Friday, December 14, 2007

December 14, 2007

December 14, 2007

Batch #2

December 14, 2007

December 14, 2007

Well kids, it's the last blog until next semester. I worked harder than intended on this project, but I did enjoy the process. After discussions with the Planning director and Parks and Recretion director, we decided I would attempt to find some new locations for parks within the Town of Fletcher. I set four main criteria: parcel size must be equal to or greater than 5 acres, price per acre must be equal to or less than $60,000, land use must be either vacant or not in use, and parcels must be outside the manufacturing zoning district.

I created many more maps than required, but I thought would be essential to the analysis. These include zoning, land use, existing parks, natural resources, and slope. A few additional maps illustrate the number of parcels remaining after applying various criteria. I then used the buffer analysis to prevent new parks from being located too close to the interstate, airports, manufacturing district, and existing parks. Out of the 3,311 parcels in the Town of Fletcher, only four parcels met all criteria. One parcel was chosen from these four as the best site for a potential pocket park. But don't look for a new park just yet. I don't suspect the Town has over $200,000 to purchase the land right now. Still the analysis was fun.

My father is doing just fine. He'll be at home for at least 4 more weeks and it seems as though my parents are having a good time together. My husband and I will be going there for the Christmas holiday.

Until next semester, have a nice break and I'll see some of you next semester.

Friday, December 7, 2007

December 7, 2007

No maps to post this week, but don't worry, you'll have plenty next week. I've enjoyed working on this assignment, because it gives you a practical problem to solve. I've decided to find new park locations for the Town of Fletcher. I created some criteria to analyze, such as parcel size, price per acre, zoning, and land use. I then buffered some of the layers, such as airports, interstates, existing parks, and industrial zoning. I've been able to develop a lot of neat maps. Unfortunately, with all the criteria there aren't that many parcels left. Look for the maps next week.

My dad is doing okay. He jokingly said he started exercising the other day...bench pressing with a pool stick. This from a former weight-lifter.

Friday, November 30, 2007

November 30, 2007

I really don't enjoy test day, because I wake up early to study and I'm grumpy for the rest of the day. Today didn't help any since we had the lab quiz also. And of course I always make everything much more difficult than necessary. But other than that class went fine.

The terminology is starting to drive me a bit nuts. Getting things like spatial operations and selection operations confused. And it's a lot to learn when you've never worked with it before. But all in all, I'm doing well. I will also be taking the next class in January, thanks to the Town.

As for my father, surgery went as planned on the 20th. He was home five days later and seems to be doing alright. I know it's hard since he can't lift more than five pounds and he's a weightlifter. Plus now my parents are both home during the day, and who knows how that will go after a few weeks.

November 30, 2007

Friday, November 16, 2007

November 16, 2007

This class was a good refresher of creating feature datasets; I think I'm getting a better understanding of them. And I'm glad Pete was able to give me a better was to manage my files, because that will greatly help with the layer files. Of course this means I need to change some things, which will result in my recreating a map or two. Hopefully it will make my databases more accurate in the long run.

I've started creating a few more maps for the Town. I must remember to create a database to connect with my layers, which I didn't necessarily consider. It's hard not knowing exactly what the information will be needed for future analyses when people just want to look at a nice map. Maybe I'll have to sit down with them so they can realize the capabilities of the software.

Dad's surgery is scheduled for Tuesday; hopefully it won't be postponed any longer. It should make for a fun Thanksgiving holiday for my parents.

November 16, 2007

November 9, 2007

GIS Day was definitely a good experience and worth attending. It was impressive to see the capabilities of the GeoDome. I was also impressed by the session presented by Linda on "Jobs in GIS." I was able to attend the presentation by the NC Climatic Data Center, which left a bit to be desired.

Although students from the class were there to assist attendees with the GPS units, I only had one individual with a question. Of course, it was more technical than what I know about GPS, so he was sent to Pete.

Not sure how many people noticed the map I created as it was quite the same caliber as some of the others. But for those who might have missed it, you can see it in my previous blog.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

November 2, 2007

I'm very glad we didn't have a test today, although I'm more likely to forget things since it won't be for two more weeks. Class was interesting though, as we learned some basics about using GPS units. I never had the privilege of using the fancy one at my previous job, as I was too low on the totem pole. Still, technology never ceases to amaze me and maybe I can talk the Town into purchasing a nice Trimble.

The schedule for GIS day looks like it will be a very busy event. Hopefully there will be good attendance; I've told everyone I thought might be interested. I'm excited to see the demonstrations so I can get new ideas as to what might be useful for work.

I've also posted the Zoning Map for the Town of Fletcher in all its glory. Very exciting to have it completed so quickly.

I'm off to Nashville for the weekend, not much of a country fan but I've heard the town is lots of fun anyway.

November 2, 2007

Friday, October 26, 2007

October 26, 2007

Well, I posted a map for you, I'll admit it's not the best layout. I spent enough time at work this week doing layout so I couldn't get motivated in class. The viewshed and slope analysis are going to be extremelly useful at work. The planning board is already concerned a proposed new development might block the viewshed of Burney Mountain, so they will be happy to know about the surface analyst function. I just won't tell them yet.

To keep up with my father, he's going to need bypass surgery at the beginning of November. Apparently he wasn't a good candidate for a stent, so he'll be having a long recovery....about 4-6 weeks out of work. Good thing he has a government job, so he's earned enough sick time.

Have a safe Halloween everyone.

October 26, 2007

Friday, October 19, 2007

October 19, 2007

Definitely a strange class today with lots of exercises and little lecture. The raster reclassification and distance tools are going to be very useful one day when I figure out where to get the correct data. If the Town knew I had this capability, they would create something for me to do with it.

I'm still surprised by how much I'm learning in this class, and how much I am enjoying it. I'm looking forward to taking the other courses offered at the college. Especially if the Town will pay for the classes. Nothing better than free education.

On the home front, my father is having an outpatient heart procedure on Monday. I've been a bit frazzled this week. He is getting older, but he's been weightlifting all his life so we were a bit surprised. Hopefully everything will go okay as they try to remove his blockage.

October 19, 2007

Friday, October 12, 2007

October 12, 2007

Test Day! The information presented over the last four weeks seemed more clear to me; however, I was confused with some of the test questions. We'll see if I guessed correctly at some of the answers. It's definitely getting harder to stay motivated with studying, but I'm enjoying using the software. I use it pretty much daily at work, while I try to create a nice looking zoning map for the town. I struggled this week to join my database with the County's existing database. I needed to add over 300 parcel number to my table so I could correctly join them. I have all but one parcel corrected, which is really irritating.

Otherwise, I've been thrown off this week. I had missed my yoga class last week, as I was feeling sick. I went to the Tuesday class to make it up; unfortunately, the Thursday class was cancelled, so I'm still a class behind.

And for all you bird lovers out there, take a look at this blog.

October 12, 2007

Friday, October 5, 2007

October 5, 2007

October 5, 2007

I've just completed the exercises in Chapter 9 and I think the join/relate function will come in very handy. Fairly straight forward, but I'll have to practice it a few times so I can learn it better. I have been looking forward to today's lecture, as I am hoping to learn a more effecient method of creating databases.

Unfortunately, I haven't been feeling well this week, so my poor blog is going to suffer. I didn't seem to do anything very exciting this week yet, but I'm excited the weekend is here. Time to see the changing leaf colors.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Friday, September 28, 2007

September 28, 2007

This class was a good reminder of creating geodatabases and new feature classes. I didn't have trouble with the georeferencing function, and I even did this a second time to refresh my memory from class. Digitizing is causing some problems for me. While I was able to create the trails and add their attributes, I was not able to "snap" to the roadway lines. And you think I could get this to work considering all the time I've spent using this tool at work. Oh well.

The maps I'm creating for work are slowly coming along. I think a little more slowly than the Town would like, but they will just need to wait a few more weeks. I'm finally happy with the boundaries I've been working on, and I've been able to clip the parcel layer as well. Next I'll be attempting to change the visual appearance of the roadways and with some attractive labels.

In other news, my favorite season has arrived. It's time to sit under the heater (one of the best purchases ever) outside with some hot cider. I miss Philly, but I will say the change is seasons happens much slower in Asheville.

Friday, September 21, 2007

September 21, 2007

I've been using the software a lot at work to edit the Town's boundary. It's been very tedious, but it's nearly finished. I'm sure I have too many vertices inserted, but at least the curves look smooth. I feel much more comfortable using ArcMap and I'm able to use the help function and GTKArcGIS book to do most of what I need. Next I'll be trying to create a land use and zoning map. Hopefully the county hasn't updated their parcel layer since I was in the field gathering data. It would also be nice if the database I developed can be used to create the maps I need.

In kitten news, we have found a home for him. Today is the last day he'll be around. I'll miss him, but it will be extremely nice to go back to the peace of just the bird. Speaking of peace, no visitors this weekend!

September 21, 2007

Monday, September 17, 2007

September 14, 2007

The exam was not nearly as difficult as I anticipated, which either means I studied enough or I didn't have a clue. Let's hope it is the former. Pete, the study guide, learning objectives, terms to know, etc. were very useful and much appreciated. The exercises were also a good review of the skills we should be learning with the software, although it made for a long class. But I'm much more familiar with the techniques and translating what I'm learning to what I need at my job. I've even talked the IT department into upgrading into version 9.2, which I believe allows me to use excel files rather than database files.

In other news, the kitten has not yet eaten my bird but he is trying to destroy my furniture, carpet, and plants. Only one week to go before he's sent to the shelter. I also purchased my second large pumpkin to go along with the hay bales, much to my husband's dismay. I love the fall season and would cover the porch in pumpkins if he'd let me. The neighborhood kids get a kick out of them, so he can't complain.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Friday, September 7, 2007

September 7, 2007

September 7, 2007

I can't decide if things are making more or less sense. I'm definitely becoming more familiar with the software, but understanding the concepts behind GIS are getting difficult. I suppose we'll see how much I've learned after the exam next class.

I did get some additional GIS training through Jon Beck at Land of Sky Regional Council. A quick and dirty rundown of different functions in ArcMap as well as a review of creating a geodatabase. In theory I've learned enough now to start creating some maps for my work with the Town of long as my database matches the County's.

Friday, August 31, 2007

August 31, 2007

August 31, 2007

I had some trouble understanding vectors and rasters while reading Chapter 2, but the lecture helped to clarify the difference between them. Of course, we'll find out how much I learned when it is time for the test. The lab exercises are very helpful at explaining how to navigate through ArcCatalog and ArcMap, although I'm not necessarily learning why. I'll definitely need to spend some time outside of class reading through the exercises more carefully.

On a side note, my husband and I found a stray kitten over the weekend and we've been trying to find a home for it. I've been a bit stressed out trying to entertain the kitten and protect my bird. And the stress level will continue through next week since my parents and grandmother are coming for an extended visit.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

August 24, 2007

I was a bit nervous returning to a classroom after 8 years out of college, but the class seemed more similar to a seminar than a lecture. Pete's style of teaching is very straightforward and simple; it was difficult at times to remember we'll be tested on this information. The students seem very excited to put GIS to good use and I think there is good mix of personalities to make the semester intersting. I'm always surprised by the small town feel of Asheville and the surrounding areas. During my five years in Philadelphia it was rare to meet people who lived or worked nearby; this is definitely not the case living in Asheville and working in Fletcher.