Lauren Arnold: Winner of a best student presentation award at SKI Canada 2015

April 7, 2015 Krista Amolins

Spatial Knowledge and Information Canada brings together faculty and students who use GIS in their research in a broad range of fields at institutions across Canada. At the 2015 SKI Canada conference, Esri Canada sponsored an award for Best Student Presentation. Find out about Lauren Arnold, the winner of that award, and the project she presented.

The Education and Research group supports students and educators in a number of ways: by providing free resources through the Lesson Planner, coordinating the Esri Canada GIS Scholarship and Esri Young Scholars Award programs, and helping educators learn how to use Esri technology in their classrooms.

We occasionally sponsor academic conferences, such as the Spatial Knowledge and Information Canada (or SKI Canada) conference that was held in Banff, AB, February 26 – March 1, at which Lauren Arnold won a Best Student Presentation award.

Lauren Arnold, winner of a Best Student Presentation award at SKI Canada 2015.

Lauren is an undergraduate student at the University of Saskatchewan, enrolled in the Environment and Society Honours program. She chose this program because its interdisciplinary nature appealed to her. In her own words, "environmental issues are best understood if you can make use of a variety of perspectives and academic fields."

The project that Lauren presented at SKI Canada was an investigation of spatial patterns in response rates to telephone-based surveys in Saskatchewan at the census consolidated subdivision (CCS) level. Surveys are used to gauge public opinion on a wide range of issues and survey samples must be representative of the population as a whole to ensure the results are as accurate as possible. Since certain subgroups within a population may tend to cluster in identifiable geographic areas, determining whether there is a spatial pattern to response rates can help determine whether these subgroups have been over, or under, sampled in the survey. You can read more about the project in this paper: "Sample Analysis of a Population Survey for the ‘Public Attitudes towards Nuclear Issues in Saskatchewan’ Study".

Response rate weights for a telephone survey in Saskatchewan

The above map shows the response rate weights for a telephone survey on public attitudes towards nuclear issues in Saskatchewan. The weights were calculated for each census consolidated subdivision (CCS) by dividing the expected number of completed surveys by the actual number of completed surveys. The expected number of completed surveys for a CCS was determined from the percentage of the total population living within that CCS. A weight greater than 1 indicates that fewer surveys were completed than expected, while a weight less than 1 indicates that more surveys were completed than expected. A weight of 0 indicates no expected or no completed surveys.

Lauren was inspired by the variety of research fields and projects in the SKI Canada 2015 program that used spatial analysis. She is considering pursuing a master's degree, and hopes to be able to contribute her GIS skills and experience to future projects dealing with environmental issues.

About the Author

Krista Amolins

Krista Amolins is a Higher Education Developer and Analyst in the Esri Canada Education and Research group. Her responsibilities include developing resources for use by students and faculty at colleges and universities, focusing particularly on LiDAR, JavaScript and Android app development; collaborating on projects with researchers at select universities; and coordinating the Esri Canada scholarship programs. She has a PhD in Geomatics Engineering from the University of New Brunswick and also holds the Esri ArcGIS Desktop Associate Certification.

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