Sweet – that was the reaction from area high school students when they got an inside peek into the innards of the Stark County Incidence Management Assessment Team vehicle during Stark State’s annual Geographic Information Systems Day.
The College offers a new associate degree in GIS, a computer-based system that takes information from a database about a location, such as streets, buildings, parcels, water features, terrain and more, and turns it into visual layers – a.k.a. contemporary maps.
Hailing from GlenOak, Jackson, Oakwood and Timken schools, the 170 students got the lowdown on high tech mapping in a day that included geocaching, crime mapping, farmland measurement, next generation 9-1-1 and more. Local government offices explained their use of GIS to improve efficiency and transparency and area GIS professionals had a chance to upgrade their skills.
The IMAT vehicle, the students learned, incorporates GIS into its command center that also includes a live weather feed, a zooming “eye in the sky” camera, and other cutting-edge instrumentation to help emergency responders react to crises.
GIS, students learned, is a multi-faceted tool and career that offers decision-makers information they can use for fast and efficient operation, whether that’s controlling costs in a government office or relaying “critical 360 data.”