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30 Years of Change in Morgan Hill: Field Studies and Cartographic Representation

September 13, 2009
Morgan Hill: 30 Years of Change, 1976-2006

Morgan Hill: 30 Years of Change, 1976-2006

I participated in the Field Studies course offered my department (Geography at SJSU) during spring semester 2009.  When I learned that the results of our efforts would be placed on display in the hallway of Washington Square Hall at semester’s end, I chipped in some midnight-hour cartographic elbow grease to get a layout together.  Along the way I received some much-appreciated assistance from Maureen Kelley, the department’s cartography instructor.  The version displayed here is my most current revision to the layout, which better ties the three land-use maps together with the explanatory text, legend, and inset map.  Below I’ve included the explanatory text, which gives an overview of the project undertaken during the course of the semester.  Clicking on the image will navigate you to a site where a larger version of the file resides.

Explanatory text from the poster:

In 1976, the Geography Department completed a project to document land uses at elevations below 600 feet in the Santa Clara Valley for the nation’s bicentennial.  The goal of this semester’s Field Studies course was to document the changes that have occurred in Morgan Hill in the thirty years since the project.  In order to accomplish this, the class set out to bring the 1976 land-use map into the digital realm and document current land uses with a consistent land-use classification scheme.

The resulting maps are displayed to the right.  The first is a digitized version of the original 1976 map, with a color scheme applied to depict land use categories. Patterns in the data are now more readily visible.  The second map represents the results of field observations made in the Morgan Hill area during the months of March and April, 2009.  Conversions of agricultural land to urban uses are particularly pronounced in the the area just north of the traditional downtown; the third map calls out those areas where change has occured, and also specifies their current land-use classifications.

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