Practice exercises

Here are weblinks to provide additional resources so that you can complete the below exercises:

Click on the following links, which will open in a new window.

GPS Data on the internet

Sites like and let you track commercial air and sea traffic in real time, while applications like Waze inform you of current traffic conditions based on crowdsourced GPS data from other users. Social media applications like Twitter allow users to embed geolocation information in the log file of each tweet. Tools such as OpenStreetMap let you upload and download GPS data in the form of individual points or in connected “tracks,” so that a hike, bike route, or boat trip can be stored and overlaid on top of a digital map.

Exercise 1: Download a structured file of GPS data

The “Health Facilities Master List (working data)” dataset at

Exercise 2: Creating and storing GPS data using smartphone applications

Geo Tracker for Android can be downloaded from the Google Play Store.

Exercise 3: Customizing your geodata collection application with OpenDataKit

OpenDataKit (ODK) is an open source software application developed for the Android operating system that lets you build custom forms for data collection, share those forms, and aggregate collected data on a central server. Setting up OpenDataKit for collecting geodata is more complicated than simply downloading an app, but the increased functionality and flexibility can make the effort well worth it.

Detailed instructions for each type of data aggregation can be found at

Exercise 4: Downloading and analyzing a GPS track

For this exercise, we will first examine sets of GPS tracks, or traces, that have been created and uploaded to OpenStreetMap. These traces are public and freely available for download. In a web browser, go to to see a list of recently uploaded GPS paths.

GPS Visualizer is a popular website for working with GPS data.

There are also software tools that you can download to your computer in order to work with GPS track data. One good example that is free and open source is GpsPrune, which is available at

Exercise 5: Download a structured file and create a Google Fusion Table and map

City of Chicago table with information on traffic volumes at various points throughout the city as measured on various dates in 2006