Finding Government Publications

The US government is one of the world’s largest publishers, both in paper and on the web.  More than 200 years ago Congress authorized the sending of free copies of certain government publications to libraries around the country.  This developed into the Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP), with more than 1,100 public, academic, and government libraries as members.  Each of these libraries receives government materials for free, and is required to make them available to the public.

The Federal Depository Library Program is run by the Government Printing Office (GPO), which recently changed it’s name to Government Publishing Office in order to indicate it is now more involved with electronic data rather than paper.

If you are looking for government publications and other federal information, give these online sources a try:  Continue reading

Spider Diagrams

Recently I had a need to generate a spider diagram for my map.  Spider diagrams, also called desire lines for business scenarios, are a series of rays drawn from a central point to related points.  The result shows you the actual area of influence for each central point.


Some good examples would be store locations and customers that visit them, library locations and patrons’ home locations, or in my case fire station locations and incidents they responded to.  Continue reading

Lyft Added To Google Maps

Last week Google announced that is has added support for Lyft and Gett to Google Maps for Android and iOS.  Google Maps now displays ridesharing options from nine partners in over 60 countries:

  • Gett in the UK (and now New York City)
  • GO-JEK in Indonesia
  • Grab in Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam, Philippines
  • Hailo in the UK and Spain
  • Lyft in the U.S.
  • mytaxi in Germany and Spain
  • Ola Cabs in India
  • Uber around the world
  • 99Taxis in Brazil

The feature works in the same way as other transportation options in Google Maps. For example, Continue reading

Happy Birthday California!


Today America’s most populous state and third largest by geographic area is 166 years young.  California became the 31st American state on September 9, 1850.

Some fun facts that you might not know about the Golden State:

  • California is home to the highest point in the continental U.S., the 14,494 foot Mt. Whitney.
  • It is also home to the lowest point in the continental U.S., Death Valley, which drops down to 282 feet below sea level.
  • The fortune cookie was invented here. At least the Americanized version. Efforts to trace its origins into the past and across the Pacific Ocean have been difficult, as documented by The New York Times and The Smithsonian.
  • California is the only state to host the Summer (1932 & 1984) and Winter Olympics (1960).
  • Our state song? “I Love You California.”

And here are some things that were going on in the world in the year 1850.

If you happen to be in Sacramento today, you can join in the festivities at the State Capital from 11am to 1pm.

Map Use: Reading, Analysis, Interpretation

Very soon ESRI Press will be releasing the 8th edition of “Map Use: Reading, Analysis, Interpretation”.  The e-book will be available September 19th and the print book on November 7th.

Map Use is a comprehensive, foundational textbook, providing students with the knowledge and skills to read and understand maps, and offers professional cartographers a thorough reference resource.  Continue reading

California Earthquake Clearinghouse

The California Earthquake Clearinghouse was setup to provide a location after a damaging earthquake, real or virtual, for professionals who arrive in the affected area to become part of a larger, temporary organization (the Clearinghouse) to facilitate the gathering of information, maximize its availability, and better use the talents of those present.

The history of the Clearinghouse has its roots back in 1971 after the San Fernando earthquake.  Continue reading

1979 California Water Atlas

The California Water Atlas, published by the State of California, was a landmark atlas with the first comprehensive look at California’s extensive water system in a geographic context. The atlas itself measured about 18.5 x 16 inches and had hundreds of maps and infographics that told the story of California water in different ways.

The goal of the atlas was to “introduce Californians to the complex and compelling issues of water in the state, giving them the information they need to participate more actively in the decisions that governmental agencies make”. Continue reading