My National Parks and ArcGIS Explorer (Part 8)

Recently PBS aired The National Parks: America’s Best Idea. The series has inspired this sequence of blog postings about aspects of my personal park explorations over the years via ArcGIS Explorer (AGX). See other national park blog posts for more.

We’re moving through my Fav 7. Today, Acadia—the first national park east of the Mississippi River (1916). I have only been to Acadia once and then not for long enough. Regardless, it quickly got added to my list of favorites—rugged terrain, ocean, great vistas, rich woodland vegetation, and of course, geology. Touring the park you’re quick to recognize some interesting features and many of them expose a glacial past—U-shaped valleys, a North American fjord, erratics, and glacial polish and striations abound. Also, as the Pleistocene ice met the surface features, they encountered resistance—igneous, granitic objects like Mt Cadillac, the remains of an ancient caldera.

Using AGX, I tackle several things: Simply explore the park from a vantage not possible by ground observation to note some of its characteristics (including glacial features), use Web research to learn more about the park and its primary component—Mt Desert Island—and build a Background folder of Web content, identify an aspect of glacial extent in the region, and add some key Notes. (NOTE: I wanted to add an outside GIS layer or two on geology and glaciation but was unsuccessful in my initial searches. However, as I sent in this post, I remembered that the National Atlas has data on glacial limits. I will include the layer in a future expansion of this project.)

As with other parks, I begin by creating an Acadia folder for content. Next, I create contextual Views allowing roaming and easy return. My Web research nets a number of key references on the area’s glacial and bedrock geology. I add them as Links to a new Background folder. In the process, I discover that the 1 km thick ice sheet that covered the park extended, at maximum, some 370 miles into the Gulf of Maine and I want to highlight that using the Measure function to add a line of that distance to my map. I also add information in its associated Pop-up, again using lessons learned at the AGX Resource Center blog > text…HTML.

For the remainder of this first Acadian pass, I add a few photographic notes—one of mine as local content on the granitic shoreline and others focusing on glacially-influenced features using Web links.

Stay tuned for the next installment.

- George Dailey, ESRI Education Program Manager

Tom Baker

About Tom Baker

Tom Baker is an Esri Education Manager, specializing in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) education, teacher education, and educational research. He regularly publishes and presents on geospatial technologies across education.
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