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Cofrin Center for Biodiversity


My assignment to create a Visitor Map for our Wabikon research site is being hampered by an error in the National Geographic streaming map service that I want to use as a base layer. When zoomed in, the service shows a small lake between our research plot and Wabikon Lake. When I looked for alternatives to the NatGeo product, I found that the lake showed up in many of the reputable geographic data services including those used by the Wisconsin State Cartographers Office. So now I'm on a two-fold mission. First, I want to get those databases corrected. The map services that use them are an extremely convenient shortcut to nice-looking cartography. Second, I want to see how difficult it is to root out a deeply embedded error - Mike Stiefvater - November, 2013

Why "That Darned Lake" ?
We've heard that the owners of these databases are pretty cautious about making changes, so we want their decision to delete the erroneous record to be easy. One thing in our favor is that a 15-nov-2013 Google search on the bogus lake name produced zero hits. Using the lake name in a website might change that, so we assigned it an alias that is reflective of our feelings about it.

How Certain Are We ?
We've researched the matter pretty thoroughly ourselves. We also contacted Ann Schachte, the former manager of the hydrography database for the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. She checked the DNR's databases, the National Hydrography Dataset and the Geographic Names Information System and found no mention of that darned lake.

NatGeo World Map
14-nov-2013 - comment added to the feedback website.

World Topo Map
14-nov-2013 - location marker and comment added to the feedback website.

World Street Map
14-nov-2013 - location marker and comment added to the feedback website.

Bing Maps
14-nov-2013 - location marker and comment added to the feedback interface (accessed by clicking on the Feedback link at

15-nov-2013 - comment submitted using the "How Can We Help You" form.

Rand McNally Route Planning Website
16-nov-2013 - comment submitted using their "Contact Us" form.

Wisconsin State Cartographers Office
16-nov-2013 - comment submitted via email to Brenda Hemstead.

18-nov-2013 - email from MapQuest reported that they have opened a case with NAVTEQ.

Services That Checked Out OK
Open Street Map (14-nov-2013)
World Reference Overlay (14-nov-2013)
World Terrain Base (14-nov-2013)
Google Maps (14-nov-2013)
The National Map (15-nov-2013)
The National Atlas (15-nov-2013)
AAA Travel Planner (16-nov-2013)
Forest County Land Records Website (16-nov-2013)