Saturday, September 22, 2012

Paddling On the Chester: GIS In Our Community

Paddling On the Chester: GIS In Our Community
By Cara Murray

When hearing about Washington College’s GIS Program many people are quick to mention our comprehensive crime data analysis, our innovative 3D renderings, or our educational outreach and professional development program. Let’s be real, we do a lot of cool things at WC GIS but one of the aspects of our office that I find to be my favorite is our community work. While these projects may not have the same magnitude they offer us the chance to not only give back to our community but also meet a ton of great people and learn about what is going on in our area.

I have recently had the opportunity to work with Jack Brosius on an awesome project mapping the course for the Special Olympics Paddling trials. Some of you may recognize Jack as a member of the U.S. Rowing Team in the 1972 Munich Summer Olympics; while he has since retired his love of paddling has only grown along with his busy schedule. He now spends much of his time recruiting and training rowing athletes for the Paralympic games.

While completing the map for the Paddling Event, which happened right next to our very own WC Boathouse in the Chester River last Sunday the 16th, Jack’s enthusiasm for the sport and for his athletes was palpable.  He told me that this sport is one of the fastest growing for para-athletes due to the versatility of the boats themselves; they can accommodate a variety of challenges to give each athlete the tools they need to perform to the best of their abilities.

Working with Jack has been a great experience and the project is still ongoing as we are working to map out the State Games as well! Not only did I get to work on a fun digitizing project mapping out the 500 meter and the 200 meter course I had the chance to learn about an awesome sport and the amazing athletes that participate in it. Who knows, we might see some of these athletes again in Rio!

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