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December 12, 2008

You may have noticed over the past months that other sections of the King County website have changed their style. Beginning this week, the KCGIS Center website will also make the change to the new blue style. The two sites will coexist for about a week, then we'll shut the old gold site down.

We intend to remove the old site on Monday, December 22nd.

You will need to update any bookmarks that you have - iMAP, Parcel Viewer, Training, etc. We'll provide some redirects while both sites are up, but we won't be able to redirect every page.

As of December 31st, links with will no longer work.

The new site will offer a consistent look and feel with the rest of the King County website, better navigation, and improved organization of our maps, services and applications. And we think it looks pretty good, too.

July 9, 2008

Custom cartography is one of the most visible services provided by the King County GIS Center because the resulting map products are often published and distributed in large quantities to a broad and diverse audience. Here is a review of noteworthy custom map projects that KCGIS Center Client Services has completed or received awards for during the first half of 2008.

Burien-SeaTac-Tukwila-Renton Parks & Trails: Award for Excellence

map detail: thumbnail image (click to see larger sample - 159k JPEG)In April the Washington Recreation and Park Association awarded this map guide its annual Spotlight Media Award of Excellence for Best Park/Trail Printed Map. The guide, which was published in August of 2007, is the result of a collaborative effort between the four cities named in the title and King County Parks & Recreation, with support from Public Health Seattle & King County. KCGIS Center Client Services supplied project coordination, design, and cartography.

The map guide was conceived as a convenient, attractive, and useful product that would profile and promote numerous opportunities for physical activity, and encourage participation in parks and recreation programs, all in a unified manner for the neighboring jurisdictions represented in the guide. The four cities and King County Parks & Recreation provided information regarding their key trails, parks, and recreational facilities for inclusion on the map. The cities also supplied narrative content that describes the many special cultural qualities and recreational assets that are waiting to be discovered and enjoyed in each city by residents and visitors alike. The end product is an excellent example of what can be accomplished through collaboration between several jurisdictions with the assistance of specialized support from King County.

(See "Burien-SeaTac-Tukwila-Renton Parks & Trails" in the Virtual Map Counter)

Community Transit Bus Route Maps: New Product

map detail: thumbnail image (click to see larger sample - 94k GIF)In February of this year, Community Transit of Snohomish County unveiled a completely new set of individual maps for all of the routes in its system. The maps, which are integrated with Community Transit's online route schedules, as well as being available in print in their "Bus Plus" rider guides, were designed and created by KCGIS Center Client Services in consultation with Community Transit staff.

The creation of more than 60 brand new maps presented numerous design and production challenges, especially since Community Transit envisioned a level of detail and geographic accuracy that is not always present in bus route maps, but which has proven to be of great value to riders. System users can now plan trips on individual route maps that show timepoints, transit and parking facilities, and connecting routes, all against an accurately scaled basemap that includes major streets and landmarks for orientation and destination-finding.

(See Community Transit bus route maps onlineexternal link)

Regional Transit Map Book: New Edition and Awards

map detail: thumbnail image (click to see larger sample - 111k GIF)The "Regional Transit Map Book," which was first published in June of 2006, is now in its second edition, published in February of this year with extensively updated transit route and facility information. This 28-page booklet was conceived and developed by Sound Transit with cartographic and booklet design, layout, and production contracted to the King County GIS Center and executed by KCGIS Center Client Services. The KCGIS Center also performed the 2008 revisions, in consultation with Sound Transit, using information shared by the major regional transit agencies.

The original and revised editions of the map book have received three awards in the last year. In August of 2007, Avenza Systems, Inc., bestowed a Notable Entry award in the Transportation category of its annual Map Awards competition. In October of 2007, the booklet won a group award, First Place: Map, in the American Public Transportation Association's AdWheel marketing and communications awards program. And a large regional map mosaic from the 2008 edition of the booklet was on display in May in the annual Washington GIS Conference's map and poster competition, where it was selected Best Professional Map.

(See the "Regional Transit Map Book" in the Virtual Map Counter)

Regional Trails in King County: New Edition

map detail: thumbnail image (click to see larger sample -196kk JPEG)King County Parks and Recreation published the 2008 edition of this popular map guide at the end of June. It displays the routes of regionally significant off-road, multi-purpose trails within King County, and a generous amount of related information of value to trail users. New with the 2008 edition of the map, the reverse side of the sheet includes a colorful description in text and photographs of the special characteristics of each of the primary regional trails. Additional text about trail system use, plus sources for more information, are provided to enhance users' access to and enjoyment of the wealth of recreational opportunities provided by King County's Regional Trails System.

The map was developed, produced, and published by the King County Parks and Recreation Division with cartography by Parks & Recreation Division GIS and cartography, design, and production by King County GIS Center Client Services.

(See "Regional Trails in King County" in the Virtual Map Counter)

Custom Cartography for You

As diverse as these four projects are, they represent just a small sample of range of map products and custom cartographic techniques that KCGIS Center Client Services can bring to your project. By combining full-featured GIS and graphic arts tools with decades of experience designing and creating map products of all kinds, and with the support of King County's enterprise GIS, the King County GIS Center can tackle any custom mapping project, from simple locator maps, to richly-designed topographic maps, to complex map books. For more information, or to arrange for King County GIS Center participation in your mapping project, contact Client Services Manager Dennis Higgins by phone: 206-263-4523, or e-mail.

June 23, 2008
1936 Aerial Photo extent, including the Urban Growth Line

The King County GIS Center and the Department of Transportation - Roads Services are pleased to announce the addition of 1936 aerial photos to iMAP. These black and white aerial photos cover almost all of western King County within the Urban Growth Boundary, including Mercer Island and Vashon Island.

Information on how these aerial photos came about can be found in this essay on