What’s Park Atlas??

Now that my internship has been going on for three full weeks, it’s time to start diving in to what I’ll be working on for the remainder of my time!

Park Atlas is an initiative that the National Park Service has begun that will provide comprehensive online maps for each and every park! These maps will include a plethora of information, like trails, roads, buildings, interesting features, cultural resources, elevation, soil, vegetation, geology, traffic conditions, and many many more features! The beauty of these maps is that they’ll be interactive – not only will someone be able to see the where something interesting is, but if they click on it, they will get all kinds of information about the feature! If it were a monument, they may be able to see the date it was created, what it represents, who maintains it, and so on! These maps will provide park officials quick and easy access to a whole storage of information on demand, and updates to the data will be automatic, so people can stay informed about any changes!

My role is to begin the process of building the Park Atlas maps – one map at a time. This includes finding data that is appropriate to use for our maps, setting the data up for longevity by storing it in a place that will be running for years and years to come, creating the layers that will go on to the maps, and then putting all of the layers together to make a complete map, ready to be published!

So far, this has come with several challenges – some of the data that we’re looking for is outdated or nonexistent, the servers we use to store the data run very slowly, and possibly most importantly, we are starting this project completely from scratch. It’s up to us to determine the best way to go about completing this project, and that means working out all of the kinks that come along the way. That being said, it’s a challenge I’m ready for! I have learned so much over the past few weeks and I feel well prepared to tackle this project head-on.


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