Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Last GIS Library Instruction: Nursing PhD Course

I am getting ready for the last GIS library instruction session this Friday **. This will be the 23rd GIS workshop/instruction session that I held for the library this semester. All of you conspiracy-minded Robert Anton Wilson fans out there should grin at this evidence of the 23 enigma. (I was a college freshman back in '93 when I first read Illuminatus!).

Well, yesterday the professor asked me to make sure that I include information regarding AIDS/HIV in the hands-on demo. As is always the case, I had not prepared this data. No worries. I hopped on over to the Texas Department of State Health Services and sure enough they provide HIV/AIDS stats on the county level. In PDF, though... Not enough time to request the datasets from them, so I extracted the PDF tables into Excel. Worked great. Joined the table to a shapefile, and some great data to share with them. Then, because I simply could not help myself, I created a Google Map and Zoho attribute table. This will definitely peak their interest...and hopefully have them coming back during the summer for more.

Here is what I plan to cover with the class:
  1. Where Should You Hang Out on a Friday Night
    • This is my best hook to get new students excited about GIS. It is entirely web based, uses the Google Maps API, and performs an automated suitability analysis using weighted averages. Plus, it's zany enough to smooth over anyone's anxiety about learning a new technology.
    • There are no domain restrictions, so if you have a spare moment, go ahead and give it a shot.
    • For more information, see my earlier post.
  2. Explore the Newly Created HIV Google Map
  3. Demo: Where to Open a New Hospital in the DFW Metroplex & What Services to Offer?
    • Workshop materials
    • This is the real meat of the class. This is a nifty little workshop that allows students new to GIS to explore shapes and attributes, play with symbology, and even run a few analysis procedures (with the help of pre-created Python scripts).
** After Friday, I still have 4 more classes to teach for my adjunct teaching positions. Then I will have a short respite until the summer sessions.

No comments: