Kathleen Ski

Internship at Community Research Partners

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      Community Research Partners (CRP) is a unique nonprofit research organization working in the fields of community development, education, employment, health, housing, human services, poverty, race and diversity. CRP works in partnership with the City of Columbus, United Way of Central Ohio, the John Glenn School of Public Affairs at OSU, and the Franklin County Commissioners.

      In the Fall of 2007, CRP was seeking a student intern to assist with the DataSource web mapping portal, which serves the data needs of the central Ohio community. This internship required a unique combination of skills. The candidate needed to have GIS skills, database skills, along with knowledge of demographics, economic and social-economic data. My interdisciplinary degree program in GIS and Sociology at OSU combined together the perfect combination of skills to fill this role. I joined the Community Data Team at CRP in December 2007.

      My responsibilities including updating the DataSource Portal with new data from several sources in the community. I used my geocoding skills with ArcMAP and other online geocoding tools to geolocate approximately half a million addresses. I developed the data sets tied to these addresses into relational databases, from which approximately 70 variables were calculated. These were then parsed into 11 different geographic regions: census blocks, census tracts, city jurisdictions, neighborhoods, etc. The final results were formated and uploaded to the ArcIMS server, greatly expanding the data available to the community on our DataSource application. In addition, I documented an extensive instruction manual for the complex process moving the source text files into the database, calulating the variables and formating the data set for upload to the server, which will enable the next dataset to be processed more efficiently. The example below is a webmap generated in DataSource.

CRPWebMap

     In addition to the DataSource update, I performed research for serveral large projects completed at CRP. My research became part of the Benchmarking Central Ohio 2008 report. This report caused quite a stir in the media. The data that I worked on for the employment section of the report made front page news in the Columbus Dispatch. Click here to read the article.

     We also completed a major update to the Community Indicators Database. I worked on the research for sections of the health indicators dealing with suicide, leading causes of death, mortality rates and HIV and Aids.

      I worked on a spatial analysis research project for a CRP client producing several maps, which explained the analysis process and results. As the only CRP staff member who has formal GIS training, I worked with others staff members to resolve mapping issues and perfomed training on functions within the ArcGIS suite of products. I assisted in the training classes for new DataSource users at the Columbus Public Library. I did a quality analysis of a new software application and documented a list of software bugs for the development team.

      Overall, the internship at CRP was a terrific learning experience both for myself and the staff at CRP. It allowed me to put into practice my GIS training, information management, training, technical support and researching skills to solve problems, update community data tools and share my knowledge. I completed my internship on June 16, 2008.

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