Mashing up Niagara Open Data using Google My Maps
(requires a google account – let us know if you don’t have one)
Excercise 1. GOOGLE FUSION TABLE EXERCISE Simple Open data War of 1812 exercise
Excercise 2. USING GOOGLE MY MAPS WITH NIAGARA OPEN DATA
Review the open datasets available on www.niagaraopendata.ca.
Think of a theme for your map. What story might be told by layering datasets, what problem can be solved? It might be historical, tourist, social or simply your interests.
Through the exercise we will cover the 4 areas necessary to tell a story or solve a problem.
- Get the data
- Prepare the data
- Map data / visualize data (map the locations) map it / chart it
- What story does the data tell?
MyMaps help – https://support.google.com/mymaps
1. Open a new browser window and Login to your Google account and access:
2. Open another browser and access:
Have a look at the various datasets – they are grouped as well into sectors that represent Living in Niagara. Please note some datasets are larger than the free tool My Maps allows so to make it easy we have provided a subset of datasets that you can add at the end of the exercise. You are free to try others but if they are larger than 10MB they won’t work in the free tool.
Select 2 datasets you wish to explore. Click on the title – in the example below Niagara Trails.
Next we need to download the data to our Downloads directory. My Maps likes KML (Keyhole Markup Language – fancy term for a file type you can map using Google). My Maps also likes CSV (Comma Separated Values) files. CSV data is really good for mapping points like historical sites, while KML is useful to outline boundaries or to map data that is linear – like trails. You may also wish to include and map the historicalsites.csv dataset from the prior exercise.
Repeat for additional data sets.
That’s it! -You now have in your Downloads directory a selection of datasets we can mash up
3. Return to the My Maps browser windows and click on +CREATE A NEW MAP
4. Click on the title Untitled map and give you map a title and short description. Click Save when done. Note all your changes are saved in your Google Drive.
5. Click on Import and select from the Downloads directory one of your datasets when prompted with the Choose a file to import dialog. You can pick it or simply drag and drop it in.
6. The file will upload and you will get prompted to select the method Google will use to put placemarks on the map. These will often be Longitude and Latitude. In this case they are auto selected and we can just hit Continue.
7. Next you are asked to Choose a column to title your markers. Pick a column. You can change later. In this case we picked ShortDesc. Click Finish.
8. Google will import the data and place it on the map. If you click on a map marker, you will get the details from the data your downloaded.
Repeat for the additional layer, if you don’t see the IMPORT link select Add Layer. My Maps has several standard editing tools that allow you to change the marker colour, filter data etc. You can even add photos to a map location. In the example above you would click on the camera icon in the DeCew House box.
9. Let’s add a place that’s important to you. Perhaps your favourite restaurant, or some other location you would like added on the map. To do this, first click Add Layer on the left and then search for the place in the google search box on your map.
In this example we picked the Welland Canal Memorial Monument. In the box click + Add to map and it will place it on your map.
Once you are done you should have something that looks like this which will allow you to tell a story or solve a problem using the data.
Want to share what you created? My Maps are available on iOS and Android devices – log in to Google, go to Google maps, Your Places and MAPS. My maps also lets you share your map with others.
Recommended Dataset list from NiagaraOpenData.ca
War 1812 points of interest
Welland Canal Points of interest
Niagara trails kml
Urban area boundaries KML
Municipal Boundaries KML
Neighbourhood boundaries KML
Transcab areas KML
City wide trails
Community improvement areas
Licensed Tourist Establishment
Licensed Refreshment Vehicle
Licensed Lodging House
Heritage Properties (need to Geocode addresses)