For my QGis mapping project, I mapped the migration patterns of the Chewa and Chikunda ethnic groups to Zimbabwe between 1900-1970.
The primary objective of my capstone project was to develop a map that helps illustrate and visualize the argument I make in my dissertation. The map was the best suitable visual mode because it shows the geographical proximity of societies and cultures seemingly distant. Making that appear visually to my readers is very important in my dissertation. I pointed out having made slow progress during the first half of the semester. I had difficulty accessing shape files and understanding some of the Qgis functions. However, that subsided in the second half of the semester. I must say understanding Qgis, taking the time to play around with it, and following YouTube guides, as well as guidance from my advisor, came a long way. Once I figured out all the use cases of Qgis, I could progress much faster and easier.
I have enjoyed working on the project and experimenting with Qgis—the first step in creating the visualization involved locating appropriate shapefiles for the regions covered in my dissertation. I added a vector layer of the map of Africa and then embedded the shapefiles of the Zimbabwe, Mozambique, and Malawi regions. To highlight the names of the districts pertinent to my dissertation, I wrote a function only to display the terms of the selected areas. I also used different colors and levels of opacity for each of the countries as they were not easily distinguishable, particularly to someone unfamiliar with the region.
After finishing the base of my map, I started working on the migration data I had. I wanted to distinguish the places of origin for the migrants to establish which district had the most migrants and which had the least. Doing so helped me to create a scale for my flow arrows. The district with the most migrants got a more prominent indicator, and the district with the least number got the least. I wanted to represent such flow gradients over the years. Currently, I am still working on finalizing my scales for the arrows before I input the flow arrows. These final steps would complete my project. I have mostly enjoyed the flexibility of this project. It is rare, as a grad student, not to be working under pressure, and this is one such project where I could breathe and progress at a pace of my liking, which makes the whole experience unique.