Letter From the Editor

Nancy Ferris


Amateur maps in action: The annual Alameda Chicken Coop Tour provided an interactive map and a PDF to help visitors navigate the local hen houses. Here's a snapshot of the PDF.

Making a good map isn't easy. A few weeks ago I went on a backyard chicken coop tour. The organizers and participants were amazing hosts, and, to their credit, the event website included an interactive map and a PDF map to help visitors find their way through the self-guided event. Unfortunately, both maps were surprisingly difficult to use. But hey, these cool people never claimed to be into geospatial stuff.  They like chickens. It reminded me that even though mobile devices and apps may let you create maps with a few clicks, the art of cartography and good GIS design is exactly that, an art. 

As luck would have it, we have a wealth of talented geospatial professionals sharing their GIS work with us in this issue. I wish I'd known Matt Alexander back when I was doing environmental field work. Matt gives detailed instructions for transforming your field data collection from old paper and pencil methods to Mobile GIS using cloud computing. 

If you want to see how you and GIS can make the world a better place go read about Mapbox's work with organ donors and demographic data. Just one person agreeing to be an organ donor can save dozens of people's lives, but the supply and the need in California don't always geographically match. 

Speaking of saving lives, author Jeff Ledbetter returns to the BayGeo Journal to show how municipalities can update their GIS data to save lives when people call 911. (You'd be amazed what the system doesn't know when you call 911 from a mobile device!) It's all about data interoperability and standardization, regardless of the software or platform you use for your organization's GIS. The lessons learned from cutting edge municipalities like the City of San Jose can apply to anyone trying to clean up and share their data.

We've all drooled over people's gorgeous photos online showing off the perfect spot to see the sunset, or the most delicious hole-in-the-wall ice cream spot you absolutely must try. Kalgi Shah used her geospatial and programming skills to harness the power of geotags to help you plan your next outing based on those online photos.  

Andrew Homka is one of BayGeo's newest volunteers helping with our social media presence. He also has some great advice for young geospatial professional like himself as they navigate school, internships, and first jobs. Say hi to Andrew if you see him at a BayGeo event!

The Map Gallery showcases several Bay Area maps from Water:  An Atlas. Darin Jensen's article in the Fall 2017 issue described making this unorthodox atlas, and the atlas is now officially online and in print. Visit the Guerrilla Cartography website to purchase a paper copy, or download the PDF for free. 

Special thanks to Geowing for helping to sponsor this issue of the Journal. BayGeo is a small non-profit professional organization, and we couldn't make this publication without the support of our sponsors and individual members.  

BayGeo recently bid farewell to the old BAAMA website and proudly launched the new homepage where you can sign up to join or renew your membership, browse the job board, subscribe to the newsletter, and learn about all of the fun activities BayGeo is hosting. BayGeo members also get discounts on events, and training at the GIS Education Center. What are you waiting for???

Want to share a map or story in a future issue of the BayGeo Journal? Send me an email at journal@baygeo.org. 


Spring 2018 Volume 11 Issue 1

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