Tag Archives: finding data

Data for Mapping workshop notes

This past Tuesday I attended a Digital Fellows workshop called Data for Mapping: Tips and Strategies. The workshop was presented by Digital Fellows Javier Otero Peña and Olivia Ildefonso. Highlights of this workshop were learning how to access US Census data and seeing a demo of mapping software called Carto.

Javier started the workshop encouraging us to interject with any questions we had at any time. The group maybe too enthusiastically took him up on this, and he had to walk it back in the interests of time after we spent 20+ minutes on a single slide. After that, the workshop moved along at a nice, steady clip.

There was a technical challenge, which I see as an unexpected boon. Carto changed their access permissions within the few days before the workshop, and nobody except the Digital Fellows could access it. The Digital Fellows had an existing account, so they were still able to demo for us how to use Carto. 

I think it’s for the best that we weren’t able to access Carto and set up accounts. Many workshops, including a Zotero one I went to a couple of weeks ago, bleed pretty much all their allotted time on getting software set up on each of the 10-20 attendees’ varied personal laptops. I find this incredibly painful to sit through. But in this workshop we established early on that we wouldn’t be able to individually install Carto, and so we were able to cover many more specifics on how to actually use Carto. Users who need installation help can always go to Digital Fellows office hours on their own.

Javier and Olivia shared their presentation deck with us. It is a thorough walkthrough of the steps needed to get Census data on the median age by state, and map that data in Carto. One note: in the upfront where it says the contents are for QGIS, replace that in your head with Carto. It is all about Carto. The QGIS references are accidentally in there from an older version.

I did some digging after the workshop on how to register to use Carto. Student access for Carto now requires a student developer GitHub account (which also includes free versions of other fun looking tools). GitHub says it can take from 1 hour – 5 days after applying on their site for your student developer account to be approved. I applied to have my regular GitHub account classified as a student developer account 5 hours ago using a photo of my GC ID card and haven’t heard anything yet, so I guess this really is going through some sort of vetting process. Maybe using a GC email address for verification would be faster.

This workshop was a good time, not least because Javier was extremely funny and Olivia was super helpful coming around to us to address individual questions. Five out of five stars. Would workshop again.