GIS Day Map Contest Entries - 2023

2023 ASPRS SAC Map Contest

Nelofar Qulizada
University of Arkansas

This map utilizes a geographically generalizable heuristic to evaluate the impact of floodwater on agriculture and other land-use/land-cover (LULC) types. Flood extents are identified using Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) data from Sentinel-1, and depths are calculated using an elevation-based Floodwater Depth Estimation Tool (FwDET) algorithm. The framework is used here to determine the spatial organization of flood depth and the intersection with multiple LULC types in agriculture and built-up areas within the Malawi lowlands. 

Charles Ghartey
Oregon State University

The creation of the KNUST locator map was accomplished through the utilization of ArcGIS software. This map includes information about the proximity of locations, geocoded addresses for navigating within KNUST, and detailed attributes of its structures. It particularly emphasizes the names of the buildings and their respective areas. Additionally, the developed KNUST locator map offers a crime analysis feature that assists users in finding safe routes on the university campus. This project has resulted in the enhancement of an up-to-date digital map of the KNUST campus, which also functions as a campus locator. It can be used to generate various themed products and services conveniently.

Jeng Hann Chong
PhD Candidate in Earth and Planetary Science at University of New Mexico

This summary map shows the area of interest of a post-fire debris flow project in Southern California. The subfigures are showing the vegetation index used to detect change of vegetation and debris flow deposits across the area in September 2022 from the 2020 Lake Fire.

Ivan Diaz
Undergraduate Student, Geomatic Engineering California State University Fresno

I grew up in the late 80's and early 90's in California's Central Valley. During that time, I would often see many oil wells on my way to visit family in Firebaugh, California. Over time, I slowly stopped seeing them and never thought about them again. That changed when I had a trip to Coalinga, California and saw a few oil wells. This experience sparked my curiosity about the number of oil wells in California. The map is a visual representation of my curiosity. The main source of information came from the Geologic Energy Management Division (CalGEM). 

This map offers a comprehensive overview of California's well activity and locations, encompassing data from 1977 to 2022. With over 249,000 points representing both active and inactive oil and gas wells, it provides a detailed and up-to-date snapshot of the state's extensive well infrastructure. The map was created with QGIS.

David Olusegun Abiola
Oregon State University

The Relief Morphometric map of the Willamette watershed, overlaid with a stream order map, provides a comprehensive visual representation of the region's topography and hydrological network. 
The relief morphometric map vividly captures the variations in elevation across the landscape, offering insights into the terrain's undulating features, such as valleys, ridges, and slopes. 
This detailed depiction of the landform characteristics is crucial for understanding the physical geography of the watershed.

The overlaid stream order map enhances the morphometric information by categorizing and illustrating the hierarchical structure of the river network based on stream orders. This classification helps identify the relative size and importance of streams, showcasing their interconnectivity and how they contribute to the overall drainage patterns within the watershed. 
The combined map serves as a valuable tool for hydrologists, geographers, and environmental scientists, offering a holistic view of both the terrain morphology and the hydrological system, which is essential for various applications, including land management, ecological studies, and water resource planning.

SECOND PLACE: Ian Bohachek
University of Wisconsin-Madison

This map was created for my final project in my Introduction to Cartography class at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. It is titled ÒIs Tornado Alley Shifting East?Ó. I decided on this topic because of my interest in weather patterns, as well as my interest in the real-world effects that climate change may have on these phenomena. Tornadoes are one of the deadliest types of natural disasters, and it is extremely important for people to know the risks of where they could potentially strike. I created this map in order to better educate Americans about the potential tornado risks they face depending on where they live, and how the risks may have changed from their preconceived notion of where ÒTornado AlleyÓ is located. I included both county-scale and state-scale choropleth maps to better demonstrate the highest areas of tornado density, both historically and more recently.       There were many design choices that I made on this map in order to better communicate its theme, some more subtle than others. First, I shaped each text box into the shape of a tornado. This helps to visually show the theme of the map, because even if the text cannot be read from far away, the shape is still very clear. I also shaped the legends in this way in order to reinforce the topic of the map. Another design choice that I made was to italicize the title of the map, which angles the letters to the right. On traditional maps, the right is the east, so the text being angled in this way gives the effect of shifting to the east, just like Tornado Alley. Lastly, I added a color gradient in the background, from white to gray, which alludes to the theme of the map in the same way as the italicized text. 

Sandip Rijal 
Florida Atlantic University 

Flood Map of Polk Kissimmee River Section during 1-Day 100-Year Storm Event 

The cartographic representation showcases the Kissimmee River Section within Polk County, Florida, delineating a network of interconnected lakes that manifest its distinctive hydrological framework. Each water body is portrayed with a unified masking technique, presenting them collectively as bodies of water. The translucent blue overlay illustrates the potential flood extent in the region during a 1-day 100-year storm event. This flood layer is superimposed upon land use blocks, illustrating diverse utilization patterns. 
Notably, tier 1 and tier 2, comprising essential emergency facilities such as hospitals, fire stations, etc., are highlighted with color codes. This can be an approach to prioritizing areas for water management strategies in anticipation of future flood events. 

FIRST PLACE: Fangsheng "Jasper" Zhou
University of Oregon

In crafting my submission for the ASPRS map contest, I have utilized an integrative approach that combines data from both Landsat 8 and Landsat 9 satellites. This method allowed me to meticulously digitize and analyze the changing ice extents from 1990 through 2022, revealing compelling temporal dynamics of cryospheric transformations. The intricate process of digitization was executed using the advanced tools available in ArcGIS Pro, ensuring precision in the representation of ice changes over the span of three decades. To bring clarity and polish to the final presentation of the map, I employed Adobe Illustrator, which enabled me to enhance the visual appeal and ensure that the intricate details of the data were communicated effectively. The resultant map is not only a testament to the power of geospatial technology in environmental monitoring but also stands as a piece of visual art that tells the critical story of our planet's ice systems and their evolution in the face of climatic shifts. In short, I want to showcase the climate change impacts on partial Avannaata, Greenland, and climate change impacts on Greenland as a whole.

Adamu Bala

Ph.D. Student in Surveying and Mapping Science and Technology, Research Center for Spatial Planning and Human-Environment System Simulation, School of Geography and Information Engineering, China University of Geosciences, Wuhan,



This integrated multi-thematic map was created to support ongoing efforts toward achieving Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 1: No Poverty and SDG 2: Zero Hunger by addressing various aspects of food security and sustainable agriculture, particularly in the rural areas of Borno State, Nigeria, which have faced serious economic and security challenges for over a decade. With a total area of approximately 70,898 km², the state is a strategic and potential economic zone, boasting an international border with three countries and Lake Chad.

This map serves as a valuable resource for a diverse audience, including laymen, professionals, businesspeople, investors, and decision-makers. It provides crucial information for accessing food markets, as well as the existing and proposed roads linking farmlands and markets.

The spatial and attribute data of the seven agricultural produce markets and their thirty-two commodities were collected on-site by visiting all the markets, utilizing a handheld Garmin GPS, and administering questionnaires. Additionally, a total of thirty-four feeder roads linking agricultural produce from farmlands to markets were tracked using a handheld GPS. These roads were categorized into three senatorial zones of the state, each assigned a different color code (North zone in Yogo blue; Central zone in Flame red; and South zone in Spruce Green). Each road was assigned a unique ID, and its total length was recorded.

The existing road network layer obtained from DIVA-GIS was classified into Federal, State, and Local Government Roads and overlaid on the map. Simultaneously, the Land Use Land Cover (LULC) single-epoch map was processed to display the LULC classes of the area, especially the farmlands class, and their relationship to market produce. To create the LULC map, Landsat 8 imagery from 2019 was downloaded from the USGS website, pre-processed, and classified using the Maximum Likelihood Algorithm. Six classes were produced: Vegetation (Mantis color), Farmland (Light yellow), Forest (Fir green), Bareland (Light brown), Settlements (Mars red), Waterbody (Medium blue), and Lake Chad (Light blue), with their percentage cover calculated.

The map, produced on A0 paper size at a scale of 1:750,000, uses the WGS 84 Geographic Coordinate System, incorporating all essential map elements.

THIRD PLACE: Bernard Latif Abubakari
Mississippi State University

The first and most comprehensive current inventory of glaciers in the western U.S. to date is provided by the Global Land Ice Measurement from Space (GLIMS) and Randolph Glacier Inventory (RGI) database, which utilized 100K and 24K scale topographic maps based on aerial photos taken in the mid-20th century (1940s-1980s). Subsequently, prior studies (Fountain et al.,2017) also used these topographic maps to inventory of glaciers (RGI/GLIMS inventory) in the western U.S. However, to address the lack of up-to-date information regarding the current conditions of glaciers in the western U.S (excluding Alaska), I analysed satellite images from Sentinel-2A for the month of September in 2020 to assess the present status of glaciers in the western U.S. 

This map shows how glaciers on Mount Rainier in Washington have decreased since the mid-20th century till 2020, thereby providing us with the current condition of these glaciers. The blue lines represent the boundaries of glaciers which are based on mid-20th century photographs and the color ramp represent the status of these glaciers as of September 2020. Each color represents an interval of area decrease in each glacier. Thus, this map shows evidence and underscores the urgency of climate change action.



Fountain, A. G., Glenn, B., & Basagic, H. J. (2017). The Geography of Glaciers and Perennial Snowfields in the American West. Arctic, Antarctic, and Alpine Research, 49(3), 391–410.

Kenneth Dell
University of Florida Student Chapter

Hurricane Ian Effects on Tree life:
On September 28th, 2022, Hurricane made landfall on Cayo Costa Florida.  This map depicts Pejuan Cove, which is located on the Southern end of the island. The island sustained significant damage and many homes were declared unsafe to live in.  However, most of the damage was the effects it had on the natural organisms. Many of the trees were killed by the high wind speeds, saltwater intrusion, oxygen starvation from the flooding, erosion of the soil, and many other reasons. This map compares the tree cover from December 4th, 2021, and January 5th, 2023. The maps are a year apart, in a similar season, to limit the effects of external factors. In the map, you can see that the living tree amount went from covering the majority of the area to only being small pockets of living trees.

FOURTH PLACE: Gilberto Maldonado
California State University, Fresno

The historically high rainfall and snow-pack amounts from the 2023 atmospheric rivers revitalized the Tulare Lakebed, which has only sporadically held water over the past century. The last time standing water was found in the lake bed was in 1997. Tulare lake hit its peak in July 2023 at 182 square miles.

Nithish Manikkavasagam B.E., (Geoinformatics) 
MS in Civil Engineering with Geomatics major, Graduate Research Assistant, Florida Atlantic University. 

UAS Based Multi-Spectral 2D and 3D Shoreline Change Detection at Jupiter Inlet ONA, Florida. 

Study area:  Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse Outstanding Natural Area, Jupiter, Florida. (26.94° N 80.07° W). 

  1. Development of UAS based 3D and multi-spectral mapping system.
  2. Development of processing methodology to derive 2D shoreline and 3D beach topography.
  3. Short-term change detection using recent data.

The main objective of this work is to monitor the shoreline erosion of Jupiter inlet Lighthouse ONA, Jupiter, Florida. Shoreline change detection is performed using the UAS-SFM photogrammetry technique. The UAS imagery were collected from May,2017 to May,2023 are used in this analysis to quantify the shoreline erosion. The obtained UAS images were processed using PIX4D. As a first step 3D point cloud was generated from UAS imagery. The generated point cloud was used to generate orthomosaic image and digital surface model. The shoreline was manually digitized from the orthomosaic image. Then point cloud were classified as ground and nonground points. PIX4D uses powerful algorithm to classify ground and non-ground points from 3D point cloud. The change in the shoreline position is estimated based on the transects that are regularly spaced at an interval of 25 feet with respect to reference line. This reference line is an arbitrary line which is used to calculate shoreline change rate. There are 318 transects out of which the transects from 159 to 226 are not used in this analysis. Because there is a concrete armor at these transects location and there is no significant erosion. From the classified 3D point cloud, ground points are used to prepare digital terrain model. As a part of this mapping work, DTM difference is calculated between May,2022 and May,2023. This difference is used to calculate the volume loss. 

Based on the result it is evident that the shoreline has been eroded up to 14 feet from May,2017 to May,2023. And also, when compared to May,2022, in May,2023, there is a loss in the beach volume of 1400 cubic yards. 

Anuska Narayanan
Department of Geography, University of Florida

This figure displays the results generated by the Climate Extremes Resilience Index (CERI), an index designed to identify communities most at-risk to of extreme climatic events on a county level. This rendering illustrates the risk assessment for the 2021 Western North American Heatwave (June 25th to June 30th, 2021). The index is scaled from 0 to 100, with lower values (dark purple) indicating reduced risk and higher values indicating heightened risk (dark orange). From the figure, we can see that the most at risk counties are found in Eastern Washington, Northern Oregon, and Western Idaho and Montana.

Extreme events identified by CERI include extreme heat, cold, precipitation, drought, and moisture surplus. Extremes are defined using Z-scores and data from the PRISM Climate Group (PRISM Climate Group) and soil moisture data from gridMET (Abatzoglou, 2012). Community resilience is measured using the Baseline Resilience Indicator for Communities (BRIC) Index (Cutter, 2010), available from the Hazards and Vulnerability Research Institute. To explore this tool and learn more, you can access the publicly available Google Earth Engine web app using the following link: 


Abatzoglou J. T., 2012: Development of gridded surface meteorological data for ecological applications and modelling, Int. J. Climatol., accessed 10 September 2022, 10.1002/joc.3413.
Cutter, S. L., C. G. Burton, and C. T. Emrich, 2010: Disaster Resilience Indicators for Benchmarking Baseline Conditions. J. Homel. Secur., 7, 1,

PRISM Climate Group, Oregon State University,, Daily Temperature and Precipitation Data. Accessed October 2022.

PEOPLE'S CHOICE: Saeid Zare Naghadehi
Ph.D. candidate at Department of Civil, Environmental, and Geomatics Engineering
Florida Atlantic University

In the creation of this map, we undertook an extensive process of synthesizing diverse GIS layers to develop a nuanced understanding of flood dynamics within Charlotte County's watershed. This involved the integration and analysis of critical layers, including DEM, Drainage Flow, Unsaturated Zone, Impervious Layer, Waterbodies Layer, Water Holding Capacity, Water Table Elevation, and Soil Storage Capacity. Through this meticulous processing, we generated a total of 49 distinct flood inundation probability scenarios, each contributing to a comprehensive assessment of potential risks. These scenarios are instrumental in illuminating the multifaceted nature of flood vulnerability in the region, forming the backbone of our efforts to empower the local community with robust decision-making tools.

The map itself serves as a visual representation of the culmination of GIS and hydrological modeling endeavors. It prominently features two pivotal flood scenarios, namely the '1-day 100-year storm event' and the '1-day 100-year storm event with 5ft sea level rise and 2.6ft king tide event.' The inclusion of Peace River HUC12 inundation maps provide a localized perspective, offering specific insights into the dynamics of flood risk within the watershed. Additionally, selected sections of the HUC12 are portrayed in 3D maps, allowing for a more profound understanding of topographical implications under varying scenarios. These visualizations are not mere depictions but integral components of our Watershed Master Plans (WMPs), reinforcing our commitment to preparedness and resilience. As we extend our gratitude to Charlotte County for their collaboration and support, special acknowledgment is reserved for Dr. Fred Bloetscher, the principal investigator and project manager, and Dr. Sudhagar Nagarajan, co-investigator and my direct supervisor, whose expertise and guidance have been pivotal throughout this transformative research initiative. This collaborative effort stands as a testament to our dedication to providing actionable insights for the community, especially pertinent in the context of climate change and rising sea levels.

Portland State University

Portland, Oregon Ethnic Food Carts & Markets
Inspired by a prompt to create a choropleth map of Portland, this map depicts the density of food carts and ethnic markets in most of Portland’s 95 neighborhoods.

Oregon’s history, first as a US territory (1843) and then as America’s 33rd state (1859), includes shameful examples of discrimination against people of color. The state’s first constitution included a “whites-only” clause; a Black exclusion law was passed in 1844; and a Chinese exclusion law in 1882. These provisions were only rescinded in the period from 1926 to 1943.

Today Portland is a more diverse place, with ethnic food carts and markets situated on corners and blocks throughout the city. In one region of east Portland, over 54 languages are spoken in the home.