Thursday, August 23, 2007

Stop living in the 1970s, Herald

Today's Grand Forks Herald includes an article by our friend Tu-Uyen Tran about potential sites for that pesky landfill. The article includes an image showing the sites the city is looking at. It's interesting to see the potential locations, but something else about the map caught my eye. Look at the two versions of the image below. On the left is the version from the article and on the right is a version I altered to show the actual present day city limits of Grand Forks. Look at the difference between the two...what's the deal?


I know this is an odd thing to get worked up about, but this isn't the first time the Herald has used an incredibly outdated map like this. Almost every time they include a map of Grand Forks along with a news story, the city limits of the city are presented like this. I'm thinking the graphic artists at the Herald either need to drive around town more or need to stop living in the 70s. Literally, the city limits as presented in the Herald map are roughly the city limits of the late 70s. I'm not joking...Columbia Mall isn't even shown as being a part of the city limits. You could almost fit two of the city on the left into the city on the right...that's a little silly.

I know that I just got done saying that size isn't always everything, but in this case the Herald is so out of touch with what the actual city limits of Grand Forks are that it is just plain irritating. I wouldn't even bother to mention this if this wasn't a routine thing that the Herald does time and time again. Take this as some constructive feedback, Herald...put away those maps from the 70s and come up with a new map that accurately portrays the city limits. This is a real pet peeve of mine!

29 comments:

Anonymous said...

"Size isn't everything" is not the point here.

This graphic was meant to show the landfill sites' relative proximity to the city limits. So the error greatly inhibits the value of the graphic.

Shame on whoever drew this graphic, but more shame falls to the editors or those responsible for oversight. Drawing graphics isn't just about art. Shame to Tuey as well, a guy who puts pride in fact checking, he should have some oversight here as well, as he is likely the only one in the building familiar with the issue.

I love what the herald has done lately in filling out its roster of reporters, but this kind of thing (along with the misleading and generally crappy headline writing) has got to stop.

It starts at the top; Mike Jacobs really seems to lack any sort of leadership ability, wisdom, or insight.

GrandForksGuy said...

I agree with you, anonymous. If the intention of the map was to show the proximity of the potential landfil sites to the city, the map was not only worthless, but extremely misleading. From that point of view, it's so misleading that the map really needs a retraction in tomorrow's paper. Above and beyond just this particular story though, the Herald's graphic artists clearly need to redraw their city maps. This incident dramatically shows this fact.

Anonymous said...

Wow! I'm hoping GFG runs for city council sometime soon! His awareness of this city is awesome!

Interesting fact, here; no wonder this blog does so well.

Question: Is EGF the same size as it was in the '70s? I realize we're talking GF, here, but does the two maps accurately portray EGF?

GrandForksGuy said...

"I realize we're talking GF, here, but does the two maps accurately portray EGF?"

No...it's no better for the Eastside. The Herald's map doesn't even show The Point as being a part of the city limits. There are also large areas of land east of the city that are not included on the map.

I might also point out that Grand Forks International Airport is a part of the GF city limits but that is also not shown on the map.

Tu-Uyen said...

Oopsies. You're right Anon. I shoulda caught that. But to be fair, while I might know a lot about this landfill issue -- some say not enough -- the city limits is general knowledge for anyone who can read a map.

In this case, our graphic artist used a relatively specialized atlas that shows all the surrounding townships. This is the 2005 edition of the DeLorme North Dakota Atlas & Gazetteer. I just checked the page with Grand Forks on it and it is wrong, wrong, wrong.

I think you can find the atlas at truck stops. Check page 30. The Industrial Park and other areas look like they're unincorporated parts of Grand Forks County.

Anyway, I'll tell you why I didn't notice this error. I was mostly concerned last night with the text on the graphic, which I have to write, and the location of the township sections. Also, space was rather tight so I was worried about squeezing as much info into the available space as I could.

Anonymous said...

Well, if the info came from DeLorme, then there's your answer. None of the DeLorme atlases have updated their maps since they started selling them in the early 90's. If you look at the ND Delorme atlas, it'll show the streets of places like Fargo, Bismarck and Grand Forks like they were sometime roughly in the early 1980's. It's the same for every state they make. In the DeLorme Minnesota map, most of Maple Grove doesn't even exist. They used to have an online map feature on their website, and if you zoomed into Fargo, West Acres was in the middle of nothing!! I have no idea why DeLorme is still in business if they're not updating their info. They don't include new highways in most cases. Google maps is 9 million times easier and 10 million times better, anyway.

Anonymous said...

You used a map you got from a truck stop?? wow. That's sad.

There is no excuse for this, especially since the city and county both have easy to use GIS systems that could give you MUCH more accurate data.

If you care at all about accuracy, you need to retract this, it makes it look like the landfill sites are farther from town than they really are.

Who draws a map but doesn't care to make it accurate?

Anonymous said...

EGF looks like a big turd on both maps. I know we have beet stink over here but neither map shows any growth. But we'll always be way cooler than you westside guys.

Anonymous said...

"But to be fair, while I might know a lot about this landfill issue -- some say not enough -- the city limits is general knowledge for anyone who can read a map."

Why Have a map then? Oopsie would have sufficed.

Anonymous said...

Speaking of graphics - what is the purpose of providing a popup window of the image in this thread that is the same size as the actual image in the thread?

Maybe by using a "stock" Blogger account you are limited to the functions of the host site, I don't know. Just seemed a little redundant.

Tu-Uyen said...

" You used a map you got from a truck stop?? wow. That's sad."

Truck stops are where you get maps, you dolt. Drivers need accurate maps. They're no different than maps or atlases you find at Barnes & Noble.

Anyway, the county GIS only shows Grand Forks not East Grand Forks. And it doesn't show the section lines unless you really zoom in. The sections are also not numbered. We had to consult another atlas for that. Have you even used the GIS system lately?

"Why Have a map then? Oopsie would have sufficed."

I was replying to the first Anonymous who said I should've caught the error because I'm the only one in the building who knows about the issue. I'm saying anybody could've caught the error -- but nobody did.

GrandForksGuy said...

I'm troubled by several things now. First, that the Herald seems to think that publishing such a grossly inaccurate map is essentially no big deal. Secondly, that the Herald apparently doesn't seem to think that an error like this is worthy of any type of clarification or retraction. I'm also bothered by the fact that the Herald seemingly copies a map from a "truck stop atlas" without bothering to verify the accuracy of the map. Isn't the Herald able to construct its own maps without having to rely on a commercial atlas? I can just about draw the current city limits from memory; is the Herald so out of touch that multiple people at the Herald don't even notice the difference between the 1970s city limits compared with the city limits of today?

The entire reason for including this map was to show people where the landfill sites are in relation to the city. Thousands of people looked at the map yesterday and probably thought, "Gee, those sites are fairly close to town, but not that close I guess." If the map had been accurate, I think plenty of people would have far more interested in just how close the sites are to the actual city limits. The map, as presented, is worthless and misleading. Does that bother the Herald?

C. Y. said...

Maybe you should ask "the herald."

2E, as the author, was nice enough to stop by and apologize for not catching it.

He didn't spew a bunch of arrogance about "being troubled" about an honest mistake.

2E's blog does more to explain the details of much of GF's business that otherwise we would never know.

We don't always agree, but I really appreciate what he does.

Of course you could always ask him about the next Subway.

Anonymous said...

C.Y. - I guess you got up on the wrong side of the bed today, huh?

Where in any of his comments does GFG even mention Tu-Uyen? "The Herald" refers to everyone involved in putting this map in the paper...I doubt that only includes Mr. Tran. You're right...of course this is an honest mistake, but that doens't mean it still isn't a very bad, misleading mistake. I agree with GFG...this map is pathetically outdated. The fact that its inclusion was meant to show the proximity of the landfill sites to the city just makes it all the worse.

C. Y. said...

Let's see . . . .2E leaves a comment . . . GFG's leading sentence says" I'm troubled by several things now. ". . .

Sorry if I misconstrued the comment but "now" usually means something newer than the last comment.

So Excuse Me, I'll go crawl back into the other side of the bed. :-)

GrandForksGuy said...

Anonymous is right. Obviously this was an honest mistake...no question about that. However, an honest mistake is still a mistake that, in some way, should be remedied. We don't brush of mistakes just because they are honest mistakes.

It boils down to this: the map was meant to show the location of the potential landfill sites in comparison with the city limits. If an honest mistake had been made and the map accidentally screwed up the locations of the proposed landfill sites, I'm sure that there would be a clarification in the paper and the corrected graphic would be run. Why is it any different in this case when an honest mistake was made and the city limits were drawn as being one to two miles farther away from the sites than they really are? Both examples would be honest mistakes, but both examples would give people the wrong impression of just exactly how close the potential landfill sites are to the city. In my opinion, both mistakes require corrections to ensure that people are not accidentally misinformed. This is an important topic and an important graphic.

Horsehead said...

It is misleading and should be corrected. I would think that would not be a big problem. Distance from the city was the point of the map as I see it.

C. Y. said...

I don't disagree the map sucks.

My comment was toward the method and to me seemingly arrogant way of addressing it "again" after 2E made his comment. Sorry, I will never take you to task on YOUR blog again.

ben said...

CY - try the bed thing again, sounds like you are still angry :) To me, it sounds like nobody is really angry over this, but it is a mitake that should be corrected in the paper. They make clarifications on other point, so why not this one? Mistakes happen, and people have come to realize it. Nobody is talking crap about 2E personally, just that the mistake was made, probably should have been caught, and definently should be corrected.

Tu-Uyen said...

We're re-running the corrected graphic with a story on landfill liners on Sunday. We woulda ran it today in the corrections column but it made more sense to some to run it with a story.

I don't recall saying how inconsequential this error is it's pretty interesting how people leap to conclusions that we don't care about these mistakes. If I had my way, we'd be correcting grammatical errors, too, but this paper is too small to have a full-time corrections editor. But we do correct errors when we learn of them.

I'll admit that I've been guilty of neglecting a few very minor corrections, which were not demanded by my sources. But that's only because of a heavy workload, not because I don't care.

Hope that clears up any self-righteous misconceptions.

GrandForksGuy said...

I'm happy to hear that the corrected graphic will be run. As long the paper realizes that this is an important thing to correct and as long as it is corrected, that's what really counts. I was simply worried that the paper wasn't going to run any kind of correction.

GrandForksGuy said...

I just looked at the map that appears in today's paper. It looks good and I'm very glad to see it run so people can get an accurate look at just how close some of these sites are to the city. One thing that I'm very curious about...is it just me or is that the version of the map that I drew on my computer? It sure looks like it to me. Will my check be arriving soon? ;)

Anonymous said...

The map is of course wrong, but the city of GF has made any property within 5 MILES outside the city limits as if you lived within the city. Mike

Anonymous said...

Where in today's Herald is the corrected map?

Also, where does Tu-Uyen get off calling GFG or anyone else in this thread self-righteous? GFG pointed out a glaring inaccuracy in a graphic accompanying one of Tran's articles and Tran turns around and calls GFG self-righteous? Classy.

GrandForksGuy said...

Hmmm...I don't see the map in the paper either...

Anonymous said...

GrandForksGuy said...

I just looked at the map that appears in today's paper. It looks good and I'm very glad to see it run so people can get an accurate look at just how close some of these sites are to the city. One thing that I'm very curious about...is it just me or is that the version of the map that I drew on my computer? It sure looks like it to me. Will my check be arriving soon? ;)
12:36 AM, August 26, 2007

AND THEN:

GrandForksGuy said...

Hmmm...I don't see the map in the paper either...

5:55 PM, August 26, 2007

Hmmmmmmm Did he or didn't he?????

GrandForksGuy said...

That does sound like a contradiction, doesn't it? The first comment refers to the online version of the Herald. The map made it into the online version, but did not make it into the paper version. Tu-Uyen says he is still trying to get the correction run.

Tu-Uyen said...

"GFG pointed out a glaring inaccuracy in a graphic accompanying one of Tran's articles and Tran turns around and calls GFG self-righteous? Classy."

Uh, I'm referring to this line:

"However, an honest mistake is still a mistake that, in some way, should be remedied. We don't brush of mistakes just because they are honest mistakes."

I, of course, have no intention of brushing off any mistakes.

It's SO easy to question people's integrity when your real name and reputation isn't on the line, isn't it? That's pretty "classy," Anonymous.

C. Y. said...

"Communication"

Such an interesting concept.