13 maps in 13 days: Dr. John Van Hoesen

Sending off the year 2015, we present to our readers the mapmakers who contributed their work to the 2015 GeoHipster calendar.


Dr. John Van Hoesen

Q: Tell us about yourself.

A: I’m an Associate Professor of Geology & Environmental Studies at Green Mountain College in Vermont. I stumbled into GIS as an undergraduate and for most of my graduate work focused on using it as spatial analysis tool exploring geologic processes and environmental issues (and I made a lot of fugly maps along the way). Straddling the fence of academia and the consulting world it became clear that fugly wouldn’t cut it and I eventually embraced cartography as an art rather than an afterthought.

Q: Tell us the story behind your map (what inspired you to make it, what did you learn while making it, or any other aspects of the map or its creation you would like people to know).

A: A post by Geomorphology Rules on Facebook prompted me to celebrate “Worldwide LIP Appreciation Week.” Much to the disappointment of Steven Tyler, this is related to Large Igneous Provinces. I couldn’t find any other reference to this during the official week of celebration, however it seemed like a great topic to mention in my Intro to Geology course. But when I went looking for a good map of LIPs I was disappointed, so I decided to create one.

Q: Tell us about the tools, data, etc., you used to make the map.

A: I started with some Blue Marble imagery from NASA and following some great advice from John Nelson with idvsolutions applied a little desaturation and knocked down the brightness in the bright white polar regions. I found ready-made shapefiles (LIPs, hot spots, etc.) created by Mike Coffin and provided by the Institute For Geophysics at the University of Texas, Austin. I also used a dataset from the Large Igneous Provinces Commission to create a simple graph illustrating the frequency of igneous pulses over geologic time (this is meant more as illustrative than definitive, of course).

Cartographically I chose the orange and red based on the USGS Cartographic Standards palette, and the yellow, blue and purple mainly for contrast. I re-projected all the data into Winkel tripel (see Goldberg and Gott (2008, PDF)). I couldn’t figure out how to reproject to Winkel tripel in QGIS so that was done in ArcMap 10.1 and then symbolized in QGIS and exported to Illustrator for the marginalia (I know, I know, I could use Inkscape but we have a site license…)

'Large Igneous Provinces (LIPS) - Atlantic Ocean' by John Van Hoesen
‘Large Igneous Provinces (LIPS) – Atlantic Ocean’ by John Van Hoesen