"Remember, data is a representation of real life. It’s not just a bucket of numbers. There are stories in that bucket. There’s meaning, truth, and beauty."
Yau, Nathan (2011-06-13). Visualize This: The FlowingData Guide to Design, Visualization, and Statistics (p. 2). Wiley. Kindle Edition.
Using space to understand culture:
The (short) Ted Talk linked below is an interesting look at how different cultures arrange space.
Tools for visualizing data:
The goals for any data visualization project can vary - for a great guide on determining the goals for working with data, check out the Carnegie Mellon Website:
In addition there are some suggested steps to consider before a instituting a new project; such as creating an example of what you are expecting as an end product:
The "ground floor" - relatively-easy-to-use web 2.0 visualization tools:
http://www.gapminder.org - datasets that can be used to create custom time-based animations; and datasets for download
http://www.visualizing.org - datasets that can be used to create custom time-based animations; and datasets for download
Many Eyes - You can explore data using your eyes! This site is set up to allow the entire internet community to upload data, visualize it, and talk about their discoveries with other people.
http://visual.ly/ - watch this space for a "build your own" visualization tools
Google Fusion Tables - visualize uploaded and created google docs with animated graphs and/or maps
Google Public Data Explorer (Example: http://stataccess.blogspot.com/2011/10/example-of-use-of-google-public-data.html)
Wolfram Demonstrations Project - downloadable free player of small programs that can be used to visualize math-based and other concepts
Some suggested Web 2.0 mashups that use maps:
Dipity.com - interactive/multimedia timeline with mapping built in (this has been used by several courses here - some limitations to the free account)
Historypin.com - interactive/multimedia timeline with posting of historical images to map interface (one that looks worthy of further exploration
Other teaching/presentation tools:
Voicethread - web 2.0 digital storytelling
Prezi - online presentation generator (used by conference presenters)
Tools for mapping data:
Gathering data for your map - some new considerations for gathering data for spatial analysis:
For Geospatial "warehouse" sites - see the list below.
Some tools of note taken from the above flow chart:
Scraper Wiki - This allows the user to create a scraper tool or request to have a tool made. The tool will then run and supply the output to you. Some scrapers are publicly available to use.
Outwit Hub - limited to 500 record download for the free version. (Firefox Plugin) Recommended.
PDF2XL - free 30 day trial version available
- the availability of data is changing the world of journalism - there is now more of a confluence between journalism and spatial analysis - data journalism. The idea of using data to tell a story. This is appears to be growing trend in the journalism industry.
Fore more on this trend in Journalism:
Entreprenerurial Journalism: http://www.journalism20.com/blog/2011/03/13/sxsw-presentation-slides/
The Online Journalism Blog: http://onlinejournalismblog.com/about-2/
I think about mapping tools in basically two different ways:
1. By price - free web sites (cloud) and desktop tools where data can analyzed. Desktop software can be used but the data can be uploaded, displayed (and increasingly analyzed) and then shared to another site.
2. By the type of analysis that you think you would like perform.
Simplest: Overlay and Visual analysis
What is the basic pattern of the data?
What can we infer about the spatial pattern?
What are the statistical trends in the data?
Most intensive: Proximity analysis
What is the spatial pattern observed when the distance between phenomenon is taken into consideration?
and site suitability analysis (Tana River Delta, Nigeria) and Soybean site suitability analysis, China.
***What all levels of analysis usually requires a minimum of two data layers.
Short (very short) list of mapping tools:
GIS Lounge Blog - software list
Freeware Tools not on list:
GeoCommons - visual overlay simple proximity analysis (used successfully)
**Major limitation of this site: meta-data development is left to the user - a possible major pitfall of Volunteered Geographic Information
BuildAMap (in Beta Testing) - visual overlay simple proximity analysis (looks promising)
GIS Cloud (in Beta Testing) - visual display, hotspot analysis; share data as a WMS (Web Map Service - although initial testing shows that ArcGIS will not read this)
IndieMapper - has a 30 day free trial - pay as you go service
An extensive list of freeware Spatial Tools:
Free Geography Tools Blog
Online ESRI (the folks that bring you ArcGIS 10) tools:
ArcGIS online.com - Upload and share datasets from ArcGIS 10 directly or on the web only
Explorer Online.com - Create a map-based geography presentation inside this tool seemlessly - this site includes many datasets already mapped including some World Bank data
**Both web mapping engines include basic spatial analysis tools.
Demo - fusion to geocommons.
Here is a demo map on the Geocommons site. I shared a table from my Google Fusion account using the method outlined here.
Other Related Software
R - stats (freeware)
Making maps with R
GIS Data Resources:
Natural Earth Data (Penn State) - http://www.naturalearthdata.com/
GIS Geocomm website - http://data.geocomm.com/catalog/CH/datalist.html
DIVA GIS program @ UC Santa Barbara - http://www.gadm.org/country
ASTER DEM project - http://www.gdem.aster.ersdac.or.jp/search.jsp
**Joint partnership between US and Japan on a worldwide Digital Elevation Model (DEM) downloadable (in manageable sizes)
WeoGeo dataset downloads - http://www.weogeo.com/
** A good site for dataset downloads and sharing
Some suggested Blogs for reading:
GIS and Science
Free Geography tools
Blog About Stats
The Guardian Newspaper Data Blog
Exploring Environmental History
Digital Learning Consultant
Hobart and William Smith Colleges
11 Oct. 2011