Post 8 – DTW Final Project Update

Excerpt from our timeline of deliverables:

  • By the end of Week 6: Have our data cleaned and uploaded to a MySQL database
  • By the end of Week 7: Have the data connected to the map, with the interface existing, if not polished


Progress: What have you done so far, who have you talked to, what have you gathered, and what have you built?

Our first point of action was to clean our dataset. We determined which variables and information we wanted to display and store, and which variables and information  we would throw out.  We then designed a relational database to store our dataset with minimum redundancy.  From there we connected to our MySQL database and created an XML file containing our data in an appropriate structure.  Next, we embedded a Google Maps window into the main page of our website.  Lastly, we created ‘markers’ for our map, data structures which currently contain the geolocation and comments from each ship. These markers are displayed on our map.


Problems (and proposed solutions): What issues have you run into?

      • Issues loading in unsupported characters to our xml file
        Fixed by using utf8_encode()]
      • Syntax issues while generating our google maps marker from our XML, but we forced our way through it

Have they forced you to change your initial plan?

Our initial plan is still on track.  We have plenty of time to explore exactly how we want to present our data and site, so none of our plans have changed.

Do you have a proposed solution or do you need help formulating one?



Tools and techniques: What applications/languages/frameworks have you selected and how are you going to implement them?

      • MySQL relational database to store our data (implemented)
      • Generate XML file from MySQL database with php script (implemented)
      • Even with our utf8 encoding, some characters don’t appear on Google maps like we would like them to.  Perhaps we could do more thorough data cleaning to replace troublesome characters in a python script before we ever load those characters into an xml file. If we have problems, we will come to you.


Deliverables: An updated timeline of deliverables

  • By the end of Week 6: Have our data cleaned and uploaded to a MySQL database
  • By the end of Week 7: Have the data connected to the map, with the interface existing, if not polished
  • By the end of Week 8: Have performed analysis on our data and begun to incorporate that analysis into our web app in the form of graphics and statistics
  • By the end of Week 9: Have finished both researching and incorporating the featured shipwrecks
  • By the end of Week 10: Have the entire project complete and live

(no change)

Is your project still on track?


4 Replies to “Post 8 – DTW Final Project Update”

  1. Hey Team DTW,

    You all have made impressive progress so far, and I love that you are rolling your own web GIS to figure out how the pieces fit together instead of using an off the shelf solution. As I said in class, you’ll want to make sure you discuss your process and methods in detail, since they form such a key part of the project.

    A few questions based on your post:

    • Why did you choose to “throw out” data from the original set rather than leaving it in the db and selecting only what you wanted to display? This decision should be clearly explained, since you sometimes find down the line that data deemed superfluous in an early stage is actually relevant to your argument.
    • For the MySQL>PHP>XML>GoogleMapsAPI workflow, I assume you followed these directions? The rationale behind this should be clearly explained in your project, since it might not be clear to people why you would want or need the intermediary step of XML output for such an application.
    • Re: encoding, make sure your database is in a UTF-8 encoding that is compatible with your intended output.
    • Regarding “how we want to present our data and site,” it seems like you are well on your way with the Google Maps API, but you may want to explore the list of additional open JavaScript mapping libraries here to add functionality, e.g. a SIMILE timeline via Timemap.js.

    Finally, here is the link to the Ancient World Mapping Centers web mapping service with which you can add a base map of the ancient world, roman roads, rivers etc. instead of modern map layers. Their code examples are for Leaflet or OpenLayers, but you should be able to too the same with the Google API, with a little deeper digging.

    1. Austin, I can address your question re: variable removal.

      From the original dataset, we removed 15 variables. Most of these were parameters that sometimes indicated the quality of estimates. Those were so infrequently reported so as to be useless; because our analysis could not be weighted or benefited by any of them, we removed them.

      We also removed Name 2 (superfluous parameter), 2008 Wreck (specific reference numbers used in McCormick et al. 2008), Parker Reference (specific reference numbers used in Parker 1992), the ‘Year Found” parameter (very infrequently reported), cargo “Types” (too much detail/irrelevant), and the bibliographic information for each observation. All of these parameters were removed because they were not necessary or helpful for the purposes of this project.

  2. Have you modified or added to the initial data set at all? Curious as to what other information regarding shipwrecks you might be able to find.

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