Today I spent a couple of hours trying to make the map you see on your right. It shows domestic violence incident reports in Westchester County communities, with darker shades of red indicating more reports.
This was my first, real foray into GIS mapping. I’m calling it a personal triumph (as Blanche Devereaux would say), even though Mount Vernon would not shade red. You can see the outline where it’s supposed to be dark red, for Mount Vernon has the highest number of reported DIRs. It’s that little bordered clear space at the bottom.
I used statistics gathered from the Westchester County Office for Women and the county’s GIS mapping tools (yes, they offer this free and handy on a dedicated website!). From there, I imported my Shape files into Google Fusion with this handy converter.
This guide to intensity mapping was very helpful, although Google Fusion was not cooperating with me this afternoon.
Perhaps it was the county’s data set or my own DIR spreadsheet, but the two tables would not merge together. Or they would, but I’d only see five cities on the map with the rest left curiously blank like they all took off to Majorca on holiday.
This is where we reach the “if you don’t figure something out, Google, I’m going to chunk this laptop across the room and manically laugh while it shatters into bits and pieces” stage.
I tried merging different columns to no avail. Sometimes I’d end up with a map similar to if I just imported my DIR spreadsheet into Fusion, with no GIS data component at all.
Finally I gave up and decided to manually insert my DIR data into the GIS table, which was not at all practical and mostly annoying. But it worked, so who am I to complain?
Since I now get the basics, I have plans to try my hands at some election data. Perhaps I’ll experiment with the Census too. Either way, it’ll be a fun project.