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DDS News- How Far Does $100 Go in Your State? New Map Has the Answer

DDS News- How Far Does $100 Go in Your State? New Map Has the Answer

Aug. 18, 2014 7:33pm

Oliver Darcy

A non-profit organization published a map Monday revealing the “real value” of $100 in each state.

The Tax Foundation said they used data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis to create the graphic which aims to “reflect how prices are different in each state.”

“Because average prices for similar goods are much higher in California or New York than in Mississippi or South Dakota, the same amount of dollars will buy you comparatively less in the high-price states, or comparatively more in low-price states,” the group said in an online statement.

Full story at the Blaze

Image courtesy of the Tax Foundation

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DDS News- Despite technology, paper maps haven't folded

DDS News- Despite technology, paper maps haven't folded

Despite technology, paper maps haven't folded

Sunday August 17, 2014 12:01 AM
By Korky Vann

At a recent family gathering, a visiting relative mentioned he wanted to take a drive to the Berkshire Mountains, but didn't know the best route. In response, three people pulled out cellphones to check travel apps and one person offered to loan him a GPS.

He looked around, astonished, and said, "Doesn't anyone have an actual map?

The question took us all by surprise, and for the most part, the answer was "no." The best I could come up with was a tattered old Roadway Atlas that might have only had 48 states.

Time was, everyone's glove box was crammed with wadded-up maps from trips past and neatly-folded maps for trips yet to be taken. And while smartphones, tablets and GPS devices have replaced the paper map for many, travel experts say there are plenty of people, including my relative, who prefer to use actual rather than virtual maps to mark routes and make notes.

"Absolutely, there is still a market for paper maps and atlases," said Amy Krouse of Rand McNally. "Maps give perspective that GPS and small-screen devices simply can't."

The company saw proof of that when it introduced "The Open Road: Rand McNally and the Story of the Great American Road Trip," in June. The $14.99 gift set, which contains a 32-page book on road-side Americana and the birth of the road trip; an up-to-date mid-sized road atlas and a wall map poster with the U.S. road network, has been selling out. The set is available at

"People use maps and atlases for routing and to preserve memories of family road trips, as well," Krouse said.

AAA spokeswoman Cindy Antrican agreed.

"Though demand for paper maps has decreased, there's a place for electronic mapping systems and there's a place for maps," Antrican said. "One doesn't and shouldn't replace the other. GPS systems can malfunction. A map lets you see the bigger picture, where you are and where you're going. The safest way to travel is by using all the tools available."

But finding maps, particularly free ones, is a little harder than it used to be when gas station counters sported displays filled with complimentary maps printed by Gulf, Texaco and other oil companies.

In Connecticut, for example, state maps are available at no charge from the Department of Transportation. DOT communications director Judd Everhart emailed me the following information:

"The DOT produces and prints four different State of Connecticut maps, and has done so for as long as anyone here can remember. The traditional tourism map is by far the most popular and we receive requests from around the country all the time. We also print a farm map, a bicycle map and a motorcycle map. All of our maps are distributed for free."

The U.S. Department of the Interior's U.S. Geological Survey, sells maps of all sorts.

AAA distributes free maps and tour guides to its members and sells atlases and other travel guides in its travel stores.

- See more at:

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DDS News- Wyoming State Geological Survey Releases Geologic Map of the State

DDS News- Wyoming State Geological Survey Releases Geologic Map of the State

(Cheyenne, Wyo.) – The Wyoming State Geological Survey has created an improved version of the Geologic Map of Wyoming, an important visual tool displaying a variety of geologic features, from different ages of rocks and faults to the state’s river basins and mountain ranges.

The 1:500,000-scale wall map includes a separate legend sheet and references. TheGeologic Map of Wyoming is available to purchase for $25 via the WSGS Online Store or as a free pdf download.

“The geologic map of the state is intended to better understand and evaluate our geologic features and history. It can also be used to evaluate groundwater, energy, infrastructure development, hazards, and environmental protection,” said Tom Drean, director of the WSGS. “The map is a good reference tool or to display on an office wall; the colors and features are outstanding,” he said.

This map represents a major project by the agency’s GIS staff, cartographers, and geologists. The goal was to develop a new and improved presentation of the original geology, which was hand-scribed and created in 1985 by authors David Love and Ann Christiansen of the U.S. Geological Survey. In 1994, cartographers digitized the geology.

Creating this new version involved superimposing various layers of data on the map, a standard practice for creating geologic maps. Esri’s ArcMap GIS (geographic information systems) mapping software was used to combine the various layers of data. Color patterns and letter symbols were used to represent the various geologic rock units. The base map layers depict background reference information such as landforms, roads, and boundaries. The background is a detailed and accurate graphic representation of natural features on the ground, specifically a representation of relief in the terrain.

“One of the challenges we had with updating the map was symbolizing the faults, which were numerous,” said Suzanne Luhr, GIS map editor of the WSGS. “We had to evaluate each one for proper placement and direction.”

WSGS cartographer Phyllis Ranz was responsible for overlaying and modifying the patterns from the original map. They cover more than 200 rock units, known as geologic strata. These designs are intended to help differentiate between the places or contacts where different rock units meet, such as where igneous rocks have intruded through sedimentary rocks, or where metamorphic rocks occur.

“One striking attribute in the new version of the map is the shaded relief background generated from a digital elevation model,” Ranz said. A relatively new technique (with Global Mapper software) was used to blend the digital geologic data with a shaded relief base to enhance both Wyoming’s geology and its varied topography. Prior to the use of sophisticated computer software, contour lines were used to show elevation on a topographic map and were scribed by hand. While the tools to create the maps have changed, the creative design work conducted by the agency’s cartographers continues. “This geologic map represents how we can combine science and art,” Ranz said.

Understanding and visually displaying where different rock types are located provides important clues about where groundwater, energy, and mineral resources exist, a major role of the WSGS, Drean said. “This map provides a template for future studies in a variety of disciplines, from geologic and tectonic research to hydrologic and environmental studies. –Provided by WSGS

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DDS News- Python Basics for ArcGIS Workshop

DDS News- Python Basics for ArcGIS Workshop

Python Basics for ArcGIS Workshop


When: August 22, 2014
Where: DU GIS Lab, Boettcher West Bldg, Rm 126 – see map below
Level: Introductory
Time: 8:30am - 4:30 pm
Fee: $125.00

Registration link:

Refunds will generally be issued up to 48 hours prior to the start of class.
For cancellations inside 48 hours a credit will be issued for a future class unless a wait list attendee can be substituted.

Instructor: Qing Liu, Denver University
This workshop will explain fundamentals of Python as an object-oriented programming language, and how you can use Python in ArcGIS to script geoprocessing workflows for batch processing and map automation. The workshop will cover python/ArcPy programming basics, geoprocessing with ModelBuilder, geoprocessing with Python, creating script tool, and automating map workflows.

Course Modules
1. Object-oriented programming (OOP) basics, OOP concepts in ArcGIS;
2. Python and ArcPy basics;
3. Executing and creating geoprocessing tools in Model Builder;
4. Scripting geoprocessing tools with Python/ArcPy;
5. Batch processing with Python/ArcPy;
6. Automate map production with ArcPy.mapping.
* Workshop will be presented in a format combining lectures and guided exercises.

Timeframe (6-hour workshop)
Morning session: 9:00 am – noon
o Programming basics: Object-oriented programming, Python, ArcPy (1 hour)
o Geoprocessing with Model Builder (1 hour)
o Simple scripting geoprocessing tools with Python/ArcPy (1 hour)

Afternoon session: 1:00 pm – 4:00pm
o Scripting geoprocessing tools with Python/ArcPy (continued) (1 hour)
o Batch processing with Python/ArcPy (1 hour)
o Map production automation with ArcPy.mapping (1 hour)


Qing Liu is a Ph.D. student in Geography at University of Denver. She holds a B.S. in Geographic Information Systems (GIS) from Nanjing Normal University in China, an M.S. in Geographic Information Science (GIS) from Florida State University, and is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Geography with research focus on Nighttime Satellite Imagery, Big Data, and Web GIS.

Qing Liu has over 10 years of experience in GIS, remote sensing, programming and web development. Qing worked as a GIS developer at the Florida Resources and Environmental Analysis Center (FREAC), created websites and web-based GIS applications including: iMapInvisives (, Florida Images Inventory website (, Florida LIDAR Inventory website (, and 2010 Sunshine Census Rapid Response website. She was selected as a student developer participating Google Summer of Code 2012 to build the distance analysis tools for PostGIS Raster. She is currently working for the Piton Foundation as a Geospatial System Developer, developing python-based data-driven web metadata management application for Data Engine ( Qing is also working on a Private Security Monitor web-mapping project ( funded by Sié Chéou-Kang Center for International Security & Diplomacy, University of Denver.

REGISTRATION: - for other class details
Building 51 is Boettcher West – RM 126 – GIS Lab, First Floor East Door Access
Public pay by the hour parking

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DDS- Our 6 Step Process for GIS Consulting

DDS- Our 6 Step Process for GIS Consulting

Two years ago I developed this chart to help DDS better organize its GIS consultation process.  

I have given this chart to many of my customers because not only does it help them to better understand how DDS can assist their company with geospatial needs, but it serves as a framework for organizing any project that a customer may encounter.

Learn how DDS can help your business by visiting

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