Calling all map nerds!

A month into my fellowship at CERSGIS in Accra, Ghana, we are hitting the ground running. We are beginning to lead professional trainings in GIS (Geographic Information Systems) at the National Development Planning Commission, which will be the main focus of the rest of our time here in Accra. GIS is a digital system that allows the user to perform advanced spatial analysis and ultimately create maps that make what otherwise might be overwhelmingly complicated data more accessible to policymakers, planners, researchers, or consumers.

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Accra: Where Innovation and Tradition Meet

I am thoroughly enjoying my first few weeks here in Accra, Ghana! Besides everything being coated in a thin layer of red- orange dust, the first thing that I noticed about Accra was the smell. The smoke from cooking fires, burning insecticide, and exhaust is striking- not at all unpleasant, but unlike anywhere I have ever been. I’m greeted by this new smell every morning as I walk across the campus at the University of Ghana, Legon. Women sing as they slice fresh watermelon, pineapple, and mango at the market stands that litter campus, taxi’s honk politely to make their presence known, and in the distance you can hear the sound of the main highway that will take you into the center of the city of Accra. I take the dusty orange paths past tall palm trees that tower over the white-washed buildings with terra-cotta roofs.

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A Few Final Thoughts

When we first came here it was just the three of us: Clay, Emily, and me. We came from diverse backgrounds and we brought different skills to the table. We were a great team. However, we became stronger both as a team and individually as we were exposed to our work and research at Instituto Mora.

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Distribution of EU Aid in Mexico: A Preliminary Look

The Fellowship ended August 8th, with several maps half made and a report half-finished. We simply ran out of time as Fellows, although with the trainings that we conducted over the summer for both geocoding and geospatial analysis, ObservaCoop should be equipped to create basic maps for the report comparing the distribution of European Commission aid projects in Mexico with indicators such as poverty, violence, education, and more. Although I was not necessarily permitted to publish those maps, I did have access to the geocoded data and consequently constructed an elementary model of EU aid distribution at the state level using tools from my econometrics course that I took spring of this year.

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Over the Hill

July 24, 2014

At, last we’ve finished!

We’re about two weeks past our intended deadline, but we have finally finished geocoding and exported the raw data set from Toolkit. Ultimately we had documentation for 34 projects for a total of 855 project locations geocoded. Clay is currently going through the process of quality assurance to make sure that the geographic locations that we assigned to the project activities are updated and to make sure that the dataset does not suffer from any repetition. As soon as he finishes, we’ll be able to start making maps in ArcGIS and conduct statistical analyses for the final report. Certainly geocoding was the most arduous of this process – and it was complicated by the other tasks that we had to field for ObservaCoop.

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