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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Swanstrom 3D project: Google Sketchup of home renovations

     Although our trip was a lot of fun, it eventually came to an end and we returned to Chestertown to prepare for the start of the fall semester. At the beginning of the semester, I was assigned to be project leader of the Swanstrom 3D project. Mrs. Swanstrom is in the process of a full renovation so our project was to create her new home in Google Sketchup, based off her architect’s blueprints.
This was my first time creating the inside of a building in Sketchup which proved to be more challenging, but overall it was fun creating all the furniture and figuring out where to place it.

     In addition to the Swanstron 3D project, I worked on the Four Seasons project for the Queen Anne’s Conservation Association (QACA). The Four Seasons is an approved development in Kent Island that QACA is hoping to prevent. For the project, I digitized parcel data, road lines, and tree points. During this project, I learned how to make a geodatabase, operate ArcCatalog and ArcMap, and how to digitize. This knowledge was useful for my next project, which was creating a map of the ponds at the Swanstrom ranch and a watershed delineation map for Dr. Krahforst’s water quality report for Mrs. Swanstrom.

     I’ve been working at the lab for over 2 years and have always worked on 3D projects in Google Sketchup, but this trip to Idaho and the majority of the projects I worked on this semester allowed me to expand my knowledge of GIS and learn how to use new software.

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