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Visualizing Nuclear Weapons Testing at the Nevada Test Site

The Map of the Week for October 16th demonstrates uses for the time-animation capabilities of ArcGIS by chronologically depicting the locations of all nuclear weapons tests conducted at the Nevada Test Site and how they can be presented through a video format. #MapMonday

Visualizing Nuclear Weapons Testing at the Nevada Test Site

From 1951 – 1992, the United States Government performed over 900 nuclear weapons tests in a remote area of the Nevada desert known as the Nevada Test Site. To present information about the nuclear tests and impacts to individuals and surrounding communities, the Marriott Library developed the Downwinders of Utah Archive, an education resource and historical retrospective of a period in our nation’s history nearly forgotten. Through this Map of the Week, viewers are presented with a preview to the Archive, visualizing the vast number and locations of nuclear detonations while hearing excerpts from a few of the many interviews with Downwinder victims.

The Development of a Mapping Video:

The time-animation capabilities of ArcGIS allow for temporal examination of data and exportation into a video format. By incorporating a spreadsheet containing the locations of all Nevada Test Site detonations, a map is created and an animation exported displaying each detonation chronologically for visualization. Animations such as these are then enhanced utilizing one of many video editing programs on the market today. For this map, Camtasia was used to incorporate text, transitions, and video excerpts while producing a fully developed presentation.

To learn more about Downwinders and nuclear weapons testing, please visit:

About Map of the Weeks from GIS Services:

Throughout the semester, GIS Services will continue releasing bi-weekly maps on a variety of topics for the purpose of demonstrating ideas and uses for incorporating geospatial technology into research and projects you are developing. To view our collection of maps, projects or to learn about the geospatial services offered through the Marriott Library, please visit the GIS Services website @

Happy Mapping!

Justin Sorensen | GIS Specialist
Creativity & Innovation Services / GIS Services

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