KCGIS Center News Archive 2007
The addition of a new map set, "Electoral Districts", brings the number of distinct sets of map layers that can be viewed in iMAP to eleven . This new map set provides district boundary information for King County, including voting precincts, King County Council, Legislative, Congressional and minor taxing district boundaries.
The district data layers in this map set are maintained by King County Records, Elections and Licensing Services Division and reflect district boundaries eligible for election. They do not include such service area boundaries as water or sewer service agency's service areas.
As with all iMAP map sets, the same iMAP interface and base map layers as well as a property search function are included along with this new collection of map layers.
The KCGIS Center in coordination with Public Health of Seattle and King County, KC Parks and the cities of Burien, Renton, Sea Tac, and Tukwila have produced a map/guide to promote recreational activities within this region of the county.
KCGIS Center cartographers worked closely with parks staff to gather information on parks, trails, bike lanes, play grounds and community centers. The guide side of the page displays information from each city plus an amenities chart for selected parks or trails.
You can get your own copy by contacting King County Parks, or by stopping by the Roads Services map counter on the first floor of the King Street Center building. Or you can download and print your own version from the Virtual Map Counter.
The KCGIS Center has just published a new recreation map and guide for Vashon Island. It was commissioned by the Vashon Park District and Vashon-Maury Island Land Trust to promote outdoor opportunities available on the island.
The map includes topographic detail to help users see the bluffs and stream systems in the area, while the guide includes a recreation chart for parks and facilities, photographs for a number of sites and descriptive text for things to see and do. The Vashon–Maury Island Parks & Natural Lands Map and Guide made its debut at the Vashon Strawberry Festival in July.
Vashon Island features 30 parks and natural preserves that offer a variety of activities, including swimming, hiking, wildlife viewing and more. In addition, King County manages more than 800 acres of land on Vashon-Maury Island, including the popular Dockton Park, the ecologically valuable Island Center Forest.
You can get your own copy by contacting the Vashon Park District, the Vashon-Maury Island Land Trust, King County Parks, or by stopping by the Roads Services map counter on the first floor of the King Street Center building. Or you can download and print your own version from the Virtual Map Counter.
If a picture (or a web site) is worth a thousand words, a video can be an even more powerful medium to help you learn about GIS technology and discover how it is used by King County. In our premier video offering King County GIS Center staff members take you on a four-minute tour of our operations, describes typical GIS business applications, and spotlight some of the GIS resources that are ready for you to use.
Lights, Camera, Action…
Revolutionary changes in the King County website have begun with the introduction of www.kingcounty.gov to replace www.metrokc.gov, and the launch of a new home page design. These and more changes to come will make the King County website more user-friendly and an even more accessible source for a wealth of information and services, including GIS services.
Visitors to the King County GIS Center website won't notice any changes right away, except in the King County e-mail address format which now looks like this:
We'll revise the e-mail links on our site to make the change transparent for users who contact us that way. The old metrokc.gov addresses will still work for several more months, but if you have King County e-mail addresses in your address books, it would be a good idea to update them soon. And www.metrokc.gov/gis will continue to bring you right here during a gradual transition period as we, along with all King County departments and divisions work on revising our sites to adopt the look and feel of the new King County home page.
The new layout of the King County home page is service-oriented and includes a "Maps" link under the "Essentials" heading. This link takes visitors directly to the KCGIS Center map portal, where they can connect to the popular and heavily used Parcel Viewer and iMAP interactive mapping applications, and to a wide variety of other maps and map resources.
KCGIS Center Client Services recently completed a project for Metro Transit Service Development that may help ease commuter pressures in the Metro service area. Earlier this year, Metro employees captured a one-day snapshot of vehicle origins from seventy-five park and ride lots in King County. KCGIS Center Client Services processed this information, loaded the resulting data into ArcGIS, and then geocoded and mapped thousands of vehicle origin points.
Client Services proceeded to analyze the distribution of the these spatial points to delineate the area that contained the home locations of the nearest 80% of users for each park and ride lot. The project included comparisons of the new data to those from a similar effort in 2002. The maps and analyses from this project will help Metro determine where to expand existing park and ride lots and locate new ones to better serve existing transit users and make it easier for more commuters to make the switch to public transit.
King County GIS fielded a strong presence at the recently concluded 2007 Washington GIS Conference. The Washington Chapter of the Urban and Regional Information Systems Association produced and sponsored this annual conference which was held this year at the Lynnwood Conference Center from April 23–25. The event included a day of pre-conference workshops, two days of presentations in concurrent management, technical, and exhibitor tracks, and a professional and student map and poster contest.
Leading the King County participation was County Executive Ron Sims who delivered the conference keynote address. Long a champion of GIS technology and regional coordination, Sims used such examples as the county's Greenprint Project—an open space and resource lands conservation and acquisition strategy that relies on GIS modeling, and the role of GIS in endangered species recovery planning to recognize conference attendees for the value that their ongoing and innovative work provides to the community.
As part of the pre-conference workshop lineup, the KCGIS Training Program presented the inaugural version of its GIS for Analysts Boot Camp. More than 75 attendees took advantage of a coordinated package of KCGIS custom training classes designed by working GIS professionals for working GIS professionals.
The schedule of conference presentations and panel discussions featured additional KCGIS staff participation on the topics of GIS performance measures, enterprise GIS funding, publication cartography, and custom application development. KCGIS carried its representation onto the vendor floor with an exhibit booth that gave conference attendees a complete overview of KCGIS Center services via maps, flyers, video, and direct access to key KCGIS Center staff.
At the close of the conference, “Western King County,” an aerial photo map created by King County GIS Center Client Services for Enterprise Seattle and the King County Office of Business Relations and Economic Development received the Best Map award in the map and poster contest professional category as voted upon by the conference attendees.
The King County GIS Users Group is switching from a monthly to a bi-monthly meeting interval. The next meeting of the group will be Wednesday, June 6. There will be no May meeting.
All other aspects of the KCGIS Users Group remain the same. Full details can be found on the Users Group page.
For the second year in a row King County GIS Center Training Coordinator, Cheryl Wilder, has cracked the ESRI Top 5 list of authorized instructors for the first quarter of the year based on number of students taught. Cheryl teaches ESRI-Authorized classes in the use of ArcView 3 and ArcGIS 9. She receives consistently high ratings from her students, as well as frequent praise: "She is an excellent instructor, very patient, and very willing to work with students," "Cheryl has an excellent teaching tempo...I would recommend her to others," "Cheryl was a fabulous instructor."
The KCGIS Center offers affordable ESRI-Authorized instruction, plus a growing catalog of custom GIS classes and workshops developed and taught by working GIS professionals for GIS professionals, and for anyone who can benefit from a better understanding of GIS concepts, practices, and resources.
Classes are held in the KCGIS Center's fully equipped, state-of-the art computer training facility, which is conveniently located in the historic Pioneer Square neighborhood at the edge of downtown Seattle. KCGIS training can also come to your work site.
To see all of the education opportunities and the full range of benefits of KCGIS training, visit the KCGIS Training Program pages.
Map print layouts in iMAP are now created in Adobe Acrobat PDF format, which makes viewing, saving, printing and sharing your map layouts easier than ever. Zoom, pan, save, print and more with all of the controls in Adobe's Acrobat Reader. There's a good chance you already have Acrobat Reader on your computer. If not, download it free from the Adobe website.
You can still choose a landscape or portrait orientation on any of three page sizes for your map layout. But printing your layouts is much easier since you no longer have to reset your browser to the orientation and size of your layout to get the correct print output—Acrobat automatically fits your map layout to your selected page dimensions.
Have you had trouble with lengthy map legends when printing from iMAP? Trouble no more—a second print page is automatically created if necessary to handle the map legend.
Give iMAP printing a try. Just click the same familiar iMAP print button to start a new custom map layout.
The King County GIS Center is pleased to announce the addition of 2005 color aerial photos, at one-foot-per-pixel resolution, to all iMAP map sets. The new photos, acquired last year from Aerials Express, represent the first wide-scale aerial imagery update for King County since 2002. Because the local geography can change so rapidly, as shown in the accompanying illustration (hover your mouse cursor over the image to compare photos), the King County GIS Center has now budgeted funds to acquire new aerial photo imagery every two years. Our plan calls for the next set of photography to be taken in the summer of this year, with processing (for image quality and ortho-rectification, i.e., the removal of optical, height, and angle-of-view distortions) anticipated during the fall. iMAP users can look forward to seeing the new aerial imagery early in 2008.
We've made two improvements to iMAP's property search function that regular users will especially like. First, we've done away with the old address search form that required you to enter the house number in one box and the street name in a separate box. Now you can quickly and easily type an address on one line. The address search will still show you a list of candidates if there isn't an exact match for what you enter. This means that if you wish, you can generalize your search by using partial street names, house numbers with no street names, and even street names with no house number. The less specific your input, the more results you can expect.
The second improvement is for condominium searches. Because an entire condominium complex is represented by only one address in our property database, it can be a challenge to find a condo complex using the address search function when buildings or units within a complex have different addresses from one another. But now you can search by condominium complex name—just enter all or part of the name and you'll get a list of matches from which to choose.
The addition of a new map set, "Shoreline Master Program," brings to ten the number of distinct sets of map layers that can be viewed in King County's web-based, interactive mapping application iMAP. The availability of this new map set coincides with the launch of a website that provides citizens a wide range of information about the update to King County's Shoreline Master Program, which is now underway.
The Shoreline Master Program is a set of policies and regulations that determine how major shorelines in unincorporated King County are managed. The program dates back to 1978 and has not been changed significantly since then. King County is now updating the program as required by the Washington State Shoreline Management Act, which was approved by public referendum in 1972. The program update will address the effects of nearly 30 years of development and population growth (more than half a million people).
The Shoreline Master Program map set in iMAP is just one of many new resources and tools that citizens can use to learn about the broad policy goals and the specific details of shoreline management in King County.