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Wits course on Excel: How to generate dynamic heat maps

Heat Map image

Creating effective data visualization such as a heat map need not require special software – just Microsoft Excel.

The techniques shown in the upcoming Wits Mining Institute (WMI) course – Geospatial Data Visualization with Excel: Dynamic Heat Maps – will transform Excel from a basic spreadsheet program into a dynamic and powerful analytics tool for heat mapping. The course, to be held online on 30 July 2021, will provide a practical knowledge of some advanced functions, formatting and filters in Excel to allow participants to create dynamic heat maps.

Aimed at people working in the mining sector, government and academia, the course will cover applications throughout the mining value chain. The course material has been developed around applications and lessons emerging from research done at the Sibanye-Stillwater digital mining laboratory (DigiMine), the WMI’s flagship project.

“Visualisation of data through heatmaps can reveal patterns, trends and connections in data that are difficult to find any other way,” said M Ahsan Mahboob, the head of the DigiMine at WMI. “The course will provide hands-on training in plotting the data which will allow participants to see the underlying structure of the data that would otherwise be challenging if by only looking at a table.”

Mahboob emphasised that data visualization proficiency in aspects of mineral resource management will assist in improving efficiency, health and safety, profitability and sustainable utilisation of assets.

“Data is now produced so fast and in such large volumes that it is impossible to analyse and use effectively when using traditional, manual methods,” said Dr Iqra Atif, the course instructor and postdoctoral fellow at Wits Mining Institute. “The ability to act on insights sooner through heat maps allows businesses to spot trends and improve inefficiencies for better data-driven decision-making.”

The course content includes: setting up the heat map project; standardising spatial data; creating a new data source in a PivotTable; creating new Power Map images; populating Power Map images with INDIRECT; and linking to map images with HYPERLINK. Practical case studies from DigiMine and its partner organisations will also be presented.

The cost for corporates is R500 (including VAT).

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