Have you ever attempted to identify the location of your target property but found it difficult because you lack the resources? If so, you may have also realized that it can be equally challenging to communicate your location with others. Whether you are seeking a cost estimate for a project or simply trying to explain where you next potential Phase I site is, having the proper resources at your disposal can save you time, money, and stress. While some organizations may have a GIS guru donate their skills in this type of situation, others cannot afford such a luxury. Many people may then resort to printing out paper maps, drawing site boundaries by hand, and then scanning them in. However, this method is not always accurate (nor pretty), plus who has that kind of time on their hands?
There are a few resources you should know about before you waste any more time scrambling for coordinates, trying to sketch the next Mona Lisa, or bugging your fellow coworker for help. This post presents a few handy resources for quickly identifying and sharing site locations and boundaries. These resources are free of charge and do not require a Bachelor’s degree.
Depending on the task at hand, you may need to consider a few different resources in order to determine which will work best for your project needs. You may be required to identify a specific latitude/longitude, map and share your site boundaries, or find your site location based solely on township range descriptions.
Here are three map resources that are sure to save you time and make you a rock star in the office:
Finding coordinates for any place on earth has become easier and easier over time. Nowadays, I recommend using Google Maps or Bing Maps to get coordinates quickly. In Google, all you have to do to get lat/long coordinates is right click on your map location and select ‘What’s here?’ This feature works nicely for both urban and rural locations. When using Bing Maps, you can enter in an address and the coordinates will display if there is a solid address match. Also, similar to the Google feature, you can zoom to any location and right click on the map for exact locations.
2. Map, measure, or share your target property with Google Earth tools
Mapping out complex boundaries or lines is a common requirement for environmental professionals. Luckily, technology moves at the speed of light, and we are no longer relying on rudimentary paper maps – it’s the digital age, baby! It’s time to learn how to create and share your own maps. Watch this video to learn the basics of mapping in Google Earth, including measuring distance and area, mapping lines and polygons, and creating elevation profiles.
3. Locate a specific township/range/section with Earth Point
Occasionally you may need to identify various TRS locations but do not have the data at your fingertips. Let’s assume your site is located in Oklahoma within Township 16N, Range 7E, Section 5, and you need to quickly find that exact place on Earth. How do you accomplish this? Earth Point is an incredibly powerful and robust tool that provides this exact functionality. Earth Point enables you to select the state, township, range, and section of your site and instantly provides the coordinates in a list. In addition to providing LL coordinates, Earth Point allows you to convert coordinates into many different formats (decimal degrees, degrees minutes seconds, UTM, etc.)
Now that you know how to use these three powerful and efficient tools you should be ready to locate, map, or share locations and boundaries without breaking a sweat. Pretty easy, eh?