Fuzzy Lookup: My Plugin Baby

Fuzzy Lookup: My Plugin Baby

So this isn’t strictly a GIS or mapping tool or tip that I thought I’d share, but considering the amount of time and importance of joins, spreadsheets, datasets and databases in the profession, or even outside geospatial work, this little tool called ‘Fuzzy Lookup’ may come in handy.

Often when trying to query, search or join up one table to another, or for whatever purpose, VLOOKUP can do just the job, ‘vertically looking up’ one value, in order to display another. If you are new or unfamiliar to VLOOKUP, Debra Dalgleish has an awesome blog, Contextures to help with this and much more even for experienced users. There is the ‘range_lookup’ operator, FALSE, which will look for a identical match, or TRUE, an approximate match; the latter of these is useful for numbers, less so for text.

fuzzy4

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Will the real (map) shading, please stand up?

Will the real (map) shading, please stand up?

Whilst at university, as a geography undergraduate, I was used to hearing the old stereotype that my course was all about ‘colouring in’. Part of me wished it was a case of choosing the right crayons… However, a few years down the line, in the world of geospatial analysis, besides all the fascinating analysis we do, sometimes the basics of picking the right colours is indeed important to make output legible and accessible. Although ArcGIS and other GIS packages provide built in colour transitions and symbologies, sometimes, especially with web development, a surprising amount of time can be taken getting colours correct, whether this be chloropleth maps, print outs or making it colour blindness accessible (see more here from Europa Technologies).

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