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

NameHouseStreetTownPostcodeEastingNorthing
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

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

3. Data example using Irish National Grid references.

NameHouseStreetTownPostcodeGridRef
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)

NameHouseStreetTownPostcodeGridRef
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.