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Students

CSU students selected to present at international Esri GIS Conference

July 22, 2013
By Bryony Wardell

Two Colorado State University students were selected to attend and present at the Esri Education GIS and International Users Conferences held in San Diego, Cali. July 9 -12.

Preliminary model of predicted wetlands in the Cache La Poudre watershed Chignell helped produce as part of the NASA DEVELOP team.Students Steve Chignell and Emma Giles were selected for their work as interns with CSU’s Geospatial Centroid, which is a research and resource center of the Warner College of Natural Resources that is dedicated to advancing geospatial science, education and collaboration at CSU. 

Prestigious international event

“It is such an honor to have two of our interns represent CSU at this prestigious international event,” said Sophia Linn, assistant director of the Geospatial Centroid. “Emma and Steve continue to do great work, and are helping to advance research and education in their areas of study through the integration of geospatial technologies.”

Chignell is a watershed science master’s student in CSU’s Department of Ecosystem Science and Sustainability, and was one of five students selected by Esri as a "GIS Student Success Story" through his video entry for the award. Chignell Chignell conducting field work in Fraser Experimental Forest, Colo. presented during the plenary session about how his experiences with the Geospatial Centroid, NASA DEVELOP program and graduate studies have advanced his GIS education and made a difference in his life and future career goals.

In-depth, hands-on experience

During his internship with the Geospatial Centroid, Chignell worked closely with Professor Melinda Laituri and Research Associate Linn to create and design a comprehensive spatial database for the Fraser Experimental Forest located in the central Rocky Mountains in Colorado. The project provided in-depth, hands-on experience for Chignell and advanced his scientific data and computer science skill set. He also helped develop a series of historic maps for a biography on Zebulon Pike, authored by Department of History Professor Jared Orsi.

Emma Giles is a senior majoring in wildlife biology with a minor in spatial information management systems. She was selected to present her GIS work at the Esri Education Conference, highlighting her project with the Geospatial Centroid and its Emma Giles working on her geospatial mapping projects. partnership with TILT (The Institute for Learning and Teaching) to introduce spatial thinking and geospatial technologies into courses across campus.

“Incorporating these technologies in education enables students to visualize and analyze real-world, location-based data from disparate disciplines and helps them to see patterns, ask questions, and analyze data in creative and innovative ways,” said Melinda Laituri, director of the Geospatial Centroid. 

Mapping mosquitos

Giles’ project involved mapping mosquito species distribution and West Nile Virus outbreak intensity across Fort Collins using data collected by CSU Microbiology Professor Chet Moore over the past 10 years. Using GIS, Giles was able to transform the fixed data records into visual representations that illustrated spatial patterns and trends within the data. Giles converted her work into an educational interface program that was integrated into MIP300 General Microbiology course - giving students a greater understanding of the spatial components of epidemiology and also allowing them to play with the data, and relate to it spatially on a local level.

Fort Collins Mosquito Species Distribution Map with Water Layer Overlaid.“I have been working very hard on this project and it honestly feels great to show it to as much of the world as I possibly can,” said Giles.

The Geospatial Centroid offers training workshops, a listserv, GIS and cartographic services for both on- and off-campus clients, a help desk, and an internship program for CSU students.   

Internship program

“One of the important focuses of the Centroid has been developing our internship program that provides students with hands-on, real world experience in one of the top employment sectors - GIS,” said Laituri.

The Geospatial Centroid is supported by CSU Libraries, TILT, the Warner College of Natural Resources, and payment for services.

For more information, visit http://gis.colostate.edu.