For me anyway I have always loved maps, but never really got around to digital mapping much. The Census has given me a perfect opportunity to play as we wanted to map where the Open Source industry and community is roughly located (by suburb for privacy reasons) and for comparison throughout Australia. I’ve had a lot of fun!
The first major challenge was figuring out how to represent the data I had (suburbs, postcodes, etc) into useful data. KML, which is a markup language for this kind of stuff seemed to be the answer along with Googlemaps, at least to start. I found a great little tag called “address” that seemed to make my life easy, until I figured out after an hour or two that it only works in GoogleEarth, not GoogleMaps. Ah well! So now I had to figure out how to change addresses to latitude/longitude information. Enter Batch Geo Code! This website is so simple but so great. You input data and it feeds you back longitude/latitude info, which I could then script into a KML file and voila! A beautiful GoogleMap with all the suburbs represented!
I can’t post the maps yet, but when the Census is released in late February there will be a lot of great information like this Also, a bit of it will be chatted about at linux.conf.au.