|Saint Mary’s GIS Update
By John D. Ebert, Saint Mary's University of Minnesota
GIS Development for Education Program Planning
The Department of Resource Analysis and GeoSpatial Services (GSS) is working with the School of Education in developing cohort planning and evaluation maps using GIS technology. GIS is being used to organize information on program locations, cohort size, and spatial relationships between all campus locations serving education programs with the Schools of Graduate and Professional Programs. Education staff and learners are working on developing new data criteria to make higher order maps to aid in more complex decision-making and planning. RA learners are spearheading the data development and find the opportunity and experience to work and learn on projects that benefit the university very rewarding.
Rebecca Hopkins, Dean of the School of Education, comments, “The Graduate School of Education is very excited about the collaborative work with the Geographic Information Science program. Maps have been created of all our current and prospective cohort sites across the state of Minnesota and in Wisconsin. We have already begun discussing many other exciting possibilities for utilizing the GIS capabilities, both schoolwide and program-specific. This is an amazing resource for our university.”
A grant proposal submitted by Greta Bernatz, a graduate student in the Geographic Information Science program, was selected for funding by the North Central Region Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Administrative Council.
The project, Using Geographic Information Systems and the Internet to Facilitate a Local Food Distribution System, aims to implement a system that uses the internet to sell local produce. Geographic information systems will be used to calculate efficient pick-up and home delivery routes as well as analyze the effectiveness of the project. A local food economy reduces the energy needed for transportation and can increase awareness of local farming practices. By addressing issues of customer choice, convenience, and efficiency, the project will test a food distribution model that will potentially increase participation in a local food economy.