Wednesday, August 8, 2012

MAKING CUSTOM BIGFOOT SIGHTING MAPS

"Where can I get a bigfoot sightings map of my area?" is the question often proposed to me; or I hear, "Can a map be made of a particular region in the U.S.?" My answer, in the past, was to direct them to making their own map the same way I did... do your own investigations, interview alleged witnesses, write up sightings reports and articles, plot points on the map of sightings that you feel are authentic and not hoaxes (weeding out the latter is ever-important to not muddy up the data if you are looking for patterns), and viola! you have a custom sightings map! Easy cheesy, right?

The problem is that this method is very time consuming and not everyone has the money or patience to devote to such an endeavor! It took me years just to get enough plotted spots on the map to get an idea of what was happening around our city of El Paso, TX (yes, we had a plethora of sightings in the desert southwest, much to my own surprise!). That little map can be viewed here: http://www.sunstar-solutions.com/BFgeological.htm

Who knew that I would wind up expanding my research into southern NM, just north of there, since it appeared that these giant hairy beings were following the north-south running mountain ranges, and waterways!

Still, making a custom sasquatch/bigfoot sightings map in your area may not take all of this leg work and expansive effort. It can be done utilizing data (in databases) that is already out there on the Internet (that other researchers/investigators have done), which is already published, free, and available to anyone to use.

As an example, my nephew, Derek Eby, was in college last year, and used the type of database I mentioned above in a GIS map making program to create a bigfoot sightings and footprints map of the Pacific Northwest--the states of Washingon, Oregon, and California, in particular. He got an "A" grade in school for making the map. We've since made a few more changes to make the map better, including adding in the full text that I wrote for informational purposes. That map is now available to the public for a suggested (fixed) donation at my website in hard copy or digital format.

He chose these three states because, first of all, we live in Washington, and this state has, by far, the most documented sightings (over 500, whereas only a few states have about 200, and most have far less, according to the BFRO (Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization)). Skamania county in WA (included in the map at the central bottom part of the state) is included, and is near Mt. St. Helens; and the mountain range that parallels the subducting tectonic plate boundary along the Pacific ocean, which extends down into OR and WA, and were included in the map.

One of the great things about mapping sighting locations is finding correlations such as how potassium, water, granite, and other features (that might show rock types (geology), terrain (topography), cities vs. mountains, forests vs. deserts, etc.) where sightings occur most often. Maps show trends, and patterns, and help Sasquatch investigators know where to go, or more importantly, where not to go--and waste time--searching for something that may not be found there.

Researchers, or just curious individuals with access to map-making software programs like ArcGIS/ESRI, may be interested in taking the BRFO's database information and turning it into maps for their own purposes as well. How is this done? I will tell you how my nephew did it, and then I will tell you another alternative method, as well as one more option for those who don't want to do it themselves but still want a custom made map.

HOW DEREK EBY MADE HIS FIRST BIGFOOT MAP:

First, Derek googled the kml/kmz files from the BFRO and reformatted them to plot points on his GIS mapping program. He had to add in terrain features, city names, colors, and make the data look good on the map, which required some tweaking. In the end he had a decent looking map, complete with footprint and individual sighting locations across three states. Rarely will someone want to choose this method as the "reformatting" part of the database is usually only known by people who already understand how GIS programs work and how to alter datasets for this kind of use. It can be quite involved.

HOW TO MAKE AN ADD-ON FOR BIGFOOT SIGHTINGS ON GOOGLE EARTH:

It is important to note that the original BRFO database information that Derek used in the map above was originally intended for Google Earth. Google Earth is a free program available through google.com (just "google" it!).

Go to google.com and search for these words: "BFRO KML bigfoot sightings". The kml/kmz file will come up and you can download it and use in Google Earth. The database already has the plot location points imbedded into the data, so it should populate on the Google Earth mapping program automatically once you have it installed.

It's the same data we have, but realize this will allow you to see the map add-on on the program, but is not necessarily something that can easily be put into a physical map that you can hang on the wall in your home or building.

CUSTOM MAPS FOR SPECIAL ORDER:

You may want the map in poster form if neither of the above options are your "cup of tea" (since many people don't want to go through this hassle of actually making the maps). People often feel their time is too valuable, or they are not computer savvy enough, or they just don't feel like messing with it, yet there is still a serious interest in having a custom map for their area, or region, concerning bigfoot sightings and footprint locations.

Derek and I spoke at length about options for people. We decided we can start making custom maps available for people who would like to order them, for a $100 donation. I will receive no income/cut from any initial map-making endeavor--it is merely for compensating him for creating the custom map for you. Both time and expertise of the cartographer goes into making sure placement and size, text, and other info on the data is correct before publishing the map, and that it suits the person ordering it. The good thing is that you can usually receive the map, complete in PDF and/or JPG form (your choice), within a couple of weeks.

This is probably the best option for those who cannot, or will not, utilize the other two options above for making a custom bigfoot map on their own. If you feel you want to have one of these maps made please email me at sunstarangel@msn.com with "CUSTOM BIGFOOT MAP" in the subject title, and please include the details of what kind of map you are wanting (what cities or states, etc.). I'm sure we can accommodate you!

I hope this article has helped a few people learn how they can make maps of their own, outside of just going into the field and collecting data and plotting maps the old fashioned way.

There are now two Sasquatch/Bigfoot sightings maps available:

1) The PNW (Pacific Northwest) states of Washington, Oregon, and California
2) Central states of Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Missouri

GO HERE TO GET YOUR BIGFOOT MAP--> http://www.sunstar-solutions.com/BFmap.htm

See my Bigfoot Map Facebook Page! https://www.facebook.com/pages/Sasquatch-Bigfoot-Sightings-Map/448769308487222

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