Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Taking the Time

     GIS is always on pace with cutting edge technology, but that doesn’t mean that utilizing this technology is always simple and accomplished at lightning speeds. As a GIS intern for four years, Kimberly Zepeda has learned that many projects take patience, time, skill, and a critical eye. 

     “One of the most important skills I learned through the years is how to digitize things. Using this skill, I was able to complete a lengthy project during the Fall of 2012 that was very time consuming. By using a map of a suburban district in Baltimore and the ArcGIS software, I was able to digitize a map of the entire area,” said Kim.

     Kim used ArcGIS software to create each individual layer and parcel of the Baltimore Suburban area. These projects are hard work because even the smallest of details have to be sketched out by hand, such as buildings, windows, doors and lots. “I was able to recreate a useful map to provide a digital record of these buildings to include historical information and provide further possible use for visitors to the area. Along with digitizing, I entered in information in an attribute table for each polygon concerning the building number, street it was located on, and any extra comments.”

     Although only a portion of the original map was digitized, Kim notes that it took a while to enter in all the information correctly and carefully digitize each polygon, occasionally fixing vertices of the buildings. “I found the cut polygons button to be an excellent tool in providing accuracy in making sure buildings were even and did not overlap. Since the boundaries were large horizontal polygons, the cut polygon tool assisted in creating the most accurate lots parcels. This tool specifically adjusts the shape of the original polygon and helps split one feature into two new ones with a clean cut by simply sketching a line across the polygon.” This project took up a majority of the fall semester since all the buildings were included and all the data was double-checked for accuracy with the original map of the area.

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