The above map shows some of my completed island mapping projects. Each icon contains the name of the primary island associated with the project and a link to the post. Once all of my projects are posted, the map will be covered with icons. To productively use the map, zoom into a region of interest. Then select an icon.

Each of my maps is constructed of numerous layers of information. All of the layers are vector files. I will make these files available upon request. You are free to use them with certain restrictions - 1) Don't sell them. You can use them on research projects, post them to your website or things of that nature. If you aren't sure about the use of my maps, drop me a line and we can discuss your idea. 2) Give me credit when you use my vectors or images of my maps. Credit them to Peter Minton @ EVS-Islands

If I have the island vector file(s) and based upon your need, I will make them available. Images of my maps are yours to download and use, with the above restrictions applicable. Enjoy!

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Titan's Mystery Island - My History with Titan's Methane Seas and My Contribution Toward Understanding this Mystery

Now you see it.  Now you don't.  Titan's Mystery Island has lit up news feeds around the world and I have followed many of them with a keen, vested interest (more to follow).  The original article, Transient features in a Titan sea, in Nature Geoscience, is the scholarly report on a transient feature that the news feeds are calling "Titan's Mystery Island".  The free news feeds are numerous.  My favorite article is contained in  It is entitled Planetary Scientists Discover Mysterious Geologic Object on Titan.  The article is well written and contains interesting images which help to clarify this interplanetary phenomenon.

First, let's give you some of my involvement with Titan's methane seas.  On February 23, 2008, while visiting with my son's family, I made a map of an unnamed methane sea located on Titan, a moon of Saturn.  Using Cassini derived PIA100008 imagery as my base image, I created a vector map entitled, "Titan's Unnamed Methane Sea".


My EVS Precision map of Ligeia Mare (formal name)

This map turned out to be one of my most popular.  I even had a call from Spin wanting to write up the scientist behind this first map of an interplanetary liquid sea.  After a brief phone interview, they weren't impressed that an ordinary "Joe" could make a quality map.  It was fun none the less.

Back to my day job, teaching, and Titan's Unnamed Methane Sea was just a pleasant memory.  Two days ago the "Transient Geologic Object" hit the news.  As I read more and studied the image that displayed the transient object, I realized that it was a portion of the shoreline of my 2008 map. 

Before (left) and After (right) and After, After (left)

This is not an insignificant portion of the shoreline.  It covers an area of approximately 5600 sq kms (75 x 75 km).  The sea, Ligeia Mare, is comparable in size to Lake Superior.

Just for the heck of it, I decided to study the phenomenon in more detail.  I loaded the Before and After image into Global Mapper and began inspecting the image.  The After portion seemed fatter than the Before.  That would be my study question, just how much fatter is the After image then the Before image?  I decided to divide the Before and After image into smaller panels to work with.

Before and After (Panel's Left, Middle Right)

The first panel seemed less complicated and allowed me to see how much fatter the After is compared to the Before.

Before and After, Panel Left

Since I love working with vector files, I figured that would be a good beginning.  Right off, I didn't like the color differentiation.  The various shades of brown did not, in my opinion, give me the comparison accuracy I desired.  Global Mapper  allows one to use color blend modes that can be applied to images.  One of my favorites is Color Burn.  With the proper background interesting color differentiation takes place.  First I tried a white background.

Before and After, Panel Left with white (255,255,255) background

Yeah, it didn't work.  Just a white image.  Can't work with a blank canvas to accomplish what I wanted to do.  I tried a number of other background colors.  The best was a light blue (218,240,253) which made features on the image clearly definable.

Special Study Panel 1, Color Burn and light blue background

After studying the color burn, light blue background image, I decided to create a vector file that traced the green outlines of the pale blue area within the limits of the dark blue areas.  The light blue areas appeared to define and match the lighter browns in the original image.

Digitizing the areas within the green outline and dark blue areas

 I digitized my areas of interest.  It took a couple of hours and lots of zooming to ensure the vectors were reasonably aligned with the green outlines.  I digitized both Before and After creating polygons.

Special Study Panel 1, Color Burn and light blue background with digitized polygons

Special Study Panel 1, Color Burn and white background with digitized polygons

Special Study Panel 1, Original image with digitized polygons

The Before image contained 49 polygons with an area of 5.9633.  Since my base image was not georectified, I wasn't concerned with the units of measurement, just the final figure that I would compare against the After image figure.  The After image contained 40 polygons with an area of 7.2873.  I divided 7.2873 by 5.9633 and arrived at 1.2220.  Yes, the Before image is only 88% of the After image in areas within the green outlines.  Seeing how the polygons line up on the original image, I'll go out on a limb (no peer review, please) and state that the After image geologic features on Panel 1 are approximately 22% larger than the geologic features in the Before image.

Is 22% significant?  I think so.  I intend to create polygons, using the same mapping processes, for Panels 2 and 3.  At that time I will give my final results and I suspect they will read something like this, "After is Fatter than Before".

Until then, Enjoy!


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Sunday, June 22, 2014

Motu One, Marquesas islands, FP - How to Make a Good Map, Better.

Motu One, Marquesas Islands, FP (Red Dot)

Let me begin by stating that this map is a redo.  Back in April, 2006 I posted my first mapping effort of this little known reef located in the northern Marquesas (along with Eiao and Hatutu Islands).  I constructed my first map of Motu One using Landsat ETM+ imagery and a Johnson Space Center image.  Oh, how my craft has evolved.

Motu One - Original Map (April, 2006)

The basic shape of the reef was captured.  The georeferencing of the base image was okay.  In 2006, I did my digitizing using Global Mapper (still my favorite) and doing my final map composition in Marplot.  The map is functional, but could use some work.  by the way, thanks to German Wikipedia for using this map along with many of my others.  In my retirement I am devoting myself to making island maps and this one has always fascinated me (the above water feature is a sandbar), I decided to redo it using some new base image resources.

STS033-74-43 Original Image (left) and 50° Right Tilted Image (right)

I took the original image, STS033-74-43 (left) and tilted it 50° to the right which is the approximate alignment of the three islands.  Using GSHHS shorelines and Global Mapper's georectifying module, I was able to position the tilted image in it's proper geographical position (georectified it).

Motu One Image Mosaic (1:50,000)

Using my unnamed source (got to keep some secrets), I created a mosaic of Motu One.  I georectified it using the STS033-74-43 tilted image.  With this new imagery, details of the reef were revealed.  It was time to redo my map of Motu One.  Actually, I made a more detailed, accurate map of Motu One and with a better, more appealing presentation.

Motu One, FP - EVS Precision Map (1:50,000)

I do have a couple of reservations about this map.  The sandbar/islands, shallow sand and shallow reef layers are accurate per my base image.  The depressed portion in the center of the reef identified as middle sand and middle is reasonably digitized for my purposes,  The deeper reef, mid-deep, is unfortunately the least accurate layer of this reef.  The left portion is a guess, the right is a follows a deep reef.  The guess work associated with the deeper reef can be corrected with better imagery.  That, however, will have to wait for another day.

To my German and French wikipedians, I think this map is better then my April 2006 map.  You are welcome to use it.


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Friday, June 13, 2014

Gough Island, SH - It's For the Birds!

Gough Island, SH - EVS Precision Map (1:52,000)

Gough Island Location
It has been a long time!  Too long between posts.  Suffice it to say, I have been very busy in my day job, teaching and making maps of islands, but not having the time to post them. As of next Wednesday, June 18th, I am retired.  People ask me if I will be able to keep busy.  Yes, I tell them.  I will make maps of islands.  Enough about me.  Let's talk about birds, graduate students, South African nautical charts and fiddling with a map layout.

The only people semi-permanently living on Gough Island are meteorologists.  An occasional scientist will pay a visit, a few months at a time to check out the birds.  Gough Island is an Important Bird Area according to Birdlife International.  Three days ago I got an email from a South African graduate student on a months long stay on Gough Island counting birds and researching their habitats.  He needed a vector map with reasonable contours.  He wants to spatially display his findings on my map.  Good for him!

Now about this South African nautical chart, SA-23.  I was able to use the feature information on the chart to complete my map.  Follow the above link and you can check the chart out.

This island is isolated, desolate and often surrounded by violent weather.  But the birds love it!  And so do I.


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Thursday, January 12, 2012

Thoughts - Quantum GIS, Africa and 6th Graders, A Recipe for Mapping Success.

QGIS West Africa Map

If you have followed my posts you know that I do most of my mapping work in Global Mapper, a solid mapping program that is easy to use and handles very large format image files with ease (Landsat, SRTM, GeoTIFF). However, it costs real dollars. Big bucks for me and unaffordable bucks to outfit each student workstation with a mapping package.  I have spent the last year learning how to make maps using Quantum GIS (QGIS), a well-maintained and powerful open-source mapping package.

I teach middle school students between the ages of 11 to 14, social studies which includes world history, US history and geography. We spend a good deal of time working with open-source software (OpenOffice, Irfanview, Audacity, etc.) to learn about our world and how to make effective use of technology in the classroom. I have always wanted to bring mapping into the classroom. This year I decided to give QGIS a try with my students. I was determined to teach my students how to identify and display spatial data on a map. That brings me to the West Africa map and QGIS..

This year all of my students are learning to make maps. They have learned the difference between vector files and raster images. They are becoming adept at labeling countries, cities, empires and city-states. They love to use all the wrong colors and fonts, but I let them because they are having fun making maps.  So far the projects have been relatively simple, but challenging in a mapping sort of way.

Today, my 6th graders (11-years old) were identifying and labeling countries in Africa using QGIS and a variety of vector files and a large format raster image of Africa taken from the Natural Earth website. They finished the country identification phase of the mapping project and wondered what to do next. I said, "Make a capital city point file and identify and label African country's capital cities."  In the past, I would have labored long and hard to teach them how to make and use a point file. We would have spent a great deal of time setting up the symbology and label parameters.  However, today within minutes all of the students created their capital city point file, defined parameters and were busy plotting capital cities. How cool is that!

Enjoy! I know I sure am!

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Nice article, thanks for the information.

By Anonymous sewa mobil jakarta, at 4/30/2012 09:30:00 AM  

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By Anonymous Online Marketing, at 5/02/2014 02:16:00 AM  

I would have loved to have this opportunity to use computers more often in sixth grade. We had The Oregon Trail and Snake. Now kids can imagine a world outside their neighborhood thanks to Teachers like you.

By Blogger Jordan Williams, at 5/11/2014 12:08:00 AM  

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Thursday, December 22, 2011

Samana Cay BF - Columbus' First New World Landfall?

Samana Cay - Locator Map 
Samana Cay - Locator Map

Samana Cay - Landsat ETM+ Image N-18-20_2000 (1-85,000) 
Samana Cay - Landsat ETM+ Image N-18-20_2000(1:85,000)

Samana Cay - EVS Precision Map (1-85,000) 
Samana Cay - EVS Precision Map (1-85,000)

My interest in Samana Cay was the result of a serendipitous moment.  A few evenings ago while editing my Islands of the World point file, I became curious about the Turks and Caicos Islands.  Using my GSHHS World Shoreline map, I located the Turks and Caicos Islands.  Not an area I have done much mapping in, but interesting.  To the northwest was a small island off by itself, Samana Cay.  Nothing particularly outstanding, just a nice little island facing the Atlantic Ocean.  Curious soul that I am, I checked out the Wikipedia article and Wow!  Some scholars think this might be the site of Christopher Columbus' first landfall in the New World.  Pretty cool.

I identified the Landsat ETM+ mosaic, loaded it into Global Mapper and began mapping.  The completed map is nice.  The Landsat image is pretty cloudy.  More research and my next Wow!  Samana Cay is the largest uninhabited island in the Bahamas.  An uninhabited island close to home (USA).  How cool.

All of you Florida readers hunting for your Crusoe Getaway, Samana Cay could be your island.  People from Acklins Island visit periodically to collect cascarilla bark.  Other than the occasional Acklins Island visitors, you could be all alone contemplating whatever it is you want to contemplate.


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Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Data - The Latest Edition of the WPI (World Port Index) from NGA Maritime Safety Information

One of the more popular data files offered from this site is the NGA Maritime Safety Information World Port Index. In 2006, I secured a copy of the WPI database in KML file format. For 2-years I made this abbreviated version of the WPI available to any wanting a copy.

In 2008, I secured a copy of the WPI in MS Access format. I reworked the data, getting an MS Excel spreadsheet which was ultimately converted into an ESRI shapefile which I made available to any wanting a copy.

I am not a regular visitor to NGA Maritime Safety Information, but today I chanced to visit it. In looking at the WPI and what was being offered, I was pleased to discover that they now offer the WPI in ESRI shapefile format.

So, here is the deal. If you want to download the WPI data directly from the NGA MSI unit follow this link. If you want to download the WPI shapefile and a pdf file of the WPI 150 book follow this link.



Sounds like you had a wonderful Tourist visit with your friend and a fun time exploring your new home!! Im hoping my hubby gets stationed in Charleston or on the East coast, this Texas Heat is too much for me hehe

By Blogger Jessica Gatto, at 7/19/2013 05:05:00 AM  

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Monday, January 17, 2011

Marmara Island TR - Modifying SRTM v4 TIF with EVS Precision Coastal Vector File

Turkey - SRTM Vector Modified

Turkey - SRTM with EVS Vector Modifications

The map of Turkey on the left is a portion of a 600-MB World Map created by Tom Patterson. His excellent and informative website, Shaded Relief, contains a wide variety of shaded relief maps. He explains how you could create your own shaded relief maps. I have been content to download his finished maps and use them in my classroom. The students love working with them.

I have been a long time user of SRTM data. Using tools within Global Mapper, I was able to generate interesting 3D views of islands. Last week I came across SRTM v4 data at CGIAR Consortium for Spatial Information (CGIAR-CSI), which I call Cigar (See-gar) for short. I downloaded a number of SRTM TIF images covering Turkey, where I am plotting Roman era towns and cities. Using the Shaded Relief Natural Earth 1 world map I was able to plot at scales of 1:1500000 to 1:1000000. When I attempted to work closer the map became a screen full of pixels. What to do?

Marmara Island - SRTM EVS Modifications Before and After (1-25,000)

Marmara Island - SRTM EVS Modifications Before and After (1:25,000)

The SRTM v4 data offered me some intriguing possibilities. First, I was able to zoom into areas at scales between 1:500,000 down to 1:50,000. At 1:50,000 I had to contend with pixels. The vertical side of a pixel in the part of the world I am working in is 90 meters, the horizontal side is 70 meters. Clunky looking when working at 1:50,000. It was then that I had my "ah-ha" moment. I loaded Landsat imagery on top of the SRTM imagery. I then digitized shorelines using the Landsat imagery (section 1). I switched off the Landsat imagery and my EVS precision shoreline cut through SRTM v4 pixels (section 2) and allowed me to determine the shoreline on the SRTM image. The SRTM modified shoreline is now useful to scales as fine as 1:25,000 (section 4).

I know! A 14.5 meter pixel defining a 90-meter pixels leads to potential problems. However, for my purposes, plotting Roman era towns and cities, these SRTMs modified with EVS precision shorelines work just fine.

Marmara Island Vicinity - SRTM with EVS Modifications Before and After (1-250,000)

Marmara Island Vicinity - SRTM with EVS Modifications Before and After (1-250,000)

And at 1:250,000, they look great!

A word about my custom hypsometric tints. The colors I initially took from the Shaded Relief website. But I have since tweaked them a number of times. The current version, certainly not my last, looks great for this part of the world.

I am slowly, but surely working my way around the shoreline of the Sea of Marmara, a place I spent time as a young man. I do hope this was both informative and interesting.


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