Text fields. They often hold some of the most important information in our data; whether a text field contains addresses that kick off our spatial adventures with a dataset, or they hold unique IDs that make joins (and bringing even more data) possible, they are certainly some of the most important data we work with as analysts and GIS professionals.
But text fields can also be some of the peskiest to work with: in some cases, they arrive in gloriously unstructured form, unleashing trains of thought from a survey form’s open text entry. In others, they look like unique IDs until a join acts unexpectedly and you realize the field has no right to be used in a join. We can typically work around these problems and get through the needed data wrangling, but we can all use a little help and make the experience more enjoyable.
In this blog and short video, we’ll introduce how Data Engineering in ArcGIS Pro helps you explore and prepare data with text fields. We’ll introduce some of the key things you can do, including:
- Finding, mapping, and charting text fields – Very little explores a field as efficiently as making a map and chart of its values.
- Efficiently checking their content – The Statistics Panel becomes a “data dashboard” that quickly summarizes information about all your fields in one place.
- Converting and encode them – When sneaky numeric and date data types sometimes show up as text fields, convert them. When regression analysis needs categories to become numbers, encode them.
It’s a lot to digest, so sip on some coffee, tea, water, or beverage of your choice and take a look at the following short video to see what’s possible.
These capabilities make Data Engineering an engaging way to explore text data. It becomes second nature to simply load an interesting new dataset, open the Data Engineering view, and get acquainted with text fields. As always, the Data Engineering view works best with used in conjunction with the Attribute Table, charts, and other existing aspects of ArcGIS Pro.
Stay tuned for our next post where you can learn more about working with date fields. Till the next time!