From Earlham Cluster Department
Lab 3: Geographical Information Systems (GIS)
This lab is designed to teach you about the basic capabilities of a GIS tool, in this case MyWorld. MyWorld comes bundled with a number of layers (data sets) and makes it easy to add additional data sets. While we'll use MyWorld for a global analysis it is equally possible to use it for much more local work.
The learning objectives for this lab are:
- Compare and contrast human population patterns of different countries world wide.
- Learn about Geographic Information Systems and what they are good for.
- Learn how to use a specific GIS, MyWorld GIS.
For this lab you will use the following data sets: total population, population density, projected population, male and female population, and age specific population.
For this lab you will pair-up with one other person, the only restriction is that your lab partner cannot be your lover or a relative. Since there are 13 of us one group will have 3 people.
Learning How to Use MyWorld GIS
1. Setup your environment:
- Copy the appropriate installer from the USB flash drive for your machine (DMG for OSX, EXE for Windows)
- Install MyWorld GIS on your laptop
2. Work through the following tour:
- Re-launch MyWorld so that you are back to the default startup configuration (Construct Mode, no data sets selected)
- Drag the countries icon to the gray middle column and a map of the world will appear with country outlines.
- Click on the down arrow of the Countries box and a menu appears that allows you to select the different data sets to visualize, select Population (2005).
- Change Mode to Visualize by clicking on the Visualize button of the Mode select bar near the top of the screen. Resize the screen and click on the Zoom to map Extent icon (the box with arrows pointing towards the corners).
- The Table button (looks like a spreadsheet) allows you to see the actual data and to view it from largest to smallest or smallest to largest. Click on the Population column header to see how you can sort by columns.
- Map images can be printed to JPG or PNG image files, PDF files, etc. and then imported into a wiki, word processing program, or image viewing program. File -> Layout and Print brings-up a window that allows you to adjust the displayed area, contents of the legend, etc.
- Map data can be filtered so that only a subset of data is visualized from a given set, this is done by sorting and selecting rows in the Table tool.
Use MyWorld to study world population and how population characteristics vary between countries. Summarize your findings in a report (wiki or word processing document) with at least 6 images.
Each section should have a title, the question you are exploring, the image or images you used to examine it, and a paragraph or two describing what the image shows in terms of answering the question.
Your report should include answers to the following questions:
- What are the developing countries and the developed countries? Use a visualization of GDP as an indicator. Click on the down arrow of the Countries box and a menu appears that allows you to select GDP per capita to visualize. Double click on the word "Countries" of the Countries box and select Rainbow for the color scheme, number of fill colors as 20, and Classify by Natural Breaks, then click Apply. Summarize what this image indicates in your own words.
- What are the 10 most populated countries in the world?
- Which 10 countries have the greatest population density?
- Which countries have the greatest population growth?
- Do developing countries typically have larger or smaller growth than the developed countries?
- Identify 4 other questions that can be investigated by the data provided by MyWorld which are of interest to you. Clearly identify each question and present your findings including data visualization images that help you answer each question.
Choose one of your question/answer pairs and check the accuracy of the data provided by MyWorld GIS. You can find the source of each data set through MyWorld's interface, take that and find the data set on-line to confirm that it was transcribed correctly. Find another source of that same data and compare some of the individual values. Describe the process, sources, and results in a section titled Data Quality Analysis.
Neatness and organization count, significantly.
The basic idea for this lab, the questions posed, and the data sets employed come from R.M. MacKay's (Clark College) exercise Visualizing World Population. This is published as a part of Carleton College's SERC Pedagogic Service Project.