Using and Plotting Data With Geographical Information

Using and Plotting Data

To plot data using Data Map Pins Geographical Information GIS, you need to bear a few things in mind.

Firstly How are you Going to Connect to the Database?

Do you have the ODBC drivers for it? Your system administrator may be able to help with regard to ODBC drivers and these will usually ship with your database software. Data Map Pins does however have a built-in method for connecting to many popular database and spreadsheet formats.

Next, is What Type of GIS Data Can you Plot?

Basically, anything that represents a geographical location such as addresses, customers, locations, etc. These locations should then stored in each record of your database and additionally in order to plot the data you must include at least one more data field containing a grid reference. The best arrangement would be to have two fields, one for easting and the other for northing data. The grid reference should ideally have 0 paddings. Some examples of best practices are shown below.

Postcodes or Zipcodes

The inclusion of the postcodes or zipcodes is always recommended because it is possible to plot data from these using suitable commercially available databases, such as ADDRESS-POINT. Typically they store the postcode and addresses along with the corresponding grid reference and other data as well. These are used by Data Map Pins to convert a postcode or zipcode to a suitable grid reference so that a plot can be made.

The following data examples give ideas of how grid references and postcodes could be stored in order for Data Map Pins to read your data. The software can cope with a lot of variations but zero paddings and some sort of separation are recommended for grid references. When you plot your data you use a plot dialog and indicate to the program which fields contains either a postcode or grid references. Each record in your data is then scanned and the fields read and data plotted onto a map.

1. Data Storage Examples Using Eastings and Northings

Jones1Any StreetAny TownWS1 1AA12345677654321
Smith2My RoadMy TownWV2 3BB00543210987228
NameHouseStreetTownPostcodeEasting / Northing
Jones1Any StreetAny TownWS1 1AA1234567  7654321
Smith2My RoadMy TownWV2 3BB0054321E – 0987228N

2. Data Example Using Ordnance Survey Grid references

Jones1Any StreetAny TownWS1 1AASA 12345  54321
Smith2My RoadMy TownWV2 3BBSJ 54321  00223

3. Data example using Irish National Grid references.

Jones1Any StreetAny TownWS1 1AA IC 12345  54321
Smith2My RoadMy TownWV2 3BB C 54321  00223

4. Data example using UTM Grid references. (N.B. Must be within same UTM zone 1 -60)

Jones1Any StreetAny TownWS1 1AA14 R 1234567  0643212
Smith2My RoadMy TownWV2 3BB14 N 0234567  0056427

Always remember, easting first, northing last (across the hallway and up the stairs).

See the help file that ships with Data Map Pins™ for more advice on using databases and maps.

 Map Data Pin – Plot Types

Data Map Pins can plot data in the following ways… see also scenarios

Pin Plotting Data

This is where pins are placed on the map. The pins can be designed in the Pin Designer before plotting and this affords a wide choice for the look of your pins. The default pins are the colored round heads as seen on these pages, but you can also use polygons, pictures, icons, etc. You can also plot OLE documents as pins! This all means you have a very wide choice to decide what the pins will look like and can therefore relate them to your individual data plots. When the plot is made you can also decide which fields from your data are used as screen tips. The pins when plotted show the actual field data in a screen tip when the mouse hovers on them. You can change the look of your pins later at will. Pin plotting is ideal where the actual location needs to be shown. Full undo and redo is available.

Coloured Area Plotting Data

To enable plotting to colored areas you have to draw enclosed shapes such as circles, rectangles, polygons, and irregular shapes over the map to outline areas of interest. These areas could include your business target areas, Police beats, sectors, etc. These shapes/areas should be selected prior to plotting. A special dialog opens during the plot enabling you to format the various data ranges and colors used for each range. You can use presets here to simplify things or manually edit them. You can choose how to combine the data from a selected field such as count, add, average, etc. When the plotting is done the data is plotted into the areas selected. These areas then take on the color for the range they fall into, darker colors holding more, lighter less. A screen tip is also added to the area showing the plot results and a legend generated if desired. For clarity, the colored areas should not overlap but should be distinct individual areas. This type of plotting is ideal for getting an overall view of your data across many areas. Full undo and redo are available.

Region Plotting Data

Region plotting is similar to colored area plotting, except that no colors are used. Instead, any drawn object can be selected, other than pins, and the data is plotted to the object’s region and a screen tip is produced with the results of the plot stored for each object.

Line Plotting Data

There are two styles of line plotting, bezier and multiline. This type of plot draws the lines from point to point as described by your grid references. You could use this to layout areas on your map as an example. The lines are given a screen tip with the result of the plot. Full undo and redo are available.

System Information Geographic Maps For Data Map Pins

Data Map Pins

Data Map Pins Geographical Information System GIS can be used with any suitable map from any country in the world. It is not just limited to the UK. It was designed to take advantage of the vast amount of digital mapping available today.

The important thing to remember is that the map should be suitably projected for use with the grid system you intend to use for plotting. For the UK this means maps based on Ordnance Survey Grid in most cases. Your database fields would therefore hold either a single Ordnance Survey grid reference such as SA 050 125, or eastings and northings such as 0123456, 0654321, which may be stored in either a single data field separated by a spaced hyphen, etc or two database fields for each easting and northing value. Also, postcodes * or zipcodes can be used. See Plotting Data for more.

Various Formats Such as Bitmaps and Metafiles

Maps are widely available in various formats such as bitmaps and metafiles from many different suppliers. The internet is a good place to look around for suitable maps to use. Search for digital maps, digital data, digital mapping, maps, etc. The maps you choose should be of a suitable projection and designed for the grid references you intend to plot your data from. Paper-based maps can be scanned and stitched using proprietary GIS software and scanners to make them ready for use. The program does not ship with maps, leaving you free to choose your own from the vast range available in the world today. Each map can be set up using two reference points to set the map’s internal grid. This offers users much more freedom of choice as to which maps they want to use. Many stockists will supply digital maps often to your custom requirements.

Most suppliers will hold copyrights and issue licenses to use their maps. In some cases a fee may be payable, sometimes permission may be granted free providing certain notices are displayed on the map. Data Map Pins has been designed to take this into account and when you insert a map you will be prompted for copyright license information. These notices are in both full and shortened versions of the copyright license notice and are shown on printouts etc.

It is recommended that maps have a little background color, preferably greyscale or black and white, especially when using colored area plotting. If the map is a bitmap, you can use the Data Map Pins bitmap transparency tool to remove the main background color to assist if needed. Data Map Pins has been tested using maps of considerable size, however, it is recommended that the map size only be as big as needed for its purpose. If for example, you are only interested in plotting data for the Wolverhampton area, it would be wasteful to use say a map of the whole of West Midlands County. The smaller the maps the smaller the files and less disk space is consumed.

Using the UTM or MGRS Grids

Please note that when using the UTM or MGRS grids, the program requires the grid references to be within the same single UTM zone 1 – 60 and not across zone boundaries. This is not generally an issue because most maps will be within a single zone which are 6 degrees wide each. Most countries will have their own grid systems and in the USA there is the State Plane System, which has its own points of origin and can be a better choice generally.

A Basic Step by Step Guide to Using MAPS In Minutes

A Basic Step by Step Guide to Using MAPS In Minutes


If you are using Free Hand or Illustrator the principal aspect of using Maps In Minutes (MIM) is the use of the Layers palette. Each MIM map is constructed through a series of many different layers, each one can be set to visible or not visible. By controlling how you view layers you have extensive control over how you use the map. In this work through, we’ll take a brief view of the powerful capabilities of the MIM and unlock some of the secrets of how to get the best out of them. In the work-though that follows we’ll be using the Deluxe version of the British Isles 1M scale map using Adobe Illustrator 8 as the main application. Don’t worry if you are a FreeHand fan, the layering principles are essentially the same.

Step One – Opening the Map

When you first open a MIM map. The first thing you’ll notice is that all the layers will be turned on for you including a MIM start-up page. To quickly turn off all the layers simply Option-click on any of the layers. You will now have a blank looking document.

Step Two – Setting Coasts And Borders

The layers palette has the two layers needed to produce map outlines. MIM maps are designed to allow you to create either simple maps using only a minimum number of layers or highly complex maps while retaining full control over the information presented in the map. Scroll down the Layer’s palette until you see the Layer for Coastline and England, Scotland, and Wales’s country boundaries and the fills for these counties. Activate these layers by clicking on the Layer name in the palette.

Step Three – How to Use a Map, Setting Custom Views

Using Illustrator’s views feature it’s not a bad idea to save specialized views that you can jump too quickly. From the View, Menu selects New View. Inside the dialog box enter a name for the view.

Step Four – Use Map Viewing Roads

All the roads are supplied in Road Case layers. You can choose to view road names and all the major routes across the UK. In this example, we have just selected all the UK motorways along with their junction numbers and service station points. Notice how the map contains very accurate and detailed information.

Step Five – How to Use Maps Viewing Settlements

Adding settlements is easy with MIM. Cities and Towns have their own layers and are divided by population levels. For example, you could view towns that populations of less than 3000 or over 1 million.

It’s your choice. In this example, we set the Layers to view populations of 200K or greater and to include 10K to 50K. If you want a more graphic example of larger population densities tries turning on the ‘Urban Sprawl’ layer.