This semester was quite busy, as I oversaw 9 Master's projects in our MS in Geographic Information Science Management program (MSGISM). Our MSGISM program is fully online and designed for mid-career GIS professionals who already have technical GIS skills, but now desire the management skills to work in the field of GIS. We've had great success in the program over the last 15 years, and were named the #1 online GIS Masters degree program by bestcollegereviews.org.
I had so much fun overseeing the projects, as it was an eclectic blend of project implementations, standard needs assessments and system design, system prototypes, and even a program review: you know, all the things we as GIS managers do on a daily basis. Below are the final elevator pitch summaries of the students' projects. As you read them, I hope you are as impressed as I am with the level of quality, professionalism, and practicality of our students and the program in general. And keep in mind, these projects were all completed during the COVID-19 pandemic, necessitating special care and conditions for conducting the work.
This was a very tiring year, dealing with COVID and juggling these projects - but, this is one of the most enjoyable cohorts I've worked with in my 20 years of University teaching. They made coming to work very enjoyable.
In fact, even though it was an online program, everyone made the effort to travel from all over the United States to Ocean City, Maryland, just to meet up for a cohort campfire and afternoon at the beach. This proves you can be part of an online cohort, and make really great friends:
Now, on to the projects....
Three of our students, Ashley Wipfield, Dan Milbrath, and Christopher Windsor performed classical needs assessments for different cities. Technically, Ashley and Dan conducted strategic plans for the cities of Signal Hill and Norwalk, California. We would like to thank my good friend, Dr. Suzanne Weschler in the Department of Geography at the California State University at Long Beach for putting us in touch with these two cities. Chris performed a classic needs assessment for the City of Lewisville, TX.
System Implementations and Prototypes
A few of our students went beyond needs assessments, and actually implemented either a full system or working prototype for their clients. Summerlyn Bingaman designed and prototyped a shark tagging database, while Kevin Bedwell implemented a walking tour application for a historical cemetery, and Stephanie D'Anna designed and implemented field applications and dashboards for the U.S. Army Corps. of Engineers. Finally, Shannon Groves prototyped a document imaging system for an engineering firm that she works for.
Logan Hall performed an evaluation of the effectiveness of the GIS Circuit Rider Program, a unique program developed by the Eastern Shore Regional GIS Cooperative (ESRGC) to assist communities in implementing GIS.