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.