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Mapping Our Olympic Athletes

Feb 20

Written by: GeoBlogger
2/20/2014 3:50 PM  RssIcon

By Patrick Empey, Senior GIS Analyst            

From A to Z the United States has a strong presence at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. Featuring 230 athletes sporting our red, white, and blue, the U.S. is represented in nearly every Olympic event. With so many chasing the gold, we wanted to know where these athletes called home. 

After doing some research, we determined that there wasn’t a good resource for finding out where U.S. athletes are located throughout the nation.The Sochi Olympic homepage and other websites devoted to Team USA have lists of athletes, but rather than click on each face individually we thought of an easier way to find out more about these hometown heroes. With the help of Tyler Caulum, a GIS analyst for GeoDecisions based in St. Louis, Mo., we compiled a list of all 230 athletes, their home states, their hometowns, and their picture. This list was then connected to Esri® ArcGIS Online and served as a quick-and-easy interactive mapping application. Here’s how we did it . . .

View the interactive map.

ESRI Maps for Office

ESRI Maps for Office is an add-in for Microsoft Office that links with ArcGIS Online, bringing GIS capabilities to a tool many of us use on a daily basis. The process of setting up a map in Microsoft Excel with the ESRI Maps for Office plug-in is easy, much like creating a chart or graph. For our map, we compiled a list of athlete names, states, and hometowns. We then used the ESRI Maps for Office plug-in to geocode these rows in excel, create a map, and share the map out to ArcGIS online. Additionally, we created a thematic map of athletes by state and number of medals won by state. Because ESRI Maps for Office syncs directly to ArcGIS online and an ArcGIS online account, updating data is as simple as changing an entry and re-sharing the map to ArcGIS online. This has allowed us to easily update the medal count daily.

ArcGIS Online Web Mapping Templates

ArcGIS Online web mapping templates are set up to make standing up quality web mapping applications relatively painless. These web applications include basic interactive maps with simple legends, catered applications for utilities such a parcel viewers, and even rich configurable applications called “story maps.” ArcGIS Online allowed us to use the maps we created in ESRI Maps for Office within the ArcGIS cloud and establish a web application to be shared with anyone. We used the social media template, which ties into Twitter and YouTube and places any video or tweet with the tag “Olympics” on the map. 

The Final Product

The web application we put together included points for each athlete’s hometown, a thematic map of the number of athletes by state, and an easy to update thematic map of medals won by each state. The application itself includes a legend, basemap switcher, layer switcher, and social media plug-in. Viewing this map one might think it took days, if not weeks to develop. With ArcGIS Online and ESRI Maps for Office, it took longer to compile the list of athletes than it did to set up the entire application. Pretty powerful stuff, but judge for yourself. . . 


2 comment(s) so far...

Re: Mapping Our Olympic Athletes

Interesting...would be great to see this done for the Summer Olympics as well.

By Char on   2/25/2014 7:09 AM

Re: Mapping Our Olympic Athletes

Great idea!
Thanks for feedback.

By Ricardo Duarte on   2/25/2014 8:12 AM

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