What is GIS by Rushan
Geographic Information System, Workshop

Food Across Space (Sunday Nov 25th, 2018 @ GeoWorks)

We have just completed our debut event and very first workshop in collaboration with the Foodscape Collective! Rushan led the morning session with Claudia, bringing with them the technical know-how of using QGIS, and Cuifen and Huiying from Foodscape Collective ran the afternoon session and brought in how GIS can be used for their work in the food community.

We began the day with Cuifen introducing the Foodscape Collective and the work they do to map our local foodscape Singapore.

Food Across Space intro
Cuifen opening the workshop with an introduction to the Foodscape Collective. CREDIT: RUSHAN BIN ABDUL RAHMAN

We then went into the morning session of the workshop, led by Rushan and supported by Claudia, where they brought in the technical knowledge of GIS. Rushan covered the basics of GIS, such as the what the term means, what kind of questions one can ask, and its historical and modern uses.

Once the basic theory was done, we began with exploring QGIS and the basic tasks one can do. Participants learned how to install the QGIS plugin OpenLayers and display an OpenStreetMap layer on their map canvas, followed by learning how to create and import different polygon shapefiles. They then followed the process of taking a comma separated values file and making them into points on a map. More advanced techniques were also taught, such as carrying out a data join and displaying a heat map. After lunch, Rushan briefly covered the importance of good data management and what it means for data to be tidied and ready for import into GIS.

The afternoon session was handed over to Cuifen and Huiying, who brought in how GIS can be used for food distribution work in Singapore. Huiying talked urban farms in Detroit as a case study, going into detail about how people in Detroit set up urban farms to get access to healthy, cheap, and locally grown food. The group went into a very in depth discussion on what they would hope to see for the food distribution community in Singapore and some projects or tasks they thought could be completed in the session. Lots of things came out of the session; some people began tidying some data that was collected to get it ready for data import, and there was some chatter on how the things that were learned could be applied to some of their own work.

Urban farming in Detroit
Huiying going through a case study of mapping urban farms in Detroit. PHOTO CREDIT: Cuifen Pui

It was a very fulfilling session, with fantastic energy from a good mix of people in the room. Data For A Cause is happy to have worked on this with Foodscape Collective, and we hope the knowledge we imparted can be used to do good by bringing food to the people who need it.

Thank you to our friends at the Foodscape Collective for asking us to come along, as well as securing the venue at GeoWorks by the Singapore Land Authority.