Mapping Social Science Data

Issues in Mapping Data:

1.     Phenomena vs. data

2.     Collecting, manipulating and symbolizing data

3.     How maps work: theoretical advances



Cartography and the Creation of Knowledge

1. Data collection case study: The Census

2. Projections and datums

3. Types of maps and their application, data classification

4. Map layout and design


Greenwich, England, Prime Meridian

Exercises in Cartography

Please choose from the following Exercises depending on your interests. Instructors will be available to help out.

General Instructions:

Preview each exercise. If one (or more!) looks interesting or helpful, print it out. There are usually questions and a practical component to each exercise. You should answer the questions to test your understanding.

1.      An exercise in the scientific method

Establishing a hypothesis and identifying relevant variables. Using Google Earth you will determine the best location for a hospital.


Google Earth

2.      Intro to using Census Bureau (pdf)

A short introduction to the Census Bureau’s American FactFinder. Download tables from the Census Bureau. Also covers joining tables to a GIS project.


American FactFinder



3.      The 15-minute map

The purpose of this exercise is to brush-up ArcGIS skills and to demonstrate how a map may quickly be made. The various components of a map are introduced: legend, neatline, scale bar, symbols, graticule and title.



/Data/15Min/Template Directory: custom.mxt
/Data/15Min/data directory: etang.shp

4.      Classification exercise (pdf)

In this exercise you will experiment with different classification methods. You will also see how to make multiple Data Frames in one ArcMap project.




5.      Projections exercise (pdf)

In this exercise you will practice reprojecting data from one projection to another. Additionally you will define a projection for a dataset so that it matches up with other data.