In the summer of 2014, the National Center for Smart Growth Research and Education and the Urban Studies and Planning Program at the University of Maryland hosted seven high school students as interns. In its third year, the six-week summer internship program was in the field of Geographic Information Systems (GIS).
GIS is an integrated set of computer hardware and software that help people visualize, analyze and understand spatial relationships. Geographic Information Systems range from very simple to extremely complex, and are used by professionals, researchers, and students, all over the world in a wide range of fields.
GIS training provides students a unique resource as they prepare for their academic futures and is a highly marketable skill for the workforce. This internship gives high school students valuable research experience and an opportunity to work with faculty and staff at one of the nation’s foremost urban policy institutions.
Student interns worked under the supervision of University faculty to conduct a community audit of a local community. They were trained in field study protocols and learned basic spatial analysis and how to apply GIS techniques to analytical mapmaking. Interns presented the results of their work to the local community.
More specifically, this year’s interns assessed the walkability of College Park, Maryland. To this end, the students conducted a community audit of the area and mapped their results for analysis. Based on the collected data, the interns visualized and analyzed the physical infrastructure of the selected streets using GIS-based technology.