One of my favourite classes this past semester was a GIS class. We made maps by downloading data from the Census, manipulating the data in Excel, and then displaying the data on a map using ArcMap. We mapped everything from race and poverty to education and income. Here is the map I made for my final project
The green block groups are the wealthiest and the red ones are the poorest. The black dots represent the population of blacks and African-Americans in Kern County.
In order to aid the process of making these maps, I built a tool to clean up Excel files from the Census. The files had unnecessary information in them, they contained illegal characters for ArcMap, and they didn’t have the correct format to join block group data from the table to the map. My tool removed unwanted data, cleaned the characters (with options to shorten phrases by vowel removal), and correctly formatted the table for ArcMap to read. Two hours fiddling in ArcMap and building out this tool saved me countless hours of tedious spreadsheet cleaning – and it helped earn me an A in the class.