News Update: End of Fall 2013 Semester

Somehow, the Fall 2013 semester is already drawing to a close. The past few weeks have been a whirlwind of student projects and preparations for some exciting things coming in 2014.

Several classes this semester had major final projects that involved spatial data and GIS analysis. First, of course, the final projects for the Introductory GIS class were excellent as always. The projects ranged from comparing the location of Syrian conflict sites with cultural heritage artifacts, to analyzing the distribution of Hurricane Sandy damage and FEMA funding in New Jersey, to local questions of biogeochemical cycling in Avery Brook. The students this year embraced the challenge to investigate a “spatial question,” combining raster and vector analysis techniques and drawing data from numerous government, non-profit, international, and academic data sources. We hope to have a gallery of some of the final projects to share with you in the new year!

The Intro GIS students weren’t the only ones putting in long hours in the Spatial Analysis Lab in November and December. Students from the Data Science, Natural Hazards, Groundwater Geology, and Environmental Science & Policy Capstone courses could be witnessed clicking away in ArcGIS (and occasionally re-starting their computers in frustration). We were impressed with the variety of GIS techniques and applications used in independent student work this semester!

In addition to student coursework, we have excellent student employees in the Spatial Analysis Lab who have achieved a lot this semester. The SAL student interns have been working on projects ranging from developing an interactive campus sustainability map using an ESRI StoryMaps Template, to artistically envisioning a “subway map” of Smith Campus that we hope to unveil in 2014, to coding an app that provides a geo-aware look at the many events and lectures taking place at Smith each day, to developing a website to make it easier to locate and showcase our Botanical Garden and Facilities online maps. We are lucky to have such excellent student employees, and they really went above and beyond this semester.

We also finished our Fall Workshop Series with a Cartography workshop and a Spatial Statistics workshop. Both workshops went off without a hiccup, and the results are showing. Some of the Cartography tricks and tips are evident in the student final projects, and we have already spied some Spatial Statistical methods in use by attendees.

And last but certainly not least, we are excited to announce that the Post-Bac fellowship will continue into the 2014-2015 school year, which means we’re hiring! For more information, check out the Post-Bac Fellowship page and the associated links.

Happy, Mappy Holidays from the Smith Spatial Analysis Lab!

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