Research is tricky. If we knew in advance that something was going to work, it’s probably debatable whether it is ‘research’ in a sense that really matters for your thesis. I mention this because, for most students, they are going to create a lot of different data files in the process of finding out what ‘works’ for their project. This post is about why you want to spend some time thinking about, and managing, your spatial data as you travel through your candidacy.
If you are already on the journey, have a look at your spatial data. Go on, we’ll wait for you…
OK, be honest, did you see any files with a name like:
final_Final_reallyFinal_ThisIsIt_iMeanIt_2.shp? (I swear I didn’t make this one up!)
What about “output22” or some variant of “this_one”?
Like any resource that you use in your research, you need to cite the sources of spatial data too. Creating, maintaining, and making spatial data available for others is a resource intensive activity – as I am sure you have realised if you’ve ever been into the field to collect data for yourself!
The good news is, it’s pretty easy to get these citations right.