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Interactive Map of Stargazing Sites in Oregon and Southern Washington


Tools Used: ArcPro, AGOL, Buffering, Spatial Analysis

Skills Used: Interactive map design, database creation, research, cartography

Project Description: This web application is a work in progress, and is intended to help amateur astronomers find good locations in Oregon and Southern Washington for stargazing, both with clubs and individually.  Members of the general public who are interested in stargazing can also use it as an information source. I am working on two additional layers, expected to be complete by spring 2022.

The interactive map can be used to look at a darkness rating for each site based on the Bortle Scale. A user can also filter to find sites that are relatively dark, at less than 5, use Hot Spots Analysis to find clusters of locations that are especially dark, or light polluted. Buffering can be used to find dark sites for a range of distances from cities. Distance and Direction allows the user to select a start and end point, and draw a line between the two, or a circle, ellipse, or rings radiating from selected center point.

The data source for astronomy sites was a crowd-sourced website list, which I pared down to sites that are not privately owned, and have basic facilities. I used Google Earth to examine each site’s likely horizon. The base map was created using Mapbox Dark. The base map’s fonts types and colors were modified for the state and county layers, waterways, and parks. Using the base map I created an ArcGIS online web map, creating layers from my CSV of organized astronomy sites, unorganized astronomy sites, darkness rating, shapefiles of Oregon and Washington counties. Next, I created the online web map using ArcGIS Web App, and incorporated additional functionality.

                Click here to view a larger map:

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