Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Prince George's County Police Ride Along

Mia, Tony and Sam had the opportunity to go on a ride along with the Prince George’s County Police DUI Team that they have been doing analysis for during the summer. 

The streets of Prince George's County are not known for being the safest place.  Throughout the night they made several stops ranging from tail lights being out to driving under the influence.  One of the DUI’s involved a drunk man pulled over to the side of the road because his car was out of gas.  Next to him was his sober significant other and an 8 month old child.  Another interesting sight was an individual stopped at a green light due to being high on PCP.  The officers later said that this was just a very “mild” Thursday night.

The most exciting moment of the night for Sam was probably the several minute long (speed limit abiding) car chase with Officer Jesus Yambot, which ended with the culprit being tackled and slammed onto the hood of the police car while he sat in the passenger seat.

For them, it was nice to finally be able to grasp how the ETIX process works.  ETIX are basically electronic tickets instead of paper tickets.  It was interesting to see how they are able to scan a person’s drivers license (providing the barcode on the back is not mutilated which they saw on the ride along) and instantly bring up all their personal information rather than having to physically write it down which can take a long time.

ETIX data is a primary source of data for the MHSO team and sometimes the data is not very accurate or is incomplete.  This causes problems for when they need to map the points or do analysis, and can even add a lot of extra work having to manually place XY coordinates in. Sam mentioned: " I used to not be able to fathom why an officer would leave these fields blank, but after seeing how much technical trouble they have with the outdated computers in their car, I became a lot more understanding."

Lastly it helped the team gain an understanding of the dangerous situations that these officers have to deal with on a daily basis, and the small amount of time they have to react when things go south". He also said: "In the future when I see a news article about a cop who did something controversial in the heat of the moment I would think twice before blaming them for doing the wrong thing".

This experience was a very positive one for Sam, he mentioned lastly: "Becoming more involved in the work that you do is always a good thing.  I could view all the data as just rows of numbers that I need to turn into hotspots, but by involving myself at the root of the process I am able to see first-hand what needs improvement and what I can do in the future to provide them with the best analysis possible.  Also even something as little as building a relationship with the officers you are studying and asking them simple questions such as “what could we do to make you more effective” can go a long way and provide you with information you may not get at a staff meeting".  

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Local Crime Map of Campus Useful to Many

Alicia DeBonis is a Junior at Washington College and is currently majoring in Sociology. She is from Middletown, DE and is interested in traveling.

     Crime always plays a role in society. It limits where people will choose to live, where one may send their children to school, and the local flow of traffic. These things are also reflected when one thinks about colleges and the amount of crime that can take place on campus. Many incoming students and their parents wouldn’t want to attend a school where there is a high crime rate. Mapping crime reports help show that there is a small density of crime on the Washington College Campus.

Summer at GIS

As students leave for summer, GIS is not as busy as it is during the school year with half of its student workers around. This summer, Melody joined our team and experienced the positive environment in sunny Chestertown.

Melody said: "I was looking for a summer job because I decided to stay in the United Sates for the duration of summer and I was too excited to get a reply from Stew Bruce for a tour and an interview. I have never heard of GIS before, I only knew it because my other boss Kate McCleary recommended it to me and a couple of my friends worked there. I did not have a clue what GIS was except that it was related to maps".

After a tour, Stew offered Melody a position on the social media and marketing team because of her previous experience in that field. Currently Melody is managing marketing and advertising for GIS and its clients, the MapStory Foundation and the Upper Shore Harvest Directory.

She mentioned: "Now that summer is about to end, I realized that I learned a huge deal from my experience here at GIS, I learned how to work directly with businesses, how to manage working on many projects and getting them professionally done, and I also learned many tricks and skills that I applied to social media for GIS and our other customers". Melody went on a DC work conference and met with MapStory, she also met with the Upper Shore Regional Council in Chestertown. She said: "This taught me how to be a better person at what I do and improved my long term objectives, especially with social media as this is one of my many experiences in this field. I am truly thankful to have had this opportunity to spend my summer here".

Helping the UN with Ground Water Improvement in Darfur

Ground Water Improvement in Darfur, Sudan

As the Sudanese region, Darfur, continues to recover from genocidal tragedies, its people must cope with the land’s limited ground water resources. Mohamed Ali, a Darfuri worker for United Nations-African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) had been tasked with assessing the ground water situation of an area of interest within the region.  This assessment was to be done using Geographic Information System (GIS) methods, but with little experience and technological access, Mohamed turned to the Washington College GIS program for help.

After taking Stewart Bruce’s free online classes via , Mohamed contacted Mr. Bruce for direct assistance on the project.  As this project would open up the GIS program to a new international level, it was accepted with excitement.  Students including Melody Qanadilo, Kelley Holocker, and upcoming freshman Daniel Ortiz all contributed to the early stages in the project’s development. Their progress can be seen on the beta interactive webpage, made by Thomas Fish.  The team, led by Brad Janocha, will ultimately use remote sensing and contemporary imagery to develop GIS solutions to ground water scarcity in the region.

The Darfur project has created a link between the Washington College GIS lab and the international community; by reaching out to people in need, the significance of this program will continue to grow.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

History in the Making

     When Jackelyn Gitlin, first came to Washington College she did not know anything about GIS. However, she had a few friends who worked at the Lab, and their positive experiences prompted her to respond to an e-mail calling for interns with experience working with Photoshop. Since then, this history major and co-President of the Washington College Historical Society has had the opportunity to work with local organizations pursuing her passion for history.

      Jackelyn has worked with the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum of St. Michaels, where she used Photoshop to clean up a cracked and stained map from the 1880’s. She says that the image editing software allowed her to “bring the map back to life.” She has also used Photoshop to colorize old photographs of Chestertown from 1927, and photographs of the Washington College campus from the 1960’s. Right now she is colorizing an old sketch of Baltimore.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

A Summer Mapping Chino Farms

Jeff Sullivan is a sophomore at Washington College majoring in Environmental Studies. Jeff became interested in GIS after taking the introductory course and saw its potential relevance with wildlife management. He hopes that working as a GIS intern will expand his abilities and knowledge of GIS software.

      Throughout the spring semester, Jeffery Sullivan has been working on a project both for his job at the GIS lab and as part of his academic school work for one of his classes. GIS Lab Director Stew Bruce teaches a course on campus that Jeff is currently enrolled in. This course, Intermediate GIS with Lab, involves a semester long project in which the students pursue the topic of their choice. Jeffery, after working as an intern at Chino Farms this past summer, decided to compile all of the research previously done at the farm, current research, and potential research focuses into one portfolio. Chino Farms is located just a few minutes from the Washington College campus and has been working with the Center for Environment and Society in order to have interns spend time on the farm conducting research during the academic school year and over the summer.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Taking the Time

     GIS is always on pace with cutting edge technology, but that doesn’t mean that utilizing this technology is always simple and accomplished at lightning speeds. As a GIS intern for four years, Kimberly Zepeda has learned that many projects take patience, time, skill, and a critical eye. 

     “One of the most important skills I learned through the years is how to digitize things. Using this skill, I was able to complete a lengthy project during the Fall of 2012 that was very time consuming. By using a map of a suburban district in Baltimore and the ArcGIS software, I was able to digitize a map of the entire area,” said Kim.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Marketing is the Key: Local & Abroad

     Lea Delfs, an international student studying Business Administration, says that when she first came to Washington College she found it difficult to find a job that was a good fit. Lea is currently spending my year abroad at Washington College as an international exchange student from Germany, University of Tuebingen.

      When she received an email from Stew Bruce seeking interns for the GIS lab, she immediately took the opportunity, signing on to work for the GIS Lab marketing team promoting the Online Training Program. Lea says this internship has proved to be the perfect fit for her. She is able to practice both her English and marketing skills. She also says she has been able to meet interesting people while working at the Lab, even attending a GIS conference in Pennsylvania.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

"What's your story?": GIS Interns Partner with MapStory

     Viewing Alexandria, VA from the eyes of George Washington is no longer an impossible thought because of MapStory, an infrastructure enabling “MapStorytelling” in order to communicate important issues to the world. Sean Emerson, a first-year student at Washington College is currently gathering historic maps and aerial photographs from George Washington’s time to the present, and utilizing various GIS technology skills in order to create a time lapse map of the city of Alexandria.

     This project is a step-by-step process that involves collecting data from various sources including, The Library of Congress, U.S. Geological Survey, and commercial websites. The process to create the georeferenced images begins with downloading the image(s) from the source website and giving the image a spatial reference for viewing in ArcMap. Next the image is opened in ArcMap and georeferenced with ArcGIS tools over a parcel layer. The image is then cropped and edited to a reasonable file size and then saved in a defined geographic projection. Once all this is complete the image will have gone from a simple scanned picture to an accurate, spatially referenced map that can be viewed and explored. “So far I have georeferenced over a dozen maps and historic aerial images with dozens more to go,” said Sean Emerson.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Campus Plaque Treasure Hunt

     A historical campus such as Washington College displays plaques from generous donors at nearly every corner. You don’t realize how many plaques the academic buildings have until you go on a scavenger hunt for them – that is precisely the project GIS Interns Michael Wieder and Emily Scherer undertook. Throughout this semester Michael and Emily have been documenting each and every donor plaque on the Washington College campus through fieldwork, data entry, and Georeferencing.

      Michael and Emily took a picture of each plaque and even documented the closest classroom to the plaque and its location measurements from ceiling and floor. Plaques on oil paintings and trees throughout campus were also documented and Georeferenced. The rule of thumb was if it has a name on it, map it. 

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Classroom to Town: Mapping for the Chestertown Fire Department

Rocio is a sophomore from Washington, DC majoring in Biology with a concentration in Biochemistry and minoring in Hispanic studies on the Premed program. This is her first year working in the GIS Lab as a member of the GOCCP Crime team. She is currently working on a project on Sex Offender Routes in Montgomery County that will benefit the police for missing persons.

      Did you know that there are more than 80 fire hydrants in the Chestertown area? Rocio Valdes, a sophomore studying Biology with a concentration in Bio-Chemistry, is working with the Chestertown Fire Department to map all of the fire hydrants around town. Rocio began this project by driving around Chestertown with fellow GIS intern, Megan Conway in order to locate all of the fire hydrants which she would then plot on a map. Eventually, Rocio will work on mapping all of the fire hydrants in Kent County, but this semester she is focusing on Chestertown. Chestertown Fire Department asked Rocio to color code the fire hydrants on the map based on the water pressure of the hydrant, and there are also plans for her to accompany a firefighter to each fire hydrant so that they can determine if all of the hydrants are functional. This information will be added to the map as well.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Analyst of Many Trades: Stephanie Ireland

Stephanie is a Linkage Analyst in the GIS lab and works full time on the lab’s new “Spider Mapping” project, which consists of using IBM’s i2 software to create link charts that show connections between a variety of crime data sets. This project was put in motion at the request of Governor Martin O’Malley, and will soon be utilized by every police agency in the state as a tool for crime awareness and prevention. Stephanie is also an Imagery Analyst in the Navy Reserve, as well as a part-time student at Washington College seeking her BA in Anthropology.

      Stephanie Ireland is a full time employee at the Washington College GIS lab and a part time student at Washington College. This anthropology major is currently enrolled in Intermediate GIS, a course taught on campus by GIS Director Stew Bruce. As part of this class, Stephanie worked on an extensive project throughout the semester in addition to her everyday work in the lab. With a little brainstorming help from Stew, Stephanie took on a project involving Lyme disease research.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Transcending Borders Between History & Environment

     Tara Barber was first introduced to the GIS Lab when she went to the Office of Student Financial Aid to find an on-campus job as a first-year student. Although she didn’t know anything about GIS, Tara found the idea of map making and collecting data interesting. As an Anthropology student, she saw the potential for using GIS programs to map out data about different groups of people.

     During her time working for the GIS lab, Tara has learned to use several software programs, including Google SketchUP, Unity, and ArchMap. She says that her favorite program so far has been Google SketchUP because, as an Art minor, she really enjoys being able to use her artistic skills to render virtual models of homes. Tara has utilized her newfound GIS skills on a variety of projects, such as the Historic Homes and Chino Farms projects.

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Wednesday, June 5, 2013

The Knowledge of GIS Meets the Hope of Medicine

     Tyler Brice is among the most recent Washington College graduates as a member of the Class of 2013 and he hopes to use GIS in his career aspirations. Tyler hopes to pursue a career in medicine and feels that he will be able to use GIS to map and analyze information about how diseases move through a population, and find solutions for controlling and preventing outbreaks.

     Tyler Brice studied Biology with a minor in Chemistry. He is a Chestertown native who decided to come to Washington College after discovering that the other colleges he had looked at did not fit his needs. Staying in Chestertown has allowed him to live at home, and continue to enjoy all of the outdoor activities Chestertown has to offer.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Memoirs of a Marketing Team

     The GIS Marketing Team is heavily invested in the community as an extension of the GIS lab. At the beginning of this school year, the GIS Marketing team was developed as a brand new sector of the GIS program. “A lot of the year was trial and error,” said Marketing Team Captain Olivia Hanley. “Our team took what we already knew about social media and marketing and implemented that knowledge into whatever task we were given. With Stew’s assistance and confidence in our team, we eventually acquired ‘clients.’ It is our job to monitor their social media sites and gain as much social media presences as possible.”
     The Marketing Team’s work is continuous because new skills are constantly being learned and perfected. Team members must also keep up with the pace of the current social media world. “We have made a great deal of progress since the beginning of the year,” said Olivia. “In the coming years, we plan to grow as a team and further define precise marketing plans for each client we obtain.”

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

GIS Supports Eat Local Efforts

Lea Delfs

     The Washington College GIS Lab is currently working on updating the Upper Shore Harvest Directory which will formally launch in May 2013. Lea Delfs, an international exchange student from the University of Tuebingen in Germany, has been working on this project throughout the semester. Lea supports eating locally grown food because it is healthier than buying food at the supermarket, it helps to improve the environment by reducing the amount of emissions released into the air, and it helps sustain and improve the local economy.

      The Upper Shore Harvest Directory is a brochure and new interactive website helping to connect residents of Cecil, Kent, and Queen Anne’s Counties in Maryland with local producers of sustainable agricultural products and services. The directory helps people find local businesses such as fruit and vegetable farms, fishing charters, restaurants, and many more. It promotes both environmental and economic sustainability by encouraging residents to keep their money in the community and reduce their carbon footprints by choosing local businesses.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Dover High School Utilizes WC GIS Curriculum

     The Washington College GIS lab wanted to create a curriculum and make it available to public and privates schools with students of all ages, including K-12 programs. This program introduces students to the many skills that they will need if they want to continue studying GIS. Dover High School of Pennsylvania has been working with WC GIS for at least six years. Collaboration began after Mr. Benton met WC GIS director Stew Bruce at a GIS training course.

     Members of the WC GIS staff worked together to create this curriculum with ESRI and the Maryland Department of Education. Stew divided the work between different staff members to create one program. The overall goal in creating this curriculum was to provide a way for schools to offer GIS courses to their students free of charge. This alternative curriculum, as opposed to ones that can be very expensive, provides the same opportunities to schools that may not be able to afford programs like this otherwise. This curriculum is available online and is a great way for schools to help their students of all backgrounds to expand their education. This curriculum is offered to students in grades K-12. Elementary school students learn the basic concepts of GIS such as how to read a map and what the different parts of a map are like the compass and the legend.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Classroom to Town: Youngest in Class Tackles Projects for Future Use

     Stephen McFall is the youngest student currently enrolled in Intermediate GIS, a course taught on the WC campus by GIS Director Stew Bruce. Steve has been working at the WC GIS lab since he came to campus in the fall. Each student enrolled in the class is working on an extensive project that must be completed by the end of the semester.

      Steve generally works on 3D projects in the lab as well as MapStory Foundation projects, but for this project he wanted to try something different. For his semester long assignment, Stew suggested that he compile information into maps to be given to the Greater Baden Medical Services. This seemed interesting, so Steve began working.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Internationally Known

     Hjordis Lorenz, an International Student from Stuttgart, Germany, became interested in GIS after meeting Stew Bruce at a meeting for International Students. She decided to stop by the GIS lab to see if she could learn any more, and her visit turned into a job.

      Hjordis is a freshman, majoring in Psychology, with a minor in Spanish, and she hopes to eventually work in the field of criminal psychology. Although she has never considered herself to be very tech-savvy, she feels that the GIS program has many practical applications in criminal psychology, and is eager to learn how to use the technology.

Friday, April 19, 2013

On Display in St. Michaels

The Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum has been working with the Washington College GIS lab in order to prepare for the initial launch of the museum’s new exhibit, Navigating Freedom: The War of 1812 on the Chesapeake. We have a number of student employees who have been working on this project including: junior Katherine Wares, sophomore Olivia Hughes, and seniors Caitlyn Riehl, Luis Machado, and  Tyler Brice.  All of these students have been assigned to different roles in order to construct a 3D flyover video for the exhibit. This flyover video will be used in the Navigating Freedom exhibit to show how area looked in 1812. Robert Forloney, Director of the Breene M. Kerr Center for Chesapeake Studies of the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum, shared some information about what the new exhibit will showcase, the process through which it developed, and the role that WC GIS played in the process.
The exhibit opens at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum on Saturday, May 11, 2013. Visit the museum website for more information.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Set Apart: An Alumna's success in GIS

   “Stew was new on campus when I met him, and he told us that he had big plans for the program,” remembers alumna Laura Human Cannon ‘08. This Environmental Studies major witnessed the GIS program’s new beginnings and is nothing but thankful for her opportunities in GIS technology.

      “WC is a fantastic school and I am incredibly thankful for the way my four years as a student shaped my career path and enriched my life. I ended up taking GIS I & II because they were a part of the course options for my major. From what I have heard and seen, it sounds like Stew Bruce has already met his huge goals in just a few years. The program was growing while I was there and it has continued to expand,” said Laura.

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Friday, April 5, 2013

Getting a Head Start

      The WC GIS summer camp does more than offer great teaching and a fun time; in some cases it has recruited some of our most talented interns. Austen Richards, now a junior at Kent Island High School, attended the 2012 Geospatial Discoveries Summer Program. After learning 3D modeling in Google SketchUp, Austen was offered a position in the lab as a summer intern where he was assigned to a project building a 3D Model of the Chestertown area.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Developing the Future

Tyler is a senior from Chestertown, MD. He is a Biology major with a Chemistry Minor on the Pre-Med track. Tyler has worked in the GIS Lab since his freshman year and has had the opportunity to work on many different projects focusing on 3D visualization including: Chestertown Historic 3D, Easton Historic 3D, Washington College 3D Tour, Washington College in 1962, Queen Anne’s Conservation Project and the Pluckemin Artillery Contonment.

     The project that I worked on during the fall of 2012 was creating a 3D visualization of a proposed development in Kent Island. The Four Seasons is an ambitious project that will create 1,350 single level family homes and multiple condos between the existing developments of Queens Landing and Cloverfield; it is a planned community for active adults 55 and over. The development is being proposed by K. Hovanian’s family of builders which have similar developments in California, Minnesota, New Jersey, Delaware, Florida, Virginia and Maryland.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Senior Plans to Give Back to Hometown with GIS

Seniors are priceless assets to the WC GIS lab, in that, most have worked in the lab all four year of their college career gathering skills with much invested time and experience. Senior Nich Tremper is one of our 2013 seniors who started working at the GIS lab during his freshman year, after he responded to a list serve e-mail from GIS Director Stew Bruce looking for first year students. After interviewing on the first day of classes, he became an important part of the GIS lab community.

Tremper is currently working with Green Earth Connections in creating a Moodle site that can be used by Maryland Department of Agriculture employees. Moodle is an interactive distance learning site, similar to Blackboard, which is what the students and professors use here at the College.

Friday, March 8, 2013

A Ticket to Idaho

Katherine is a junior from Frederick, Maryland. She is an Environmental Studies major, treasurer of Psychology club, on the club field hockey team, and a member of the student environmental alliance. This is her third year working for the GIS lab.

     Before the school year started, I had the opportunity to go to Deary, Idaho with the GIS lab to visit with Alumna Daryl Swanstrom on her ranch for a week. While in Idaho, I worked with Dr. Christian Krahforst to collect water samples and conduct water quality tests for each pond on the ranch property. To collect data, we paddled to the middle of each pond, dropped our sensors, and collected a sample of water. The boat we used old and not very sturdy, but that made the work all the more fun.

     Due to our efficiency, we were able to finish our testing within two days of the trip, which left a lot of time for fun activities. These activities included ziplining in the Rocky Mountains, a geological field trip of Idaho guided by Professor Karl Kehm, and a trip to the Idaho Panhandle National Forest to dig for garnet. This was my first trip away from the East Coast. It was very exciting for me and I am glad I got to experience it with my co-workers and professors.

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Friday, March 1, 2013

Restoring the Past: GIS Photoshop Projects on Display

Caitlyn Riehl is a senior from Gap, PA serving as Photoshop editor for the WC GIS Lab. Her projects include: Aloft Aerial Photograph editing and marketing, the Pluckemin project, various map restoration projects, Washington College 3D visuatlization, Washington College 1962 3D Visualization, and countless Photoshop requests.
In my role as the Photoshop Team Leader, my duties vary from day to day. My projects may range from touching up pictures or maps to creating advertisements and logos for GIS. I enjoy them both equally and have had the pleasure of working on a variety of projects this semester. My favorite project this semester has been working on a historic map of Chestertown, Maryland from 1906 that was torn, stained and illegible in areas. I spent many hours throughout the semester not only completing restoring the map to its original quality, but then coloring the map to give it a realistic touch.

Friday, February 22, 2013

GIS bridges the gap between Venezuela and America: Luis' Story

     Students from all over the world come to study at Washington College, whether it is for one semester or four years. WC has study abroad programs at institutions all around the globe which provide excellent opportunities for its students. Luis, an Anthropology major with minors in Philosophy and English, is a four year international student originally from Venezuela.

     During his time working at the GIs lab, he has not only worked on projects in the lab itself, but has also had the opportunity to pursue outside fieldwork. He worked in Easton mapping the storm-water system throughout the town. Luis was one of the few interns from the GIS lab who attended the GEOINT Symposium in November 2011. At this event, Luis had a chance to “wander around and mingle with some of the biggest names in GIS and government groups.” What an opportunity it was!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

"GIS can and does save lives every day," Sean Emerson

       Sean Emerson, a freshman planning to double major in History and International Studies, arrived at Washington College already knowing that he wanted to work in the GIS Lab.
     “While looking at college websites my junior year, I stumbled upon the GIS Program's webpage. I liked what I saw on the website and I found a lot of their past projects to be interesting.” Sean says that he developed an early interest in Graphic Information Systems. He credits the influence of his father, an employee for a national intelligence agency who uses maps extensively in his work, for sparking that interest. As a boy growing up in Silver Springs, Maryland, he would often use Google Earth, which he considers his first experience using a Geographic Information Systems program.

         Sean says that, after learning about the GIS program at Washington College through the school website, he knew he wanted to become a part of the program. When he was accepted to Washington College, he immediately signed up for the Intro to GIS class with Stewart Bruce, the Director of the GIS Lab. He was also excited to receive an email from Stew about job openings in the GIS Lab.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

GIS Lab: A Melting Pot of Majors

     In the GIS lab, you will find those studying anything from Political Science to Environmental Studies working on projects in the lab on any given day.
     Sociology major, Alicia DeBonis became part of the GIS team after taking the Into to GIS course offered at WC, leading to an internship with the GIS lab.
     “It was probably the best decisions I have ever made”, says DeBonis. “It provided me with work experience and helped form great connections with other employees and community members.”

Friday, February 15, 2013

A Door to the Working World - Spencer Van Cise

     Three years in the GIS lab has proven to be a great investment for Spencer Van Cise, a senior who will be graduating in May with a diploma and job offer in hand. The Environmental Studies major from Arcadia, California has secured a full-time position with technology consulting firm Booz Allen Hamilton after completing a summer internship with the company in the summer of 2012.          
     Spencer joined the GIS lab as a sophomore after receiving a tour from Stew Bruce. “As an environmental studies major I was immediately interested in the environmental mapping and analysis that was being done.” Within a short time, Spencer branched out into working with the Crime Mapping Project utilized by Maryland State Police.

  “I am grateful to my experience in the lab working with Stew. Without it I could have never received a summer internship with Booz Allen Hamilton or secured this job. Because of my time in the lab, I have networked with many GIS professionals, as well as developers.”

Friday, February 8, 2013

Meet Mia DeNardi - GIS Analyst II

     Our WC GIS team has grown this winter – not only in skill but in size. Meet Mia DeNardi, a GIS Analyst II who has joined our staff with the hopes of helping students learn about GIS and geography while contributing to meaningful maps for different agencies and organizations.

    “I found out about Washington College through a job posting Stew created. Two summers ago I interned with the National Geographic Society and worked with their Education department writing a report on the state of Geography education in the US. It wasn't until that point that I became interested in geography education and this job description seemed perfect for that new found interest,” said Mia.
      A native from rural northeast Ohio, she graduated with a B.A. in Geography and Urban & Regional Planning from Miami University in 2010. She is careful to note, “This is the original Miami in Oxford, OH - not Florida!” Mia graduated with her M.A. in Geography from Ohio University in June 2012.

Friday, February 1, 2013

GIS in our Classroom: Anthropology

Courtesy of: WC Anthropology Department

     Between AD 800 and AD 1100, the Vikings were a force of expansion from their native Scandinavian homelands eastward to Russia and westward to present day Newfoundland. In my GRW* course about the Vikings, students work with GoogleEarth to develop interactive digital tours that trace the historical, technological, and cultural influences the Vikings had on the nations they encountered across northern Europe and the North Atlantic.
     Each student chooses a different topic area and creates “stops” or points of interest, relating specifically to that topic. Each stop conveys detailed information about the location in a paragraph fashion, rather like an Encyclopedia Brittanica entry, providing accurate, informative, and interesting information that can be easily understood by someone who has not had any exposure to Viking history and culture. 

     The GIS Lab conducts instructional workshops to get the students oriented with GoogleEarth and to answer questions and provide technical assistance as needed, as students invariably run into "snags" as they produce their files. The completed tours can easily be uploaded to the internet for educational purposes. Additionally, many fields that our WC students will move into upon graduation may not require them to write papers or reports but will expect them to communicate their ideas effectively to an audience and to support these ideas with data. GoogleEarth tours provide an innovative alternative avenue for communicating research and analysis.

    *GRW seminars invite students into the scholarly conversation at Washington College by introducing them to the process of academic writing and research. Global Perspectives seminars, a required first-year course, offer students a range of courses that encourage thinking beyond national boundaries.
[From the GRW website:]

-Dr. Julie Markin
Global Perspectives Teaching Fellow

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Student Spotlight: Smaa Koraym

     Each year students come and go through the doors of the GIS lab, but there are the faithful few who invest themselves into the grand vision of the ever-expanding lab and advancing innovative GIS technology. Senior Smaa Koraym has been dedicated in working within the GIS lab since August 2009 of her freshman year.
     “I have been fortunate enough to work here for the last three and a half years. I have been navigating from one project to the next, from mapping health facilities to optimizing WC GIS curriculum PowerPoints,” said Smaa.

      This year Smaa has collaborated her GIS expertise with that of fellow seniors Nich Tremper, Joe DeStefano, and alumna Sam Bulkilvish ’09 on the Maryland Conservation Training website. This website is a group effort between the Maryland Department of Agriculture, Upper Shore Regional Council, Green Earth Connection, WC Center for Environment & Society, and WC GIS lab. Through these websites, individuals have access to information as a resource for learning Best Management Practices on Maryland Farms, an effective and significant resource on Maryland’s eastern shore.