Geography 222 The Power of Maps
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Geog 222 Exercise 7: Map Your Own Data
Worth 100 points
- ASSIGNED in class Monday November 12
- DUE in class Monday November 12: Working groups & potential topics
- DUE by email Wednesday November 14: Email One Page Description of Project & Data Group will Map
- DUE by email Sunday December 9 at 10 pm: Project URL and writeup
- DUE in class Monday December 10: In-Class Presentation of Project
Student Maps, Fall 2012:
For most of the history of the map, a few people
made maps and a much larger number used them. Map-making evolved into a highly skilled
profession with an array of theoretical, technical, and practical facets that precluded
most people from making more than sketch and hand-drawn maps.
With the development of GIS software and web mapping, some people heralded the dawn of
popular mapping: anyone with internet access could be a mapmaker. Geography 222
exercises focus on the diversity of maps you can make on the web.
But there is a bit of a problem: you are making maps with other people's data. The
U.S. Census Bureau's data, MapQuest's data, Delaware County GIS Office's data,
NationMaster's data, and so on: what other people and organizations think is important.
So what about mapping your own data? We did this in the first class exercise (psychogeography).
Cool and interesting. But howabout mapping your own data with current internet mapping
technology? If you can map your own data you can map what
matters to you, or your organization, or your company, or your family, or your friends.
Indeed, making your own maps with your own data means you are liberated from the confines
of what other people think is important (and thus what data is made available) about the
A map your own data revolution has started on several fronts, driven by technology, in
particular Google Earth (and it's KMZ files), the ease of creating a map mashup using
Google Maps (and an increasing number of other web mapping sites), and easy access to GPS
for collecting your own data. We already did some address matching (or geocoding) in
Lab 4 with the BatchGeoCode web site which is, in essence,
mapping your own data.
In addition to geocoding, the map "mash-up" is a vital tool in the map your own data
revolution. In general, a mashup is just
putting different stuff together.
Music mashups splice and overlay segments of different songs that, in
combination, become a new song. Map mashups do the same thing: combining geographic data
and maps from multiple sources into a new map. Both music and map mashups are greatly
enabled by digital technology, although they existed long before software and computers.
Enabling the whole map mashup phenomena are open APIs. An API (Application programming
interface) is just a bunch of programming tools for building new applications.
More on APIs:
Google provides access to their
Google Maps API that allows anyone to combine their data with Google Maps as
the background. While relatively simple, Google Maps API still requires a bit of effort
(signing up for a free API key which allows you to create mashups with Google Maps, and
some HTML scripting). It also requires that you have geographic data, points, lines, and
areas, in latitude/longitude, and specify these locations in the HTML code. The benefit
is that anyone anywhere with web access can see your data mapped out with a Google Maps
Below find a simple map mashup made from the Google KMZ files you created and sent to me as
part of Exercise 3:
Google has an even easier way to make basic map mashups,
called My Maps.
My Maps allows you to place points, lines, and areas directly on a Google Map
background, and annotate these features with text, images, and movies. As you are on
screen locating features, the accuracy may be a bit off, but you can use a Google Maps
search to more precisely locate things, and transfer the points to your map. All maps
created with My Maps are publicly accessible (unless you make them private).
One could critique the "power" of making maps with My Maps: you are in essence sticking
a few marker, line, or area symbols on a Google Map: most of the map (all the background
stuff) is Google's. It's their stage you are making your map upon. Also, these map mashups
tend to all look the same, a cartographic monoculture.
Alas, Google's My Maps and other map mashup APIs allow just about anyone to
map their own geographic data onto existing geographic data (such as Google Maps). The
process can be simple or complex, resulting in a few points located on a map to sophisticated
projects with thousands of data points, lines, and areas. While still in its infancy,
map mashup technology greatly extends the potential of popular mapping.
Nerd note 1: GPS to Google Earth and Google Maps: Some of you have GPS receivers and should know that
data collected with GPS can be easily mapped out in Google Earth and Google Maps. Most
GPS receivers can export points, lines, and areas to Google's KMZ format, or at least
export to a generic file that can be converted to KMZ via free tools at web sites such as the terrific
GPS Visualizer site.
Once you have a KMZ file you can map it in Google Earth. If you want to create a map
mashup with this data, the KMZ file
can be used as a data source for the Google Maps API.
Talk to me if you want to learn more about GPS data to Google Earth and Google Maps.
Nerd note 2: My Maps is a simplified map mashup that does not require knowing anything
about APIs or working with anything other than the Google Maps web site. If you are interested, and know a wee-bit about
HTML files and such, I can show you how to do this project as a real map mashup, using Google's API and HTML. It is not
too difficult, and might be more interesting if you are a bit into computer stuff.
Talk to me if you want to do this.
Goals: This exercise uses Google Map's new My Maps feature
to create your own personal map mash-up, focused on somewhere and
something of your choice that better be damn interesting. You will add your own
point, line, and area data to Google Maps and make a publicly viewable
map mashup. You can also link text, photos, and movies to these locations. You
may work in groups or on your own (groups need to do more substantial projects).
1) Decide if you are going to work in a group or on your own. Group project have
to be more substantial than individual projects.
2) You need a Gmail Account
You can use My Maps with your OWU Google account, but I strongly suggest (if you are
working in a group) that you create a new account. That way you can all share the
account and login without giving anyone access to your personal account.
3) Think about some potential topics. Your data should be stuff that is locatable
at points, along lines, or in areas. It should not be boring. It should be
things you don't normally see on normal maps. Don't make a map of all the McDonalds around
Delaware. You can do that by googling McDonalds! Boring!
I liked the Pirate attacks in Delaware project (as shown in class, and linked below) and
you can look at the Improv Everywhere site to see more crazy public stunts. Video them,
upload to YouTube and embedd them in your MyMaps map mashup.
Given that this exercise is worth 100 pts I urge you to engage in a serious mapping project.
I suggest something interesting around OWU or Delaware - this will get you out and having
kilos of fun, frolicking about the fall landscapes of central Ohio. There are some good
examples of this in the map examples below.
Review the My Maps examples below from previous semesters. Some suck, but others -
particularly those that are more creative - are truly unsuckish. The examples along with
input from your instructor will help
you develop your own project ideas.
The examples below are from previous semesters, when the exercise was worth 50 points. So
please step up the projects a bit, as the exercise is worth 100 points this semester.
Examples: Student Maps, Fall 2012:
- Getner Fabe & Tucker Fontanella: Global Sports Stadium Disasters
- Suzy Stephens: Art for Art's Sake
- Hira Idrees, Katasha Ross, Haley Leber, Amanthi Weerasinghe: Where Are All of the Men?
- Vincent Marquez, Trey Harris, John Rinaldi: Map of Professional Stadium's City and Championships Won
- Thomas Cary Boucher & Ikhide Eboreime: Top 20 Party Places at OWU
- Stephen Barnett, Nick La Branche, Matt Sommi, & Trevor Forsyth: Sick of Smith - Off-campus Eats
- Derek Smith, Nate Hennessy, & Erin Gregory: Where We Have Gone Becuase of OWU
- Justin Bellassai & Addison Miller: Where do all the cans go? Alcohol Related Trash In Delaware, OH
- Kumail Habib, Ibrahim Saeed, Ariel Koiman: 50 Years of Greatness - UEFA Champion's League Final Matches
- Joe Waldron: Meteorite Strewn Fields
- Jonathan McMahan, Tyler Allen & Maxwell Ouimet: The Puddles of Delaware, Ohio
Examples: Student Maps, Fall 2011:
More Examples: Student Maps, Spring 2011:
- Lizzie Rubenstein, David Reitan and Olivia Gillison: Hooligans and their Dangnabit Communication
- Newton Kimberly: UFC Champions Hometowns
- John Rierson: OWU Campus-wide Trust
- Alex Maser: Running Routes: Delaware County
- Gregory Phillip: Ghosts of Delaware
- John Stegner & Matt Turner: Graffiti in Delaware, OH
- Bibhav Chapagain, Tanvi Devidayal, & Muhammad Azfar Wattoo: Comfy Couches
- Brad Miller: Crime Town USA
- Christian Ng: Free Running Map
- Hudson Miller & Tom Newman: Top 21 Microbreweries in America
- Chris Badenhop & Kory Ayers: NFL Quarterbacks
- Sayan Ghosal, Usman Saad, Hussain Khan & Shahryar Khan: The 50 Largest Cricket Stadiums in the World
- Alex Benton & Anton O'Hanlon: Paths to Avoiding Student Activism
- Patrick Bassett, William Saunders & Nick Ziegenbusch: Ski Resorts
- Jake Caccia, Scott Chester, Aly Fried & Jon Morin: Random Acts of Icing
- Sophie Kiendl, Julia Alkon & Katherine Stone: Weird Shit on Lawns in Delaware
- Brandt McDonough & Sean Hagan: Mapping the Frolf Course in the Delaware State Park
More Examples: Student Maps, Fall 2010:
More Examples: Student Maps, Spring 2010:
- Peter Joyce, Brandon Luttinger, & Syed Danial Rehmen: TGIF OWU
- Tim Prindle: A Photographic Derive in D.C.
- Hannah Benzing, Jillian Prusa & Jon Rux: Birthplaces of U.S. Presidents
- Fred Copeman, Matthew Ensler & David Ordosch: Tarantulas in Ohio
- Patrick Embelton, Trey Stalnaker, & John Warrell: Division III NCAA Colleges
- Matt DiRubio, Andrew Newhouse, Sam Newton, Robbie Sullivan & Pat Williams: Columbus Strip Clubs
- Casey Callahan, Jocie Horelick, & Alex Razzolini: NCAA Division III Lacrosse Programs
- Hussain Muhammad: The Journey of My Ancestors
- Addie Bishop & Kelly Zdenek: Delta Delta Delta Sororities in the U.S.A.
- Andrew Ball, Brandon Sega, & Nick Striler: Tiger's Tour of Whores
More Examples: Student Maps, Fall 2009:
More Examples: Student Maps, Spring 2009:
- Phillip Forsgren & Tyler Grant: Sports Illustrated Swim Suit Issue: Hometowns & Calendar Shots
- Alex Custer, Rob Kelleher, Julian Ginsberg, & Nate Scott: United States Amusement Park Fatalities: 1998-2008
- Vagif Baratov & Dias Ayubayev: Mass shootings in the U.S.
- Pooja Goswami, Jeremy Franz, Maryam Shitu & Maisha Rashid: Weird Tourist Attractions in the US
- Olivia Bull, Addie Frentsos, Laurel Lawson & Kaitlin Moran: Where's Elvis?
- Chris Sponseller, Neil Michaels, & Eric Miller: Some Ridiculous Things George W. Bush Said
- Tim Brady, Nick Blake, Caleb Rigsby, & Tim Knezovich: Winners of the NCAA Men's Division 1 Basketball National Champioship Since 1950
- Lesley Stephenson, Nick Connelly, & Adam Cumby: Mythical Creature Sightings Across the Globe
- Henry Distad: Top 5 Ohio Counties for Deer Hunting
- Humza Khan & Rajiv Rao: Riots in India-Pakistan since 1940's
- Paul Gruber & Raphi Fratkin: Darwin Award Winners: Where People Have Removed Themselves from our Gene Pool (Thankfully)
- Yosuke Ito: Walking from Baba Station to Waseda
More Examples: Student Maps, Fall 2008:
- Brent Pleiman & Matt Frizzo: Ohio Sniper Attacks and Key Places Within the Case
- Christian Eakins, Derek Sebert, Travis Wall, & Richard Ott: The Police Reunion Tour 2007-2008
- Tommy Saunders, Tim Schmidt, Seth Phillips, & Kyle Karzinsky: Major US Military Bases Around the World
- Chris Sluyter & Keller Sehringer: Delaware Brew Hot Spots
- Bobby St. Clair, Chris Tannen & Jessica Fillian: Fire-EMS Major Incidences in Delaware, Ohio
- Robby Woodruff: Map of Gas Prices in Delaware, Ohio
- Betsy Chapman, Samantha Smyth, & Emmalee O'Brien: Different sets of the 7 Wonders of the World
- Alex Haggerty & Graham Wiener: Where NOT to Sip and get Hyped
- Sam Newman, Michael Davidson, & Talib Shkoukani: Plane Crashes from the Past 30 Years in the United States
- Rick Durham & Eric Tran: Where is the Internet?
- Pat Pellerite, Andy Boff, & John Ramano: Foreclosures in Delaware County
- Brett Riffle & Ross McDonald: Medical Marijuana Dispensaries Map of California
More Examples: Student Maps, Spring 2008:
- Jared Lai & Taimur Farasat: The Stairway to OWU
- Jeff Cheng: Light Coverage around OWU Campus Dorms
- Malaina Hicks: Damaged Road Signs
- Abutalib Zaidi, Akmal Leghari & Mehmud Dawood: High Security Areas in Karachi
- Alexis Levesque, Courtney Pinkney, Jeff Herring, & Brian Caferella: Sexscape of Ohio Wesleyan
- Thomas Kent, Devon Rayasa & Pratyush Agarwal: Geography of Alpha Sigma Phi Fraternity
- Josh Gardner, Scott Hellberg, and Zach Frentsos: 2008 NHL Playoff Teams
- Ali Samir Oosman, Carlo Biagioni, Dhruv Gandhi & Faizan Mohammad: OWU Calls of Distress
- Shawn Crow, Warren McDaniel & Tyler Wall: Busted Houses
- Julia Fouts & Alexa Deaton: The Delaware Salons
- Erica Lowell, Matt McNeal, Andrew Martin & Kevin Seargent: Delaware County High Schools
- Haleigh Rohr & Eliot Hubbell: Sex Offenders of Delaware County
More Examples: Student Maps, Fall 2007:
- Olivia Duffy, Will Ruzek, Jack Schemenauer, & Ted Youngling: OWU Beer Trash Map
- Eric Brockfield & Rachel Decker: Clumsy or Quiet Places at OWU
- Evan Jerfsten: Road Kill Around Delaware, OH
- Nick Foley & Greylyn Hydinger: U.S. Soldiers from Ohio Killed in Iraq
- Andrew Jones & H.T. Richart: Bowl Season
- Bibhas Acharya, Brandon Mowrer & Baber Kaimkhani: Sheriff Sales: December '07
- Hasani Wheat & Brady McCaffrey: Sports Memorabilia (Buckeyes and everyone else)
- Kyle Holliday, Erik Hauber, & Justin Payne: Basketball Courts in Delaware Usable by OWU Students
- Teene Shaw & Matt Stromberg: Christmas in Delaware
- Todd Ufferman, Chris Lathem, & Marcus Bastianelli: Bob Marley's 1980 Uprising Tour
- John Belleau, Gavin Cunningham, Devin Harrigan, & Kevin McMahon: OWU's Most Wanted
More examples: Student Maps, Spring 2007:
Be creative and have fun, please. Please. Talk to me if you want to discuss your ideas.
Project Proposal: Please type up in an email (and send to me) the following for each project
by the due date noted above:
- Project title
- Full names of all group members
- One paragraph description of your topic
- One paragraph description of data sources. Be specific, eg., web addresses or
other sources must be indicated; do not proceed without making sure you have
4) Map your own data! Whilst logged into a Google account, go to Google Maps
and click on My Maps on the blue bar in the upper left part of the screen.
Google My Maps User's Guide has simple and clear instructions on creating a map
with your data using placemarks (points), lines, and shapes (areas). The guide also
covers how to edit your maps, add photos and movies (which need to be somewhere on the
web), sharing your maps, and getting your maps into Google Earth.
Extra Fun: The symbols provided by My Maps are a bit flimpy. You can design your own
symbols with a bit of effort: a tutorial I concocted is here
on the blog for the Making Maps book. Let me know if you want to create your own
symbols and need help.
Each person should generate 20-30 annotated placemarks/lines/shapes on a map. Thus if you
are working in a group of two, you need thirty placemarks/lines/shapes. Include photos in
at least three of the locations (I can assist you in preparing your images and placing
them on the internet). If you do more time intensive stuff - like shooting custom videos at
each location on your map - you can have fewer sites on your map. Ask me, talk to me, bounce
ideas off of me.
What is Due
Each group please turn in the following by 5pm the day prior to the project due date:
- Title of Project
- Full names of all participants
- URL to your My Maps map: IMPORTANT: Click on the word LINK in the upper right
corner of your maps web page for the actual URL to your project.
- 1-2 pages: Detail how you collected your data and created your map. Document
any problems you had and how you solved them.
- 1-2 pages: Reflect on your project and relate it to other mapping you did on the
web this semester. Is mapping your own data really more liberating than mapping
with data created by others? Can you forsee using the My Maps / map mashups in the future?
For what? Is My Maps and similar "map your own data" web sites going to have a
impact beyond the "cool factor"?
Remember that we will take some class time to demo and discuss the results of this exercise
on the day it is due.
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