April 18, 2019 Middlesex County, NJ won first place for ‘Best Cartographic Design’ at the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection Agency. Erica Del Plato and Julia Gerdes worked hard to pull together a poster that represents the county initiative of re-branding and recreating all the county park and county open space trail user maps.
In January 2018, Middlesex County launched the Marketing and Re-branding Initiative, led by the County’s Office of Marketing. As part of this Initiative, the Office of Marketing created the Middlesex County Getaway Guide to attract people to the County, which would include maps of County Parks, Open Space, and County Golf Courses. In conjunction with the new re-branding guidelines, the Office of Marketing requested that County Parks, Open Space and Golf Courses be redesigned by the Division of GIS to fit the new re-branding strategy to be incorporated into the seasonal Getaway Guide.
To achieve this, the Division of GIS utilized the current data available, as well as newly acquired data that was not included in the first county parks map series. This also gave our Division the opportunity to update existing data that would be used for these maps. This is currently an ongoing project, with 10 maps completed and approximately 30 more maps to be redesigned. The timeline to complete this project is August 2019 so that the maps can be showcased at the Middlesex County Fair with the new re-branding initiative.
The first process was to analyze current and available data to determine what would be utilized in the creation of a new county park map series. It was necessary to know what maps and data would require updating, as well as fill in missing data gaps of our currently existing parks data. Road Centerlines, Park Boundaries, Water Bodies, Streams, and County Park Land boundaries were some of the currently existing data that was already existing and was utilized within these maps. Park Picnic Groves, Trails, Walking Paths, Park Fields, and Park Amenities were data points that also already existed but needed to be updated before including them in these maps. This opportunity allowed the GIS team to review currently existing data and fill in the missing data gaps.
Planimetrics is a newly acquired dataset with robust data that was also utilized in this map series. This data came from a digitizing campaign to map structural features in Level 1 LiDAR and 3-inch aerial imagery. Such features include building footprints, sidewalks, stormwater facilities and more. Also included in this map series dataset is the NJ State data that was needed to complete the maps; such as Land Use/Land Cover data to add Forest, Agriculture, and Wetlands to the maps. To create a textured relief, Hillshade derived from the Level 1 LiDAR, was also added to all the maps. After all the data was up to date, redesign of the maps could begin. All maps had to be consistent in color, texture, scale, symbology, branding and format. Once the redesign phase was complete, the Division of GIS collectively reviewed the map to discuss any changes and/or comments before the map was finalized.
Ultimately, all this diligent hard work resulted in a first-place achievement award granted by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection for ‘Best Cartographic Design’. Acknowledgement from the NJDEP for the hard work of the Middlesex County GIS teams is validating and inspirational for the team to keep producing good GIS work.