This Is What Happens When GIS Students And Non-Profits Team Up

Azavea, the Philadelphia-based mapping company, recently concluded the fifth edition of their yearly fellowship program, “Summer of Maps.” The three-month fellowship connected GIS analyst students with local and national non-profit organizations to create geospatial data visualizations for the companies.

The 2016 program featured Carlos Bonilla (Temple University), Annaka Scheeres (Calvin College), and Parker Ziegler (Middlebury College). During their fellowship, the students were overseen by Azavea employees, who acted as their mentors, as they worked with six nonprofits to create various projects.

“This year it got to a new level with regards to interactive web mapping,” said Dan Ford, the Azavea Community Ambassador. According to Ford, the students completed the entire process themselves, with some direction from the mentors and the organizations. “They’re given a very difficult task that’s comparable to real-world work and all the fellows this year really met and even exceeded expectations.”

1. Philly Crashes From 2010-2015
Carlos Bonilla worked with the Bicycle Coalition of Philadelphia to create an impressive data visualization of all the crashes in Philadelphia from 2010 to 2015. The data uncovered that a neighborhood in North Philadelphia had the highest overall crash density and also had above average values for poverty and carless households compared to other neighborhoods. Check out the interactive here and here.

Philly Bike Crash Data Visualization

2. Impact of The Food Trust Network in Philly
Bonilla worked with The Food Trust for his second project to measure the influence of the organization’s program across Philadelphia. The data compiled was for the company’s internal use and is not available to the public.

The Food Trust Data Visualization

3. Vulnerability In The Border Regions Of Liberia
Annaka Scheeres partnered with the American Red Cross in order to determine the social vulnerability of the border communities in West Africa, Liberia in particular. According to the project’s descriptions, “This application aims to inform the Red Cross’s decisions about identifying high-priority communities in Liberia, based on different aspects of vulnerability.” Check out the interactive data visualization here.

American Red Cross Data Visualization

4. Air Pollution Through The Years
For Scheeres’s second project, she worked with the Chemical Heritage Foundation to create a visualization on the history of air pollution, specifically from 1990 to 2015. Go here to see the changing pollutions rates.

Air Pollution Data Visualization

5. Traffic Crashes And Poverty In NYC
Parker Ziegler worked with the nonprofit Transportation Alternatives to create a data visualization that would help determine the relationship between poverty rates and traffic crashes in New York. “The analysis showed that areas of New York with lower median incomes, higher individual and family poverty rates, higher population densities, and denser built environments were associated with a higher concentration of injurious traffic crashes,” the study found.

NYC Crash Map Data Visualization

6. Changes In Portland’s Forested Area
Ziegler partnered with the Portland-based nonprofit Ecotrust for his second project which sought to grasp the changes to Portland’s urban forest and how it related to socioeconomic changes.

Portland Forest Data Visualization

In the future Azavea hopes to expand the program, but is currently footing the bill entirely themselves. “We are paying each fellow a salary of $5,000 and most of the funding, if not all, came from Azavea,” said Rachel Cheetham-Richard, VP of Azavea. The company may start a nonprofit to fund the growth of the program, but aren’t quite there yet, according to Cheetham-Richard.


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