After our trip to the GIS center on Wednesday, we realized that we had hit a bit of a snag in our attempts to coordinate on ArcGIS online. Unfortunately, due to miscommunication and mistakes made on ArcGIS’ free trial, we were unable to fully transfer our completed map to a new map file on Stanford’s Esri account. However, we talked with David at the GIS center, and with his help we were able to get Stanford accounts and link them to our free accounts. This means we should be able to keep the content that we’ve made on the free accounts without losing it once the free trial period of ArcGIS online expires. Unfortunately, it did mean a bit of delay with moving our actual project forward.
We also started work on the final paper and presentation. With the presentation needing to be somewhat complete by Monday, we are definitely feeling some pressure. However, we plan to meet this weekend to sit down and get some real work done. So far, we’ve completed our outline and literature review, so work is in coming along at a decent pace. We haven’t done much other than an outline for our presentation, however, so that’s the main object of our focus for the next few days. There’s definitely going to be a bit of mad scramble in the waning hours of this project, but it’ll all come together by the end!
Had an update with David this week! It’s a bit overdue, but the parks department has been a bit busy addressing flooding issues over the past few weeks. It seems like for now we’re just staying the course, and he’s excited to see our final product next week!
What We Observed and Learned
We continue to learn more about the GIS services offered by different platforms. ArcGIS posed an interesting dilemma because of the format our data was uploaded in making it impossible to share with other people. This meant that after our 60 day free trials were over no one would be able to access the map. Because of this we transferred over to Stanford accounts and re-uploaded all the data and started to reformat the visualization. After this, we received a BI data visualization format from our community partner David but because we do not have accounts yet we cannot see the data visualization aspect yet. However, this weekend we will download Microsoft BI and see what the “ideal” visualization would look like. Though we don’t have any formal experience with the tool, and it’s doubtful we’ll do anything with it at this point in the project, it will be really interesting to see what the San Mateo County Parks Department could do with the data we’ve collected!
For the most part, our “learning” in regards to the data sets is over. Every once and a while, however, we discover a new excel function we can use to better organize the data!
Critical Analysis / Moving Forward
In terms of the data visualization side of the project, to move forward we need to create accounts in Microsoft’s power BI platform and check out the data visualization provided by David. Following this we will need to decide whether to continue with building our own map or simply converting data for them to add to their platform. While we have been asked to simply convert data at this point, we already have the other data visualization almost done and it could offer an interesting alternative for them given the pros and cons that we figure out about their platform. Because of this new development, we feel that the “data” next steps are to simply compare the new data David has given us, compare it to the work we’ve done, and ask ourselves if we want to make large changes.
Moving forward with the presentation and paper: right now, the presentation is the first priority. We’ve started moving forward with the paper, but we have yet to come together and really work on the presentation. Since the presentation is coming up next week, we are meeting this Sunday (and probably Monday morning as well) to crank out at least a good preliminary version of the presentation that we will finalize by Tuesday night.
In terms of the research we’ve done for the paper, we have done a lot of background research into the history of the land itself. Luckily, the papers and government documents published by the parks have been generative and thorough, which is beneficial because we can work within the framework of the parks themselves. Some of the issues within the data, therefore, have also come to the surface, such as inconsistencies between the what species are actually there vs what species are said to be there. Some of the species’ special statuses (such as being endangered or not) are also out of date, and in fact the list of species in the area that are under threat was last fully updated in 1986. This has changed some of the framework for paper, as we feel it will be important to comment on the quality of the data itself, and why it may be so (i.e. due to lack of funding, etc.).