Data crunching

This years fieldwork yielded a large amount of data. Everything from observations of individual birds, to bearing and distance measurements of huge rafts and hours and hours of video footage. All of this data needs to be sorted so that it can be analysed.

Firstly I checked and double checked my main datasheet. This is a general list of all observations that I made so I can keep track of when and where things happened. Remembering this stuff can be tricky sometimes!

I decided to start off with the data about the location and timing of foraging rafts. I had a combination of times, compass bearings and video footage, which I wanted to translate to locations on a map. This has taken a fair amount of wrangling.

First I created a spreadsheet with all the data in and bought it into the mapping software I use, ArcGIS. Here we see the GPS locations of where I was observing from, with the compass bearings plotted out as lines. Each of these lines has associated information about the date, time, group size and whether the raft was flying or moving on the surface.


I then had to use the features seen on the video footage to get the location of the raft along these bearings. Happily I had some incredibly detailed charts. So after a lot of pointing and clicking..


This  is a map of all the rafts I observed, with the size of points weighted by how big the rafts were. The next step is to append appropriate data about weather and tide to each datapoint. Given the sheer number of datapoints, I am DEFINITELY going to automate this. Onwards to coding.




2 responses to “Data crunching

  1. Pingback: A matter of time | The Shag Project

  2. Pingback: A matter of time – Julian C. Evans

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