A new school year starts, filled with promise and hope. Few professions exceed teaching for demonstrating faith on a daily basis. Teachers deserve every gram of support we can muster. Through the ConnectED initiative, Esri offers to any US K12 school a powerful instructional resource: an ArcGIS Online Organization account, plus guidance on use, and links to growing numbers of mentors.
ArcGIS Online itself is maturing, getting stronger. Users in Organization accounts now have the capacity to add data fields in owned feature services and do calculations. I decided to explore this with data from the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s “KIDS COUNT Data Center”, going straight to their data tables. A wealth of powerful data awaits there, but I chose just four fields: “Population less than 18 (2012)”, “Population 18 and over (2012)”, “Median family income among households with children (2012)” and “Per-pupil educational expenditures adjusted for regional cost differences (2011).” I created a spreadsheet with just those four fields.
A previous blog (Fun with GIS 93) showed an external process for enhancing data, and provided a shapefile of the US 50 states. I followed that exact process (carefully!) to add the four fields to “states.dbf”, then re-zipped and published the shapefile into my Organization account.
To test adding fields and creating calculations in ArcGIS Online, I made a field for total population, then another for percent in each age group, and used the calculate process to populate each. After setting the popup and map, the result shows some of the challenges faced by some educators.
Educators cannot control who walks into their room, nor dollars available, but they have huge influence on what gets taught and, more importantly, how. Using the powerful web-based mapping and analysis tools of ArcGIS Online Organizations, on multiple platforms, even if only via a single cheap computer or tablet projected onto a bare wall, can engage kids endlessly, build content knowledge and skills, and help kids dream of and work toward a better future for all.
Charlie Fitzpatrick, Esri Education Manager