I just signed up to be a geomentor. We all need to help young folks to be more geo-literate. Go to for more information.

What is Geo-Literacy? See National Geographic’s definition here.

Harnett County Natural Resources: An ArcGIS Online Story Map

Harnett County Natural Resources Map Story
Map story describing the unique natural resources in Harnett County, North Carolina

LandDesign created the Harnett County Natural Resources Story Map using the “Story Map Tour” template from ArcGIS Online. This was done as part of the Comprehensive Plan and a Partners for Green Growth grant from the NC Wildlife Resources Commission. It is meant to raise awareness for natural resources issues in the county and provide a point of departure for a vision plan that facilitates growth without compromising the assets that make Harnett County so unique.

SSURGO Downloader from Esri


Holy cow.  Esri just saved me a lot of time.  With the SSURGO Downloader from Esri you can now download pre-packaged SSURGO soil data by watershed with all the attributes you need (like Farmland Class, Absorption Rating, etc.).  You used to have to download from NRCS or USDA, then import attributes to an access template, then export, then join, then export. This saves a lot of time and allows for mapping prime farmlands a lot quicker.  Thanks Richard Nauman, Michael Dangermond, and Charlie Frye!

Charlotte Metro Map

Map of Charlotte Metro
Map of Charlotte Metro

Here is a map I created using an ArcGIS to Illustrator workflow.  It is included in the article:

Preferred Office Locations: Comparing Location Preferences and Performance of Office Space in CBDs, Suburban Vibrant Centers and Suburban Areas by Emil Malizia.  The full study/article can be downloaded at the NAIOP website here.


OpenStreetMap to GIS Workflow

1. Export OSM file from
2. Install QGIS
3. Install QuickOSM Plugin (Plugins/Manage and Install Plugins/Search for QuickOSM)
4. Click on QuickOSM icon in toolbar
5. OSM File/Open the .osm file
6. Right click on files and export to .shp
7. Open .shp files (attached) in ArcGIS

Folder Size

I am addicted to collecting GIS data. In addition to the collection habit, the DEMs, land cover datasets, growth forecasting and suitability models seem to overwhelm whatever new absurdly large storage mechanism acquired. Enter GetFolderSize-a great little application that mimics what XP used to be able to do. It scans folders so that you know where the largest data is. And it works in Windows 7.

Existing Density

Some may think that small southern towns (and cities) are not dense.  It always surprises me to find pockets of density where you would least expect it.  Check this map out of housing unit densities in Wake County, NC.

Wake County Density
Wake County Housing Density 2013

Build Your Own Cross Sections

Ever wanted a quick and easy way to design visually pleasing cross sections?  Streetmix allows you to do just that.  You can specify a right-of-way width and add travel lanes, bike lanes, sidewalks and medians as you see fit.  Here is an example output:

Ideal urban neighborhood street
Ideal urban neighborhood street

Shortcut to Most Used Coordinate Systems

Are you tired of hunting for a projection when creating feature datasets or reprojecting data in ArcGIS?  Well you don’t have to hunt.  Just copy the .prj file from the subfolder in the Projected Coordinate Systems folder (C:\Program Files (x86)\ArcGIS\Desktop10.0\Coordinate Systems\Projected Coordinate Systems) and place it in Coordinate Systems folder (C:\Program Files (x86)\ArcGIS\Desktop10.0\Coordinate Systems).

Coordinate Systems Folder
Coordinate Systems Folder

Now when you are prompted to select a coordinate system you do not need to hunt for it, it is available immediately in the first dialog. Store copies of all of your “favorite” projections here and it will save you a lot of time in the long run.

Favorite Coordinate Systems
After you copy .prj files from the subfolders