Mapping, Cartography and Geographic Information Systems

Well, that was a blast.

I really enjoyed Ignite Dublin 8 last Thursday. There was a huge variety of talks, and I was lucky not to be following hilarious presentations by Shirley Temple-Bar and David McKeown.

This was Conor Houghton‘s last time at the helm of Ignite Dublin and I wish him well in his future endeavours in Bristol, he’ll be missed here in Dublin for sure.

I mentioned previously that the talks will be posted on the Ignite Dublin YouTube channel, I’ll update this post when mine goes online, which will be in a few weeks. But in the meantime my slidedeck is below, you may want to click through to see the speaker notes.

Now to plan my next Ignite talk…

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I gave a lecture to UCC MSc students today on the topic “GeoDemographics and GeoCoding: An Introduction to Sources and methods” My slide deck is below.

I’m pretty exited by my next speaking appointment, Ignite Dublin 8, which takes place in The Science Gallery on Pearse St in Dublin next Thursday 8th December. Each Ignite presentation is recorded and posted on YouTube afterwards, I’ll post mine when it’s online, I’m busy writing and re-writing it now.

If you’re not familiar with the Ignite concept, the idea is that each speaker has only 5 minutes and has 20 slides which auto-advance every 15 seconds. This keeps things short and sweet and ensures a wide range of topics can be fitted into each Ignite session – there will be 18 speakers at Ignite Dublin 8, talking about things ranging from Archaeology to Robotics. And Maps, of course!

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The GIS Ireland 2011 conference took place in Chartered Accountant’s House in Dublin on Wednesday 12th October.

I gave a presentation on ‘The Do’s and Don’ts of Irish Addressing’ and my slide deck is now online on SlideShare here:

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I took part in the excellent OpenDataChallenge in the NDRC here in Dublin this week.  It was a great event, with plenty of fascinating ideas, brilliant people and lots and lots of open data being worked with.

There will shortly be even more open data to work with, in Dublin at least, when the DubLinked initiative launches in September.

The project I chose to work on was led by Jane Ruffino, and focussed on opening, tagging and imbuing with context the vast amounts of Archaeological data that are currently locked away in reports and dusty museum stores. The interactive app is aimed at people who are interested in the heritage of their city, and Jane is hoping to develop the concept further via the NDRC LaunchPad programme, and the very best of luck to her.

One of the tasks I set myself during the challenge was to grab some of the publically available data from and make it available in a more app friendly manner.  To do this I used Google Fusion Tables, and this is how I did it.

Before you start you’ll need a Google account.  If you use gmail or other google services you probably have one already, but if not you’ll need to set one up to gain access to Fusion Tables.

That noted, the first step is to go to, click through to the Map Viewer and then click on the Tools icon and choose Download data.  You can filter your download by Class or by County. You should download the data in Shapefile format:



Once you have downloaded the data you need to upload it again.  A guy by the name of Josh Livni has built an online service which takes .zipped up shapefiles, reformats them to Google KML and uploads them to your Fusion Tables.  Simple and rather brilliant.  The service is called ‘Shape to FT’ and is available at

You will need to grant the service access to your Google Account for it to work it’s magic. Simply browse to the .zip file you downloaded earlier and hit upload.  the import will take a minute or two.  Once it’s finished just click on the Fusion Table link and you’ll be able to see your data in tabular form in Fusion Tables. To view it in Map form, simply click on ‘Visualise > Map’ From there you can choose to share the table, or even embed it in another site, like this:

There are plenty of other options, including customising the info boxes, using color-coded symbols and classifications etc. but I’ll leave those as an exercise for the reader.

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I’ve given a couple of lectures in DIT Bolton St. over the last few months, and tomorrow it’s DIT Kevin Street’s turn.

This lecture covers a lot more ground than the previous two, as I’ll be talking a lot about Open Source Geo Tools as well as covering Open GeoData.

Here’s the slide deck:

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