Data 2: Maps and Google Fusion Tables

The resources we used in class: Week 10.

First, make sure you use the county assigned to you. If you use another county, no points.

Next, go to the resources page (linked above!) to find the link for mailing addresses for all Florida schools. Download the giant spreadsheet. Open in Excel. Find your assigned county and copy all the rows for your county. Don’t miss anything.

Paste all the rows you copied into a new Excel spreadsheet.

Close the big spreadsheet and just keep it, unchanged. Use only your new spreadsheet.

Lots of things need to be cleaned up in this data. Also, you have to merge the street address, city, state and zip (four columns; don’t worry about “Address 2”) into ONE cell so that Fusion Tables can geocode each school for you. The resources page has links to help you.

Requirements for your Fusion Tables map:

  1. Make it publicly accessible (share).
  2. Embed it in a post on your blog (publish, embed).
  3. In Excel, before you upload to Fusion Tables, create a column of map markers, as shown in class. Figure out how to make different markers for EACH TYPE* of school. This will be a challenge.
  4. Figure out how to show ONLY the following information in the “info window” that appears when someone clicks a map marker on your map:
  • The name of the school, with “title case” (first letter of each word capped, all other letters in the word lowercase)
  • The street address ONLY for the school (no city, no state, and no Zip) — also title case
  • The grades in that school — also title case
  • The type of school — also title case

To see this style format, look at the PDF from class, page 4, top. (The PDF is linked to the resources page). It says “Siatech Gainesville,” followed by the address, grades and type. No additional data should appear in the info window. It should look clean and professional.

* The main school types are elementary, middle, and senior high, but there are maybe five or so additional types that must NOT be the same colors as the main three types. So be sure to use more than three colors.

Some helpful notes

When I say “use Excel,” I mean use Excel. You can’t do the same stuff in Google spreadsheets. Excel is faster. People who do this stuff a lot often clean data with Excel.

The PDF we used in class is going to help you. Look at it again.

The links to the Excel tips pages will also help you. You don’t have to search all over the Web. I already did that for you.

This assignment will be hard. But all it takes is time. You can learn how to do all this data stuff if you learn how to put in the time. Seriously. That’s the main requirement to learning how to make these maps, clean the data, and so on.

Submitting the assignment

You will make a post on your own blog that displays your map (you need to get the embed code from the Fusion Table page where your map is). Give the blog post an intelligent headline, and write a few sentences to explain what you did to create the map. You may personalize it by expressing your thoughts about the process you followed, etc.

Post a LINK to your BLOG POST here, as a reply to this post.

DEADLINE: Tuesday, Nov. 6, at 9 a.m. (Your reply posted here must be submitted before 09:00:00 in order to receive credit.)

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About Mindy McAdams
I teach courses about digital journalism at the University of Florida. I love to travel. I ride a Vespa. You can find me on Twitter (@macloo).

16 Responses to Data 2: Maps and Google Fusion Tables

  1. When you learn something complex, it’s a great idea to practice it as soon as possible after you learned it or saw a demonstration. Kudos to Kéran and Chris! I hope you guys also made some notes for your future use of Fusion Tables while you were doing the assignment — it will help you a lot the next time you make one.

  2. 9 students at 8:48 a.m. Make that 10 students. Two missed the deadline.

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