Types of Map Layers, interactivity options, and examples

Today's digital maps are powerful and affordable analytical tools that can save you money. Statewide, Countywide, or one property, we provide creative mapping solutions and insight from more than 30 years experience in cartography and surveying. In addition to maps, we offer field surveys, training and technical support, analytical assistance, and regulation support for your endeavors.

Types of Map Layers Available

Map Your World creates custom, multi-layered digital and printed maps, to each client's specification. Clients can choose layers from the 2D and 3D options listed below and provide their own maps to be incorporated into the layering system. Field-gathered points may also be added. Clients can choose the level of interactivity that best suits their needs. Our digital products can be viewed, mined, and manipulated with an easy-to-use interface on free viewing software, and are also compatible with high-end mapping software.

2-Dimensional Layers:

  • Texas Department of Transportation (Tx DOT) County Maps include county lines and names, general hydrology, USDOT highways, railroads
  • Original Texas Land Survey Lines - Abstract Level
  • County-wide Aerial or Satellite Photography Mosaic
  • Texas Railroad Commission Well and Pipeline Maps/Data
  • US Geologic Survey (USGS) Topographic Quadrangles
  • New! NEXTMap® Orthorectified Radar Imagery (ORI) in grey tones or color enhanced. One pixel represents 4.1 feet (1.25 meters) on the ground.

Additional Specialty Layers also available:

  • Statewide: detailed hydrology, geology, map place names, urban populations, city limits, natural regions, soils, national parks and forests, Texas parks, wildlife management areas, vegetation, rainfall, airports, zip codes
  • Coastal: audubon sanctuaries, bathymetry, beach access points, boat ramps, city and county parks, bird rookeries, shoreline, shoreline environment sensitivity index, ship channels, heliports, historical places, land use and land cover, marinas, marine sanctuaries, national wildlife refuges, priority protection habitat, coastal wildlife species/habitat, state coastal preserves, coastal archeological sites, wetland inventory
  • Offshore: oil and gas leases, lease sales, lease pooling, lease blocks, state tracts, sea grass beds, oyster beds, reefs, dredged material, oil and gas platforms, oil spill response

3-Dimensional Layers - Digital Elevation Models:

  • United States Geologic Survey (USGS) Digital Elevation Models (DEM) and National Elevation Dataset (NED)
  • New! NEXTMap® 3D Geometric Datasets - Digital Surface Models (DSM) and Digital Terrain Models (DTM) (click here for details)
  • Custom Real-time Kinematic (RTK) topographic GPS data gathering in the field, or traditional survey
  • Light Detection and Ranging (LIDAR)
DEM Comparisons
Items USGS NED 1/3 arc second USGS NED
1 arc second
NEXTMap® DSM & DTM LIDAR Custom RTK Topo GPS Survey
Horizontal Accuracy     6.56 feet (2m) Inferred from ORI (0.5 to 1m) 0.78 to 3.937 inches (2 to 10cm)

Horizontal Resolution
(one pixel = ground area)*

Approx. 32.8 feet (10m) Approx. 98.4 feet (30m) 16.41 feet (5m) Inferred from ORI 5.9 inches to 39.4 inches (15 to 100cm) Varies
Vertical Accuracy

+/– 23 feet (7m) Depends on source DEM

+/– 23 feet (7m)
Depends on source DEM
DSM: 1.64 feet (0.5m)
DTM: 2.30 feet (0.7m)
+/– 5.9 inches (15cm) RMSE 1.57 to 7.87 inches (4 to 20cm) RMSE
Cost per Square Km Free Free DSM: $25
DTM: $35
$100 Billed by the day - rates vary
Cost per Square Mile Free Free DSM: $64.75
DTM: $90.64
$259 Billed by the day - rates vary
Ordering Off-the-shelf Off-the-shelf Off-the-shelf Project specific Project specific

* Each pixel represents the average elevation of a square area as specified above. For example, with NED 1 arc, one pixel represents the average elevation of 30m x 30m (approximately 100' x 100') on the ground. For NEXTMap® surface and terrain models, each pixel represents the average elevation of a square area of 5m x 5m (approximately 16' x 16') on the ground. Lower cost/resolutions available for elevation data.

3D GIS Applications Include:

  • Elevation models to serve as a foundation or base layer for the placement and alignment of aerial photography and other layers
  • Flood modeling, erosion run-off, and watershed analyses
  • Creation of profiles and cross sections, slopes and aspects, line-of-site, viewshed
  • Measure distance and volume
  • 3D visualization and fly-through simulation for planning and in-office viewing
  • 3D navigation for hiking trails, city walking tours, vehicle navigation
  • Precision farming, forestry, and conservation
  • 3D Internet mapping products and flight simulation products
  • Image rectification

Options for Levels of Map Interactivity

A. Map Snapshots Customized for Your Needs

Whether you need to assess a proposed drilling location or just want to see your farm or ranch on an aerial photograph, Map Your World can quickly produce Custom Map Snapshots to your order. These can be supplied in print (to any size or scale desired) and/or digital format (up to "E" size for plotters), and can show any type of information desired.

Data gathered for the maps will remain on file, ready and available for future snapshots or modifications you may need. This reduces the cost of subsequent map snapshots in the same locals.

Examples of map solutions and steps to place an order:
1. To analyze proposed well locations with an aerial image, E-mail a file (Excel or other) listing the XY coordinates to MYW. MYW will assemble the aerial images needed for your area, place and identify the locations, E-mail you the completed digital image, and mail you the paper map.
2. To decipher the location of a potential lease with a long or confusing meets and bounds description, E-mail or fax the legal description to MYW. MYW will plot the meets and bounds directly onto the Texas Land Survey and combine that with any background image you need, then provide the completed digital image and printed map.

B. Interactive Map Snapshots

Map Your World provides free Map Viewing software, allowing you to interactively use Basemap Systems and Map Snapshots on your computer. You will be able to pan, zoom, measure, query data, and print maps on a variety of backgrounds with many types of information. Map Your World will send you a self-extracting ZIP file or disk that loads your data for viewing.

C. Automated System for Generating Landowner Maps and Access Permits Click for details and examples

Ideal for County Clerks and Tax Districts

The most efficient way to manage access permits for large oil and gas exploration projects. Requires GIS basemap.

D. Complete Mapping Software System

If you already have high-end mapping software, May Your World will provide products that are compatible with your system. If you want to set up a complete mapping system in your office, Map Your World can analyze your needs, recommend software and hardware solutions, set up the system for you, and train you on how to use it.

Illustrated Examples of GIS Mapping Systems
The following figures illustrate the various Map Layers and uses of Basemap Systems and Map Snapshots

Typical Basemap System showing 2D layers (Figures 1 - 8)

The following 8 images represent the standard zoom progression setup for a typical mapping system. As you zoom in, more detail will appear. Customized workspaces show the layers you wish to view, specific to each zoom level.

Figure 1. Terrain map with county lines and major hydrology

Figure 2. Terrain map with county lines, major hydrology, major highways, and railroads

Figure 3. Terrain map with Original Texas Land Surveys Lines (OTLS) and populated place names

Figure 4. Terrain map with OTLS, populated place names, TxDOT roadways, minor hydrology, and cultural details

Figure 5. Street-level zoom of TxDOT details

Figure 6. Countywide Aerial Image Mosaic instead of terrain map, with the Railroad Commission Pipeline layer added in orange. The OTLS layer is shown in blue. The Pipeline Layer has data attached detailing size, ownership, product, et cetera. The Countywide Aerial Image Mosaic is composed of high-resolution Digital Orthophoto Quarter Quad (DOQQ) infrared aerial images available in Quads or as Countywide Mosaics. DOQQ data from 2005 and 2006 is available.

Figure 7. Zoom view of Figure 6

Figure 8. Further zoom of Figure 6

Examples and uses for 3D Digital Elevation Models (DEM) in Basemap Systems

Digital Elevation Models (DEMs) are graphical representations of ground elevations. DEMs are available as off-the-shelf datasets and by custom order from a number of different sources at a variety of accuracy levels and resolutions. (see the DEM chart, in the 3-Dimensional Layers section, above).

Example 1. Flood modeling in an urban area using Intermap Technologies™ NEXTMap® Digital Terrain Model (DTM) and Orthorectified Radar Imagery (ORI)

Example 2. The above figure is the resulting output from a slope calculation using Intermap Technologies™ Digital Terrain Model (DTM). Each color represents a range of slope by degree according to the topography of the area.

Example 3. Flintshire County, Wales, United Kingdom conducted a habitat survey using Intermap’s 3D height data to identify steep wooded valleys alongside streams and rivers. The north-facing slopes and steep valley sides offer important refuges for plants and animals. Having the ability to highlight important habitats in relation to the landscape provides planners with a powerful ecological tool.

Example 4. USGS 1 arc second (30m) DEM with TxDOT, RRC Pipeline and Well spot layer

Example 5: Color Adjustment applied to a USGS 1 arc second (30m) DEM with TxDOT, OTLS, hydrology
The color values assigned to the map elevations can be modified to accentuate land features. The color adjustment simulated above was created as an aid to determining an all weather location for a directional well on a seasonably impassable floodplain. The map identified suitable terrain (in orange) above a slope (in purple) above the floodplain (in green).

Example 6. A topographic map draped over a USGS 1 arc second (30m) DEM with TxDOT, OTLS, hydrology. This basemap was then combined with other layers to show cultural and vegetative information - OTLS, pipelines, land ownership, leaseholds, wells, and other proprietary data (not all shown above for clarity) - and used to assess the most probable positions for economical drilling locations, based upon elevation and vegetation.

Examples of how maps can save you money

Example A. Drilling Locations
A Map Snapshot (as simulated above) was used to determine if there was an acceptable drilling location on a proposed lease that would not disturb irrigation of a grass farm. The map enabled the client to assess whether a location for a directional well was available. The Map Snapshot was delivered in 2 hours and eliminated the need for an assessment survey. This saved the client money and a 24-hour, or more, wait.

Example B. Land Parcel Verification
In the Map Snapshot simulated above, Meets and Bounds were plotted with Land Survey lines and a DOQQ aerial image. The property lines were extended to the riverbank, as shown in the aerial, to compare the computed acreage with the overestimated land accretion claims of the landowners. This saved the client thousands of dollars for a Land Survey. The ability to negotiate an accurate lease acreage payment based on the calculated map acreage saved thousands more.

Example C (two images above). Pipeline Route Planning, without leaving your office!
The two images above illustrate how aerial imagery and DEM’s are useful tools for determining the path-of-least-resistance for your pipeline route, without going to the field. This is a “Virtual” Preliminary Route Survey providing a horizontal alignment and vertical profile. Railroad Commission Pipeline data attached to the maps gives information about nearby common carriers (see inset in satellite image one, above). The second image features an inset showing the elevation along a selected line of site. After planning, printed maps can be sent to field crews for visual verification.

Example D. Pipeline Regulation
Under current Texas Railroad Commission guidelines, any pipeline of any size that leaves your lease before reaching the point of sale must have a T4 Permit. Under the new RRC Mapping Submission Standards, digital maps are much easier to submit and modify than paper maps. Digitizing your pipelines to meet Digital Submission Standards not only satisfies RRC and DOT requirements, but also gives you a better way to keep track of your assets. Map Your World is an approved vendor of Digital T4 Maps for the RRC.