Why is (this tree) not on the map?
Well, some areas of campus have not been mapped yet, Some areas of campus (like Ridgeline) have different management techniques, so those trees aren’t mapped individually. Or, the Google Earth version of the map hasn’t been recently updated (it’s a winter project), so either it has died or has been recently planted.
What do you use to make the map?
The actual map itself is on ArcView 9.3, in a file geodatabase. The data are input on a Dell Axim Pocket PC running ArcPad, with the data entry forms written in ArcPad Application Builder. The conversion to the Google Earth file is done in an ArcView script named Export to KML.
How long did it take?
Well, um, quite a while. Most of the mapping was done in the winter, picking away an hour here and there. The original map was done from 1999-2002 by several groups of students, but some of the names and many of the tree measurements were incorrect.
I need help with Google Earth.
Start with the Google Earth FAQ page for Middlebury. The LIS helpdesk would be more than willing to help on campus questions such as this. They have an excellent starter guide (PDF) availible as well, and a PDF of Google Earth for Educators. Furthermore, a great introduction to the program is here.
How come the trees don’t line up with the photograph?
The tree locations were mapped using a GPS receiver on the Pocket PC, and GPS is highly variable in its accuracy. Some areas on north campus don’t seem to pick up the satillites as well. Also, the high resolution photograph on the campus map page doesn’t always line up, due to the way the plane flying over took the picture. (that’s why there are some trees that seem to be planted in Bi-Hall).
I’d like to know more about the ArcGIS part of the map.
Feel free to contact us with any questions about the ARC files. The information is stored in a file geodatabase, and is quite large, so we chose not to make it readily availible to download. Hopefully next winter we’ll have a larger page describing the inner workings of the map in detail.