Converting Decimal Degrees to Degrees Minutes Seconds

Often we are supplied with coordinates in decimal degrees but need to use Degrees, Minutes, and Seconds instead. Luckily, there are several solutions that you can use, here is a simple coordinate converter tool that I use.

Advocate Harbour Color Shaded Relief Map

A new large 8 foot color shaded relief map that I have created has been posted for display at a local tourist kiosk in Advocate Harbour, Nova Scotia. Now both tourists and residents of the area will be able to gain a better appreciation of the topography that borders the Northern Bay of Fundy region

3D Modeling with High Resolution LIDAR

I created and presented this poster featuring LIDAR Color Shaded Relief model of Bouctouche / Shediac area of New Brunswick at the 2004 Geotech event that was held in Toronto.

UTM Rows and Zones

These UTM key maps can easily help you find out what UTM zone you are working from. Simply click on the map to enlarge it to expose all of the map, then find out where you are located and look for the zone and row that matches your area.

Converting between UTM, MTM and LAT/LONG

Canadian using a UTM map

Geographic coordinate systems enable us to spatially locate features on the Earth using specified set of two dimensional numbers. The coordinates of each feature represent the horizontal position (and sometimes vertical position when elevation is available) of it and one of the most commonly used coordinates is Geographic with values of latitude, longitude. However many different coordinate systems can be used to map the same area depending on various factors such as map extent, scale, end user etc. Therefore we often find in Geomatics that we can have data from different coordinate systems that we need to use together spatially in one reference system.

I am sure that most of us have run into times when we have features that have defined coordinates of one system that we need to use with a different one. (E.g. your map is in UTM (Universal Transverse Mercator) but you have been given GPS points in Lat/Long).

If you ever find yourself in need of quickly getting values converted from Geographic to UTM / MTM (Modified Traverse Mercator) or UTM / MTM to Geographic then here is a a free online geographic coordinate convertor tool that I often use provided by Canadian Spatial Reference System

Jeremys Bay Campground [Map]

Map of Jeremys Bay Campground, Kejimkujik National Park and Historic Site


Screen shot of a poster created of the Jim Charles Loop of Jeremys Bay Campground Kejimkujik National Park and Historic Site in Nova Scotia. It was created with ArcMap 9 from data we collected with a Leica RTK & Total Station.

UTM Zones in Google Earth

UTM zones in Google Earth

Here is a neat little Google Earth file that has often been helpful on many of my field trips when I needed to know what UTM zone I was working in. Just open the file in Google Earth, then point and click your location to get info on that time zone. Before I found this neat little resource I was using a large JPG image that showed the zones witch I have available here.

I originaly found this file on Google but have not been able to find the original download source (have found other versions) so you here you can download my working copy  here .

Every now and then I come across some little utilities that help to make things easier while working in the field and these pages are mainly my way of sharing them with others while creating a go-to place where I can easily find them when I need them. If you know of any other mapping related utilities like this then let me know and I may include it here on my site with the others.

Geomatics – Cartography

Cartography or Map Design is the practice of creating maps or visual representations of a surface, as you would see it from above it. Traditionally maps have always been created using pen and paper, but since the introduction and wide spread use of geographic information systems (GIS) and computers, cartography practices have evolved more into the digital world. Most maps today are now generated using map software that falls into one of three main types; GIS, CAD, and specialized map graphic design software.

Cartography | Basic Overview

A map utilizes a variety of colors, symbols, and labels to represent actual features and provide information on their existence, location, and the distance between them. It can also indicate variation in terrain, heights of natural features, and the extent of vegetation cover.

Map of Jim Charles Loop of Jeremy's Bay Campground, Kejimkujik National Park

Maps often function as visualization tools for spatial data which is acquired from actual measurements and can be stored into a database, from which it can be later extracted for a variety of purposes. Current trends in this field are moving away from traditional methods of map making and toward the creation of increasingly dynamic, interactive maps that can be manipulated digitally, often known as
Web GIS.

Most maps will contain a scale parameter that will allow the user to convert distance on the map to distance on the ground or vice versa. The ability to determine distance on a map, as well as on the earth’s surface, is an important factor in GIS and the spatial relationships between features. Other important key elements or features that you should find on a good map would be a title, a data frame, a legend, a scale bar, a north arrow, and citation information such as the date, the creator, projection, overview map location etc.

 The Map on the right is a to scale representation of one of the camp grounds located at Kejimkujik National Park

in Nova Scotia. It was created from survey data collected with a Leica RTK system and a Leica Total Station. The legend is hard to see in this screen grab (actual map poster was 2ft by 4ft) but the red line represents the road, dotted lines are trails and the green polygons are the actual camping plots.

Below are some examples of Maps that I have generated for various projects that I have worked on or have had some involvement in, included are the date and the title of the map with a brief description. Clicking on the link will open up an image of the map with some details about the project (Note: most of these maps were plotted out on large paper sheets for display so some details were lost while generating these miniature image versions for the web site – also some of these are still on display at various places).

Examples of Cartography & GIS Map Products