Thursday, August 15, 2013

Local Crime Map of Campus Useful to Many

Alicia DeBonis is a Junior at Washington College and is currently majoring in Sociology. She is from Middletown, DE and is interested in traveling.

     Crime always plays a role in society. It limits where people will choose to live, where one may send their children to school, and the local flow of traffic. These things are also reflected when one thinks about colleges and the amount of crime that can take place on campus. Many incoming students and their parents wouldn’t want to attend a school where there is a high crime rate. Mapping crime reports help show that there is a small density of crime on the Washington College Campus.

Summer at GIS

As students leave for summer, GIS is not as busy as it is during the school year with half of its student workers around. This summer, Melody joined our team and experienced the positive environment in sunny Chestertown.

Melody said: "I was looking for a summer job because I decided to stay in the United Sates for the duration of summer and I was too excited to get a reply from Stew Bruce for a tour and an interview. I have never heard of GIS before, I only knew it because my other boss Kate McCleary recommended it to me and a couple of my friends worked there. I did not have a clue what GIS was except that it was related to maps".

After a tour, Stew offered Melody a position on the social media and marketing team because of her previous experience in that field. Currently Melody is managing marketing and advertising for GIS and its clients, the MapStory Foundation and the Upper Shore Harvest Directory.

She mentioned: "Now that summer is about to end, I realized that I learned a huge deal from my experience here at GIS, I learned how to work directly with businesses, how to manage working on many projects and getting them professionally done, and I also learned many tricks and skills that I applied to social media for GIS and our other customers". Melody went on a DC work conference and met with MapStory, she also met with the Upper Shore Regional Council in Chestertown. She said: "This taught me how to be a better person at what I do and improved my long term objectives, especially with social media as this is one of my many experiences in this field. I am truly thankful to have had this opportunity to spend my summer here".

Helping the UN with Ground Water Improvement in Darfur

Ground Water Improvement in Darfur, Sudan

As the Sudanese region, Darfur, continues to recover from genocidal tragedies, its people must cope with the land’s limited ground water resources. Mohamed Ali, a Darfuri worker for United Nations-African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) had been tasked with assessing the ground water situation of an area of interest within the region.  This assessment was to be done using Geographic Information System (GIS) methods, but with little experience and technological access, Mohamed turned to the Washington College GIS program for help.

After taking Stewart Bruce’s free online classes via , Mohamed contacted Mr. Bruce for direct assistance on the project.  As this project would open up the GIS program to a new international level, it was accepted with excitement.  Students including Melody Qanadilo, Kelley Holocker, and upcoming freshman Daniel Ortiz all contributed to the early stages in the project’s development. Their progress can be seen on the beta interactive webpage, made by Thomas Fish.  The team, led by Brad Janocha, will ultimately use remote sensing and contemporary imagery to develop GIS solutions to ground water scarcity in the region.

The Darfur project has created a link between the Washington College GIS lab and the international community; by reaching out to people in need, the significance of this program will continue to grow.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

History in the Making

     When Jackelyn Gitlin, first came to Washington College she did not know anything about GIS. However, she had a few friends who worked at the Lab, and their positive experiences prompted her to respond to an e-mail calling for interns with experience working with Photoshop. Since then, this history major and co-President of the Washington College Historical Society has had the opportunity to work with local organizations pursuing her passion for history.

      Jackelyn has worked with the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum of St. Michaels, where she used Photoshop to clean up a cracked and stained map from the 1880’s. She says that the image editing software allowed her to “bring the map back to life.” She has also used Photoshop to colorize old photographs of Chestertown from 1927, and photographs of the Washington College campus from the 1960’s. Right now she is colorizing an old sketch of Baltimore.