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**buster**

I have the first two maps already made. I can share them when I get back home. Don't mean to sandbag you, but I think these maps might be too easy for a mini-project, more like a weekend assignment. Most of the work is cleaning up the data, which is admittedly is time consuming, but not challenging. The available data contains a lot of old roads, roads not open to the public and just errors or incomplete/confusing data. I think you'll find with map making that much of the time is spent on cartography (making the map look pretty) and data management instead of analysis. But then again, thinking about it more as I write this, it might be a good real world exercise to get familiar with different data sources, assessing data and map making.

As for the optimal path project, that is a version of the famous (at least in computer circles) traveling salesmen problem. It is famous because it is extremely difficult but a common problem. I think chick-on might have been pulling your tail.

What I think would be a cool project would be a travel cost estimation. This might be too much for a mini-project so could be for the whole semester project. A travel-cost estimation would take into consideration the time it takes to travel on trail vs off trail, take into account elevation lost and gained, as well as vegetation cover and barriers like cliffs. Then you could find the most time consuming place in Yosemite to visit.

Thanks for the feedback and I look forward to seeing your work. I think you may be overestimating my abilities. :-) I didn't even know what ESRI or ArcGIS was till seven months ago. And all the assignments I have done so far I have been given the data (ESRI's e-learning modules). As I have become more proficient, I have gone searching for data to complement my maps (street names, base maps, etc.), but the required data and analysis steps have all been given to us. So I think making any of those maps won't be easy for me. And I totally agree with you on the cartography part, if you care about it, which I do.

I looked into the traveling salesman problem, which I didn't really know, and talked about it with my husband (a firmware engineer). It was fun reading about it in Wikipedia and then we had to learn what NP-hardness was, and that was an interesting entry. I think I will need another degree to understand this paragraph!

"NP-hardness (non-deterministic polynomial-time hard), in computational complexity theory, is a class of problems that are, informally, "at least as hard as the hardest problems in NP". More precisely, a problem H is NP-hard when every problem L in NP can be reduced in polynomial time to H, that is: assuming a solution for H takes 1 unit time, we can use H's solution to solve L in polynomial time.[1][2] As a consequence, finding a polynomial algorithm to solve any NP-hard problem would give polynomial algorithms for all the problems in NP, which is unlikely as many of them are considered hard"

Just reading that exhausted me.

But GIS is fun. If you don't mind me asking, why did you make the maps? Just for fun?

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/25/2017 11:05AM by recycling1991.