680 Lab 00 - Starting out

Objective: The lab's main objective is getting started with examining several data sets in several software packages. More explicitly, we will be examining the venerable JURA, Broom's Barn Farm, and Maas Pollution datasets (on-line via the data link). in Surfer, ArcGIS, and we might as well try R already. You might need to use a text editor or other text processing tools from your personal bag of tricks as well to whip these data into ingestable shape. In some sense, we are running steps A.1 through A.6 of Appendix A "Aide-memoire for Spatial Analysis" from the W&O text.

Data: These data have all been used as examples in recent textbooks; they have locations and attributes, and some documentation. But their presenation may suffer for the attendant datasharing promiscuity: who really knows what comes in over the web? These are all 'text' files, but from what operating systems? Whose end of line conventions? What separtors? And 'text' is a notoriously free form, especially as regards 'metadata'. Still, integration is a common part of the polyglot world, and you, I am sure, "can handle".

Task: Load each of the datasets into each of the software packages and examine the spatial variables and two of the non-spatial variables. Look for the data ranges, distributions, outliers, and correlations. Experiment. Explore.

Deliverable: A brief (maximum 5 pages) report describing (1) the datasets and your initial assessments of the patterns you have found on the variables you inspected and (2) your observations about the software.

Due: in two weeks.