Preserving a Landscape Through Maps and Photography

In Boiling Springs, Pennsylvania, Children’s Lake has been faced with a potential shut down when the state’s Fish and Boat Commission observed structural inefficiencies after a dam inspection. Since the summer of 2016, the lake had been found to have decreased an approximate two feet from the prior year. The cause of which was attributed water piping into the ground.  This brought the location’s stability into question.

The lake has been a prominent location for several of the town’s events, and is a spot of historic relevance. Making that space inaccessible to the public would remove a familiar cultural aspect of the area, and would prevent future visitors from experiencing what the town is like prior to the shut down.

Knowing how to preserve books, film and other information is common practice for libraries and museums. Maps, especially, can showcase that data for those who want to look back on the history of an area. It keeps its culture alive regardless of its accessibility to the public. But unlike museums or libraries, online digital maps provide a way for individuals to preserve their experience of that locale, a concept that I found particularly interesting.


Reading about Children’s Lake and its fundraising campaign, I visited the lake in order to capture it at that unique point in time, in an effort to somewhat preserve that landscape. One that the community around it had invested time and money into keeping it available to the public. Using polaroid photography, I documented the walking path around the community, one that is used frequently by both visitors and townspeople alike. I then took those photographs and used ArcGIS Online to create a small tour of the area.

While singular people may not be able to contribute greatly into saving a location, I believe its important for those who care about it to keep their experience of it alive. This type of humanistic mapping can be equally as important as data driven GIS.

The completed photography map for Children’s Lake

This screenshot shows the starting point for the photographic map essay about Children’s Lake.  To see the interactive map click here: Save the Lake – Photo Essay.

Coverage on Children’s Lake:

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