#S2E03: Introduction to GIS (Geospatial Information Systems) (13 October 2015)

Notes for MPIWG Brown Bag DH workshop S2E03 (2015.10.13)
Introduction to GIS tools
Who: (Please put your name here!)
Dirk, SP, Jaro, Wilko, Robert
0. What is your need? The purposes of creating maps
  • To visualize research materials / results in geospatial space => To analyze data spatially
  • To be able to draw a map for my research by myself
  • To show to people: put in my papers/books or on some website (static v.s. interactive)
  • statistical analysis, statistical correlations
  • example: 
  • ...more?
1. Problems encountered 
  • What do you want to do? What are the obstacles? 
2. Basics about GIS (Geospatial Information Systems)
  • The differences between creating maps by drawing (like in Photoshop) and by using GIS tools
  • A GIS map (or “layer”) is a data-base (or simply say, tables) with geospatial attribute (point - one XY coordinate; or polygon - a sequence of XYs).
  • In addition to the geospatial attribute, in your table you can have whatever columns you need. These columns can be displayed (as texts) or used to dynamically render the style (shape, size, color) of the points/lines on your map.
  • Steps you might need to create maps
  • Your data: dots, lines, polygons: manually drawn or automatically rendered by importing a table (your data!), convert data in textWrangler (or any other software that can create .csv)
  • Background maps: to layer your data with
3. Concrete Problems to be solved to work with GIS
  • where to start
  • where do I get geographical data (coordinates & background maps)
3. Tools one can use
  • Desktop programs
  • ESRI ArcGIS (very expensive): windows program (there are 2 computers with this program at the MPIWG, in the library)
  • Hands-on workshop on Nov. 24! 
  • Both provide full functionality from creating maps to spatial analysis (which most of us don’t need)
  • Web tools
  • Hands-on workshop in two weeks! Oct. 27 by Jochen Buettner & Sebastian Kruse
  • Harvard WorldMap (http://worldmap.harvard.edu/ ): a platform to find and to share map layers that you can download. It includes WorldMap WARP, a tool helps you to digitally align (geo-rectify) scanned historical maps to match today’s precise maps.
  • MapStory (http://mapstory.org/ ): Animated online maps, combining spatial and temporal dimensions of your data
  • Resources: where to find background maps, GIS data sets, coordinates for place names, etc.?
  • Types:
  • Historical maps: print ones. Need to be digitized and georeferenced.
  • digital images: geo-referenced ones
  • Born digital data sets
Git GeoJSON: Wilko showed
convert shapefiles to geoJSON format
Harvard Geospatical Library
ocropus.rz-berlin.mpg.de/STI-JS-lineoverlay/loader.html Lines between points