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Creating and sharing maps

Learn how to use Sidekick to create impactful maps using simple queries

Jennifer Funk avatar
Written by Jennifer Funk
Updated over a week ago

Maps are a powerful tool for understanding spatial data. Creating and sharing maps with Sidekick is a straightforward process that can help you uncover new insights and communicate more effectively with your audience.

When to use this capability

Sidekick's mapping functionality is useful whenever you need to visualize and analyze geographic data distributions.

Example use cases include:

  • Comparing health, housing, etc. metrics across neighborhoods, cities, counties etc.

  • Identifying disparities in access to resources like transportation, healthcare, housing

  • Analyzing spatial patterns in data like housing costs, air pollution, commute times

  • Exploring demographic breakdowns like age, race/ethnicity, sex within a region

Example questions and responses

User Query

Create a map showing median household income by ZIP code for Chicago, IL.

User Query

Map people who bike to work by census tract in Portland, OR.

User Query

Map life expectancy by neighborhood in Kansas City, MO.

Advice for effective prompting

To get the most out of Sidekick's mapping capabilities, follow these tips:

  • Be as specific as possible about the data, geographic area, and level of detail (ZIP, county, tract etc.) you want. Being specific ensures that the maps you create are useful and accurate. Helpfully, Sidekick will let you know if it needs any clarification on your prompt. But a good practice is to start by:

    • Using the full names of locations, and specifying the level of geographic detail you want the map to display (ZIP, county, tract, etc.).

    • Use the name of the metric, if you know it (e.g. "life expectancy" or "people who bike to work").

    • Ask for data normalization where necessary (e.g., per capita, per household, or "show this as a percentage").

  • Use language directly stating you want a "map" visualizing the data, otherwise, Sidekick might simply return the data as text or in a table.

  • Review and refine. Once Sidekick generates your map, review it to ensure it meets your needs. You may need to adjust the metrics or geographic details. Sidekick allows for easy iterations, so you can refine your map until it's perfect.

  • Share your map. Sidekick makes it easy to share your maps. You can export the map as an image or a data file. (Note: soon, we're releasing the ability to save a map, and the ability to share a link to a map is on the roadmap.)

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