Maps and Mappers of the 2022 calendar: Samara Ebinger, June

Q: Tell us about yourself:

A: I’m a GIS Specialist at the City of Worcester, Massachusetts. I just recently started last November. I’ve been in the GIS field for a long time but in different capacities, working for a consulting firm, non-profits, state government, and now local government. I love learning new things and trying out new techniques in mapping and GIS. And I have to say that I’ve learned so much just by being on Twitter the past few years and coming across tutorials that the good folks in the geospatial community have put together – this was an important factor in the creation of my calendar map.

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: For the past few years, I’ve been interested in different ways to visualize topography and in New Hampshire (where I used to live until recently), you have the White Mountains in the northern part of the state, so that’s been my place of choice to map as of late.

Lately I’ve also been drawn to the aesthetic look of fantasy maps – they have that magical and ethereal quality that I was going for in this map – trying to convey the beauty and magic of a real place (the White Mountains) in that way.

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

A: I made this map using QGIS and the technique to visualize the topography is based on a tutorial by Robin Hawkes to create hachures, which I tweaked for a combined hachure & contour line effect. I created the background shaded relief layer using a combination of Blender, GDAL, and QGIS.

Data sources I used are:

  • Elevation data: NASA SRTM; US Geological Survey
  • Trails: National Park Service Appalachian Trail Park Office and Appalachian Trail Conservancy; U.S. Forest Service
  • Shelters: National Park Service Appalachian Trail Park Office and Appalachian Trail Conservancy
  • Water features and park boundaries: OpenStreetMap
  • Roads: New Hampshire Department of Transportation
  • Mountain peaks: I created this point dataset myself using a combination of sources including USGS GNIS data.