A chapter two: the world in spatial terms geographic research and maps: The research process is generally characterized by four main steps and five common purposes. To be rigorous researchers use a mix of data resources (primary and or secondary, quantitative and or qualitative) and forms of analysis. The census of canada is a very reliable secondary source of data and is valuable because data can be tracked over space and time through a range of geographic scales. Maps are an important source of geographic data and a way to present results. All maps are an imperfect rendering of the three dimensional earth and its parts on a two dimensional surface. In that rendering some or all of the characteristics of the global grid are distorted but convenience and data manageability are gained. Spatial information may be depicted in a number of ways each designed to simplify and clarify the infinite complexity of the real world.