Author: Amy Rock

Part I: Preparing the data

Imagine that you are looking for a nice place to live. You like being in a small town in a fairly rural area but within easy driving distance of an urban area for fun. You would prefer a city with between 20,000 and 40,000 people, no more than 50 miles from a city with more than 250,000 people, in a county with a population density of fewer than 25 persons per square mile. What cities can you choose from? Make a map highlighting the low-density counties, small cities and final result(s). You can find much of the relevant data from several sources, including the NHGIS. An example is included below.

Note: In order to get population data for all counties and cities, you’ll need to use the 2010 decennial Census.  Other years, labeled ACS, are samples, not full tabulation, so some areas will have no data.

Part II: Alternate Criteria

Which criteria do you need to change to have Arcata show up in the list of potential cities? (You don’t need to make a map of this part, just address it in your Results.)

Part III: Report your Findings

Create a flowchart that documents the process you used to arrive at your result.  Write up a brief summary of your methods and findings in a professional manner. Recall that the methods section should be detailed enough that others can reproduce your process, but need not contain minute details, such as file names, or what buttons you clicked on the website to download the data.  A short guide to creating flowcharts using PowerPoint can be found on the Humboldt Geospatial website.

The U.S. Department of Labor has defined writing and communication as part of the academic, workplace, and industry sector competencies for the geospatial industry. Also, writing reports is directly related to the experience you will encounter as a GIS Analyst out in the workforce. Even if you do not plan to work as a GIS Analyst, competency in writing and communication is a fundamental skill any employer will expect from a college graduate.

What to turn in

A mini-report, with the Methods section briefly explaining your process (include your flowchart), and a Results section that contains a couple of paragraphs about your findings, along with the map embedded as a figure, with a proper caption. No other sections need to be written for this report.

Maps for reports

Make a professional quality map according to the guidelines you learned in Chapter 2 of the Geospatial Concepts textbook.  Export the map as a hi-res JPG or PNG (300 dpi or higher). Insert as a picture into your report, then use the References > Insert Caption tool to caption your figure.

Writing reports

Review the general guidelines for geospatial reports here: If you use the sample template, be sure to turn off Track Changes to close the comments panel at the right. Also, be sure to remove or replace all sample text with your own.

Map: Finding my happy place