#02 2020

Data Visualisation R and QGIS workshop equips students to analyse datasets

By Nasreen Burgher and Marlize Muller, SAEON GSN Steering Committee*

SAEON’s Graduate Student Network (GSN) recently held a data visualisation workshop in R and QGIS in collaboration with the Foundational Biodiversity Information Programme of the South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI).

The event took place at the tranquil St Ives Lodge in Lion’s River, Pietermaritzburg, in February.

The workshop was aimed at postgraduate students in environmental science of the University of KwaZulu-Natal and the QwaQwa campus of the University of the Free State. The purpose was to introduce students to data science programmes and to equip them with the necessary skills to analyse datasets for their studies.

The workshop was facilitated by SAEON’s Dr Glenn Moncrieff (Fynbos Node) and Dr Hayden Wilson (Grasslands Node). Caitlyn Ransom, a SAEON science engagement intern, assisted with the tutoring of students. The students commended the facilitators for presenting the content and activities in a way that made the R and QGIS programmes easy to understand and enabled them to conduct analysis in R and QGIS with confidence.

Dr Glenn Moncrieff assists individual students with R Studio as he takes a break from presenting

Caitlyn Ransom assists students with R and QGIS

Dr Hayden Wilson presents QGIS to the students attending the workshop

Graduate Student Network

This event also introduced the participating students to the SAEON Graduate Student Network, a postgraduate student-led network that aims to encourage, engage, build and promote sustainability, academic excellence and communication among postgraduate students in South Africa through research projects that focus on terrestrial and marine sciences.

“It is great to know that organisations such as SAEON and SANBI host workshops that provide much-needed skills to postgraduate students in South Africa,” says Nasreen Burgher, a member of SAEON’s GSN steering committee. “Through these platforms students not only learn new skills, but also meet other students, which broadens each student’s academic network. We would like to thank everyone involved for giving us the opportunity to be part of a great learning experience.”

*  As members of the newly elected GSN steering committee, Nasreen and Marlize had the opportunity to attend the R and QGIS workshop.