Update on Project Activities
The biggest event of this week was our team check-in with Dave on Tuesday. We were able to take about 45 minutes to talk through the work we’ve done and get his take on how we are going to format the data we gathered. Unfortunately, we still haven’t gotten information from all the organizations, but we began to consolidate the data we do have. This check-in allowed us to make sure we were on the right track and that the end product we envision continues to match that of our community partners.
Organizing the data is proving to be a bit of a challenge as well. As we mentioned before, the data we received from the Felidae Fund alone was over 60,000 rows, so combing through them to get a full sense of scale is a little intimidating. However, with the magic of copy-pasting, we’ve been able to make progress in organizing the mess and getting unique data. For example, the 6k+ rows contain multiples of camera locations. By filtering the spreadsheet to only show unique latitude and longitude numbers, we can accurately pin the camera locations to actual maps in our GIS software.
We’re still reading up on background/context literature on the subject of “critical linkages” between the parks. The issue of connectivity is one that we’re getting more and more familiar with, and it’s interesting to see what various sources say on the topic.
What We Observed and Learned
Data observations: The spreadsheets we have currently include columns like date, time, species observed, latitude/longitude, and whether the photo is “unique” (the first photo showing that animal) or not. As far as organizing the data goes, we may only need to add a column specifying the original source of the data (i.e. “Felidae Fund”), or we could separate the various spreadsheets by “sheet” and label each sheet differently. The real learnings, I feel, have been from trying to either sort or isolate data so that it could easily be integrated into GIS platforms like ArcGIS online. There’s definitely still some struggle in doing so, but we’re making baby steps forward in terms of progress.
Contacts have been made with a variety of peripherally related Bay Area communities and we are hoping to hear back from them soon. The insect museum in Berkeley, the San Francisco Bay Bird Observatory, the Muwekma Ohlone Tribe, and Outdoor Afro have all been contacted, and we are waiting for responses from them. In our call with Dave earlier this week he was in support of looking into the interdisciplinary aspects of the project, and that confirmation has revitalised our efforts into researching the issues of park accessibility. Also, while we had assumed that the broad scope goal of our project was to protect our parks, we weren’t certain until we had that conversation with Dave. He made us aware of the fact that in issues of government budget cuts, park services are frequently the first to go, and he confirmed that this data may be very important in the face of an unstable political and financial climate and the pressures of urbanization. We are now much more confident in moving forward now that we are certain we are on the same page.
Critical Analysis/Moving Forward
The main priority moving forward is choosing a GIS platform to use and creating a visualization for the data we have collected. This task carries with it the complication of figuring out how best to display the data. In order to achieve maximum benefit, the user display must be easily understood by the target audience while the database to display aspect must be easily understood by future editors of the data. Good labeling and explanations where useful or needed will prevent the display from being esoteric like the CEQA document. This point was also brought up by the Salinas group in their quest to create an easily understood questionnaire and we see valid ramifications to our project.
A highlight in the near future: (next Tuesday, February 14th) we are headed as a team to the San Pedro park to install tracking cameras to create some of the data they will add to the database after we hand the project over. Looking over the data we have been given sets a frame for the data we need from our photos such as latitude and longitude as well as making sure the date and time are correct in the camera so later the data will be accurate and perhaps tell a larger story. Seeing the sites should broaden our view and understanding of the concept of capturing the photos and their potential effect.