Since moving to Wisconsin over a year ago, I’ve been trying to learn as much about the local topynymy and places of interest. One place that’s come up repeatedly when talking to students is “Up North,” referring to the relatively sparsely settled northern portion of the state. This “Up North” area is important to Wisconsin’s tourist economy and cultural identity. Many Wisconsin residents own property in the region, specifically to support their recreational pursuits.
But where is “Up North”? Many people in the Fox Valley refer to “Up North” jokingly being “100 miles north of where ever you are,” suggesting that the boundaries of this region are dependent upon where in Wisconsin the questioner is standing.
So, as my GEO 106 students were becoming familiar with Google Earth, I had them create a simple KMZ shape in the program to outline where they thought “Up North” was in the state.
I very quickly imported all 20 of these KMZs to QGIS, set them to yellow with an 85% transparency and no color for the outside stroke, and put a basemap under it to get this:
(Click for a larger version)
This might be something I look at a little more later… or perhaps not. Either way, I have a territory called “Up North” defined by people in the Fox Cities, based on a small sample.