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Heat Risk Program and Interactive Map

June 21, 2017

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It is that time of year again when the temperatures in Utah heat up and the National Weather Service (NWS) has created a new heat risk warning system to alert the public and help them avoid heat-related hazards. The NWS has partnered with the Salt Lake County Health Department as well as the Surveyor’s Office who created an online tool that allows a user to easily locate public places to cool off near them. The closest cooling centers can be found by entering an address, using a locate tool, or simply clicking anywhere on the map and the results include additional information as well as directions to each place. 

 The Heat Risk program and the interactive map were recently featured on NPR. 


heat risk cool zones map

Attend a Conference and Make Geography Great Again

March 16, 2017

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Most of us have been geographers all our lives whether or not we realize it. Those years before we began formally studying or working in the field have formed our basemap. Our basemap has some things we want, but it doesn't have everything we need. When we're active in geography (and life) we begin filling in the gaps on our basemap. We make the discipline better. We make each other better.

There's never a bad time to consider attending or contributing to a conference. Often our geographic work is constrained to a specific industry, geographic region; or both. Attending peer conferences encourages specialization without singularization which allows us to teach and learn from each other. Don't squirrel away your experience in an obscure geodatabase somewhere - share it with us. Let your experience be reflected on our basemap. 

As geographers, we're molded by our interactions with space and place. Our geography expands when we use our senses to gather information about our surroundings. Our geography evolves when we allow ourselves to consider our gathered information in the context of ourselves and our communities. Let's gather, let's evolve!  

Hope to see you there.

Maps on the Hill 2017

January 26, 2017

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Salt Lake County GIS on the Hill 2017

Maps on the Hill  is an annual event sponsored by UGIC, and held during the Utah legislative session as a means for professional and student mapmakers in Utah to share their maps with elected officials and the public. On Wednesday, January 25threpresentatives from three Salt Lake County (SLCo) agencies participated in this year’s event.

Alex Rudowski, SLCo Public Works Flood Control Engineering presented WASATCH FRONT CYANOBACTERIA BLOOMS 2016 map. Communities along the Wasatch front will likely recall the summer of 2016 when environmental conditions produced toxic algal blooms throughout the region’s waterways. Warnings, issued at local and state levels, urged residents to stay out of the water and not to use impacted water for irrigation. Contact with high levels of cyanobacteria can result in sickness and even death. The figure below is a timeline illustrating cyanobacteria levels at sample sites and the corresponding risk posed to humans who come in contact with the bacteria.

algal bloom map



Casey Sledge, SLCo Recorder’s office presented a story map about AREAS IMPACTED BY THE HOUSING MARKET CRISIS – A Study of Parcels with a Notice of Default filed in Salt Lake County 2007 – 2010. When a property owner falls behind on their payments to a lender, the lender will typically file a document called a Notice of Default with the county Recorder. During the housing market crisis, the volume of these documents skyrocketed. By finding the parcels associated with defaults, we have created a map to determine the geographical areas most affected by the recession. What caused certain areas to be impacted more than others? If we can identify those factors, can we prevent future downward housing trends from having such a large effect?

housing map


Emily LaMunyon and Rachel Manko, SLCo Surveyor’s Office presented a story map about PROTECTING THE CENTRAL WASATCH – Mapping Current Canyon Initiatives in Salt Lake County. The Central Wasatch Mountains are the distinguishing feature of Salt Lake County. As the County’s million-plus population continues to grow, we must find balanced solutions that will preserve the watershed and ensure the Wasatch Mountains remain available for residents and visitors to enjoy. There are canyon initiatives coming this 2017 legislative session and the County Surveyor’s Office created a story map to help visualize and bring the supporting information into one place.

protecting the central wasatch map


For more information check out the Maps on the Hill Book 2017 or visit the Maps on the Hill  blogpost. 

Picture from right to left: Alex Rudowski (PW Flood Control Engineering), Rachel Manko (Surveyor’s Office), Emily LaMunyon (Surveyor’s Office), Phil Lanouette (Surveyor’s Office), Casey Sledge (Recorder's Office), Izabela Miller (Information Services).


maps on the hill group



Go with the Flow - Watershed Program Launches New Monitoring Website

November 02, 2016

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So far this year there have been 102 days in which a precipitation event has been recorded in Salt Lake County. Each time it rains, precipitation gauges around the valley activate and begin measuring and reporting rainfall back to the base station at the county government center. This data is decoded and displayed on the Watershed Planning & Restoration team’s  monitoring and gauging program website

The Watershed Program is responsible for maintaining 32 stream and rainfall gauges throughout the county. Their new website replaces an outdated version that helps the team monitor gauging sites and provides a platform for the public to access gauge data.

“There’s no better way to display this data than spatially,” said Bob Thompson, Watershed Program Manager. “With respect to the data, this website provides a more user friendly graphical interface than our previous page.”

Hydro Gauge Map

(Screenshot of data from a flow monitoring site along the Jordan River.)

In addition to flow and precipitation totals, data is also available on parameters relating to the status of each gauge and when it last reported. This information helps field crews identify peak flows, heavy precipitation events, and malfunctioning equipment.

Users can view data in a few different layouts. The  map view shows the location of each gauge and displays real-time data when a site is selected. The  dashboard shows real-time data for all active gauges. Users can also download gauge data in spreadsheet format. 

Salt Lake County Hydro Tech

(Samuel Taylor, Hydrologic Technician, checks the reporting mechanism on a tipping bucket precipitation gauge.)

Ghosts of West Temple - South Temple to 200 South

October 17, 2016

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In 2015, the first "Ghosts of West Temple” online exhibit was released, providing some history of the buildings along West Temple between 100 North to South Temple.  

Ghosts of West Temple II expands on the first exhibit. Continuing south along West Temple between South Temple and 200 South, this new exhibit focuses on providing a view of some of the families and businesses that once existed along this street from approximately 1850-1940s.

This area was initially the site of the houses of some prominent families of Utah, including Wilford Woodruff, Sarah Brackett Carter Foss, and Jesse W. Fox. A number of businesses and several well-known hotels also catered to travelers along this street.  

By the 1880s, liveries, a mortuary, two newspapers, and even an indoor hot springs pool were replacing houses along each side of West Temple, and the area became business-centered.  

At the turn of the 20th century to the 1930s, a large number of hotels, saloons, and stores became a main stay of this area.  

Join us as we continue exploring the history of West Temple! 

ghosts of west temple


ESRI shines national spotlight on the SLCo Cool Zone web application.

June 17, 2016

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ESRI has written a national article highlighting the SLCo Cool Zone web application that helps citizens who may not have air conditioning find places (Cool Zones) they can retreat to in the summer heat.  The interface is easy to use and allows the user to type in an address, use the locate tool, or simply click on the map and find the Cool Zones closest to them. This map is the result of a partnership between SLCo Aging and Adult Services and the Surveyor's Office and showcases how GIS can help the citizens of Salt Lake County. 

"Before this GIS technology existed, the collaborative delivery and coordination of services that have a direct impact on people's lives would have been inefficient, time-consuming or impossible," said Salt Lake County surveyor Reid J. Demman. "The Cool Zone map is interactive and simple to use and allows our at-risk population to locate safe havens from the summer heat. This is a great example of the practical application of GIS technology to a real-life human need."


cool zone web map

GIS On the Web (Who hides behind the GIS web maps?)

June 15, 2016

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Salt Lake County GIS Web Developers

(From left: Emily Lamunyon (Surveyor’s Office); John Kennamer (Surveyor’s Office); Jarom Zenger (Assessor’s Office); Alex Rudowski (Eng & FC); Casey Sledge (Recorder’s Office); Izabela Miller (IS). 

Izabela Miller started her career with Salt Lake County in 2006 as a GIS Specialist.  Over the years she shared her passion with other GIS professionals while building her ESRI-based GIS knowledge.  After she joined SLCo Information Services (IS) Solution Team in 2015 she became a part of a fast-growing “GIS on the Web”.  Today, one of her main responsibilities as a GIS Manager is to find ways to take GIS to the next level.

 Emily LaMunyon started at the Salt Lake County Surveyor’s Office 9 years ago as a GIS Specialist and has worked her way up to a GIS Analyst and web developer for the office. During this time she has been a part of the huge growth and recognition of GIS in the County, including web GIS, which has allowed this technology to reach more people.

 Human interaction with space and place has always fascinated GIS Specialist Alex Rudowski. As a recent addition to the Public Works Department, Rudowski is a big fan of using web-based story maps to showcase the department’s interactions with public space in both urban and natural environments.

Casey Sledge has worked for the Salt Lake County Recorder for 3 years. He’s developed applications that analyze and search property records and is working to expand the use of Web GIS across the county.

Everyone knows the Assessor’s Interactive Parcel Search but not many know who hides behind it. Jarom Zenger has been with the Salt Lake County Assessor’s Office for many years. He started working on the web application a few years back and since then this application has helped countless people find property information, becoming one of the most popular information searches in Salt Lake County.

John Kennamer started with the Surveyor’s Office 8 years ago as a field surveyor.  After he got his Professional Land Surveyor license he moved to the GIS department and works with Mark and Emily on various GIS projects, mainly city boundaries.  Today, one of John responsibilities is GIS web development.

ZAP Free Events Map

May 13, 2016

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The mission of the Salt Lake County Zoo Arts and Parks (ZAP) program is to enhance Salt Lake County resident and visitor experiences through art, cultural, and recreational offerings. They have partnered with Now Playing Utah to highlight free events throughout the area and were interested in having an interactive map that shows these on their webpage. 

Megan Atterman, with ZAP, reached out to the Surveyor’s Office to collaborate on a user and mobile friendly web application to display these events. This map makes it easy to find events; users enter their location in one of three ways; entering an address in the search bar, using the geolocate tool (which pinpoints the users location), or simply clicking on the map. The app then displays event locations closest to them. Also, because events are always changing, this map updates daily so the map is always current.

This Free Events map has been a success, according to Atterman , Grant and Communications Program Coodinator for ZAP, “This map is a win-win-win. Our partners at were so excited when we showed them this map. They said that they played with it for hours! Our constituents have also noted how much they love the map. They like how it’s easy to use and visually appealing – helping them find free events they can enjoy with their families and friends. The best part about it – on our end – is that this map is using data that was already out there! The groups we fund don’t have to do anything extra to get their events to show up on the map. Win-win-win!”


Free Events Map

Using The Flood Control Project Journal

April 12, 2016

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Engineers with SLCo’s Flood Control Engineering Division are working on 18 projects for the 2016 year. The division is responsible for the design, installation, and maintenance of flood control structures and waterways throughout the county. Although the projects differ in scale and scope, they are underpinned by the same purpose - protecting people and improving water quality.

In addition to keeping people safe, the agency strives to keep the public informed through the use of its Flood Control Project Map. The map documents the status of projects under active construction and provides details about completed projects. Currently, the map contains information on 36 ongoing and completed projects.

"There’s a big push to get a lot of projects done this year. We like this map because it helps keep people informed about our progress both publicly and internally," said Alex Rudowski, GIS Specialist with the division. 

Using the map is simple. Users can enter their address to locate projects in their area or they can take a tour by scrolling through the list. As users scroll, the map will automatically zoom to the area where work is being completed.

For more information about a specific project please contact the Flood Control Engineering Division at (385)-468-6300.

Flood Control Engineering