Thursday, March 22, 2012

Dover Area High School Students Work in the Community

The Dover Area High School Geospatial Technology Program (located in York County, Pennsylvania) is one of the high schools that is using our free curriculum found at geoworkshops.org to teach their high school students geospatial technology. Chuck Benton is their teacher and also in charge of the program. One thing that is very cool is that these stduents are actively working in the community. Chuck has 6 seniors out on GIS internships and this is what they are doing this semester.

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

Washington College GIS has formed a partnership with the Maryland State Police, with the assistance of data provided by the State Highway Administration, to analyze traffic accidents statewide through density mapping. This is performed by collecting all traffic accident data for the entire state of Maryland, and dividing this data into the 22 Maryland State Police Barrack Districts. The study area for each barrack includes crashes on interstates, US highways and state highways, but excludes municipalities, where other police agencies have jurisdiction. Within barrack boundaries the data is again separated by all accidents, impaired accidents, and aggressive driving accidents. For the purposes of data classification an accident is considered impaired if the driver was found to be under the influence of drugs, alcohol or a combination of the two. Accidents with aggressive driving are defined by the cause of the accident which is designated in the police report.

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

Crime Analysis and Mapping - Pivot Irrigation Systems

Recently the Crime Mapping and Analysis Program (CMAP) at Washington College completed an analysis of farm irrigation systems in Maryland. The analysis was performed at the request of the Maryland State Police. You may be wondering what is so valuable on an irrigation system, the answer is metal. Most people have heard in the news of vandals going into abandoned houses and stealing metal pipes, wires and downspouts to sell as scrap metal. Irrigation systems like homes are made of metal and use wire to power their movement around the field. Repairing an irrigation system after a theft can cost as much as $10,000 depending on the size of the system.

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.