How To Map Open Data [tutorial]

With thousands of free information online in various format and extensions; XLS/XLSX, CSV, PDF, TXT, DOC/DOCX, HTML, and so on, our tool makes it easy for you to work with various open data and unlock yet to be discovered insights.

As you will come to realize, it’s far much easier and fun using our tool to visualize and generate powerful insights from the free data available online.

In this tutorial, we would be using a dataset from Wikipedia – tallest buildings in the world – to walk you through the process of how to map and visualize any open data you can get your hands on using our tool.

The Steps or Activities Involved includes

1.Copying From Wikipedia and Pasting into A Spreadsheet
  • Visit the site – your website
  • Highlight and copy the data provided in the table.
  • Copy the highlighted content and paste it as text (using the in-built paste special function) into a newly created spreadsheet. Pasting as text would help remove unwanted hyperlinks and formatting.
  • Save the spreadsheet with any name you prefer.
2.Cleaning Up Your Data

Now that we have some data to work with, the next stage is to do away with any unwanted data we don’t want and ensure the relevancy and appropriateness of our data.

The first step is to ensure the first row of your data contains your headings, which would be used in creating your map meta-data.

The second step is to remove the Wikipedia reference in brackets, e.g. [4], [3], [13], etc., using the Excel’s Find and Replace function. Open the Find and Replace Dialog Box using the keyboard shortcut; ‘Ctrl’ + ‘H. Enter [*] in the “Find What” text field and leave the “replace with” text field empty. The “*” is a wildcard, which is used for matching anything within the brackets. Click Find Next, then click on the “replace” button for each data match you want to remove.

After you’re done with this, you can rearrange your data columns in the order you want your meta-data to appear.

3.Create your Map
  • Now that we have our data cleaned up, it’s time to create our map. Creating a map on Showmymap is quite easy. All you have to do is copy your data from your spreadsheet by dragging a mouse from the top-left corner cell of your spreadsheet to the bottom right. (Do ensure you copy the headings too).
  • Open the Showmymap homepage on your web browser.
  • Paste the copied content into our location data box. (For data not up to 250 lines, you don’t have to register to enjoy our geocoding and mapping services.)
  • Use the “Validation and Set Options” button below the location data box to ensure the right values are passed to the right columns. For example, in the region section, change the default to “International,” since the buildings are scattered all around the world.
  • Click the “Make Map” button to start the geocoding process.

You’ll be shown a preview of your map with the grouping feature enabled. Looks good, right?

Click Save & Continue.

At this point, you’ll be provided with a box to enter a name (map title) and your email address. Entering your email address ensures you have access to your map and can edit it in the future.  You can also select whether to make your map public, which is required for some sharing options, such as embedding, or private.

4.Share Your Map

With Showmymap, sharing your map with others is quite simple and easy. The email address you entered during the process of saving your map contains the link address you can share with others. There’s also an HTML snippet code for embedding an interactive map on your website for others to see and use,

Finding Other Open Data On the Web

Now that you’ve seen how easy it is to visualize and generate some cool analytics for an open data, from which valuable insights can be gotten, it’s high time you go hunting for more open data and see what you can do with it.