|MoDOT Map, accessed 12:12pm CDT on Apr 21, 2019|
(I accessed this map again on 4/21/19 to see what GIS platform it uses. A crawl at the bottom indicating that I-29 is still flooded at mile marker 57 is still running. The crawl covers up the "Powered By" answer.)
It is weird that the most significant flooding location doesn't have a flood icon on it.
GIS stands for Graphic Information Systems. It occurred to me that GIS is an industry that has grown along with the World Wide Web industry. When I was reading the MoDOT web source code to find the waterways photo below, I learned how much HTML has changed since I used to write it in the 1990s.
|MoDOT Banner Image|
|IDOT accessed on Apr 21, 2019|
|IDOT accessed on Apr 25, 2019|
- Current Conditions Road Construction is not accurate! It does not show the mess at the intersection of I-88 and I-294. (Unless that construction didn't take too long. Maybe I need to try using I-88 again.)
- Current Conditions Traveler Information has incident reports, construction, delayed traffic, and camera locations. The camera at the intersection of I-88 and I-294 shows the traffic flowing. Again, maybe that construction is done. Unfortunately, IDOT doesn't have any cameras covering the eastbound choke point on I-290.
- Road Construction was broke. The tab displayed "ArcGIS Web Application" and the body displayed a animated icon, for as long as I was willing to wait. I assume an Illinois server is not providing the information that ArcGIS needs to build a display.
- Travel Midwest Information indicates in the small print at the bottom that several states cooperated with the UIC Artificial Intelligence Lab. The map data comes from NAVTEQ.
- Metro-East St. Louis has Esri in the fine print.
- Getting Around Peoria doesn't have a map interface.
- Scenic Byways flashes ArcGIS in the tab that is quickly replaced by Map Viwer. Unlike the above icons, this page did not open a new tab. So I had to be careful to use the "Back" arrow instead of the window close X.
- IDOT Bicycling I chose DuPage county, but nothing happened. So this interface defeated me.
- Rest Areas is another ArcGIS that loads quickly. On 4/25/19, the map shows four of them are closed.
- Road Closures Due to Flooding is ArcGIS.
- Road Closures is ArcGIS.
- Current Road Construction Table is just a bunch of text.
- Illinois Tollway Construction is Ersi with Garmin, NGA, and USGS. I recognize Garmin as the manufacture of my GPS device for a car. USGS is the federal organization that does the Topo maps. I don't know what NGA is. There were a lot of lane closure icons!
- E85 Biodiesel Stations This also shows electric charging stations. It is a U.S. Department of Energy site. The fine print is "MapTiler" and "Open StreetMap contributors." It shows what I discovered after I bought my minivan that has FlexFuel --- I'm lucky to live just a few blocks from a station that has E85.
One GIS web interface I have used extensively during the five years that I have been writing this blog is a map interface to aerial photos of Illinois made in the late 1930s: http://maps.isgs.illinois.edu/ilhap/. To zoom in to the part of the state I was interested in, I first used the icons on the left. Then I discovered that you can sweep out a red rectangle around your area of interest using the mouse. When you release the mouse button, it will zoom into that area. Unfortunately, I can't use a screensaver to get a snapshot of a red rectangle for demo purposes because both tools need the mouse. But here is a result of selecting the near northside of Chicago to find the photo for the gasometer that was south of Goose Island.
It used to be that when you clicked "jpg", a compressed image would open in another tab. Something changed and now it doesn't fit in a window. Since I hate panning an image with scrollbars, I save the image and use a photo viewer. I would say I use my favorite viewer, but that is still the old Microsoft photo viewer. which they disabled in Windows 10. At least they fixed Photos so that when you double click a file it quickly opens that file rather than try to find and organize every image file you have on your disk drive. And I finally learned that if I hold the "ctrl" key down while I use the mouse's scroll wheel, it zooms the image like the old viewer did. Once I have panned and zoomed to find what I want, I use the old Paint (now called Edit) program to crop the part of interest. (I've read that Microsoft is going to make it harder to access that oldie, but goodie, also.) Sometimes, what I want is not in the "dot" I selected, so I'll access the appropriate neighbor image. When using these historical aerials, you have to remember expressways and other landmarks we use today did not exist. Here is the image I wanted for my gasometer research.
|1938 Aerial Photo from ILHAP|
Something I recently read in a Trains magazine is an interactive interface to USGS Topo Maps. I haven't used that. What I am learning to use is their interactive interface to historical topo maps. (Update: this map also uses USGS, Garmin and Esri. I also now notice that the domain name is arcgis.) Here is the same area in a 1929 map with a scale of 12,000. This is much easier to use than the interface I was using that is the Download Map link in the new interface.
|USGS 1929 Blue Island Topo Excerpt|
|USGS 1929 Blue Island Topo Excerpt|
|USGS 1929 Englewood Topo Excerpt|
Sometimes procrastination pays off. The day after I had intended to publish, the Chicago Tribune had an article on page 3 about "Tech takes up fight against flooding." The photos in the printed version were black&white, but I notice the digital version has color.
|Chicago Tribune, Apr 23, 2019, Page 3, "Tech takes up fight against flooding"|
The article also provides some information about the Flood of 2019. "U.S. scientists said in their spring weather outlook that 13 million people are at risk of major inundation, with more than 200 river gauges last week showing some level of flooding in the Mississippi River basin....'There are over 200 million people that are under some elevated threat risk,' said Ed Clark, director of the National Water Center in Tuscaloosa, Ala, a flood forecasting hub. Much of the technology, such as the National Water Model, didn't exist until recently. Fueled by supercomputers in Virginia and Florida, it came online about three years ago and expanded streamflow data by 700-fold, assembling data from 5 million miles of rivers and streams nationwide, including many smaller ones in remote areas."
This article also taught me about Esri. Specifically, "Engineers monitoring levees along the Mississippi River have been collecting and checking data using a geographic information system produced by Esri, said Nick Bidlack, levee safety program manager for the Memphis district of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The company produces mapping tools such as an interactive site showing the nation's largest rivers and their average monthly flow."
Today's [4/25/2019] Chicago Tribune has "Tool helps you locate neighborhood construction projects" by Mary Wisniewski. Mary is the Tribune reporter that specializes in city transportation issues. ChiStreetWorks, "which became public on Tuesday, allows residents to see the location of current and proposed road repair and utility projects in every neighborhood." The GIS techonology for this site is: "Powered by DoIT, CDOT, Collins Engineers, SADA Systems, Google Maps" Mary reports: "The web-based system was initially developed internally for planning purposes so that CDOT could do a better job of coordinating construction, said CDOT spokesman Michael Claffey. The information had previously been available only to CDOT staff, aldermanic offices and utility companies, the city said." The home page specifies: "The application was created to help facilitate project coordination between city agencies and utilities, and to provide city residents with valuable information about various construction activities and street impacts throughout the City. These activities include construction projects, special events, and roadway moratoriums."
CIRY/CB&Q had finally been pulled up. To my surprise, I could not go east of Allport Street.
Fisk Generating Station is still standing.
I've even dabbled in GIS using Google's API. After studying a recent meander of the Wabash river at Grayville, IN, I searched for and plotted other meanders on the Wabash River. And after describing the railroads in the Western Avenue Corridor, I plotted the junctions on a map. Unfortunately, I see both are now generating error messages and clicking on the "dots" doesn't give more information anymore. It is bad enough that Facebook keeps changing (breaking) things, now it appears I need to research what changed in Google's API.
I did another attempt to find a site of Indiana 1938ish aerial photos comparable to ILHAP. But every site that I found, that still worked, wants to sell the images. The best index tool I found was IU. Free aerial images makes me appreciate that Illinois has done something good.