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.

      This project is not only part of Rocio’s work as an intern in the GIS lab, but it is also part of her course work for one of her classes. This spring Rocio was enrolled in the Intermediate GIS course taught by GIS Director Stew Bruce on the Washington College campus. Rocio usually does work involving crime mapping as part of her work as an intern, but because this project was part of her academic work she needed a project that did not require secure information and could be worked on outside of the lab.

     Rocio took the Introduction to GIS course last year because she wanted to learn what GIS was all about. After taking that course, she was offered an internship position at the WC GIS lab. Rocio believes that this is a great opportunity for her and an excellent resume builder. “This is probably the best internship I have on my resume right now, and it can help me in the future even in the field of science.”

      At the end of the semester Rocio is going to put together a PowerPoint presentation explaining how she gathered all of the information and assembled the project. This PowerPoint will be given to the Chestertown Fire Department and will assist them in knowing where the nearest fire hydrant is in case of an emergency.

-By Rachel Puglia

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