People can do amazing things with Excel. Enter Anish Shah, a self-proclaimed magician who wanted to take a short vacation recently (who doesn’t?). The trouble was, his primary criteria was a warm place, and while there are plenty of sites out there that will tell you all you need to know about a place, there aren’t too many that disgorge information about temperatures all that easily. Of course, Google will get you what you need, but it needs a little bit of inspired searching. And when your shortlist of locations spreads across continents, you can be sure you need a couple of hours at the least of tedious searching. That’s where Anish comes in – This Excel wiz used a feature in Excel called web queries to create a database of weather information from over two thousand places across the world. Yes, you read that right: 2000 places.
In his own words:
“That is why I created a very simple tool called Destination Decider. Download the small excel file here. Raw weather data1 gathered from the U.S Department of Energy from over two thousand locations2 across the globe was aggregated in Excel with the help of web queries. (I highly recommend learning how to use web queries as it can be a highly efficient way of downloading large amounts of data into Excel with little effort). Once the data was downloaded, I created a simple pivot table that summarizes the weather data where an even simpler form pulls from the pivot table. The form asks you to input the following: Month in which you plan on travelling Low-end of a desirable temperature range High-end of a desirable temperature range”
… and that’s it really – you’re good to go, with a list that tells you places that fit your requirements. Talk about an innovative (and useful!) way to use the many and myriad powers of Excel. Here’s the website, which also has a link from where you can download the Excel file that will perform said miracle.