tickets-18512106208

Location: UMass Donahue Institute 100 Venture Way #9, Hadley, MA 01035

Unlocking the Potential of Public Data Workshop – June 25, 2015

The Connecticut Data Collaborative and the Connecticut State Data Center are hosting the Unlocking the Potential of Public Data workshop. The workshop will include engaging sessions, training, and discussions on public data in Connecticut and will be held on June 25, 2015.

“Unlocking the Potential of Public Data”
June 25, 2015
UConn Graduate Business Learning Center
Hartford, CT
8:00am to 12:30pm
This event is free to attend and registration is required to attend as space is limited. Registration is closed as we have reached the total number of participants we can accommodate for the facility. Stay tuned for a fall conference announcement.
8:00-8:30 Registration
8:30-8:35 Welcome
8:35-9:05 Confused about the different data resources available in the state? This session will include representatives from various organizations across the state who will explain their organization and the data that can be found on each respective site9:15-10:00 Session 1:

  • Have you ever wondered what the difference is between the 1-year, 3-year, and 5- year Census American Community Survey? Come get all your questions answered about using Census data from a Census representative expert.
  • The Surprisingly Subtle Art of Acquiring Public Data from Public Agencies.
  • ctdata.org hands-on training/workshop in a computer lab

10:15-11:00 Session 2:

  • Beyond the ACS – what other census data is available for policymakers and decision makers? Learn more about the economic census, Longitudinal Employer and Household Dynamics (LEHD), and more.
  • ctdata.org hands-on training/workshop in a computer lab

11:15-12 Ever wondered where to find agency data or wonder if it is available publicly? What initiatives are underway or planned at state agencies for improving data access?
12-12:30 Lightning Session: Transportation Hub (t-HUB) Project and CT Crash Repository,

If you have trouble registering, please email
nrosenbaum@cerc.com

 

CT GIS User Network Meeting – September 12th

The Connecticut GIS User Network is hosting a meeting at the South Central Connecticut Regional Water Authority in New Haven, CT on Friday September 12, 2014. This meeting is open to the public (no registration is required) and will feature presentations on applications of GIS and provides a great venue to share ideas and network with other GIS professionals from across the state. Included below is the agenda for this meeting.

Agenda for Friday September 12, 2014 CT GIS User Network Meeting

8:45 Network
9:15 Opening and updates to User Network (looking for members, update to membership, bi-laws updates, 501c, etc.)
9:40 ESRI -Alfredo Frauenfelder
10:00 Census Bureau – David Kraiker
10:20 BREAK
10:30 Latitude Graphics – Michael Funaro
10:50 CT Association of Floodplain Managers-Introduction/Q&A
11:10 Drone Law Journal – Peter Sachs
11:30 Town of South Windsor Drone – Jubenal Gonzalez
11:50 Closing
 

 

Meeting location:

South Central Connecticut Regional Water Authority
90 Sargent Dr.
New Haven, CT

For more details on this event and to signup for the GIS User to User Network Listserv visit: http://ctgis.uconn.edu/

Hope to see you there!

Bike to Work Week and Other Connecticut Commuting Data

(Posted on behalf of Nicole Toussaint, Census & Geospatial Data Intern, MAGIC & Connecticut State Data Center)

This week is bike to work week. In celebration of this I have created a visualization that shows the modes of transportation Connecticut residents use on their commute to work. The percentages shown are the percent of the population using that mode of transportation within that individual country, not the state as a whole. Currently, the data on Connecticut bikers is on the screen. By clicking the arrows left and right on the slider information on other modes of transportation can be seen.

This visualization shows some interesting trends in the state. In regards to biking, New Haven County has by far the largest percentage of bikers in its population. Also, when looking at the visualization of the people commuting with 7 or more people carpooling together Windham County stands out significantly. It would be interesting to see why this is the case and what type of vehicle is being used to transport all of these people. All of this data was obtained from the Census Bureau’s  American Community Survey 2008-12 5-year dataset.

Census Data Access Impacted by Government Shut Down

Due to the lapse in government funding, census.gov and all online survey collection requests for the U.S. Census Bureau will be unavailable until further notice.

Updates regarding government operating status and resumption of normal operations can be found at http://www.usa.gov.

Websites affected by this shutdown are all census.gov websites, including:

Alternative Census Data Sources

During this outage there are a few alternatives options for accessing this data which include:

Connecticut State Data Center – Website includes 2010 Census, 2010 ACS 1,3,5 year, and 2011 ACS 1, 3, 5 year datasets for Connecticut.

NHGIS – Includes historical census data for the nation and includes the ability to download census data in shapefile format.

If you should have any questions about accessing data contact the Connecticut State Data Center at ctsdc@uconn.edu.

Updated MAGIC WMS and MAGIC 2.0 Online Maps now available

After over 5 years of reliable service using our previous WMS and interactive mapping platform we are happy to announce that the Web Map Service (WMS) and the MAGIC 2.0 Online maps platforms have been updated and the new services and interactive maps are now available for use. This migration enables new capabilities to be offered from MAGIC and the Connecticut State Data Center by providing more WMS service options, a comprehensive data layer catalog, and a platform which enables digital scholarship by providing increased connectivity for tools such as ArcGIS, Google Earth, Google Maps, Omeka Neatline, Tableau, and other data analysis and visualization platforms.

GeoServerOur new WMS server utilizes GeoServer, an open source WMS platform which provides a number of enhanced layer options while providing the core elements for providing WMS layer access for ArcGIS and other GIS, CAD, and data visualization platforms.

The MAGIC 2.0 Online Maps have been replaced by a series of interactive maps which include the same functionality as the previous interface and utilizes ESRI’s ArcGIS Explorer interface. Users are able to toggle layers on/off, print, measure distance and/or area, zoom in/out, search by address, and a number of other functions. Additional layers and maps will be added as more layers are added to the our WMS server.

MAGIC’s interactive map mash-ups have also been updated to utilize the new WMS layers from GeoServer and each of these mash-ups can be viewed from the same pages as before and you can also view these maps via the following page: http://magic.lib.uconn.edu/mash_up/

If you used MAGIC’s WMS server previously, you will need to add the new WMS Server to ArcGIS or other software you are using to access our WMS services. Click here for detailed instructions on connecting to our new WMS services.

 

Thank You

We want to thank Kate Johnson, Xiaojiang Li, Weixing Zhang, Brian Perchal, Jie Lin, and Edward Cromley for their help in migrating content, configuring GeoServer layers, and helping to deploy this new service in such an expedited timeframe.

We also want to thank the UCONN Libraries ITS department for installing and configuring the GeoServer and helping to load balance and improve the overall performance of the site.

And we want to thank all of the staff (both past and present) from Progeos who installed, maintained, and provided assistance with our previous WMS server. Your staff were agile, resourceful, and helped us maintain the WMS Server which handled over a million requests (between WMS and online map interface) over the past 6 years.

MAGIC WMS Server Migration and Upcoming Changes

WMS LayersThe Web Mapping Server (WMS) and MAGIC 2.0 Online Maps server has provided us with 5 years of reliable service but the time has come to migrate to a new server environment which enables more capabilities in support of digital scholarship and spatial analysis. While we have been planning to migrate from this server, recent developments and stability issues are requiring us to expedite this move with the new WMS and maps interfaces being available to the public by September 1, 2013 and the former server will no longer be available as of September 1, 2013.

Over the next two weeks, MAGIC will be migrating all of our WMS layers to GeoServer, an open source WMS server which offers additional capabilities versus our current server. During this migration process each of the interactive map mash-ups provided by MAGIC will be updated to incorporate layers from our new GeoServer. We will also be replacing the MAGIC 2.0 Online Maps with interactive maps which will offer additional capabilities while providing the core functionality of the current MAGIC 2.0 Online Maps interface.

We will post updates, new links, and more details about this migration to our blog, Outside the Neatline, so stay tuned for more details.

We want to thank all of the staff at Progeos for their help with this migration and for hosting and supporting the MAGIC WMS Server these past 5 years and the UConn Libraries IT staff for configuring our new WMS Server and mapping platform.