Wednesday, February 22, 2023

Three Ways to Quickly Map Spreadsheet Data

I recently came across an older Towards Data Science article about ten ways to represent data on maps. Reading the article reminded me of something that I've tried to share with social studies teachers and students over the years. That thing is that a great data set can tell you a lot. A great map can tell you a lot. Putting them together can tell you even more. To that end, here are three ways to quickly create a map of data contained in a spreadsheet. 

Google's My Maps tool lets you import a Google Sheet and have the data from that sheet displayed as placemarks on an interactive map. Watch this video that I created to learn how you can create a map based on data in a Google Sheet.

Felt is a relatively new multimedia mapping tool. In your Felt account you can upload a CSV or Excel file and have the data within the spreadsheet distributed as placemarks and or polygons on a map. After the data is initially loaded you can then customize the design of your map by altering the color, size, and shape of the placemarks and polygons. You can also customize the size and color of the labels on your map after the spreadsheet data has been imported onto your map. Watch my video below to learn how to display your spreadsheet data on a Felt map

Heat Map Tool is a tool for easily creating heat maps or incident maps from a CSV file. To create a heat map all you need to do is upload a CSV file then specify your desired display attributes like scale, colors, and opacity. You can edit the display attributes of your map whenever you like. If you're wondering how to create a CSV file you can do so by exporting from a spreadsheet in Google Documents or exporting from an Excel file. Click here for directions on exporting from Excel. The free version of Heat Map Tool allows you to have up to 100 data points on your map and up to 500 hits per day on your map.

How to Create Your Own Online Memory Games

A few years ago one of my students created a memory game app with the MIT App Inventor. It was a great exercise through which she learned about all of the variables and parts of the app that need to be designed. If you're a little more pressed for time than my student was and you just want to quickly generate some matching games for your students to play, there are easier methods than programming your own app.

Matching Game is one of the many Google Sheets templates that Flippity offers. Like all Flippity templates you can make a copy of the template, modify it by adding your own words or terms, and then clicking the activity URL provided by Flippity. Try a sample Flippity Matching Game here and get the template here. Watch my new video that is embedded below for guidance on using the templates. 

Educandy is a game builder that offers a handful of online game creation templates. One of those is a matching or memory game template. To use the template you simply provide a list of words or terms and Educandy does the rest. Your game will be assigned its own URL that you can distribute to your students. Watch this video to see how Educandy works.

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