Map Making at Macalester

I have returned to Macalester and am using the library computers with ArcGIS software to make my maps. While this was supposed to be the easy part – access to reliable computers and far from Nepal monsoon weather- I’ve run into one challenge of the compatibility of Professor Sokal-Gutierrez’s research statistics with my own data. I was hoping to use her data and statistics from the past 3 years regarding average number of tooth decay, malnourished children, tooth brushing and nutrition practices, etc for each individual campsite in Nepal (5 in urban Kathmandu and 5 in rural Sindhupalchok). These numbers could easily be imported to my maps and compared with the distribution of junk food stores around each school/campsite (the data I collected while in Nepal). However, when I had another meeting with Professor Sokal-Gutierrez and her students after returning home in early August, I learned that all of their statistics have been grouping the Kathamndu sites and Sindhupalchok sites, only testing overall differences between urban and rural tooth decay and oral health related practices. Therefore, I have to wait for them to calculate statistics between each individual campsite, which may take days or weeks. For the rest of the summer I will be working on reference maps for Professor Sokal-Gutirrez’s various presentations to government and non-governmental organizations. We both feel that maps are a key way to visually display the often unexpected large distribution of western-style junk food in both urban and rural Nepal. I am also excited to make a map showing both the elevation of Sindhupalchok, distribution of stores, and eventually large percent of tooth decay in this area. After personally experiencing the difficulties of walking through this extremely hilly region and the surprising amount of stores selling candy, soda and chips, I feel a map is the best way to get the message of the decaying oral health epidemic across to potential funders of this project or policy makers.

–Mika

ReferenceMap SD

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