Smith College Spatial Analysis Lab

November Mystery Map Revealed — Mystery Migrations

Answer Revealed

This mystery map challenged viewers to anticipate movements on campus based on a set of starting points and ending points. What quest is shown on the map?? The journey to the Lewis Global Studies coffee machine! The map was inspired by a mapping survey conducted at this coffee machine in Wright Hall. The survey gathered the data of 218 visits throughout the week. These visits were mapped to show if the individual made a specific trip out specifically to visit the coffee machine or if the individual was integrating the coffee stop into a greater journey across campus.

Coffee_revealed

Idea Behind the Map

This map — focusing on movements across campus — mapped the latter of the two options mentioned above — coffee machine visitors integrating the stop into a greater journey. The green points represented where the visitor started from and the red points represented their final destination — with the coffee machine being the stop in between.

The survey focused on the distance people are willing to travel to get free, fancy coffee. The hypothesis that individuals would not travel over 1000ft to get coffee was proven incorrect. However, the average distance of all of the data points collected was 778ft from the coffee machine, therefore proving some legitimacy to the theory.

A complete assessment of the data as well as the complete set of maps produced from the data can be viewed in an interactive web map here, or in a less-exciting, but more printer-friendly PDF form here.

Making of the Map

The initial survey was created in ArcMap, then published to ArcGIS Online to be accessed via the iPad (with Esri’s collector app) in order to collect the data straight into the GIS. This is a condensed retelling of a rather complicated process, which is further explained in one of our previous blogs.

Once collected the data was then downloaded back into ArcMap where “en route” journeys were represented as lines from the start to the end, with Wright implied in between.

En Route Trips as Lines

These lines were then transformed into start and end points using the Feature Vertices to Points tool in ArcMap. From here the end points were extracted from the attribute table using the following expression in the select by attribute tool: “MOD(“OBJECTID”, 2) = 1″ — this selected the odd number features (the ends) by selecting features that would have a remainder of one when divided by two. From there a start and end layer were designated and the symbology was set accordingly.

The maximum, minimum, and average distances to and from the coffee machine were calculated using the Near tool to add a field that provided distance in meters from each feature to the input layer (Wright Hall point).

The Winner…!

Congratulations to Sara Kirk of CEEDS for being the first to accurately answer our question. She may be at a bit of an advantage working in the same building in which the coffee survey was conducted, but she answered with ease, accuracy and wit nonetheless. We ask our submitters to also propose a fantastical title to compel future seekers. Sara proposed some of our finest answers — either Mugshot Central or BYOMug — brilliant. I imagine she might me want to insert here that if you visit said coffee machine and don’t have a mug, you can travel downstairs to visit CEEDS and borrow one of theirs for your stay in Wright.

A quote from the winner coming soon…

Thanks to all who played!! Keep your eyes peeled for the next installation of the Spatial Analysis Lab Mystery Map!

Looking for more? Visit our Mystery Map gallery to see the highlights from the challenge over the past 14 years.

Additionally visit our Mystery Map highlights and winners page to read the exciting statistics gathered and view a complete list of the winners.