Friday, November 4, 2011

FIRST-HAND PERSPECTIVE OF WASHINGTON COLLEGE GIS PROGRAM’S WORK WITH THE NATIONAL GEOSPATIAL-INTELLIGENCE AGENCY (NGA)

I am currently a member of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency’s (NGA) Pilot Internship program. Along with the other members of the internship program, I am working with open source data to collect current and future information about Peru, specifically the country’s energy usage. This means that I am collecting information through avenues that everyone can now access due to search engines such as Google which has streamlined the search for information on the internet. Google has also enabled users to remove language barriers by converting webpages in different languages via Google Translator. The search doesn’t stop there though - we are utilizing print sources, social media and satellite imagery to complete our reports.

The objective of the internship is to provide the NGA with sufficient anticipatory data on a fringe country such as Peru. As a result of less civil strife or damage from extreme weather than other countries might experience, Peru is currently not a big player in the news; thus, the NGA has not prioritized Peru. With the whole world to cover, the NGA focuses on countries in war time and those that have been devastated by extreme weather conditions. By providing anticipatory data on Peru we are hopefully giving a substantial foundation of knowledge to NGA about the country, which will help the agency should Peru suddenly become a priority.

The objective of the internship is broad so the program is broken up into three groups all covering different topics: 1) demographics, 2) water usage and, 3) energy usage, with my specific topic being the energy usage. To provide a good basis for the NGA we are exploring many aspects of energy. These subjects range from the analysis of macro level questioning regarding Peru’s overall energy usage, energy import and export, usage of alternative energies and fossil fuels to a more micro level of analysis seeing if different regions contribute dissimilar levels of pollution, and how many citizens drive cars contributing to gas emissions. To aid in the presentation of this information I am utilizing ArcGIS 10 software to create maps of Peru’s energy grid. This map will include the electrical grid and power stations that contribute to Peru’s total amount of available energy.

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Written by Cara Murray.

Cara is a sophomore from Frederick, MD majoring in Environmental Studies. She enjoys participating in every aspect of WC Theater, volunteering with the Service Council and going to shore clean-ups with SEA. This is her second year working for GIS.

Meet more of our Interns: http://gis.washcoll.edu/interns.php

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