Literacy Percentages and Global Prevalence of HIV Rates

by Anwar Abu Ghosh

Geovis Project Assignment @ryersonGeo,

SA8905,  Fall 2018


For my geo-visualization project, I have decided to use  ArcGIS Online which is a web-based interactive program to visualize the data. The other dataset was extracted from the world health organization was in the format of a comma delimited values (CSV) file which contains the rates and ranks of some countries in the worlds suffering from HIV. Another data set that was used on this project was literacy rates across different countries in the world, which was downloaded as a CSV from United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) website.

ArcGIS Online Definition

ArcGIS Online is a cloud-based application that is used to visualize and map data in a dynamic and interactive method. GIS stands for Geographic Information System, and the method this application works is by adding different layers to create different maps and visualize data. It can be used for 2D and 3D mapping, and in this project, I will be using the proportional mapping. It is a great collaborative web-based application with a secure infrastructure to store data, view data, add layers, manipulate data and share maps with others. This web-based application has base maps and data layers integrated into it, therefore many preinstallations may not be required.  I will be using the 30-day free trial of ArcGIS Online with limited features and storage.

ArcGIS Desktop

Due to the limited features in the ArcGIS Online free trial, many properties are disabled such as the join feature and so using a different software to join two datasets was required. To be able to create a choropleth map in ArcGIS Online, the data must be provided in a shapefile (SHP) extension format. Therefore, the need to use ArcMap to join a country shapefile to the literacy rates CSV was needed. The layer was first added by right clicking ‘Layers’ in the table of content and browsing to the country shapefile location that was originally downloaded from Then right-click the added layer and selecting ‘Joins and Relates’ then ‘joins’. For the ‘1. Choose the field in this layer that the join will be based on field select the country column in the shapefile. As for the ‘2. Choose the table to join this layer or load the table from disk’ select the literacy CSV file.  Meanwhile for the ‘3. Choose the field in the table to base the join on’ which should be referring to the country name column in the literacy data. Allow the join to retain all records and then press okay. The altered country shapefile will have the literacy columns appended to the end of the shapefile. Now that the shapefile is generated some data cleanup such as deleted unnecessary columns may be done before exporting the shapefile. Shapefile exporting is the was ArcGIS saves the new shapefile and this simple step can be done by right clicking the layer and selecting ‘Data’ then ‘Export Data’ to save the updated shapefile to the desired location. Note to have the shapefile ready for ArcGIS online; the shapefile should be saved in its own folder as multiple files will automatically be generated when creating the file and then the folder should be zipped.

ArcGIS Online Application

Adding the first layer

The first layer in this map will be the literacy data. Start by successfully logging in to ArcGIS Online and selecting the map option in the top bar. Then browse to the map option, click the ‘Add’ option and select the ‘Add Layer from File’. Then browse to the zipped file that was created from the previous step in ArcMap. To create the choropleth map, the percentage column is to be selected as ‘Shows an attribute to show’ and then counts and amounts (Color). Selecting blue from the symbols settings then ‘fill’, this step is done to represent the literacy data where the light shade indicates a low literacy rate and a dark blue indicates a high literacy rate in the country.

Adding Second Layer

Selecting from the toolbar ‘Add layer by file’ from the add setting.  Browse to the csv file stored on the computer. Many options will appear on the way the file is to be imported. Using the located feature by selecting ‘by World’ from the drill down option. Match the country column in the HIV data to the country from the preexisting data in ArcGIS Online. The data will then be imported to the application in point form. Create a proportion map by using the proper setting of selecting the proportion based on HIV rates. The color used in displaying the data points is red since the red ribbon is an awareness symbol of HIV/AIDS.

Since many colors and shades are being used in this interactive map a simple light grey canvas was used as a basemap to make the colors and symbols more visible to the reader. As for the legend, it can be found on the left-hand side of the application right under the toolbar. The legend consists of two components the proportionate layer for the HIV/AIDS data where the symbol refers to the percentage of HIV/AIDS rates. The other component refers to the literacy rates where the shade of blue refers to the rate of literacy rate in a country.


Feel free to take a look at the map through this link