Wednesday, November 28, 2012
Friday, November 16, 2012
Always check your email, you never know - it may lead to a new job. Sophomore Stephanie Hallinan began her internship with GIS because of an email of opportunities in the lab sent over the summer.
“I had never heard of GIS before, but after going through the site it seemed like a really interesting and challenging place to work that would offer more than simply manning a desk for several hours. I wanted something that would be new and challenging, but would offer me skills I could use later on, and would hopefully open some doors when looking for employment after college. I realize GIS offers all of this and more.”
Wednesday, November 14, 2012
“A lot of my friends in college were upperclassmen and they had all taken GIS classes and were interning with the GIS lab. I got to see all the cool projects they were working on and they encouraged me to sign up for GIS in the fall semester of my junior year. I continued as an intern throughout junior year, that summer, and my senior year.” said Bulkilvish.
Monday, November 12, 2012
An anthropology major from Frederick, Md., Perkins will graduate with diploma and job offer in hand. As a leading intern in the lab since freshman year, she completed a summer internship with technology consulting firm Booz Allen Hamilton and returned to campus with assurances that a full-time position would await her following graduation in May. Stew Bruce’s connection to Booz Allen Hamilton principal Susan Kalweit, who serves with him on the U.S. Geospatial Intelligence Foundation Academic Advisory Board, helped Perkins land the internship.
Friday, November 9, 2012
It’s been said that a single class can change your life. Now a junior at WC, Jeff Sullivan now holds an intern position in the GIS lab, a job that would not have been possible without taking the Intro. to GIS.
“I really enjoyed the skills I learned in this class and when a position became available in the lab, I was able to snag a job with crime mapping,” said Sullivan.
Wednesday, October 31, 2012
Now in her second year as a GIS intern, Hughes has heavily invested in learning the Google SketchUp technology that WC GIS has relied on to create realistic 3D visualizations of the world around us. Recreations have been made of current architecture and those of the past with the much appreciated funding of the Maryland Historical Trust.
As a member of the Easton 3D project team, Hughes worked collaboratively with other interns and the Town of Easton to create 3D streetscapes of certain areas of town where future development may occur.
Wednesday, October 24, 2012
Friday, October 5, 2012
Monday, October 1, 2012
Don’t know a thing about Geographic Information Systems? Neither did Susanna Comfort. But she says: “You shouldn’t let that stop you from joining the GIS Lab team at Washington College.”
A freshman from Denton, MD she plans to pursue a major in Political Science and Economics. This being her first year with GIS, she was roped in out of curiosity. Only 5 weeks into the academic year, Comfort is amazed at her experiences with the technology.
Monday, September 24, 2012
Have you ever wanted to learn how to perform 3D sketches, but figured the software would cost too much or the classes would be outrageously expensive? Unfortunately, this is usually the case for most people. Jessica O’Brien has discovered that this is not so at Washington College.
“The best thing about the software we use is that it’s available for free - anybody who wanted to sit down and learn could. That surprises a lot of people. When you tell someone you are modeling a building virtually in 3D, then placing it into a gaming platform, they automatically think programs which cost big bucks, but that's not the case,” said O’Brien.
Saturday, September 22, 2012
Wednesday, September 19, 2012
At a liberal arts college, it is encouraged that students think outside the box, take risks, and dive into new areas of interest. It is easy to become involved in clubs and courses that you would not normally consider, in fact, it is the college’s strength. Junior Sam Margolis did just this.
“Freshman year of college I randomly decided to take the Intro to GIS Course, not entirely sure of what it was about. The first few weeks I honestly considered dropping out, thinking that it was not for me. Luckily I stuck with it and within a semester I had a job in the GIS lab doing crime mapping and analysis.”
Monday, September 17, 2012
Technology Scholar and Businessman to Present Insight on Commercial Technology in the Realm of the U.S. Intelligence Community
|Photo Courtesy of USGIF Website|
Wednesday, September 12, 2012
Gillis got her start in GIS by working on curriculum development. In time she harbored an interest in many aspects of Geospatial Data Technology. Upon graduation in 2009, she worked for one year as a full time staff member of the GIS Lab before pursuing her Master of Science degree in GIS Management from Salisbury University. Viewed distinctly as someone obviously well – trained in GIS skills, she landed her current position as a Geospatial Intelligence Analyst at Man Tech International in July 2011.
“I saw a need for higher education in GIS and actually finished my last semester’s final exams the first week of my position at Man Tech.”
Monday, September 10, 2012
Cara Murray is just one of many students benefiting and learning through WC GIS. Not only are these students learning, but they are giving back to the community through their work. Serving as an example to other colleges and universities, WC GIS has made great strides in engaging students in effective research projects.
A project known as the “Queen Anne’s Development Project,” was Murray’s first big project – mapping where hypothetical subdivisions in Queen Anne’s County were created to analyze the effect further development would have on the amount of prime farmland.
Thursday, September 6, 2012
Tuesday, September 4, 2012
Friday, August 17, 2012
Friday, August 3, 2012
For the summer program this year, Devin Hayward ‘14 worked with the crime pod. They worked on mapping different types of crimes and teaching the kids how to create their own maps. They used their creativity to choose the style of map they created. It was pretty interesting to see their take on how a map should be designed. The kids also got the chance to go to Prince George’s County to see the police force, including the canine unit and motorcycle unit.
The 3D virtual world pod, along with Olivia Hughes ’15, spent their week recreating the Pluckemin Artillery Cantonment, a New Jersey historic military site. The campers explored the three dimensional modeling world using programs such as Autodesk 3DS Max and Google Sketchup. When the historic military barracks were modeled in 3D, the campers experimented with animating their models using a gaming interface, Unity. Using Unity, the campers were able to create realistic terrain for the 3D world and walk through the historic site.
The river exploration pod went out on the research vessel Callinectes with CES Associate Director Doug Levin. In the process, they used several different forms of water testing and exploration technology. The river group used side-scan sonar to map the bottom of the river, as well as a Ponar grab sampler, a piece of equipment used to pull up layers of sediment from the river bottom. They also built their own observation buoys out of PVC pipe, connectors, Frisbees, and plastic cable ties, and attached temperature probes to their buoys to measure differences between air temperature and water temperature. Finally, they built their own Aquabotz, remotely operated vehicles used for underwater exploration.
Wednesday, July 18, 2012
The first part of the office to be converted was the back storage room. Shortly after graduation, work commenced to consolidate storage, prepare and paint the walls, add electrical outlets and network outlets, install a drop ceiling, and lay new carpeting. Just to make things even more interesting and chaotic, we also installed a 12000 BTU air conditioning unit and a backup generator for our server room.
With 22 students working at the lab over the summer, even that wasn’t enough. More recently, we converted what was once our conference room into another student work area. The lab continues to hire more students, but the only space left in our new office is the kitchen! How will we have enough work stations in the fall? Acquire more space, of course!
We’ve just begun expanding into the space next door to our existing office by signing a month to month lease to rent an additional 440 square feet. On July 13th we met some great folks at an undisclosed Maryland State agency about a new $200,000 grant that will require additional space acquisitions. Thanks to that grant (if we really get it), in addition to new space we just signed a lease on, we will need to house two more staff and eight students. We also have plans to create an employee lounge where students (and hey, staff too) can take their lunch breaks. And to be clear, no grant funds can be spent on the employee lounge though. The extra space will also give student employees more flexibility in choosing their work schedules once the academic year begins.
Student opinions of the new space are very positive. For most, the extra room more than makes up for the minor inconvenience of having to leave campus for work. Luis Machado ’13, who worked for the lab when we were still in Goldstein Hall, says, “The new office is a lot bigger. There’s a lot more space to get work done.”
Steve McFall ’16 wasn’t here to see the old office, but he likes the new one. “I’m excited to see how the expansion goes. I think it will give us plenty of room for everyone in the fall,” he says.
Erin Cooper ’14 likes the new office for a different reason. “I like that the new office is so open,” she says. “I think it’s good for everyone to be working together in the same place. It’s really helpful to have a bunch of coworkers around to get advice from if I run into problems with a project.”
We’re all really excited to see what the space will look like in a few months as we continue to grow and we will take pictures of the newest proposed space before we move as the that new space will have to be totally gutted before we move in. According to Stewart Bruce, GIS Program Coordinator, “I didn’t think we would so quickly fill up this space but at the rate we are going who knows what space we will need two years from now?”
Thursday, July 5, 2012
The GIS program has undertaken a project to map the stormwater system of the town of Easton Maryland. Initially the focus will be on the portions of the system in the Tanyard Branch Watershed. The Easton storm water team consists of Sam Stanton, heading up the project, Joe Miloshevsky, the student leading the field team and Luis Machado. The goal of the project is to map surface features using GPS and inspect and document accessible subsurface features. Data collected in the field will then be used to “connect the dots” to develop a comprehensive digital representation of the stormwater network. Easton, being a large old town, possesses a stormwater system that is made up of a widely varying collection of structures, which presents a unique challenge. The field team has thus far encountered everything from small hand laid brick structures to modern day precast concrete structures large enough to house a compact car. The system is actually a combination of multiple types of stormwater features from several eras and is much more complex than it first appears.
The system contains more than 1,300 manholes and almost 1,200 Inlets which will be mapped and analyzed. A GPS point is being taken for each feature using a Topcon GR-3 receiver and Topcon FC-250 Field Controller. This equipment has the capability to collect points with accuracies greater than 1 cm horizontal and 2 cm vertical. The team also inspects and documents the surface inlets, the pit itself, and any pipes leading to and from the feature. Measurements are taken for inlets and outlets utilizing 17 and 25 foot Crain measuring rods outfitted with a Pipe Mic. These measurements are taken relative to the rim elevation, as determined by the GPS measurement, and will then be used to calculate the invert elevations.
With these instruments and the ArcGIS mapping program, the team expects to construct a map of the storm water system during the course of the summer. CAD files of the stormwater system were provided by the town of Easton, and while not entirely accurate it has thus far served as a valuable reference. With this as a reference, and the team’s combined brain power, the expectation is to map and document the town’s stormwater system and gain a better understanding of how water moves through that system especially in urban areas, which is essential to understanding the Tanyard Branch Watershed.
This project is an excellent example of how the GIS lab is providing our students experiential learning opportunities using real world projects. Training for the field team on the Topcon GR-3 was conducted by Lukas Duruttya from DiCarlo Precision Instrument and this training is being used by the project team to develop in-house training materials for all of our student apprentices. During the summer all twenty students working in the lab will get a chance to spend a day in the field learning how to use this equipment and therefore advance their understanding of precision GPS.
Wednesday, June 27, 2012
by Katherine Wares and Cara Murray
This past Thursday, we had the opportunity to assist on a field trip to map out contamination in the Chester River sediments and resident benthic organisms with Washington College Professor Dr. Kehm and CES Fellow Dr. Krahforst. We cruised down the Chester River using a NOAA chart and a hand-held GPS to guide us and record our collection sites which, for today, were in the Langford Creek area. (See circled area on the chart below.)
Before reaching our destination we stopped at an outcrop along the banks of the Chester River to see a fascinating outcrop of what we think is the Columbia aquifer. What was particularly interesting about this site is the groundwater discharge between bottom of this outcrop and a thick clay layer visibly entering the Chester. Afterwards, we reached the Langford Creek area and meandered up its various reaches, taking sediment grabs from as far up the various creeks as our boat would take us. At each stop we recorded the coordinates of the site and time of the grab and any important observations of the area as well as any significant characteristics of the sediment sample. After a successful grab we collected samples of the surface layer of the sediment (< 2 cm) as well as any organisms found in the grab. We encounter a number of schooling fish (either spot or menhaden, we think) in the shallow reaches of the upper creeks and some ctenophores (cone jellyfish) that got trapped in our “sediment grab” (which is called a Ponar Grab) in the lower reaches of Langford Creek.
During our trip we managed to see a lot of the wildlife the Chester River area has to offer including ospreys, a bald eagle, and blue herons. While at times we almost got stuck in the mud due to low tide, and some of us lacked the knack for getting a proper Ponar grab, we finished our journey with thirty-two more sediment samples to the cause and some great stories.
Thursday, March 22, 2012
1.Jacob Trimmer is interning at York County Planning Commission in the transportation department. Jacob is working on location of all the bridges in York County. When Jacob is not interning at YCPC he is interning at Dover Area School District Transportation department working on all the new elementary boundary lines. Jacob is working with Will Clark at the YCPC.
2. Travis Browning is interning at York County Planning Commission in the Transportation department. Travis is working on digitizing all new development sidewalks in York County. He is also working with Will Clark from the YCPC. Travis internship is for 15 hrs. a week.
3. Drew Hufnagle is interning at York County Planning Commission with their Chief information systems staff person Wade Gobrecht. Drew is working on a verity of different project that need to be done in timely fashion.
4. Mathew Ferry is interning at York County Control 911. Matt is working on mapping all fire hydrants in York county and also fixing existing fire box maps for the entire county. Matt is working with Kim Holtzapple.
5. Tyler Zerbe is interning at Dover Twp GIS Department. Tyler is working currently working on a Chapter 94 project that entails mapping all sewer lines that have been fixed in the township in the past year. Tyler is working with Nathan Stone.
6. Brandon Smith is interning with DCNR at Gifford Pinchot State Park. Brandon is locating and providing GPS points on all nesting boxes in the park. He is also doing the same thing with all the park benches. Brandon is working with Bob Deffner and George Facer. George is the Park Manager/ Program Specialist - GIS specialist for DCNR. Bob is the Park Manager at Gifford Pinchot state park.
Tuesday, March 20, 2012
Washington College GIS and the Maryland State Police: Analyzing Traffic Accidents through Collaboration
Once the data is divided appropriately maps are created for each barrack which show all accidents, impaired driving accidents, and aggressive driving accidents. These maps are then used to create Hot Spot maps for each of the three categories, which visually demonstrate areas of statistically high crash density. Other maps are created that focus on each hotspot individually in order to show exact locations of crash occurrence. Further analysis is then performed which breaks crashes down by time of day, and by day of the week.
Such an analysis allows the State Police to make best use of their limited resource by deploying them to areas of greatest need, as designated by the hot spots. Further use of the day and time data allows for further manipulation of resource allotment and use, while the classification of crashes into impaired and aggressive enables use of this data by tasks forces, such as the Governor’s Task Force on Drunk Driving to target enforcement and to educate law enforcement on areas of high concentrations of these types of accidents.
Saturday, March 10, 2012
The goal of the project was to not only help the Maryland State Police, but all law enforcement in Maryland. The majority of irrigation systems are located on the Eastern Shore of Maryland where the land is flat and agriculture is a large industry. With the help of the State Police, CMAP was able to obtain the approximate location of every irrigation system that operated last summer. CMAP then produced a map tailored to each county in the State to help law enforcement understand where at risk systems were in their own jurisdiction. The map was then added to a bulletin that was disseminated to law enforcement.
In addition to the completed analysis, Washington College students are being engaged to enhance the accuracy of the irrigation data. While the location of irrigation systems that operated last summer was extremely valuable it does not include all systems, and the size of the system and the spatial location is often off by as much as a 1/2mile. Students are using high resolution ortho-imagery to add any irrigation system that were missed and attribute all irrigation systems with information about their size. Once this process in complete other students will be able to use actual data on where irrigation thefts have occurred to analyze and determine if there are any factors that may make an irrigation system more prone to theft.
Tuesday, February 28, 2012
Hunter has long standing ties to the college. His grandfather and father were both Washington College graduates and his family are 6th generation residents of Kent County, Maryland - newcomers, so to speak, for long term Eastern Shore residents. We have been involved with Hunter for years now and strongly support his concerns over the environmental degradation of the Chesapeake Bay. His exhibit “The Bay From Above” was recently featured at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum showing early aerial images and present day aerial images of various locations around the Chesapeake Bay.
In his new role as a research associate, he will act as a mentor to several students including Michael Baker, Gavin Townsend, and Caitlyn Riehl in the GIS lab. In exchange, our students will help his company enter a new age of digital products, social media, and web marketing. Stay tuned because there is going to be some really revolutionary products coming out of our association with Hunter and the dedicated hard work of our students.
Find out more about Hunter's work in this video:
Tuesday, February 21, 2012
I recently read an article by David DiBiase in the Fall 2009 online digital copy of Cartographic Perspectives: Journal of the North American Cartographic Information Society, called “Freeing CP: GIS&T and NACIS in the Open Educational Resources Movement.” Check out this website and scroll down the page to read the article yourself: http://www.nacis.org/index.cfm?x=5.
This really got me wondering what we are doing with our online geospatial curriculum on our http://geoworkshops.org site. For many years now I have offered this curriculum free to any K-12 school that wants it since we developed these materials with local, state, and federal grant money - but I want to take it a little bit further now.
As we update our materials to ArcGIS 10, I have started posting my new lectures to YouTube under our GIS3wcGetIt account and will also be posting them to Teacher Tube and Itunes University as some schools block access to YouTube. You can view our growing YouTube collection for our GT-101 course by going to this LINK. We will allow immediate guest access to our older six courses on ArcGIS 9.3 and as we update and improve our materials for ArcGIS 10, we will also permit guest access to these courses as well. All of our materials are posted using the Creative Commons Attribution license and use is restricted to non-commercial use.
Over the next few months we will be creating a share site where you will be able to download all of the materials we used to make these courses. We encourage people to use these, and if you think you can improve our materials, we welcome the help and hope you send the improvements back to us. We will put credits on the materials whenever someone helps us in this way. By giving the original source materials out this will be easy to do.
Now you may wonder how we will sustain this or make any money if we give all of our materials away. Well we do have existing training contracts to supply training to a number of groups at costs that are way below market value for professional development GIS courses. These students will be able to upload assignments for comment and helpful suggestions from our qualified staff who use GIS every day in their work. Our paying students will also be able to consult us for help with the lessons and any other GIS question they have via email, phone, and interactive web meetings using software such as Adobe Connect. And when they finish the course, they will receive formal documentation of their accomplishments that they can use to further their careers and for certification purposes where continuing education must be documented. I think we will make out just fine and feel good about it too.
If you agree, liking us on our Facebook account would be helpful.
Written by Stewart Bruce, GIS Program Coordinator at Washington College
Tuesday, February 14, 2012
On February 22nd, 2012 Washington College will be playing host to an exciting event for the celebration of its namesake’s birthday. At 5:00 PM in the Gibson Center for the Arts’ Decker Theatre, Mr. Edward Redmond, Senior Reference Specialist and Curator in the Library of Congress, Geography and Maps Division, will be giving his lecture on the maps of George Washington. Mr. Redmond is not only an internationally recognized authority on George Washington’s maps but prior to his work with the Library of Congress he taught Early American History at West Chester University and is now working on an atlas of George Washington’s maps. With such a noteworthy authority, this lecture is sure to be nothing but eye opening and informative. Mapping the Past: The Surveys of George Washington is hosted by the Center of Environment and Society of Washington College, the Geographic Information Systems Laboratory, and the GRW Program. A number of paintings of George Washington as a surveyor can be found here.
In conjunction with Mr. Redmond’s lecture, an exhibit of approximately ten of George Washington’s maps will be on display in the William Frank Visual Arts Hallway of the Gibson Center for the Arts. This exhibit will available for viewing from February 18th- 26th, 2012. The maps that will be displayed range in years from 1748 to 1793 and are all maps that Washington himself drew, from one of his first maps, or Lawrence Washington’s turnip garden at Mount Vernon, to land surveys and a few maps depicting his estate at Mount Vernon. Accompanying each of the maps will be a short description of the map as well as a locator map to give the viewer a better understanding of the location of the area.
Can’t make the lecture? Don’t fret! In making the effort to make this wonderful lecture available to a broad audience, the entire lecture will be streamed live online through a webcast at http://live.washcoll.edu, which is provided by the Office of Information Technologies at Washington College. The program will begin at approximately 4:50 PM on February 22nd, 2012. By making this lecture available to the public and online, we hope that Mr. Redmond’s lecture will be an enjoyable experience for all.
Monday, February 6, 2012
The Washington College GIS Program Provides Mapping and Data Services to Maryland Health Resource Centers
In partnership with the Maryland Community Health Resources Commission, the GIS program has been working for the past year and a half to provide in-depth mapping services and data analysis to federally qualified health centers and other health care providers in the state of Maryland. Many of these health care providers focus on low-income, uninsured, and other high-risk populations. By combining demographic analysis, patient data, and spatial analysis, GIS can help community health resources target the people most in need of their services more effectively.
Click Image to Enlarge: