Summer of Maps is Heating Up

Summer of Maps is Heating Up

Our inaugural Summer of Maps Fellowship is well underway and the students are busy working on their projects.

Angela Sakrison, a University of Pennsylvania Master of Environmental Studies major, is working on two projects.  For the Stroud Water Research Center, Angela is combining stream survey and detailed LIDAR data in the White Clay Creek watershed of Chester County, PA.  She has developed a workflow for combining the data using just a sample, and is now working on data for the entire watershed.  Furthermore, Angela has converted Stroud’s vast point datasets into more useful vector and raster data for analysis. Using these newly created datasets, she is currently developing a method of defining stream banks in a GIS.  She has also begun troubleshooting potential ways to identify large woody debris and rocks in the stream from the LIDAR point cloud. 

Angela is also working with the Audubon Society of Pennsylvania to better understand the nature of bird collisions in Center City Philadelphia.  Armed with a dataset of nearly 600 recorded bird collision deaths since 2008, she first geocoded the locations and is now beginning to overlay other spatial data – such as green roofs and vegetation, to figure out why bird deaths may be occurring in relation to other features.  In addition, she is collecting and analyzing some qualitative data about the built environment to use in this potentially ground-breaking study.

Nse Umoh Esema, a MIT Master of City Planning graduate, has been working with the Campaign for Working Families (CWF), a nonprofit offers tax preparation assistance to low-income families.  CWF provided Nse with information about the clients they served in the 2012 tax season.  Nse’s tasks are twofold: the first is to help CWF communicate the impact of their services.  The second is to spatially analyze important indicators about their client base in relation to the location of CWF’s current tax sites in order to make recommendations about how the non-profit might strengthen their tax preparation assistance.  For the first phase of the project, Nse geocoded the client locations and prepared maps that show the total clients and amount of tax credit received by state legislative and city council district in southeastern Pennsylvania.  This will greatly aid CWF in their effort to advocate for additional public funding.  In addition, Nse mapped each of CWF’s 15 service centers and their respective clients.  These maps will be used internally by the CWF to better understand where their clients are coming from and inform decision making around how they can most efficiently use their limited resources.

Nse and Angela have also become an integral part of the spatial analysis team participating in daily “scrums” and staff meetings.  We can’t wait to share the results of their hard work at the end of the summer.