Professional Portfolio
By Kevin Dunlop



While the true power of GIS lies with the ability to conduct analysis and generate information from data, it is also vital to display this information in an easy-to-understand manner. The design and layout of a map can make the difference between confusion and clarity.

Industrial Extension Jobs Survey

In this assignment, members of the NC General Assembly would like to have a map that shows new jobs created from the information in an industrial extension jobs survey. Each house of the General Assembly has its own map with jobs symbolized by district. The industrial extension jobs survey is non-spatial tabular information and was joined with the spatial data of the General Assembly districts.

For these maps, I used a grey color for districts that had no new jobs, whereas I used a graduated color scale for those with new jobs. The districts are labels with their district number to help the user identify them easier, and a table was included so that the exact number for each of the districts can be conveyed.

New jobs per House district

Figure 1: Map for the House of Repersentatives of the NC General Assembly.

New jobs per Senate district

Figure 2: Map for the Senate of the NC General Assembly.

Schenck Memorial Forest Soil Types

The map below shows the Schenck Memorial Forest with the soil types. For this assignment, I had to display and label each of the different types of soils and show the roads and streams. I made the labels big enough to read, while trying to limit them to the soils features to which they belong. There are 10 basic elements for a map, such as the legend, title, and data source, that are included in this map.

Schenck Memorial Forest Soil Types

Figure 3: Schenck Memorial Forest and the soil types along roads and streams present.


As part of my undergrad degree, I created a series of maps that showed the re-routing of backpackers at the Boy Scouts of America national camp, Philmont Scout Ranch. These re-routes were needed because in 2002, Philmont had an extremely large forest fire which closed one third of the camp. Since the 25,000 campers that attended that year had to follow predetermined routes, this presented a problem for the logistics staff, as the reroutes resulted in overcrowding in the remaining open areas of the camp.

The biggest cartographic challenge for displaying the re-route methods was displaying data that overlapped significantly. During this summer, there were 35 pre-determined routes, known as treks. These treks often overlapped on the same trail with some trails having as many as 15 different treks assigned to them. In order to overcome this challenge, I decided to display the treks by increasing the size of line that represented higher trek numbers and ordering the symbology with narrowest lines on top. This display method created a rainbow appearance, as shown in the map below, and allowed the users to see the various treks for each trail segment.

Philmont Treks

Figure 4: Philmont treks that were affected by the 2002 forest fire. This map focus on the open areas of the camp thereby showing sections of the treks that could remain as is.


I have made countless maps throughout my GIS career. Some of the maps have been pretty, while others have been ugly. However, as I continue to develop my GIS skills, my skill and knowledge in cartography continues to improve, thereby enabling me to produce a higher quality of maps, displaying even the most complex information in an easy-to-read manner.