• Maps are large and may take several minutes to download. We strongly recommend that you download them to your local drive before opening. Simply right click on a PDF link, then choose “Save Target As” and store to your local drive. Double click the local PDF file to have your Adobe Acrobat software open the file.
  • The Watershed Atlas files perform best with Adobe Acrobat version 9.x.
  • To understand the content, data sources and symbology of the 28 interactive GIS layers as well as to download them for use in Google Earth, you will need the accompanying Legend file.


What to do if you open your map and it appears blank?

  • Once again, when first opening, give the maps several minutes to load. There is a lot of information that needs to be loaded into your computer’s memory; it’s not uncommon for this to take several minutes.
  • Depending on your computer settings (font size, etc...) and the software that you have, the maps will vary as to the size when initially opening. If, after giving the PDF file several minutes to load, your map appears blank, then try adjusting the zoom percentage to 125%. Once the layers appear, you can zoom back out to your preferred view.
  • You can also try slowly turning on/off a few layers. Within Acrobat, The ”LAYERS” icon is on the left hand side, within the “NAVIGATION PANEL”. If you slowly turn on/off the Watershed Boundaries HUC12 layer, the file will “wakeup” and all of the default layers should display. By default, only a selected sub-set of the 28 available layers will be turned on when the file is first opened. Explore the range of available datasets; you can create hundreds of combinations, depending on your topic and area of interest.

Printing a Selected Section

Once you have selected an array from amongst the 28 available GIS layers, you can then print your map composition right from within Acrobat. Adobe Reader also provides a “snapshot tool” (located in the Tools menu) that allows you to select an area, copy and paste that area into a word document, which you can arrange, print and save as a Word .DOC file.

Tips about the Google Earth data layers (KMZs or zipped KML files)

  • The virtual map service, both as downloadable PDF panels as well as files for use within Google Earth, is primarily designed to allow browsing and investigating spatial patterns and relationships, versus querying attributes, as within a Geographic Information System (GIS). That said, several of the KMZ files (e.g. SPDES Sites, and USGS Real Time Stream Gauging Stations) contain attribute information and can in fact be queried from within Google Earth. Across the PDFs and KMZ file components, users can use the zoom in/out functions to better understand fine scale features and patterns.
  • To understand specific coordinate values or feature distances, the KMZ files can be used within Google Earth. From within Google Earth, you can set and select among a range of coordinate systems (Geographic (lat\long), UTM) For GIS users, KML files can also now be imported into ArcGIS.
  • If you have installed Google Earth on your computer, then double-clicking on a KMZ file, will automatically launch Google Earth, open the file and zoom you to the extent of the file.

Tips About the Layers

  1. Accessing the layers: The PDF Map panels are jam packed with information and data. They can be slow to fully open; please allow them time to load. Within Acrobat, to access the 28 GIS data layers, click on the Layers icon within the left hand navigation panel (mouse over: “View Layers and Show/Hide their contents”), typically the second icon down from the top.
  2. Scroll to the bottom of the data layer list to access the background base image data layer.
  3. Since the NYS Water Quality Classification - (Lines) layer depicts the classification values for large waterbodies (polygons) as simple line features (e.g. as a line running through the centerline of a lake), it is intended to be used with the Waterbodies - NHD layer, which will indicate the actual polygon outline extent for non-linear (stream) features.
  4. The Water Quality Classification layer is based upon best usage and is intended to be used with water quality lines and water quality polygons. See the metadata for more information.
  5. Administrative Boundaries (Labels) layers are for Towns only (they do not include cities and villages).
  6. We have included many water resource data layers. To determine the differences between the data layers, see the Map Panel Legend.
  7. With more than two dozen available interactive layers, your map can get confusing if you try and turn too many on at the same time. If you cannot easily distinguish between the symbols and their colors, simply turn layers on one at a time, until you have a map composition that you feel clearly displays the necessary information.


Joining Map Panels
You can join two or more map panels together to create a larger map. Joining map panels is a very simple function of COPYING (screen “grab”), PASTING, CLIPPING, and JOINING.
PC computers (Windows XP, Vista), allow one to capture the on screen content of an application being displayed, by simultaneous pressing the Ctrl & PrtScrn keys. This will place what appears onscreen into the computers “Clipboard” memory. Opening a simple graphics or graphics capable program (like Microsoft Word), the Clipboard contents can be pasted by simultaneously pressing the Ctrl & ‘V’ keys (PASTE). There are also many very useful and free graphics utility programs, like IRFANVIEW, which contain such Screen Grab, Copy, Paste and Clip functions.
All map panels have been developed to facilitate easier utilization, including image stitching. All were constructed at a common scale (1: 200,000) and each includes significant overlap with adjacent images. So if your town of interest is one of the 10 that is contained within 2 map sheets, simply:
  1. Download each map panel listed (e.g. Albany1, Albany2), (with uniform background image e.g. Land Cover) to your computer.
  2. Open each with Acrobat, construct your map composition (select and turn on the layers within each that you want displayed within your final map).
  3. Zoom to a common map display, within Acrobat (input common ZOOM PERCENTAGE value within Tool Bar Zoom Tool).
  4. Press Ctrl & PrtScrn (or equivalent with programs like IRFANVIEW), to copy your Acrobat map composition into the Clipboard.
  5. Switch to Microsoft Word (or equivalent), PASTE (Ctrl ‘V’) to paste into application.
  6. Clip if desired (to select just the region you want included within your map).
  7. Repeat for both panels.
  8. If you correctly selected the ZOOM SCALE within Acrobat, both map images should be at identical scales, when pasted into Word. If you choose to resize, make sure that you select “PROPERTIES” on each image, to resize to identical scales.
  9. Stitching is simply a matter of lining up common overlapping features (roads and streams are good choices) and arranging each image so that the respective features (e.g. road intersections within each image) line up properly).
  10. You will now have joined map panels for your larger region of interest. The entire process should only take 5-10 minutes.

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