Guest post by Max Stiss, Geography/Anthropology ’12
I’d like to start my blog post off introducing myself first and secondly, explaining some of the work I’ve been fortunate to work on this summer.
My name is Maxwell Stiss, but for those who know me, I go by Max. I grew up, and lived in Miami until I was about 10 and moved to Toronto, Ontario where I graduated from high school, and still spend a lot of my time on breaks and vacation. So you must be asking already, “Max, why do we need to know any of this about you? I’m just trying to read about G.I.S work going on at Bucknell, this isn’t a myspace blog.” Well yes, you’re right; however, my G.I.S story starts in Toronto.
My first geography course in 9th grade was led by an enthusiastic Italian teacher named, John Nicolucci. Mr. Nicolucci, as we called him, had been working with Arcview 3 and ESRI’s previous versions of the software for quite some time, and realized the growing nature of the field. Thinking it would be wise to expose his students to ArcView and some of its vast functionality, I soon learned that the nature of the work in a G.I.S was widespread across many disciplines, and most importantly, it was outright AWESOME. By the time I graduated Crescent, I had 4 years of G.I.S experience under my belt and still felt like I had only skimmed the surface with ArcView and ArcMap.
Onto Bucknell: As course selection rolled around the end of my first semester, I noticed that Duane Griffin held an Intro to G.I.S (204) course. Eager to enroll in a subject that had interested me so wildly in high school, I emailed Duane and told him some of my history using G.I.S. Duane was more than willing to reserve a seat for me in his course, excited that he could work with a student that had experience using G.I.S. Duane explained to me that the use of G.I.S was limited at Bucknell, and that in his 204 course, students only enrolled in the course to fulfill a requirement, and hardly ever out of pure interest.
By the time the course came to a close, I had furthered my knowledge of the ArcMap software and the expansive capabilities of a G.I.S. As I had done in my high school G.I.S course, for my final project I was graded on creating a G.I.S project that demonstrated my capabilities with the software, utilizing as much G.I.S as possible. My project proposed a high-speed rail route through the north eastern states of the U.S (PA,NY,NJ,CT,MA) and used G.I.S to show how travel times would be reduced using a cost-weighted analysis tool in G.I.S. Although the project scope was ambitious, Duane and I never did come to a close on the project, but we had realized one thing: we needed more G.I.S at Bucknell.
By the end of that school year, the Library and IT division at Bucknell had decided to create a brand new position – G.I.S. specialist – to help students and faculty integrate GIS into their teaching and research. Janine Glathar was hired and started in July of 2009 and since then, we haven’t looked back. Hooked? Read more on my next blog.