• Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
permaculture forums growies critters building homesteading energy monies kitchen purity ungarbage community wilderness fiber arts art permaculture artisans regional education skip experiences global resources cider press projects digital market permies.com private forums all forums
this forum made possible by our volunteer staff, including ...
master stewards:
  • Nicole Alderman
  • paul wheaton
  • Anne Miller
  • Pearl Sutton
  • Mike Haasl
  • Joylynn Hardesty
stewards:
  • r ranson
  • James Freyr
  • Burra Maluca
master gardeners:
  • Steve Thorn
  • Greg Martin
gardeners:
  • Ash Jackson
  • thomas rubino
  • Carla Burke

Struggling with getting an effective base map

 
Posts: 66
5
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
My property is only about an acre, but is shaped a little unusually - its quite long. It also is well landscaped already by the previous owners, with mature ornamental beds, sweeping borders and alike, so there is ALOT of detail to consider. I'm trying to map the site by a process of triangulation, but am finding that any scale I can get on a piece of paper, is too small to be useful - to fit on A1 paper, I have to be working with about 1:200. I've tried breaking it up into separate pieces to get more detail, but even then I can get to about 1:50 on A1, which means a number of different pieces of paper and arguably still not close enough to the ground to really plan out and design effectively.

With so much detail its getting quite laborious processing the triangulation measurements too - everything is organic in shape (paths and beds naturally sweep and bend through the property), very few straight lines to be working with over distances I can measure on my own! I feel this is making accuracy difficult.

I know the importance of a solid base map - the ideal solution I think would be mapping on a computer via a CAD programme or Adobe Illustrator. Would create a map that looked great and could be referred back to time and again. I have had some training in CAD and have access to software, but I wonder how worthwhile it would be to take this route given how basic my knowledge is in this area.

I've looked into buying in a map even, but here (in UK) choices are either maps too simplistic to be useful (an boundary outline at 1:200 is about as detailed as you can get off the shelf) or commissioning a third party to do this, which would run into thousands of £££.

Any advice from others who've faced similar challenges? Keen on any views anyone might have on this.
 
gardener & hugelmaster
Posts: 1788
Location: mountains of Tennessee
687
cattle hugelkultur cat dog trees hunting chicken bee homestead ungarbage
  • Likes 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I'm not sure about in UK but mytopo.com creates very nice custom maps. Don't recall the price but it was reasonable. They are large maps with excellent detail. Mine even shows some old homesteads that were abandoned 100 years ago. Have explored most of those locations but have only found an old root cellar & a chimney so far.  
 
Mj Lacey
Posts: 66
5
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Mike Barkley wrote:I'm not sure about in UK but mytopo.com creates very nice custom maps. Don't recall the price but it was reasonable. They are large maps with excellent detail. Mine even shows some old homesteads that were abandoned 100 years ago. Have explored most of those locations but have only found an old root cellar & a chimney so far.  



Looks great and thanks - alas US / Canada only.
 
steward & bricolagier
Posts: 5520
Location: SW Missouri
2404
goat cat fungi books chicken earthworks food preservation cooking building homestead ungarbage
  • Likes 4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Illustrator can be a high learning curve, and isn't as useful as you'd think it would be. I draw in Photoshop, also not the best, but easy for me. I'd suggest look for a paint or drawing program that does layers, so you can work with sections at a time. Photoshop CS2 is my program of choice for that. Get much newer versions and they are way more complex than what you need. I don't know what other paint or drawing programs support layers, but layers will be your important thing. That's how you can get your details in. Keeps it from getting too complex. Check my Gardens In My Mind post in my signature to see what I do with layers. Every picture on that is the same file, just different layers turned off or on.  

And a weird thought: exactly how precise do you absolutely require your base map to be? I keep multiple maps, sections when I need details, an aerial satellite view shot when I need overview. In reality, most of it is in my head, as my brain is better software than any computer graphic. I have few measurements, as they are difficult on my property. You might think on what you actually require for a base map, and for detail maps.

:)
 
master steward
Posts: 3635
Location: USDA Zone 8a
1032
dog hunting food preservation cooking bee greening the desert
  • Likes 6
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Maybe I am missing something here ...

We use Google Earth.  We can mark area as specific locations and the print it out.  That way we can draw on it or even make several copies to play with.
 
pollinator
Posts: 470
Location: Boston, Massachusetts
144
urban books building solar rocket stoves ungarbage
  • Likes 4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I have used a combination of Google Earth, our town's GIS mapping here, found on our town's website: Town of Winchester, Massachusetts, as well as a detailed, triangulated measuring of our deer exclusion fence layout as installed, to begin  making a map in a CAD program.
(as yet unfinished)
I would also suggest a mortgage plot plan as another source, or other maps/plans on file at your building department or assessor's office (you may need to pay for a copy)

While I find it nice to know that I could sit inside on a cold, rainy day and make plans on the computer, I also find it more productive to get outside and stake something off. It's too easy for me to get sucked into spending a lot of time recreating an exact miniature copy of what's already there, just waiting outside...
So, be honest about why and how detailed it really needs to be.
 
Posts: 83
Location: California Zone 10b / Wyoming Zone 3b
3
building woodworking homestead
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I'm in the same boat for my property.  There is no LIDAR information for the area and the satellite imagery is older.  I have been considering using a drone to generate a 3d map of the property but they are a bit cost prohibitive.
 
master steward
Posts: 7894
Location: Northern WI (zone 4)
2297
hunting trees books food preservation solar woodworking
  • Likes 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Another thing to check is your county's GIS mapping service.  It's for identifying parcels, taxes, etc.  Mine defaults to a map view but there's an option to change the layer to aerial photos they take every 5 years.  It's also nice because the lot lines are shown.
 
Mj Lacey
Posts: 66
5
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Pearl Sutton wrote:Illustrator can be a high learning curve, and isn't as useful as you'd think it would be. I draw in Photoshop, also not the best, but easy for me. I'd suggest look for a paint or drawing program that does layers, so you can work with sections at a time. Photoshop CS2 is my program of choice for that. Get much newer versions and they are way more complex than what you need. I don't know what other paint or drawing programs support layers, but layers will be your important thing. That's how you can get your details in. Keeps it from getting too complex. Check my Gardens In My Mind post in my signature to see what I do with layers. Every picture on that is the same file, just different layers turned off or on.  

And a weird thought: exactly how precise do you absolutely require your base map to be? I keep multiple maps, sections when I need details, an aerial satellite view shot when I need overview. In reality, most of it is in my head, as my brain is better software than any computer graphic. I have few measurements, as they are difficult on my property. You might think on what you actually require for a base map, and for detail maps.

:)



Thanks, thats useful. I'm familiar with Photoshop already and use it regularly (photographer as part of my income).

Its a fair point on preciseness - there are probably 4 distinct 'areas' that would benefit from detailed overview over others (say, 1:20, 1:50) but if I go to the effort to make 4 individual maps at precise detail, I might as well just scale back a little and do the property.

I'd like to just see it unfold in front of me out there, but my mind works best in a 'play' space - moving pieces of trace and experimenting on paper will help me enormously I think. Also we have small children, so my primary design time is going to be at night, when its too dark to be effective wandering in the garden.
 
pollinator
Posts: 231
48
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
https://framacarte.org/en/

On framacarte, an open source initiative, you can draw your maps and play around. Not as complete as Qgis, but quick and easy, done online!

Not everything is translated yet, but enough to work on it. Check out the different base maps for the one that suits your needs.
 
Posts: 540
Location: Abkhazia · Cfa (humid subtropical) - temperate · clay soil
59
cat forest garden trees solar wood heat woodworking
  • Likes 4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
If you have a phone with GPS, you can install a GPX tracker and walk the contours, and circles at the points you want to record. The generated file can be imported into Google Earth (or something else). It will not be perfectly accurate, but you may not need that with organic shapes anyway.
 
Anne Miller
master steward
Posts: 3635
Location: USDA Zone 8a
1032
dog hunting food preservation cooking bee greening the desert
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Mike Jay wrote:Another thing to check is your county's GIS mapping service.  It's for identifying parcels, taxes, etc.  Mine defaults to a map view but there's an option to change the layer to aerial photos they take every 5 years.  It's also nice because the lot lines are shown.



This is where I go sometimes to get the latest version of google earth though not all counties are up to date.  I use another county's version rather than the one I live in and just "zoom" (for lack of a better word) over to my property.

We don't currently have any project that need mapping though in the past this have been great for a lot of reason.  After marking on the print out it is then helpful to finding where we want to put our markers or flags as we can see the trees, rocks, etc to find the locations that we want to mark.
 
steward
Posts: 5574
Location: United States
2230
transportation forest garden tiny house books urban greening the desert
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I'm taking a GIS class right now at college, and my professors likes to mention the UK as having one of the best national mapping services.

Would an Ordinance Survey potentially work as a basemap for you? They have Open OS maps, which you can look at online.
 
pollinator
Posts: 221
Location: NE Ohio / USDA Zone 5b
37
forest garden trees writing wood heat homestead
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Google Earth with a measurement line inserted somewhere for reference and a Huion light pad for tracing.  Base map created and then multiple copies made and we're off to the races.  
 
Rob Kaiser
pollinator
Posts: 221
Location: NE Ohio / USDA Zone 5b
37
forest garden trees writing wood heat homestead
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Rob Kaiser wrote:

Rob Kaiser wrote:Google Earth with a measurement line inserted somewhere for reference and a Huion light pad for tracing.  Base map created and then multiple copies made and we're off to the races.







Ok, well someone messaged me and told me my photos didn't post.  I don't know how.  Anyone wants to see them just let me know and I can explain my procedure here if there's enough interest.  :)
 
Mj Lacey
Posts: 66
5
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Rob Kaiser wrote:

Rob Kaiser wrote:

Rob Kaiser wrote:Google Earth with a measurement line inserted somewhere for reference and a Huion light pad for tracing.  Base map created and then multiple copies made and we're off to the races.







Ok, well someone messaged me and told me my photos didn't post.  I don't know how.  Anyone wants to see them just let me know and I can explain my procedure here if there's enough interest.  :)



Hi Rob - would be super interested to see this, yes please.
 
Anne Miller
master steward
Posts: 3635
Location: USDA Zone 8a
1032
dog hunting food preservation cooking bee greening the desert
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
It might help if Rob told us how his pictures were posted.  Are they stored on your computer or do you use an image storing service?

Here is a tutorial for how to post an image:   https://permies.com/t/61133/Post-Image-Permies
 
pollinator
Posts: 4958
1150
transportation duck trees rabbit tiny house chicken earthworks building woodworking
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
This may not be for the Original Poster because this is for the USA, but when I need a map of my farm, I go to the USDA-NRCS and ask for a map in two foot contours. It will take a few weeks, but they will get you one for free.

There is also a ton of information on their website for maping called Web Soil Survey. Again, everything is free.

I seldom make my own maps, but I do a lot of designing of homemade equipment, and for me, I use Microsoft Excel. I set all the columns to size 2, and that gives me nice squares in which to draw from. Excel has a lot of drawing tools, and even templates in which to do landscape drawings and technical drawings. It is not ideal I know, but I can jot down some really quick ideas to help me figure out proportion sizes, clearance angles, etc.



 
Rob Kaiser
pollinator
Posts: 221
Location: NE Ohio / USDA Zone 5b
37
forest garden trees writing wood heat homestead
  • Likes 7
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
OK - here's the method I've come up with for decent basemaps that are easy to use on the cheap:

(Please keep in mind, this process is not perfectly scaled or accurate - much like most designs I do, lol)

1.  Utilize location on Google Maps and zoom in as much as desired.  

Utilize measuring tool in an out of the way, yet visible location.  

Take screenshot. Print several copies of this in color.



2.  Utilize the measuring tool along primary objects such as buildings, roadways, etc.

These measurements may come in handy for notes and anything you wish to document during your site visit.



3.  Grab your Huion light board (available on Amazon for $35)

Specifically, I use model:  Huion L4S LED Light Box A4



4.  Place the printed image on the light board, ideally tape it to the board.



5.  Grab your tracing paper or vellum paper and place it on the board as well.  Tape if desired.



6.  At this point, you'll have a pretty solid map on tracing paper.



7.  Copies of this can be made on a copy machine - end result can be marked up further with white out tape



8.  Finalize drawing with white out tape, and make multiple copies of that for final base map.



9.  Repeat steps of copies, tracing paper, and light board for quick and easy sketches.

10.  Take rough sketches of copies of basemap and take photos of them into Evernote...be sure to take a photo as a "Color Document"



11.  Evernote "cleans up" the image and allows for a much cleaner deliverable image to your customer.

What's nice is that you can use yellow highlighter and/or red ink to bring attention to certain areas.  These colors show after Evernote "cleans up" the image.



This should provide some additional detail to how I go about making basemaps inexpensively.

Hope this helps!


 
Posts: 13
Location: Sisaket, Thailand
1
pig bee writing
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Rob Kaiser wrote:OK - here's the method I've come up with for decent basemaps that are easy to use on the cheap:

This should provide some additional detail to how I go about making basemaps inexpensively.

Hope this helps!



Hi Rob - It seems like none of your images have come through...or is it only happening on my computer?
 
Posts: 2
1
monies building
  • Likes 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I'm an architect, so I have a head start on this type of thing, as I do it often.

When working up a site, I typically start with my county's GIS server, https://gispublic.co.lake.ca.us/portal/apps/webappviewer/index.html?id=87dfc0c535b2478bb67df69d6d319eca . Many localities have a similar site. I take screenshots of the aerial photos and paste them into a CADD program. You can get a free 2D CADD program from https://qcad.org/en/ . I take care to scale them properly.

Your locality may also allow you to download their coverages and associated data, or at least the ones that aren't commercial products. These can be used with a GIS program such as qgis ( http://qgis.org ). This is a bit of a rabbit hole; you can get books that may help guide you from https://www.packtpub.com/ .

You can get elevation data and lots of other goodies from https://nationalmap.gov/ . We're lucky here as they have 1 meter coverages of the entire county. I've downloaded all of them, and derive contour lines from them as needed.

Once I have what I need in GIS, I export it to CADD. I may incorporate photos from other sources. Sometimes I turn the contours into a 3D model. You can get a free 3D CADD program at https://www.freecadweb.org/ .

You can make a 3d model of your site using drone photography and photogrammetry. Here in California, you can do this for your own property, but you need to be a licensed surveyor to do someone else's. To ensure an accurate model, you need to accurately locate some points on the ground. The more the merrier. Some of these are used to make the model, and others are used to check the model's accuracy. You can get training on this at https://www.pix4d.com/ .

Even after going through all this, I can only trust the results so much. The property lines from the County are inaccurate, the aerial photos are often taken at an angle, and surveying is not an exact science. I hope this helps.
 
pollinator
Posts: 359
Location: Poland, zone 6, CfB
102
forest garden fungi fish trees books urban medical herbs writing greening the desert homestead
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Ben Missimer of Pearl River Eco Design specializes in preparing great maps based on LIDAR data available for your land. I strongly recommend his services, especially for owners of larger properties. I attach one sample map he made for me, but there are plenty to choose from.
HillColorContour-(1).png
Hill Color Contour
Hill Color Contour
 
Posts: 231
32
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
In US:

* Many areas have a local or regional planning commission. They generally are willing to offer copies.
* Many taxing accessors have original plat maps when the area was surveyed for sale.
* If your land sets close to federal park or forest the national forest service will have detailed topo maps of the area.

One last one. Foundation repair firms use a device that is a staff with a read out head. Accurate to .01". They use it to determine foundation problems. One could use that same tool to walk off a grid pattern recording the delta measurements from a known marker. If one could be rented you could mark off a grid pattern fairly quickly using the device.
 
pollinator
Posts: 286
Location: Ozarks
68
homeschooling goat dog tiny house chicken cooking building solar wood heat homestead
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Same problem here and mainly because I have terrain and need to take top soil loss into consideration. I'm in the boonies and mytopo and US Geo Services terrain maps lack detail where I am. I think they mapped this area in the 1950s. GPS signal sucks here, especially since most of the property is forest. Lucky to get within 30 feet IF I can get enough sat signals.

I've decided the only way to do it, for me, is to get a builder's transit and either use my 150 foot tape measure or get a longer one. I'm not going to do a complete grid. Just mark important points and at least one contour line.

I have a flatish area, a valley and a knoll on the other side of that. The steepest slope going down to the mini valley, probably drops 50 feet vertical in 30 feet horizontal so it's pretty steep. Too steep to disturb really.

What I'll be doing is, with the transit, mark a level line on contour around the valley where at the point where it starts to get steep. Any rocks I harvest, and there's lots of them and more available nearby if I run out of my own, will be stacked on that line to catch any top soil or hummus that tries to wash down into the valley as I disturb things. I could use a builder's level as well but I want the transit which can be tilted vertical rather than just swing around on level because I have one property line to extend and it goes up a hill.

Then I'll measure from a corner - two sides - to be able to mark points on X, Y coordinates. Once I get that contour line marked with X,Y coordinates, I can do some Z coordinates up from the contour line as needed. I'll do all that on my tablet and bring it over to my laptop and use TurboCAD. TurboCAD is really easy to use compared to most CAD programs as it's more like drawing shapes with the mouse than typing in X, Y, Z coordinates based off of a zero starting corner. An image can be pasted in as well. It's gotten pretty expensive but you can usually find a used, older version on ebay. I started out with version 7 Designer 2D/3D and I see one on ebay for $15.00 and that version has a nice tutorial as well. I need to get a cable so I can use our TV as a monitor.

One benefit of the CAD programs is that they're set up for scaled printing in large format. Some of the office supply stores can print large. Printing places also and I imagine plenty of architects and other design firms have large format printers as do many sign companies. You could also transfer it from the screen to poster board by hand with a scale rule.

I'll probably start out with the USGS contour map, even though it lacks detail and ammend it with more detail as I go and then use GIMP to make it semi-transparent and then pull it into CAD and scale as needed by drawing a box to known dimensions from the survey and stretching the image I paste into said box(polygon).

*Looking at QCAD now as I have to swap over to Windows to use TurboCAD. I run Ubuntu/Linux. Here's a list of free CAD progs. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Computer-aided_design#Freeware_and_open_source

One thing the CAD programs don't have as far as I know, is trees and stuff like that but light colored circles work too and is what a lot of people use anyway. You can also draw freehand using arches and save them as a separate drawing and paste them in as needed, stretching and shrinking to size.
 
pollinator
Posts: 241
Location: Dolan Springs, AZ 86441
34
  • Likes 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
You have two main challenges: Gathering the geographical data, and representing that data on a map. I highly recommend using Google Earth/Google maps to help create your base map by zooming into the 1":50' scale, if that scale will include the entire property. Taking a screen shot of your property which includes the scale marker will give you a pretty close rendition of your property. If you can identify the boundaries of your property in the Satellite-view, use a thin, dark line to draw the lines on a print-out of your screen shot. For purposes of building your base-map layer, you may want to white-out the details on the copy of the screen-shot that you use to create your base map. Once you have established a clean base map of the property boundaries, you can then transfer the boundaries to a nice printout of the satellite map.

A CAD program makes determining the scale a lot easier, since you "draw" in a 1:1 scale, and then make printouts at whatever scale that fits your paper size. You may have to settle on having a larger-scale base map with various small-scale detail maps.

Creating your map(s) on paper is a bit more tedious, but it is a lot easier if you start with a "clean" base map which only shows the boundaries of the property at a convenient scale. It is important to note that ONE map will not serve ALL of your needs. Your base map does not have to show all the details. if you create a scale legend for the base map that can be moved around, you can use it, with a scaled detail-area border, to show the various detail areas on your base map. As you catalog each detail area, you can draw the outline of that detail area on your base map, or put all your detail areas on a separate layer of tissue paper. since each layer is created from your base map, this layer keeps all of your detail area maps located on the base map.

The major boundaries should be drawn with a thin, but dark line. interior boarders can be identified by using dark, dotted lines. You want a dark, thin line that can be seen thru a tissue paper (or vellum) overlay, but won't get too thick when you enlarge an area using a copier. This also applies to your moveable scaled detail-area marker.

This map only shows the permanent buildings and a few major landmarks. You'll need to include the base map's scale printed on the base map for later reference.
You can make a movable scale marker of your base map's scale that you can move around on the base map so that you can use a copier to "zoom-in" on areas where you need to show more detail. By measuring the enlarged scale marker, you can then calculate the scale of your copier-enlarged detail maps. You can also make a moveable transparent overlay of a grid at the scale of your base map that you can place over an area on your base map which will outline the portion of the base map that represents your detail area.

Even if you are doing a plant-by-plant inventory, the base map only needs to show the outlines of the major features of the property: the plants and other features of the property will be mapped on different overlays.

i have used large sheets of tissue paper to make these overlays, but if you have access to a good CAD program, you can draw the map in a 1:1 scale, and then use the CAD program to print out detail maps at whatever scale you need.


GATHERING DATA:

You will need a good compass and a means of sighting along a straight line. You'll need to look up you local magnetic declination. Since the magnetic field of the planet has been steadily moving over the years, you'll need to set the declination on your compass to find "True North" in your area. If you are working from an old map, the magnetic declination may have changed. In the USA, the USGS publishes a map that shows the current magnetic declination to be used to get accurate compass readings.

I have made a simple "gun-sight" that mounts to a camera tripod: Select a straight, un-warped piece of 1" x 3. draw a line down the center of the top surface of this board. (It will be mounted to the camera tripod using screws.  Find the exact center of the board (for the length and width) and drill a shallow hole that will accommodate the camera tripods mounting screw.
place a finishing nail at the center of one end of the board. This will be the front sight. At the other end, place a finishing nail on each side of the center line. This will be the rear sight.
Using a plumb bob, you can sight along the gun-sight to locate stakes along a specific compass bearing. Hopefully your tripod will have a bubble that can level the tripod to make your gun-sight act as a transit. You can use your compass to establish a fairly accurate bearing, and a tape measure to set the distance from your grid point.

In your target area, measure from your established grid of stakes. Start with plotting out the edges of all those curvilinear features you mentioned. Starting at a known corner, or a permanent landmark, stake out the target area with a grid of measured squares. Ideally, the grid will aligned with N-S, and E-W:it will make aligning each detail area easier if all your measurements are related to the same N-S, E-W orientation, which eliminates as many variables in your process as possible.

Basically, you need to establish a regular grid of stakes on the ground, which you will use to triangulate from to locate and plot out individual plants and other features at whatever scale you need. This is very similar to the techniques artists use to enlarge or reduce a drawing. In your case, your original "drawing" is real life, and you are reducing it to fit the size of your paper.

Areas that require a higher resolution of detail can be plotted by establishing this regular grid over a manageable "target area". If you are really obsessed with high-resolution details, you might want to find a book on land surveying techniques.

I suggest that instead of drawing each plant at scale, that you devise a legend of small symbols that can represent each large plant. With smaller plants, it might be better to merely indicate groupings or planting beds. You will want to make one overlay that shows your different zones. Ask yourself, does you Zone 5 need to use the same level of detail as your Zone 0 or Zone 1 areas?



 
pollinator
Posts: 353
Location: Athens, GA Zone 8a
63
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

John Pollard wrote:Same problem here and mainly because I have terrain and need to take top soil loss into consideration. I'm in the boonies and mytopo and US Geo Services terrain maps lack detail where I am. I think they mapped this area in the 1950s. GPS signal sucks here, especially since most of the property is forest. Lucky to get within 30 feet IF I can get enough sat signals.



So THIS is why I'm so frustrated! I've been spinning my wheels trying to learn how to read/export data and use various resources to get a good base map. I've got all kinds of graphics software and apps on my phone that don't seem to work to get the barest clue about what I'm working with. Google Earth would be very helpful if I could turn off the tree layer that obstructs my overhead view. Anyone know how to do that?

One thing I do know is that, when it rains really hard (which it did all last summer, replete with fungal diseases; this summer we've been in a horrible drought for months), stormwater runs SW to NE along our paved road and pools up terribly in our front yard. (We're on septic tank and there are no drains at the road.) The place where I'd most like to put in a rain garden has pipes that limit what I can plant there. No figs, no willows, etc.

Anyway, I've been kind of winging it, laying things out in the backyard as it just feels right (and adjusting as we can afford to get diseased pines taken down). I've had more plants die than live, but I know in part it's because everything's so freaked out by climate change.

Right now, I have precious little green stuff because I've spent the last year or so clearing the badly overgrown/tree-killing English and poison ivy, Japanese honeysuckle, Chinese privet, etc., and having diseased pines and sweetgum trees taken down as I've been able to afford it. I'm using the "good" logs to trace out areas to live with for a while before planting guilds. Mainly trying to build up the soil, which is now very compacted Georgia red clay, and learning to identify the mushrooms popping up on the wood chips I've been putting down.

I look at people's lushness and am trying not to get too bummed out. I started out with a whole yard that looks like the last photo, many diseased/falling pines, and no sun at all:








LemonTreeMicroclimate.jpg
[Thumbnail for LemonTreeMicroclimate.jpg]
Meyer Lemon in foreground with, hopefully, a Zone 9 microclimate in Zone 8
LogsToHelpVisualizePathsAndGuilds.jpg
[Thumbnail for LogsToHelpVisualizePathsAndGuilds.jpg]
Fledgling plum guild started, plus pineapple guava with garlic chives
DelineatingBeds.jpg
[Thumbnail for DelineatingBeds.jpg]
Pawpaw patch will be behind the stump
WhatIStartedWith.jpg
[Thumbnail for WhatIStartedWith.jpg]
The whole backyard was like this when I started
 
John Pollard
pollinator
Posts: 286
Location: Ozarks
68
homeschooling goat dog tiny house chicken cooking building solar wood heat homestead
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Diane Kistner wrote:

John Pollard wrote:Same problem here and mainly because I have terrain and need to take top soil loss into consideration. I'm in the boonies and mytopo and US Geo Services terrain maps lack detail where I am. I think they mapped this area in the 1950s. GPS signal sucks here, especially since most of the property is forest. Lucky to get within 30 feet IF I can get enough sat signals.



So THIS is why I'm so frustrated! I've been spinning my wheels trying to learn how to read/export data and use various resources to get a good base map. I've got all kinds of graphics software and apps on my phone that don't seem to work to get the barest clue about what I'm working with. Google Earth would be very helpful if I could turn off the tree layer that obstructs my overhead view. Anyone know how to do that?

One thing I do know is that, when it rains really hard (which it did all last summer, replete with fungal diseases; this summer we've been in a horrible drought for months), stormwater runs SW to NE along our paved road and pools up terribly in our front yard. (We're on septic tank and there are no drains at the road.) The place where I'd most like to put in a rain garden has pipes that limit what I can plant there. No figs, no willows, etc.

Anyway, I've been kind of winging it, laying things out in the backyard as it just feels right (and adjusting as we can afford to get diseased pines taken down). I've had more plants die than live, but I know in part it's because everything's so freaked out by climate change.

Right now, I have precious little green stuff because I've spent the last year or so clearing the badly overgrown/tree-killing English and poison ivy, Japanese honeysuckle, Chinese privet, etc., and having diseased pines and sweetgum trees taken down as I've been able to afford it. I'm using the "good" logs to trace out areas to live with for a while before planting guilds. Mainly trying to build up the soil, which is now very compacted Georgia red clay, and learning to identify the mushrooms popping up on the wood chips I've been putting down.

I look at people's lushness and am trying not to get too bummed out. I started out with a whole yard that looks like the last photo, many diseased/falling pines, and no sun at all:



I hear ya.

Nope, can't turn off the trees. Google Earth is based on satelite photos. We made the bright decision to buy a hunk of Oak/Hickory forest. Well it was the only thing we could afford. Several years later, I have a bunch of grass to mow and not much else. I do have some native fruit trees that I need to move this winter and I finally have room for them. We have lushness but it's weeds and grass. We're still living in the cabin I built that was only supposed to get is by for a couple of years so I can't even start on Zone 1 yet. I did get a fence line cut and corner posts in and I'll be finishing that this winter. Have to do it in winter when there's no ticks and chiggers. That's why I mow too, because of ticks & chiggers. Goats will be taking over most of the mowing next year.  I'm a bug magnet. My other project for this fall is a high tunnel frame. I got a hold of some arched pipe and will be making my own frame. I've been a fabricator all my life so it's pretty easy for me.

I just watched this,  
  and it gives a pretty good overview of permaculture design as far as getting things onto paper and then into a computer. I don't see how a cell phone could be used with that small screen. If you don't have a computer, it can all be done on paper. He uses Adobe Illustrator so I went looking for a free equivalent and found sk1. https://sk1project.net/  It was forked from Sketch. I installed it and it looks pretty decent. You can set the units to feet, draw circles, squares and lines and add text. The above video is dealing with a fairly small property around a house so, mostly Zone 1 which is where we're supposed to start anyway. He starts with a piece of paper, a compass and a 300 foot reel up tape measure, then makes a cleaner drawing from that, using a scale ruler. Then uses tracing paper to add layers with trees/plants etc. Then he finally copies it in Adobe Illustrator.  

I'll be able to start working again next year which will help a lot. $$$ Had to get a shop built but it's pretty much done. The lushness you see in the video took 8 years and he probably had better funding than me. In fact I'm sure of it. With all those pine trees, I would think your soil is probably got a low ph situation. You should be able to grow most fruit trees/bushes. Blueberries, Blackberries etc. Need a soil test to be sure.
 
Diane Kistner
pollinator
Posts: 353
Location: Athens, GA Zone 8a
63
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Rob Kaiser wrote:OK - here's the method I've come up with for decent basemaps that are easy to use on the cheap:


3.  Grab your Huion light board (available on Amazon for $35)

Specifically, I use model:  Huion L4S LED Light Box A4

5.  Grab your tracing paper or vellum paper and place it on the board as well.  Tape if desired.




I just discovered there are both lightbox and tracing apps for my iPad I think will work for this. I'm playing with Trace Table now, but I also got one called Lightbox. Both are cheap.
 
Diane Kistner
pollinator
Posts: 353
Location: Athens, GA Zone 8a
63
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
John Pollard, CHIGGERS! O.M.G. Yeah, majorly horrible! Hell, as a matter of fact. You made me realize how lucky I am not to have had that particular problem here.
 
author
Posts: 86
Location: West Wales, Britain
27
forest garden duck tiny house books bee writing
  • Likes 6
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Thanks everyone, for fantastic mapping resources! When making big earthworks or complex water catchment systems I've relied on partners and friends who use this kind of mapping.

At the other end of the spectrum, I've encouraged my PDC students to compliment their technical mapping skills and survey with the Bodyometer. The bedrock of permaculture design for me is observation, which cultivates ecologically sensitive designs. There are many gadgets and data sources to give us observed information, however, there is an incredibly sensitive, highly calibrated instrument available to us all. It has evolved over millennia to sense and feedback environmental conditions. Everyone has access to it, at all times, and with no financial cost or strange buttons to master. This tool is the body, our Bodyometer, and our most intimately inhabited landscape.

For anyone overwhelmed by mapping, I encourage them to spend time observing this way.

Developing sensory awareness of the site/garden/project makes it less likely to impose top down ideas from our brains on to the land / garden / project. At the heart of permaculture is finding the most appropriate location for our design ideas, creating efficiency and resilience by harnessing energy inherent in the landscape. Our bodyometer, attuned to environment, is a valuable resource in placing elements, such as gardens, ponds and buildings in relation to landform, soil, water, and sun, thereby reducing energy inputs.
 
Jasmine Dale
author
Posts: 86
Location: West Wales, Britain
27
forest garden duck tiny house books bee writing
  • Likes 4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
When tracing maps or scaling up base maps from A4 to A1, I always tape them to a window.
 
Diane Kistner
pollinator
Posts: 353
Location: Athens, GA Zone 8a
63
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Jasmine Dale wrote:
Developing sensory awareness of the site/garden/project makes it less likely to impose top down ideas from our brains on to the land / garden / project. At the heart of permaculture is finding the most appropriate location for our design ideas, creating efficiency and resilience by harnessing energy inherent in the landscape. Our bodyometer, attuned to environment, is a valuable resource in placing elements, such as gardens, ponds and buildings in relation to landform, soil, water, and sun, thereby reducing energy inputs.



This really hit home with me. I have been most successful when I have just sensed into where something feels like it ought to go rather than trying to construct spaces. All this time, I've been beating myself up for it, though, because it didn't seem to be much of a very "scientific" approach. And the more I try to work with math, the more dyslexic and stupid I feel. I like your approach and sensitivity, Jasmine. Very glad you're here.

Now I sense that I need to more shamanically begin conversing/co-creating with the plants and critters and soil. Maybe some journeying into the Underworld (what your posted visualization exercise of feeling down into the soil reminded me of) is in order. There's a big old crack in the ground outside, literally from this drought, I could enter through!
 
Jasmine Dale
author
Posts: 86
Location: West Wales, Britain
27
forest garden duck tiny house books bee writing
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

I have been most successful when I have just sensed into where something feels like it ought to go rather than trying to construct spaces. All this time, I've been beating myself up for it, though, because it didn't seem to be much of a very "scientific" approach



We're having a good chat about 'inner work' and 'earth psychology with regards to mapping and designing over on these threads and a few others. I feel strongly that as we are part of the ecosystem too, our subjective and intuitive responses to a place, are important to a systems approach and learning to trust ourselves.

https://permies.com/t/126166/permaculture-projects/Work-Meta-Analysis

https://permies.com/t/124888/permaculture-projects/Elements-Survey-Holistic-Client-Survey

The Wilderness Awareness movement is a wealth of exercises to mentor us towards trusting our intuition ( a tried and tested selection in my workbook, the Permaculture Design Companion, which uses creativity, analysis, observation and 'inner work' in the design process).






 
Posts: 14
Location: Afton, WY
dog chicken bike
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
After seeing this post, I wrote a quick blog entry about how I create a scaled base map. Creating a Scaled Basemap  I like to use both paper/pencil/engineer scale and CAD for different stages of design. By scaling the map I can print, draw by hand, scan back in, and rescale as much as needed.  You can also scale and overlay multiple screenshots such as boundary, soils, wetlands, ect and trace them in the cad program.  
 
pollinator
Posts: 279
94
hugelkultur dog fungi trees books cooking food preservation bee medical herbs rocket stoves wood heat
  • Likes 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
May I add - you and the space over time? What is the history? Former garbage dump or sacred space? Just married or divorced? My perspective and ability to see, feel and be open to impressions can change with my circumstances. And if I am able, I always want to see the space and my relationship with the land over 4 seasons.

Edited to add:

Suncalc, gives you the sun's path on your land, GIMP similar to Photoshop and Inkscape similar to Illustrator - are for free.

 
pollinator
Posts: 1227
Location: Chicago/San Francisco
180
  • Likes 4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Jasmine

I believe you're right about learning the space personally before trying to make decisions.

But I would add the "intuition" does not spring forth full grown in an instant. And how true and effective intuition is depends on what it's applied to. Intuition learns and develops much as the rest of a person does. A city person will have no intuition about the health of a cow; an herbalist or dancer probably doesn't sense when a tiny noise in a car needs to be checked _now_. Intuition takes time to grow and develop and it does this through experience of getting things done and making things work. The "getting" and "making" are what reveal the workings of our world to us by allowing us to see experience success and failure. This happen with time and, if ones fortunate, mentors, teachers.

In my experience, LG is totally right about a person's own personal state influencing, more than influence, controlling the function of the intuition.  We need to be aware of this, and most of are, really. That's what it means when we say "I'm a morning person" or something similar.


Regards,
Rufus
 
Posts: 168
17
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
i found satellite images better than google maps so i screen captured and printed many pages worth and taped them together to make an almost 8 foot by 8 foot map of the property!
it is nice to stare at during the winter
although i tend to make way too many plans to accomplish in the short warm season

also macrostrat (Travis you are going to love that site)
has a feature where you can draw a line on the map and it gives you a side profile of the terrain below the line (not100%accurate though trees seem to skew the result)
 
John Pollard
pollinator
Posts: 286
Location: Ozarks
68
homeschooling goat dog tiny house chicken cooking building solar wood heat homestead
  • Likes 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
This site makes pretty good contour maps' https://contourmapgenerator.com

Here's google's terrain


Here's mytopo


Here's contourmapgenerator


You can set contour line spacing too. The black rectangle is something I drew on top of the contour map.
 
You had your fun. Now it's time to go to jail. Thanks for your help tiny ad.
Learn Permaculture through a little hard work
https://wheaton-labs.com/bootcamp
reply
    Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic