Posts Tagged ‘nps’

US National Parks added to Natural Earth, free GIS data shapefiles

Monday, March 22nd, 2010

[Editor's note: Thanks to Tom's efforts, we continue to expand Natural Earth coverage this week by adding U.S. National Parks to the 1:10,000,000 scale set. Do you have a few hours to spare? We'd like to add National Forests, large state parks, and wilderness areas to our Parks and Protected Areas theme.]

Republished from NaturalEarthData.com.

Includes the 392 authorized National Park Service units in the United States of America. The data does not include affiliated areas and unauthorized park units. Park units over 100,000 acres (~40,000 hectares) appear as areas, park units under 100,000 acres as points, and linear parks, including rivers, trails, and seashores, as lines. There are a few exceptions to this rule.

Many parks are comprised of scattered, non-contiguous land parcels. Not all of these are shown, especially in urban areas and the northeastern US. Dots generally indicate the center of the largest parcel or the parcel where the visitor center is located.

(above) Units in the southern United States include Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the Appalachian National Scenic Trail, Stones River National Battlefield, Andrew Johnson National Historic Park, the Obed Wild and Scenic River, and Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area.

Ge the data at Natural Earth . . .

Stewart L. Udall, 90, interior secretary was guardian of America’s wild places (Wash Post)

Monday, March 22nd, 2010

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[Editor's note: We continue to expand Natural Earth coverage this week by adding U.S. National Parks. Do you have a few hours to spare? We'd like to add National Forests, large state parks, and wilderness areas.]

Republished from The Washington Post.
By Matt Schudel. Sunday, March 21, 2010

Stewart L. Udall, who as secretary of the interior in the Kennedy and Johnson administrations launched a series of far-reaching conservation reforms that made him one of the most significant figures in protecting America’s natural environment, died March 20 at his home in Santa Fe, N.M. He was 90 and had complications from a recent fall.

Mr. Udall had served three terms in the U.S. House of Representatives as a Democrat from Arizona when President John F. Kennedy tapped him for the top job at the Interior Department. Mr. Udall initiated the first White House conference on conservation since the administration of Theodore Roosevelt and stated his credo at the beginning of his tenure: “Nature will take precedence over the needs of the modern man.”

He brought conservation and environmental concerns into the national consciousness and was the guiding force behind landmark legislation that preserved millions of acres of land, expanded the national park system and protected water and land from pollution. From the Cape Cod seashore in Massachusetts to the untamed wilds of Alaska, Mr. Udall left a monumental legacy as a guardian of America’s natural beauty.

Continue reading at The Washington Post . . .

Wayfinding: Here, Even Icons Need IDs (Wash Post)

Wednesday, March 18th, 2009

[Editor's note: Maps are most useful when held in the hand and referenced while in a landscape. But sometimes it is hard to match the abstract map topology with what is literally just in front of us. Or maybe the map was left at home. Maps are best when combined with confirmatory signage (direct annotation) in the landscape itself. These signs should have prominent, frequent placement and be easy to read. Signage that is small and/or discrete is pointless.

This article from the Washington Post explores the National Park Service's proposal for better signage along the National Mall in the District, swarmed all year long with tourists who have no clue where they are or what they're looking at.]

Republished from The Washington Post.

Monday, March 16, 2009; Page B01
Also see John Kelly’s blog post on signage in the Metro rail subways.

Park Service Wants Tourist-Friendly Signs for Mall Monuments

The two Belgian tourists paused on the pathway near the Washington Monument to answer a question.

Could they identify the towering white obelisk before them?

They examined their map. “We think, the Ellipse,” said Dien Haemhouts, 24, of Antwerp. Told their mistake, they laughed. “Ah, the Washington Monument,” Haemhouts said. “Okay.”

It was understandable. They had never been to Washington before. There was no sign nearby identifying the monument. And so the two tourists found themselves in the midst of a fresh debate: Do icons like the Washington Monument and Lincoln Memorial need signs announcing what they are?

The National Park Service, which is about to install an extensive new system of signs on the Mall, says yes. Many foreign and American tourists have no clue what they’re looking at or what to expect when they arrive, the Park Service says. Officials say, for example, that they often get calls from the public asking if there is a Nordstrom on the Mall.

But some members of the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts, which must approve the new sign system, as well as American tourists interviewed on a cold day last week, say no to such signs. “Just looking at it,” Minnie Glenn, 50, of Park Hall, Md., said of the monument. “It’s self-defining.”

The debate arises as the Mall is about to get a new $2.2 million sign system, funded by the federal government and the private Trust for the National Mall. Design research is underway, with a view to replacing the mishmash of signs on the Mall with a more uniform and user-friendly system that will probably use a series of color-coded pylons.

“There are hundreds of mismatched signs on the Mall,” Wayne Hunt, whose firm is researching the new system, told the arts commission last month at a meeting where proposed signs were reviewed. “The Lincoln Memorial has 44 mismatched signs.”

Across the Mall, there are signs with directions, signs with warnings, signs with rules. “Please Stay on the Sidewalks,” reads one at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. “Quiet” is called for at the Lincoln Memorial. “No Guns or Ammunition,” says one near the Washington Monument.

When the question of formal signs came up, several commission members said signs seemed unnecessary and would be a blot on the landscape. “What does it say in front of the pyramids?” Pamela Nelson, vice chairman, wondered of Egypt’s famous tombs. “Is there a sign in front of the pyramids?”

Commission member Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk asked: “Do you need a sign in front of the Washington Monument? I don’t think so.”

In a letter to the Park Service, commission Secretary Thomas E. Luebke wrote that the commission “strongly discouraged the use of the monument-type sign to identify buildings and memorials on the National Mall.”

Continue reading at Washington Post . . .

INTERACTIVE: Selma to Montgomery (Nat. Parks Service)

Friday, February 6th, 2009

[Editor's note: The National Parks Service has started contracting out nifty interpretive Interactives from their Harper's Ferry Center office. This one features the civil rights National Historic Trail. Photos, videos, and an interactive map guide the visitor along the trail. Thanks Liliane!]

Republished from the National Parks Service.

Screenshots below. View interactive version. 508 non-Flash version available.