Geography 222 The Power of Maps Geog 222 Main Page and Course Description Geog 222 Syllabus Geog 222 Course Schedule Geog 222 Exercises

Geog 222 Exercise 3: Mappable Data on the WWW

Revised: 2/25/18

ASSIGNED Monday. February 26
DUE Mon. March 5: at 9:38 am

Exercise Worth: 50 pts

Geography 222 Library Resources for exercises.

Digital Submissions Guide for exercises and exams.


All y'all are in for a delightful discussion of geographic data during the Geographic Data Lectures.

In our discussion of "How do we Acquire Data" we will discuss primary and secondary sources of data.

A good example of primary data collection is you out collecting data using a GPS. Or even with your phone.

Most data that we use in mapping and GIS, however, is secondary: someone else collected it (with primary methods). In the past, secondary data would be acquired directly from its creator: from private vendors, or government agencies such as the U.S. Census or the U.S. Geologic Survey. This data came in diverse forms: paper maps, tabular data and, more recently, from digital databases on CDs. Much of the data for mapping projects is now available on the WWW.

Digital geographic data (remote sensing images, digital maps, tabular data) on the WWW can be free or may be purchased. In almost all cases, the data can be viewed or downloaded from the WWW. In some cases, you need to have specialized mapping software (such as the GIS package ArcGIS) to view and use the data; in other cases you can view and use the data on the WWW using interactive WWW mapping sites. In either case, the WWW is making digital geographic data available to a much broader range of users.

Some data lies somewhere between primary and secondary data: For example, using street address data and Geocoding software (available free on the web) to create data that can be mapped out in Google Earth. In this exercise we will Geocode some address data we gather from various sources.

Exercise 3 is intended to familiarize you with the diversity of geographic data available on the WWW, and tools for converting data such as addresses into mappable data.

Please provide the following information for each part of the exercise below, except the last (GPSVisualizer) which has its own requirements:

  1. A proper citation of the site and any map you save, capture, or download according to citation methods reviewed and illustrated at the Geography 222 Library Resources Page.

  2. Follow instructions in the Digital Submissions Guide to embed all your graphics in your exercise.

  3. TIP: Some of the URLs for WWW maps are extremely long. To create a shorter link URL go to TinyURL.

  4. A paragraph describing the data available at the site. Describe the data available in general terms and provide a brief description of a few specific types of data. What form is it in? Who could use it and for what? Does it seem easy to access?

Additional tasks, beyond the title, URL, and description, are noted below.

WARNING! As usual, don't put off doing this exercise until the last minute. This exercise uses sophisticated WWW sites which may not be working all the time. Also, it is possible that my instructions below may not be perfectly clear, or a WWW site may change. Maybe the government will shut down, screwing lots of poor people and making some of the web sites we use nonfunctional. Please contact me if a site is not working, or if you cannot figure out how to do what you are supposed to do with the site!

The U.S. Census Bureau supplies extensive amounts of data about the US and other countries through its WWW site. When you get to the site...

One of the most important thing the US Census does is provide access to their data to individuals, researchers, companies, etc. This data is used to study demographic patterns, determine (by government agencies) which localities (cities, counties, states) get how much money from the government, etc. The data is also used by businesses to figure out where to locate new stores, analyze markets, etc.

In the recent FAB redesign of the Census site, they managed to not link to their nifty list of international census and statistical data agencies. It is here: International Statistical Agencies. provides easy access to a diversity of international data, organized by country. The data is from sources such as the U.N., CIA, World Health Organization, and World Bank. There is also a site for US data. Work with NationMaster for this exercise:

Scroll down the Nation Master page to the section Tables, graphs, maps and pie charts

Generate five maps of five different statistics. These can be from any category. Please include a copy of each map in your exercise. Please don't include all the statistical data with the map - I only want the map.

Additional useful sites: peek a look at any two:

EarthPoint KML Shapes provides basic tools for figuring out areas of polygons, lengths of lines, and locations of points in Google Earth. For example, if you use Google Earth to draw a polygon (area) around a property you are going to conduct a study in, you can use the EarthPoint tools to calculate the area of the polygon. The EarthPoint site is one of many free tools on the web allow you to generate your own geographic data.

For this part of the exercise, you need to draw a polygon around your home - your actual property, the neighborhood, etc., and a draw a 2nd polygon around a larger area (your town, for example). It does not matter if your polygons are exact.

Find a computer (in our classroom, or your own) with Google Earth or download Google Earth on your own computer.

Repeat the process for your second, larger area. contains a collection of free mappy tools that, among other cool stuff, converts street addresses to coordinates so they can be mapped in Google Maps or some other mapping software. GeoCoding is the conversion of street addresses into mappable data (data that has geographic coordinates). This process is also known as address matching.

So get at least fifteen street addresses, and use GPSVisualizer to map them out. These can be addresses anywhere in the world in various formats, but the best format is like this: 231 Crestview Road Columbus Ohio 43202 USA.

There are various ways to get address data. You can simply look up addresses in a phone book, or from your own address book, or gather them out in the environment (for example, the addresses of people who have carved pumpkins on their front porches for halloween).

You can also use tools that generate files of addresses: Delaware County's DALIS GIS web site will generate an excel file of addresses, if you recall, when you create a buffer. You could get all the addresses within 1000 feet of a particular address, for example.

Google search for addresses and see what kind of address generating sites you find. You could, for example, search for all the Buffalo Wild Wings locations in the US, get the addresses, then geocode and map them out for handy reference.

Make sure you are working on a computer which will allow you to download and save a file, and also a computer with Google Earth installed.

Follow these instructions VERY carefully. Please ask me for help if you are having difficulty getting the geocoding to work.

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