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Sunday, July 16, 2006

Final Project Progress

For my final project, I had hoped to create a map for a local gym in the McFarland area. I have encountered several problems and need some guidance.

The first problem I encountered was that the gym owner has little or no records for her clients. The business is based on a "pay-as-you-go" system. When I started attending classes, she had an elaborate waiver form, but evidently that has fallen to the wayside. Solution 1: The owner has a group email listing of approximately 350 email addresses, and she has a "web-guy." She offered to send a message from me to her clients asking for their assistance. I compiled a list of 5 questions which include age, gender, address with zip code, favorite class offered, and number of times they attend classes in one week. I am hoping for a decent participation since I am not asking for anyone to supply names. (fingers crossed) I also asked that they send their response to me by July 31 at the very latest. I'm not quite sure what I will do for a final project if there isn't a good response.

Problem 2: I have spent several hours trying locate a base map for the McFarland area as my starting point. So far I have only turned up tiff files and PDFs. If you have had luck finding your own base map, please post how you found it. ESRI.com did not have any free maps for this area, as far as I could tell. It is entirely one thing to follow written directions in a book to the provided canned data, and another thing all together to try and locate your own.

On a sidenote or perhaps this is Problem 3, I'm increasingly frustrated with the GIS Tutorial book. Apparently a career involving GIS is not in my future. I'm having extreme difficulty going from the tutorials to the assignments. I've done many of the tutorials several times at home, and still am unable to complete quite a few of the exercises at the end of the chapter. It doesn't seem to matter how many times I complete the tutorials, I'm just not intuitively able to figure it out. And perhaps the most frustrating part is that if I do not complete the assignments correctly, how is all this time I'm spending noted? Should I still bring them in, incorrect as they are, on my flash drive? Do I receive credit for trying?

Problem 4: Could we please go over how to Unzip a file again in class? Having some difficulty remembering all the steps. Thanks!


At 4:06 PM, Blogger Leah said...

You're not alone in the assignment troubles!

At 9:32 AM, Blogger Richard said...

I agree -- please don't think you're along in struggling through learning GIS. There's always a learning curve with new technologies. Sometimes the tutorials will click with you. Sometimes you need to play with the program making your own maps so you become familiar with the software.

It helps to work with others from the class too, and maybe we can all do a better job of trying to collaboratively figure out these assignments!

The whole data collection process sounds like a challenging (and ambitious) task. Regardless of how many responses you receive, it will be a valuable experience for future data gathering. I'd go ahead with creating your base map and just document your process. Remember Greg emphasized that we are being evaluated on our effort and willingness to struggle through our projects ... not how "successful" the end product turns out to be.

Remind us to go over the zip process in class!


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