Have a boundary file, but need to add your own data? Here's how to add your own fields to an existing dataset, ready to be mapped in Mango.
Areas such as zip codes, voting precincts or counties have boundaries that are often available in a digital format such as Shapefile, Tab file etc and which we can use as a base to build on with information that we wish to map.
If you already have your data typed up with, say for example, a ZIP code and a value, you can “Join” your list to the boundary file using free Desktop GIS software QGIS.
We have a tutorial for creating maps from areas in a spreadsheet:
Create a Map from a Spreadsheet Containing Zip Codes, Counties or States
However, if you would like to type your data directly into a table attached to the boundary file, then you can follow this short guide.
Before you start, it is assumed you have found and downloaded a suitable boundary file in a common format (Shapefile, Mapinfo TAB etc).
Step 1. Download QGIS
The first step is to download QGIS software if you don’t already have it.
Step 2. Load the data into QGIS
Run QGIS and use the Browser panel to locate your data (.shp) and add it to the project
Step 3: Open the Attribute Table and enable editing
In the Layers panel on the lower left hand side of the screen, right click on the layer and choose Open Attribute Table.
Click the button Toggle Editing Mode.
Step 4: Add a new Field
Now click the New Field button. This will add a new column to the table
Step 5: Define your field properties
Define the field properties including Name, Type and Length. The type indicates what kind of data can be stored e.g. “number” stores numbers, string stores tex. The length specifies the maximum length of the number or string. The maximum for String is 255. Once done, click OK.
You should now have a new field in your table, into which you can type values directly.
Step 6: Save the changes!
Once you are finished adding your values, click the Toggle Editing button to save the changes, and you are done!