WPA Land Use Survey Maps for LA, 1933-1939

Developed as part of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s massive package of assistance programs designed to pull the United States out of the Great Depression, the Works Progress Administration (WPA) was known for employing thousands of artists to paint murals in federal buildings and for also employing thousands of the nations’ unemployed in hundreds of massive construction projects around the country.

One of these many programs was also designed to create maps of various locales.  The WPA conducted a land use survey from December 18, 1933 to May 8, 1939 for the City of Los Angeles, Department of City Planning. It covered approximately 460 square miles within the boundary of the City of Los Angeles and resulted in a series of 345 hand-colored land use survey maps. They are collected in 10 books (averaging 35 maps per book) each corresponding to a geographic region within the City’s boundary. The books cover:

  1. North Los Angeles District
  2. Tujunga
  3. San Fernando Valley from Canoga Park District to Van Nuys District
  4. Van Nuys District to Garvanza District
  5. Santa Monica Mountains from Girard to Van Nuys District
  6. Hollywood District to Boyle Heights District
  7. Topanga Canyon to Hollywood District
  8. Downtown Los Angeles and Hyde Park to Watts District
  9. Pacific Palisades Area to Mines Field (Municipal Airport)
  10. Shoestring Addition to San Pedro District

Each original map measures approximately 2 ft. x 3.5 ft.  The maps themselves identify whether land was vacant or used for commercial, farming, residential, industrial, manufacturing, or recreational purposes.

A website, provided by USC, allows users access to the 345 maps.  Along with viewing various maps of the different neighborhoods throughout the city, you can search the contents of the maps.  Check it out.


NAPSG Los Angeles Region Summit

Registration is now open.

NAPSG Foundation is holding a one-day Los Angeles Region Summit on September 15, 2014, in Los Angeles, California. Just one block from the historic Union Station in downtown Los Angeles. This event will convene current and new NAPSG partners from the Los Angeles Region and across Southern California, from all public safety disciplines and levels of government.

The Summit will provide you with an opportunity to learn about the status of Public Safety GIS in the Los Angeles Region and to interact with other public safety officials and GIS professionals.

Who Should Attend? Operations and technical public safety officials, across all disciplines, who are interested in learning more about the requirements and application of GIS in day-to-day public safety operations.


  • Public Safety – Emergency Managers, Fire Service, EMS, Law Enforcement, Fusion Centers
  • Search & Rescue Coordinators
  • GIS Coordinators
  • Transportation Agencies
  • Public Safety & Homeland Security Officials
  • GIS Analysts, Specialists, Managers
  • IT Support Personnel
  • Industrial Emergency Responders
  • …And all other Public Safety & GIS Personnel

Please find the event agenda here.

GIS Analyst – Part Time

A small company providing localized noise pollution studies is looking to hire a GIS Analyst to collect GIS data, incorporate it into working data sets and run it through noise models.

Candidates must be very strong with ArcGIS and related tools. Tasks are automated using Python, so Python proficiency is a must.  A science background will be a further asset.  Candidates must be local to the LA area.

For more info and to apply, visit this link.

Mapping the Spread of Military Surplus Gear

Here is an interesting map and article about the spread of the military’s surplus gear in state and local police departments.  The data is grouped by county and you can filter by aircraft, armored vehicles, body armor, grenade launchers, night vision, and assault rifles. In LA County there are 3 mine-resistant vehicles … they probably work well with all the potholes around here too!


Management Trainee (GIS) Position

City of Lakewood

Limited Term Employment – Maximum of 4,160 hours
$17.8081 – $18.7026 per hour
The Management Trainee program is a component of the City’s Training and Employment Preparation Program. The Program provides an opportunity for recent college graduates, senior level and graduate students to gain valuable work experience in a local government setting. The program provides research, analytical and project coordination experience through assignments in one or more city departments. Management trainee positions are limited to a maximum employment period of 4,160 hours. These are “at will” employment opportunities of the City and may be terminated at any time without cause within the total discretion of the appointing authority. Full participation in the program is based on continued satisfactory performance and attendance. Participation in, or completion of, the program does not guarantee further employment with the City of Lakewood beyond participation in this trainee program. The provisions of this program do not constitute an expressed or implied contract and any provision of this program may be modified or revoked without notice.

The City of Lakewood is seeking a highly motivated individual with technical and customer service skills to fill a limited term position for a maximum of 4,160 hours. Under immediate supervision, the management trainee performs a variety of tasks as a key member of the Community Development Department; improves their GIS skills while applying their GIS knowledge to the various functionalities of the City of Lakewood; learns basic planning and land use concepts; develops and manages databases; provides technical support for GIS users; and communicates with vendors and consultants.
Examples of duties:
Duties may include, but are not limited to, the following: uses a variety of ESRI GIS software applications to perform analysis of location, relationship, trends and proximity of complex features and data; assists staff with the use of GIS software and/or custom applications; uses GIS and non-GIS software to generate maps, reports, diagrams, exhibits and displays for staff in all City departments; conducts field studies as needed to gather and verify data; creates and maintains geographic data; checks work for completeness and accuracy; operates personal computers and related equipment including printers, plotters, and GPS equipment; demonstrates the City’s GIS to others; provides training and technical support to fellow GIS users; and assists the GIS Analyst and other City staff with projects and performs additional duties as assigned.
Education: Must be currently enrolled in senior year of an undergraduate program at an accredited college or university, or be a graduate student or recent college graduate with a degree in geography, planning, or a closely related field.License: Possession of a valid Class “C” Operator’s License issued by the California State Department of Motor Vehicles and a good driving record.Knowledge of: Basic knowledge of principles, practices and techniques of GIS; cartography; research and report writing methods and procedures; GIS software applications including ArcGIS for Desktop and ArcGIS for Server; personal computers, printers, and storage devices; GPS data collection; basic zoning and planning practices; Microsoft Office suite of products; and customer service principles and techniques.

Skills & Abilities: Assist in producing a large quantity and variety of maps, graphics, and reports for all types of users and needs; assist in data creation, analysis, and maintenance; meet schedules and time lines; learn to understand and interpret planning drawings, maps, specifications, legal descriptions and ordinances; communicate effectively with those contacted in the course of work; operate various types of machinery and equipment, including personal computer, office machines, and motor vehicle.

Physical and Mental Demands: Ability to read, write, type, use of office equipment; drive motor vehicle, be at work daily; communicate orally, in writing and over the phone; understand written and verbal directions; normal manual dexterity and eye-hand coordination; see at normal ranges and distinguish colors, shapes and forms; lift and carry up to 30 pounds; stand, walk, and sit for extended periods of time.


Position closes 9/2/14.  For more information and to apply, click here.

The History of Cartography Project

The History of Cartography Project has been awarded a five-year grant from the National Science Foundation to study the origins and development of modern cartography. The research will facilitate preparation of Cartography in the Nineteenth Century, Volume Five of the groundbreaking History of Cartography series.

This unique, international research and publishing venture, based at the UW-Madison, is dedicated to promoting a deeper understanding of cartography among scholars and the general public. The first three volumes of the series are available in print and are freely available online.  The final three volumes will be published in print, as e-books, and online as well.


A Bucket-O-Jobs!

GIS Analyst – EID, Placerville

IT Analyst I/II (GIS) – City of Roseville

CAD/GIS Data Technician – CSU Fullerton

Assistant Professor (Urban/GIS) – CSU Los Angeles

GIS Technician – Jacobs, Los Angeles

GIS Specialist – SCE, Rosemead

GIS Technical Specialist – SCE, Rosemead

GIS Assistant – City of Oceanside

GIS Analyst – CCRC, Chatsworth

Programmer/Analyst III – UCLA

GIS Technician – NIIT USA, Irvine

GIS/GPS Technician – Bolthouse Farms, Bakersfield