August 2014
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How much is $100 worth in your state?

worht_of_a_dollarMap graphic showing the value of $100 in each state – time to move to another state (but who wants to leave the climate here :))


eGIS Committee Meeting Agenda for August 2014

The agenda for tomorrow’s eGIS Committee meeting is attached here (August 2014.eGIS meeting notice and Agenda) – please review.

I will be providing an update on the GIS reclassifications, LARIAC, CAMS, and GIS Day.

We will recap the ESRI conference, and I will be providing some background and training on a trio of high-resolution maps.

Over the past few months I have been pointing the source map documents that create our map caches over to the eGIS Repository, and updating that repository, in order to provide high resolution map documents to County staff to improve and standardize cartography, while providing a resource for staff to learn advanced cartographic techniques.

I have created a zip file with the .mxd files, layer files, and styles that make up those maps - Click here to download LA County Cache Map – all files - note that these only work inside the County Network.

These are final draft versions, so please review and provide feedback.

Two new online GIS courses from Penn State

psuPassing along a couple of upcoming courses from Penn State:

  • Geospatial Intelligence & the Geospatial Revolution
  • Geodesign: Change Your World

URISA Recommends the addition of Address data as a national Framework Theme

URISA, a national organization, recently recommended that the Federal Government add an eighth framework data theme to the National Spatial Data Infrastructure (NSDI).  This would, if adopted, cause a federal agency to take responsibility for doing this nationally (like the USGS does for Elevation data).

It’s a great idea.

Click here to see the detailed recommendation

Geospatial Technology Competency Model (GTCM) update – review requested

Hello everyone,

For folks leveraging or using the GTCM, this is the best opportunity to provide feedback to this important work, which helped drive some of our GIS classifications.

Continue reading Geospatial Technology Competency Model (GTCM) update – review requested

What is 3DEP?

A comparison of an air photo and a lidar image of an area along Secondary Road and Camp Creek, 12 miles north of John Day, OR. The lidar image allows identification of landslide activity that is otherwise masked by trees

A comparison of an air photo and a lidar image of an area along Secondary Road and Camp Creek, 12 miles north of John Day, OR. The lidar image allows identification of landslide activity that is otherwise masked by trees

I wanted to pass this along, since it is a change on how the federal government is working with LIDAR data (for those participants in LARIAC we connect to funding sources like this through the USGS, so this is an important announcement).

Thanks to Matt Artz for this information.  Click here to see his full article.

Continue reading What is 3DEP?

GIS Technician Position – Santa Cruz County

Passing this job opportunity along – Note that the last date to apply is July 25th (this Friday). Click here to download more information


Salary: $3,387 – 4,283 / Month


Salary: $3,709 – 4,694 / Month

LAST DATE TO APPLY: Friday, July 25, 2014

Reminder – no eGIS committee meeting today

Many of us are at the esri conference. See you next month.

The Map Thief

Book Review: ‘The Map Thief’ by Michael Blanding
After stealing some 100 rare maps over three years, E. Forbes Smiley III was caught when he left an X-Acto knife behind at Yale.

July 13, 2014 6:41 p.m. ET
‘This is Forbes Smiley, from the Vineyard.” Would that all criminals introduced themselves with such genteel address. But then, E. Forbes Smiley III, with his classical education, third-generation suffix and “rich, nasally” accent, is hardly an ordinary felon. In “The Map Thief,” Michael Blanding intersperses the tale of Smiley’s theft of nearly 100 maps between 2002 and 2005 with the histories of mapmaking and of the pioneering works that Smiley coolly pilfered.

Smiley’s childhood in Bedford, N.H., was, by his own reckoning, “idyllic.” He thrived in the close-knit town and at the “experimental” high school that his parents had helped to found. In 1974, he left for Hampshire College, where he drove an old Checker cab and made dollhouse furniture for extra cash. Not surprisingly, Smiley’s unusual interests led him to an unconventional career. Soon after graduating, he moved to New York and apprenticed in the rare-book and map division at B. Altman, the stately Fifth Avenue department store. In 1984, he struck out on his own, at age 28.

The heady mid-1980s market was well-suited to someone of Smiley’s youth and inexperience. Map collecting had, by then, become widespread thanks to colorful adherents such as British dealer-cum-pub fixture R.V. Tooley, whom Smiley met around this time. With the ascendancy of Impressionist and modern art, maps became an attractive proposition for emerging collectors and savvy decorators.

Over the next 20 years, Smiley established strong relationships with avid buyers, single-handedly assembling prominent private collections. He married, sired E. Forbes Smiley IV, and settled in Martha’s Vineyard and Sebec, Maine. From the beginning, however, his obligations outpaced his income. Friends referred to his shadowy accounting of debts and assets as “Forbes dollars.” Smiley acquired maps before he could pay for them, hosted weekend parties he could ill afford and squabbled, at great cost, with neighbors in Sebec.
The Map Thief
By Michael Blanding
(Gotham, 300 pages, $27.50)

In 1989, Smiley claimed that his 79th Street apartment had been burgled and his entire inventory wiped out. Colleagues and rivals questioned whether the break-in happened at all. Whatever the case, his dubious practices and financial difficulties persisted. If Smiley can be believed, he didn’t actually break the law until 2002, when he made off with John Seller’s 1675 “Mapp of New England” from Yale’s Sterling Memorial Library. Thereafter he continued preying on poorly guarded collections, notably at the New York and Boston public libraries, where he knew the staff and could circumvent the minimal security.

His methods were, by turns, primitive and elaborate. Smiley wore an unseasonably heavy tweed blazer for concealment, an effective, albeit sweaty, measure. He was often more sophisticated. John Collet’s prerevolutionary map of North Carolina was large and unfolded, making both extraction and resale problematic. Undaunted, Smiley stole the New York Public Library’s copy, subsequently ironing out his own hasty creases before remounting it for presentation. When the work resurfaced at the Miami map fair, the unsuspecting NYPL curator discussed its importance with Smiley, reminding him, with crushing obliviousness, of the library’s “excellent” example.

Smiley was finally caught in June 2005, after he left an X-Acto blade in the Beinecke Library at Yale. Mr. Blanding’s attempt to catalog and quantify Smiley’s loot is admirable. Smiley admitted to stealing 97 maps. Others estimate the figure to be double that or more. Without Smiley’s cooperation, which he initially promised the author, the exercise is inevitably futile. He traded primarily with fellow dealers, who operated on trust. For common maps, the more stops along the way, the colder the trail. Once Smiley was uncovered, only the most assiduous archivists were able to link him. The Beinecke reclaimed its copy of Gerard de Jode’s “Speculum Orbis Terrarum,” worth approximately $125,000, which New Haven police found on Smiley, through recourse to its distinctive pattern of holes, where wood-boring insects (“bookworms”) had chewed through the paper.

Following his trial in 2005 and 2006, which Mr. Blanding recounts with gusto, Smiley served three years in prison and was ordered to pay reparations. Since his release, he has worked in catering, landscaping and website consultation, keeping his house in Martha’s Vineyard and little else. He now goes by “Ed.” (By this point, the reader will be glad to see the last of Sebec, Smiley’s travails in which are wearyingly told.) Although Smiley’s crimes were nonviolent, it’s hard to feel anything but sadness at the conclusion of Mr. Blanding’s fair-minded account.

Mr. Blanding’s publisher has compared his chronicle to an excellent pair of recent titles, Laney Salisbury and Aly Sujo’s “Provenance” and Benjamin Wallace’s “The Billionaire’s Vinegar.” While “The Map Thief” is no less stimulating, its moral implications fundamentally differ. In “Provenance,” con man John Drewe insinuated himself into archives and libraries to bolster the credibility of an accomplice’s forged paintings. In “The Billionaire’s Vinegar,” one is struck less by the duplicity of Hardy Rodenstock, who fabricated rare vintages, than the pretensions of his victims. Smiley, conversely, carved up prized atlases and stole from public institutions, the hospitality and resources of which he had long enjoyed.

Mr. Blanding’s most moving passages commemorate those who helped build and, bit by bit, envisage the world as we know it: the Alexandrian polymath Eratosthenes, whose third-century B.C. approximation of the Earth’s circumference was only 100 miles off the mark; Martin Waldseemüller, whose 1507 map was the first to label the Western Hemisphere’s southern continent “America”; and the greatest mapmaker of them all, Gerard Mercator, whose eponymous mid-16th-century “projection” enabled sailors to accurately plan far-flung voyages. These men groped bravely for light. Smiley, who spent decades marveling at and trading on their achievements, spurned it.

Mr. Carter is an M.B.A. candidate at Columbia Business School.


ESRI 2014 – Southern California GIS Community Meeting

socal_gis_community_esriIf you are going to be at the ESRI conference next week, and want to meet other folks from the Southern California GIS Community, you have an opportunity.  Vijay Manghirmalani has upgraded our location from the back deck, where we met last year, to an official Room!

Here is the description:

This meeting is an opportunity for the GIS community in Southern California to meet and socialize.  If you are a GIS professional, student, instructor, or interested person, you are invited to get together and meet each other.  The event is open to everyone, and is supported by, Geospatial LA, the LA Regional GIS Forum, and LA County Enterprise GIS.  So go ahead and grab your lunch and bring to the 2nd annual meeting of the Southern California GIS Community!

Click here to add to your calendar (.ics link)