Analyzing Supermarket Access with ArcGIS Online

I recently created a set of activities based on using web-based GIS tools to teach spatial thinking using drive-time buffers, a set of activities that use viewsheds as a teaching tool, another on the use of zonal statistics, another on analyzing the best route to a facility, and another on routing around barriers.  They are all free, easy to use, powerful, based on Esri technology, and they foster spatial thinking.

Analyzing supermarket access in ArcGIS Online

Analyzing supermarket access in ArcGIS Online.

Now let’s open this map that incorporates point, line, and polygon data and some of the spatial analysis techniques that you have been exploring using the above blog lessons and web maps.  This map shows access to supermarkets.  The supermarkets have been buffered for walking (1 mile) and driving (10 minutes).  People in poverty with low access and farmers markets are also shown.  Notice how the symbology changes as you zoom out of Detroit to the county level.  Find, zoom to, and study your own community and compare it to Detroit.  What is the purpose of this map that you have been examining?  Why is access to supermarkets a concern to society?  What are the patterns of access in your own community, or the neighborhoods across town?

Turn on the map layer indicating food expenditures at home versus away from home. Examine the details for this map layer so you will understand what it means.

How have the spatial analysis techniques you have been exploring using the maps above been used to create this map?  What about the map’s symbology do you find interesting, useful, or even confusing?  Why?  How could you use this map as a teaching and learning tool?

Joseph Kerski

About Joseph Kerski

Joseph Kerski is a geographer who believes that spatial analysis through digital mapping can transform education and society through better decision-making using the geographic perspective. He serves on the Esri education team and is active in GIS communication and outreach, creates GIS-based curriculum, conducts research in the effectiveness of GIS in education, teaches online and face-to-face courses on spatial thinking and analysis, and fosters partnerships to support GIS in formal and informal education at all levels, internationally. He is the co-author of Spatial Mathematics, The Essentials of the Environment, The GIS Guide to Public Domain Data, and other books. Follow him on Twitter @josephkerski
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