US: Geospatial technology brought together students from Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) and SUNY Geneseo, US, who want to learn more about geography and technology. Students from RIT were invited to attend a field experience course with members of the SUNY Geneseo geography department. They got opportunities to do things such as use a handheld GPS to find ways around towns, map the flood plains and protect the US borders 24 hours a day.
The field experience took place in the Thousand Islands region of New York and Canada and provided the students with a chance to use their powers of observation and interpretation for geographical inquiry.
The goal of the geospatial technologies course is to expose students to foundational concepts and technologies of the field. Students gain hands-on experience with geospatial technologies, including GPS, GIS, Virtual Globes (Google Earth) and Web 2.0 “mapping mashups.”
“While in the Thousand Islands I used Google Earth to import historical maps of the area and georeference them,” said Erin Kiselica, a fourth-year computer science major at RIT. “By adding transparency, we were able to see changes in the shoreline over time due to the St. Lawrence Seaway project.”
Kiselica also gave a lecture on how GPS works and its uses in both the public and private sector. As part of the demonstration, Kiselica used a GPS to search for a “geocache” in the area. “Geocaching is a scavenger hunt using a GPS. Using coordinates found on a geocaching website, you search for containers that other ‘cachers’ have hidden all over the world,” explained Kiselica.