Big data and lost towns

We don’t think about it much these days but Ontario went through a whole bunch of amalgamations a few years ago and literally changed the map of the province.

In terms of me, you may remember this post – My Childhood Community.

We actually knew the perimeter of our town from riding our bicycles around the streets at its outer limits.  We also knew the names of the townships that surrounded the town – Goderich, Hullett, Tuckersmith, and Stanley.

But, no more.  Towns and townships had been amalgamated into new communities or adminstrative entities.

I ran into this terrific resource recently.  It was a Fusion Table resource of Canadian Administrative Boundary data.

As you can see from the visited link colour, I checked out Ontario.

Screenshot 2018-02-25 at 12.17.51

That’s when it got real for me.  I set the Filter to filter by name.  Then, when I searched for “Clinton”, I got nothing.  Why?  Because it’s not an administrative place any more!  Then, I remembered the new name which covered more than the traditional town.  They named it after my old high school “Central Huron”.


Then, it gets educational, a bit nerdy, a bit mathematical, and big time geographical!

From the Fusion table, there’s the KML data that defines the area.

Screenshot 2018-02-25 at 12.23.32

How’s that for your above average polygon?

Here’s a piece of it.  Ideas about how to use that or plot that abound.

Want to see that on a map?  Of course, that’s possible.  This is Google after all.  All the jagged edges reveal the extent of the KML entries that define the place.

Screenshot 2018-02-25 at 12.24.26

Let’s zoom out to get a better look…

Screenshot 2018-02-25 at 14.47.00

How’s that for an n-gon?

It was actually kind of fun after that.  I started poking around looking at other administrative areas.  I learned very quickly that the process is additive so I had to reset if I just wanted to look at one area.

If you’re interested in exploring and doing a little geographic inquiry or if you’re in search of some raw data for a project or two, this is the place for you.

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