Mapping as an activity -Indoor and Outdoor


Mapping is any activity carried out with the intent of collecting credible and accurate data on an object e.g. Building, roads, human genome or phenomenon e.g. buying patterns, smuggling and illegal immigration. To go a step further, spatial mapping is when the geographical coordinates of the object or phenomenon is also taken. In other words, the GPS coordinates!!!!

So what are geographic coordinates ooh!!

Geographic coordinates are the X and Y of any object position on the face of the earth pronto!! X stands for the longitude, Y for the Latitude. The X and Y tells us the unique position of an object on the face of the earth.

Go to others submenu under resources page for greater detail in the link to Slideshow titled: COORDINATES AND PROJECTIONS

How do we now get the X and Y coordinates when mapping? Namely on the field and in the laboratory or on the Workstation even your mobile device!!

First Choice?Hmmm Lets take field mapping first

We deploy a technology called Global Positioning System Technology, GPS for short. The technology works through what we know as GPS Enabled devices. These are common now as almost all telecommunication devices, cars, trains even wristwatches are now GPS Enabled!!!

How do we use these devices?

When we use these devices to map a road for example, we use certain functions that exist in the devices. These functions assist us to get a real life representation of how the road looks. Really, a road doesn’t look like a lamp post, neither does it look like a building!!!

Note: not all GPS Enabled devices have Mapping capability but all have the ability to register the basic X and Y of a location. Devices designed with the objective of mapping are usually labelled as so. For example- Handheld GPS devices, Rugged GPS Enabled Notebooks amongst others.

So what does the GPS technology map? The GPS Enabled devices map what we call features. Features are of three main kinds- Point< Line<Polygon or Area. The GPS Enabled device with mapping capabilities has functions that would enable it capture these different features on the field.

 Go to others submenu under resources page for greater detail in the link to Slideshow titled: GPS DATA

When we map our features, we collect spatial data (X and Y coordinates) as well as what is termed ‘Attribute data’ or ‘Non-Spatial data’. Attribute data is data that describes the object or phenomenon.

For Example- Mapping of a school will entail getting the X and Y coordinate of the school to determine the location, Other data such as size, address, staff strength, pupil size are all attribute data.

Second Choice: How do we now get the X and Y coordinates when one cannot go out Mapping? well it can also be an indoor activity lol One cannot map human genome in the garden anyway!!! Lol


Today, we are all familiar with dynamic or internet based maps, satellite imagery and aerial photographs like shown above. In a GIS Laboratory or Workstation or on a mobile phone and with the right software tools for analysis and interpretation, X and Y coordinates of recognizable locations on the earth surface can be extracted. Note that these imagery datasets must be themselves georeferenced.

Even simpler is your handy google maps engine. Here by simply clicking geocoded locations on the face of the earth, their X and Y coordinates can be extracted For example putting in a search for lagos will generate a marker on the google map engine that contains the X and Y coordinates of Lagos!!!!!!

GPS Data will therefore be represented as a table of values as seen below. Latitudes and Longitudes come in different formats.

type ident Latitude Longitude y_proj x_proj
WAYPOINT W2 7.410840058 3.868760763 7.410840058 3.868760763
WAYPOINT W3 7.411511066 3.875884869 7.411511066 3.875884869
WAYPOINT W4 7.405828913 3.891532204 7.405828913 3.891532204
WAYPOINT W5 7.399832671 3.888191441 7.399832671 3.888191441
WAYPOINT W6 7.39396492 3.894344727 7.39396492 3.894344727
WAYPOINT W7 7.394164795 3.895929448 7.394164795 3.895929448
WAYPOINT W8 7.391694915 3.888319932 7.391694915 3.888319932
WAYPOINT W9 7.387540376 3.890861196 7.387540376 3.890861196
WAYPOINT W10 7.380573314 3.883051805 7.380573314 3.883051805
WAYPOINT W11 7.379830922 3.880881737 7.379830922 3.880881737
WAYPOINT W12 7.376473027 3.899291627 7.376473027 3.899291627

The GPS data is then downloaded using a download cable and proprietary software such as the popular Garmin Basecamp for Garmin GPS or data can be downloaded into a non-proprietary software such as OKMap or DNRGPS.

Hope you enjoyed today post!! You are always welcome!!!!!


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