Tuesday, February 24, 2015

GIS3015: Choropleth and Proportional Symbol Mapping

I can't believe we are already at week 7.  How the time has flown.  This week we are working with Choropleth and Proportional Symbol maps. This was another fun exercise in developing our cartographic skills.  The objectives for this week were:

- Choose an appropriate color scheme for a choropleth map
- Create appropriate legend for classification scheme and map type
- Implement appropriate classification method for population data
- Utilize proportional or graduated symbols
- Create effective thematic picture symbols
- Work with 3 data frames
- Compile map in accordance with cartographic design principles

Working with three data frames on one "sheet" was a challenge because these maps had a lot of information to communicate. If I had the option, I would deliver this project to my customer as a digital map so that they could zoom in and out as required, instead of trying to get so much information on one sheet of paper. Of course, I could always provide a much larger sheet of paper to my customer.

We looked at Wine Consumption across Europe and then added two more maps that showed Wine Consumption for Females and Males; a total of three maps using European 2013 Census Data. Though the Wine data was from the Wine Institute (www.wineinstitue.org) and is from 2012.

I examined my data and went through each classification scheme and determined that the Quantile method suited my data best. The data was unipolar and sequential and with the Quantile method I ensured each class had data. I also had to Normalize the data for Population so that we could compare the data across Europe more evenly.  I experimented with Graduated Symbols and Proportional Symbols--that was fun.  With the Proportional Symbols, there appeared to be more overlap and I just could not get them to look very good. I even tried using a "Picture Marker" and adjusting the size:
Nice wine bottle right? If only it had looked as nice on my map. So, in the end, after much experimentation, I decided to use the Graduated Symbols.  I think this looks better and at least I picked a color that reminds us of grapes.  Hope you like it!

Thursday, February 19, 2015

GIS4043- Projections Part II

What a week! This week we had a jumbo size lab that included last week's learning objectives and a new process using Excel.  The objectives were as follows:

- Explore and download aerials, topographic quadrangles, shapefiles and tabular xy data from two different online data sources for Florida
- Identify .sid and .swd files
- Define a spatial reference for an unknown data set
- Reproject GIS data to a common coordinate system and projection
- Recall the difference between defining and projecting a file
- Convert coordinates to decimal degrees in Excel
- View map scale, cursor coordinates and bing aerial basemap as a reference to determine if the defined projection is correct
- Identify UTM and state plane zones for a specific area
- Decipher Federal Information Processing Standards (FIPS) code
- Create x,y data using Microsoft Excel and import to ArcGIS
- Identify workable Excel file formats for ArcGIS
- Locate important accuracy information regarding GIS/GPS data
- Determine if retaining the “seconds” measurement in a dataset is appropriate based on the accuracy of the data
- Relate coordinate values to the appropriate earth hemisphere and double check calculations make geographical sense
- Generate a map displaying aerials, topographic quads, shapefiles and tabular xy data

I feel like I've just gone 10 rounds with "Sugar Ray" (for those not aware, he was a World Champion boxer, not MMA-type, in the 1980s). Basically, the goal of this week's Lab was to Download-Define-"Re" Project data to make a nifty map. It was a tremendous amount of work...and I didn't even get paid for this!

Here's what I did:

-I Practiced Downloading Data and Defining Projections
-- I learned what a DOQQ was--Digital Orthographic Quarter-Quad--
--I was very confused with the instructions about the website: http://www.labins.org/
Turns out Labins has updated their website and "things are different now..."
No problem, I found what I needed and pressed on..all is good
I also, spent a bunch of time, Defining the Spatial Reference...but I had forgot about the Hammer, I mean , tool "Project" from the ArcToolBox.  I re-found this and had a blast!
I downloaded some Topographic data and learned the definition of "Collars Removed."

Next. I downloaded the vector data, County Boundary, and Major Roads.  But, the most fun was working with an Excel Spreadsheet.  I got to convert Degree-Minutes-Seconds data into Decimal Degrees.  Not too difficult once you know the formula (I hear I will have to do this often in my GIS future--isn't there a program that does this for you?) I am so looking forward to a "future" in GIS!!

All in all a great, but very long, Lab.  Below is my Map.  I would say a Work of Art but I might be biased...

Monday, February 16, 2015

GIS3015- Data Classification

This was a challenging week with lots of  material to cover. The objectives for week six included:

- Demonstrate four common data classification methods
- Utilize ArcGIS to prepare a map with four data frames
- Symbolize map for intuitive data acquisition
- Implement cartographic design principles to create final map
- Compare and contrast classification methods
- Identify classification best suited to represent spatial data

We used data from the 2010 Census for Escambia County and our challenge was to create four maps using the Data Classification Methods of:  Equal Interval  - Quantile - Standard Deviation - and Natural Break.

Manipulating the data by selecting the various data classification methods did in fact change, though very slightly, the results depicted in the below figure. We used the attribute field for "Percent of Population in the 2010 Census Tracts for Escambia County, Over the Age of 65." At least, I believe that is the correct LONG title. This was my personal struggle this week-- understanding and being able to conceptualize the meaning of the fields in the Attribute Table particularly:


Since, this was the Field we used for the Data Classification Lab. Did this mean, 65 and older or was it only above 65? And, I was not sure if the data included 100% of the population of Escambia County or was this only in reference to the 2010 Census Tract of which there were 77? (The percentages displayed on the below maps do not equal 100% - should they?) 

The Main Lesson I learned this week is: You should examine your data carefully to determine if there are natural breaks, clusters, outliers, abnormalities or inconsistencies and you should certainly know what your data is referencing or where it came from... Most of all, you should understand what the data is. In other words...Know Your Data.
I am still learning this but I have gained a much better and deeper understanding about data from completing this Lab exercise.  

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

GIS4043: Projections Part I

This week in GIS4043, we learned about Georeferencing and:

-Coordinate Systems- How to Project an Image- How to Calculate Field Geometry
- And How to create a layer from a selection

We also learned that the ability to accurately locate geographic features is critical in both mapping and GIS, such as in the case of a responding emergency vehicle to your exact location-- don't be late, please.

The Lab exercise involved making three maps using different projection systems: Albers Conical Equal Area, Lambert Conformal Conic and Universal Transverse Mercator. We used the Project tool in ArcGIS to reproject a data layer. Trying to remember where all the Tools are is still a challenge for me. But, thank goodness I don't have to recall their precise location, on the Main Toolbar, under the ArcToolbox icon, down to the Data Management smaller toolbox, down once again to the toolbox tray known as Projections and Transformations and finally, all the way to the end to the hammer, I mean tool, Project. I can always review all the tools and icons as I am searching for the right tool for the job. Eventually, after many more maps and Labs, I will instinctively know where everything is located or how to find whatever I need.  

I also learned that a ".prj" file is projection information associated with GIS data files. Interesting...more file extensions to recognize and catalog.

I had fun with this map but some of the challenges included setting one scale to fit all three maps and making a Legend using Excel (Insert>Object, then select Excel from the list). I elected to use a number system to identify the counties we were interested in, instead of using color for each county. I wanted to highlight the area differences even though they were minor for the most part. By only numbering one map with the counties, I hoped to focus the users attention here so they would use the center map (Albers Conical Equal Area) to compare the other two maps.

Friday, February 6, 2015

GIS3015 L5: Spatial Distribution

This week we were given a reprieve from Corel Draw--thank goodness! The challenge this week was to:

  • Define key spatial statistics terms
  • Know what questions to ask about your data before choosing an analysis tool.
  • Examine the spatial distribution of a dataset to identify clusters and spatial relationships in the data.
  • Recall the properties of a normally distributed dataset.
  • Interpret a histogram to determine the frequency distribution dataset.
  • Find outliers in your data using a semivariogram cloud, Voronoi map, histogram, and normal QQ plot.
  • Use a trend analysis graph to identify patterns in your data.
  • Assess which analysis tools are appropriate given the spatial distribution and values of your data.

In other words, we are doing STATS this week in GIS3015! I cannot tell you how much fun I have been having--really. 

I completed the ESRI web course on, "Exploring Spatial Patterns in Your Data Using ArcGIS". An excellent course that included finding and using the Geospatial Statistical tools.  This included: Geostatistical Analyst Tools and Measuring Geographic Distributions such as the Mean Center and Median Center. I enabled the Geostatistical Analyst Toolbar  .  On the toolbar I selected "Explore Data" and then used the QQ plot.  A QQ plot displays the relationship between the distribution of my data and a normal distribution. I had to ensure I selected the layer to be evaluated; temperature for this exercise. I was looking for outliers, such as any point off the normal distribution, either too high or too low.  

In this QQ plot above, the data falls mainly on the normal distribution line. However, at the extreme right of the plot (see below image), you can see one point that is far above the normal distribution. This is our outlier.

This was a very good exercise, as an introduction to all the Geospatial Anaysis tools available to us. However,I am sure I will spend many more nights reviewing all these tools and my favorite subject, Statistics...

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Lab 4 GIS3015: Typography & Labels

This week, our assignment was to label a map of Marathon, FL, with cities, water bodies, and a few local attractions. The main thrust was to use Corel Draw and ensure we placed labels appropriately using the guidance from Gestalt Principles (Cartographic Design), the Prezi presentation and "Map Elements and Typography" from our course book. There was allot to cover this week - I did not know that there was so much to learn about Typography, but nonetheless, the presentation and movie clips were all interesting.

I started with the data provided; Florida Key .cdr file. Using Corel Draw, I Googled the Keys, Water Bodies, Cities, and Parks & City Features, we were assigned to Label: 17 features in all-- though I must admit, while I was completing this lab, it seemed like there were many more items than just 17.  The challenge was that this land feature, Marathon Key, is so narrow that almost anything you label will be on both land and over the water; not an ideal situation. Still, it was fun finding icons to import to help me depict the cities and other land features. I used Red Dots for the cities and a sombrero for the country club.  I also used different colors to depict cities, land features, and water. I used green for the land features, such as Sombrero Country Club and Marathon Airport; blue for water such as Tom's Harbor and Florida Bay and; red for the city names.   Lastly, I used a “fun font” to tie the water location with the title of the map: I used Curlz MT Font for both “Florida Bay” and the title “Marathon Key. I felt this was a subtle, but fun way to link the two items using typography. I did experience one difficulty: Exporting my map.  Though I had a border and plenty of room around the edge of my map when I viewed it in Print Preview, when I exported it as a jpg, the edge was very close to my title and the northeast corner of Marathon Key was nipped. To remedy this, I took a screen shot (Print Scr) and opened this image in Corel Paint Shop Pro on my desktop. I was able to crop the screen edges and save the image you see below.  I still don't know why the Export feature of Corel Draw did this to me but maybe other's had a similar experience?    

Overall this was a difficult lab because so much had to be done manually and adjusted one nudge at a time--at least, that's how I did it. Still, I enjoyed this lab and learned a great deal about typography.  Enjoy my map below.