Geography 222 Maps and Mapping Geog 222 Main Page and Course Description Geog 222 Syllabus Geog 222 Course Schedule Geog 222 Exercises

Geog 222 Exercise 4: Mapping & GIS Tools

Revised: 3/26/15

ASSIGNED in class Friday October 9
DUE Friday November 6 at 8:58 am

Exercise Worth: 50 pts

Introduction: Exercise 4 will learn youns about the diversity of maps and map-related information available on the WWW.


Maps on the WWW are available in many different forms: you can locate or order "real" paper maps (as in Exercise 2), or find digital copies of maps, or make maps "on-demand,"' view "live" maps that are updated constantly, and download and use free mapping software.

TIP on citing web maps with very long urls: Some of the URLs for WWW maps are extremely long, as they contain a bunch of information specifying the map you have requested. A useful way to create a shorter link to such sites entails using a 'link shortening' utility such as those found at TinyURL. Create a shorter link with one of these two sites, and use that URL rather than the long url in your citation of the map.

WARNING: Many WWW map sites depend on sophisticated WWW technology that can be slow or even break down. Expect delays and sites that are temporarily not working. You may also be using a computer or internet browser that is not compatible with a particular mapping WWW site. Be patient! If a site is not working well, revisit it at a different time or on a different computer. Given such potential problems, you should not attempt to do this exercise at the last minute. Contact the instructor at least a week before the due date if you are having persistent problems. Contact the instructor if you want assistance in completing this exercise!

Please skip section 1 below: it overlaps with the maps you searched for of home in the 2nd exercise.

1. Map Images: Static Digital Maps on the WWW (0 pts):

In essence the same as paper maps, but in digital file formats such as .gif, .jpg, etc. A file format is a specific way of organizing data in a computer file. Such maps are scanned from printed maps or generated by some kind of mapping software and saved as a image file.

Search for, and save two map images of your home. International students: these maps can be of your non-US home. Try to find the largest scale maps possible - showing more detail and less area - and something interesting (not the first boring map that pops up in your search). It is just fine (maybe better!) to find older or historical maps of your home. Some sites to search:

2. WWW Map Generators (5 pts):

Map Generators reside on a computer server - a computer that allows you to run programs stored on it via the internet. Through a web browser and web site, you request a custom map (in essence, a map image). Among the earliest and most popular of such mapping and GIS tools are those that can locate an address or plot directions between several locations.

You have all used Google Maps, Bing Maps, etc. Beyond their basic utility, these sites allow anyone to map out additional data on top of the Google or Bing or whatever maps. Such combined map sources are typically called mashups, and we will create one in a future exercise.

For now, take a look at one rather interesting mashuppy site that generates walkability scores for any US address you enter: Walk Score.

Go to the Walk Score site and type in your home address: international students, try your real home address and see if it works (if not, use your US address). Also type in the address of Ohio Wesleyan (61 South Sandusky Street, Delaware, OH, 43015) or (if you are using campus as your home address) your instructor's home address (231 Crestview Road, Columbus, OH, 43202).

Grab the map from your home address and campus, and include in the exercise. Look up and write a half-page or so on what they mean by "walkability." Write up another half pages or so discussing and comparing the walkability of both places, and comment on how well the site represents the walkability of your home address.

3. WWW-based GIS (25 pts):

As an example of a typical online GIS, lets take a look at the Delaware County Auditor's online GIS site. Go to the Delaware County Online GIS site and click on Property Search. Lets check on a Delaware County property owner.

Non-Delaware County residents in the US: You may want to search the WWW and find out if your home county has a GIS site similar to Delaware's DALIS site. Usually such sites are associated with the county tax assessor - typically the County Auditor. Find your home county's official WWW page (this should not be a commercial site, but the official county web page), and look for a property information link. If you find one, search for information about a property owner (your parents? friends? relatives?).

FINALLY: Read up on the legal issues surrounding public access to property information reviewed by Deb Peoples on the Geography 222 Library Resources Page under the heading Public Records. Please ponder the consequences of making the kind of very specific property data available on the WWW. Discuss potential good and bad consequences of such data being so easily available. Remember, the law requires certain specific information to be made public. Just saying "I don't think it is a good idea" is not enough: explain why is it not a good idea (or why is it a good idea?).

4. WWW Real-time Maps and Images (15 pts):

Real time maps and images differ from map generators and browsers in that they consist of maps continuously updated with data from diverse sources. These are, in essence, "live maps." If one is off line or not working, just skip it and try another.

Be Critical!: I believe at least one of the maps below is fake - made to promote a service. Maybe more are... If you spot something suspicious, indicate it in your comments.

5. Free Mapping & GIS Software (5 pts):

Because of the functional limitations of web-based mapping and expense of desktop GIS applications such as ArcGIS, several vendors are providing free downloadable GIS software, with links to data on the internet. Google Earth was among the first of these free mapping applications, most of which are considered to be Virtual Globes.

6. Purchaseable Mapping and GIS software

Exercise 4: Sum:

Please format your exercise so that it reflects the different sections above. Include headers (eg., "1. Map Images: Static Digital Maps on the WWW:") before each set of maps and answers. Turn in the 4 or so pages of typed answers to the questions, and include all requested maps/screen shots at appropriate locations (and appropriate size) in the document.


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