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Jan 9, 2012 5:27am

take my class at gaffta next month

I’ll be teaching a four-day class at the Gray Area Foundation For The Arts next month, Visualizing and Mapping Data. It’ll be a four-parter, Tuesday and Thursday evenings at GAFFTA’s San Francisco space. I’ll be covering mapping from both a browser and server perspective, focusing the presentation of data.

Go sign up!

Here’s an early draft of my class notes; these will change but not substantially:

This four-day workshop will follow the lifecycle of data, from its raw collection to preparation and presentation for the web. We’ll explore where geographic data originates, how it’s transformed to work online, how to see it flow and move, and finally how to publish a view into that data to the web with simple browser-based tools. We’ll work with data from Twitter and OpenStreetMap, push it through filters and viewers, and publish it to the open web.

This class will cover both browser-side Javascript code and server-side Python code.

Week One: Foregrounds

Meeting 1: Getting dots on maps

We’ll be working with street-level data for the duration of the class, so we’ll start here with some introductory concepts like interactive slippy maps and image tiles. We’ll take Google Maps apart into its component pieces to see how they work, add a selection of point-based data to a map, and finish up with a working example using freely-available Javascript mapping tools.

Meeting 2: Where data comes from

Data can come from all kinds of sources, and frequently it needs to be processed, cleaned, and prepared for use on the web. Become self-sufficient in making location data useful to others. We’ll look at local data sources like 311 calls, addresses, and demographic information and run them through a variety of tools to make them ready for online publishing.

Week Two: Backgrounds

Meeting 3: Choosing your own background

Commonly-available road maps designed for displaying driving directions or finding business addresses don’t always work in combination with arbitrary or complex data. We’ll look at alternate sources of street-level cartography and talk about the ways each might be appropriate to different data sets. We’ll finish up with a dive into the OpenStreetMap data set and the process of designing your own custom cartography.

Meeting 4: Spatial data

Dots on maps are just one of many ways to display data. Heat maps, for example, can be used to show characteristics of large areas of data such as zip codes or census tracts using color. We’ll look at ways to prepare heat map layers and integrate them with our other maps, and finish up with advanced topics like aerial photographs and raster data.

Comments (6)

  1. Are you aware that one of your class dates is on Valentine's Day? Are you trying to make a statement on being serious about data?

    Posted by Michael on Monday, January 9 2012 7:44pm UTC

  2. It was definitely not my choice to go that route! It's actually a really good point, and I'll try to rejigger the lesson plan to be optional.

    Posted by Michal Migurski on Monday, January 9 2012 8:24pm UTC

  3. Love maps? Nerd date? So many ways to go if you don't move the date.

    Posted by Jacques Bebop on Wednesday, January 11 2012 8:12am UTC

  4. Looks great. You should come and run this course in London some time!

    Posted by Harry Wood on Saturday, January 14 2012 1:12pm UTC

  5. What are you expected to know as a prerequisite for the class? I'm thinking of sending a colleague, but he's fairly junior.

    Posted by Josh Santangelo on Tuesday, January 17 2012 2:32am UTC

  6. will you make the content available online??

    Posted by gustavo on Tuesday, February 14 2012 7:16pm UTC

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