Daniel Benton, a freshman computer science major here at Washington College, gained the experience that is helping him in his internship from taking GIS courses in high school. Dover Area High School, in Dover, PA, offers the geospatial technology curriculum that was developed by the Washington College GIS Program staff. After taking GIS 1 and doing well in the course, Daniel decided to continue his study of the topic with the other courses. Daniel knew that he had an interest in maps, which initially sparked the pursuit of GIS skills, but his interest and curiosity about the subject increased throughout his training. “I thought the courses were fun because there was always something new to learn,” Benton commented. He also believes that if he had not taken the GIS courses in high school he would not have the skills and experiences that he is currently using to complete his work in the lab. “I wanted to come to Washington College to get a good liberal arts education, and work as an intern in the GIS lab. I hope to pursue a career in GIS and programming in the future.”
Benton is currently working on the Easton Project for his internship in the WC GIS lab. The project involves mapping all of the storm water drainage systems within the Tanyard Branch for the town of Easton. This project will be useful in case of an emergency in the future because utility crews will be able to quickly locate all of the pipes and see which ones are connected. This information will also be used to let people know where they can dig and where new buildings can be developed so that no pipes or access points will be covered up. GIS staff member Luis Machado, is the supervisor of this project and is helping complete the project. The end goal is to have a map of how storm water flows through the system for the town.
Benton stated that his favorite part of working in the GIS lab is that he is doing something different almost every day. Additionally, he has been gaining a lot of new and different experiences during the course of this project, because there are only two students working on it. Throughout his work on this single project he is able to learn how to do many different things: everything from sorting plans of the town to digitizing pipelines.
This is the fourth project that the lab has done for the town of Easton. Benton and Machado are currently working on Phase 2 of the Storm Water project. Students throughout their time here in the lab have also worked on projects involving 3D mapping of the Historical District of Easton, The Tanyard Branch Watershed Assessment, and Phase 1 of the Storm Water Project. The Coordinator of the GIS program, Stewart Bruce, stated that they are able to work on all of these projects because “the Washington College GIS Program prides itself on producing good quality products and offering excellent customer service, which is shown by the request to have our team come back to Easton and perform additional projects.” We hope to do many more projects for the Town of Easton in the Future!