High School Students Learn About GIS, StoryMaps

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August 5, 2019 by HCDE Communications

Did you know a map can be used to tell a story? More than 10 Harris County students attended the Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Summer STEM Academy July 29 – Aug. 1 to learn about geocaching and developing a personal StoryMap.

During the four-day camp, students also took two field trips and interacted with professionals who use mapping technology on the job. In order to create the StoryMap, students used the Esri ArcGIS platform, which combines interactive maps with text, photos and effects to create a dynamic storytelling tool for informing others about topics containing geographic information. Students were able to share their StoryMaps with each other on the last day of the camp.

HCDE Curriculum Director for Science Lisa Felske oversaw the camp with the help of volunteers Hank Deslaurier, an advanced placement U.S. History teacher from Houston ISD, and Linda Brack, a science teacher from Conroe ISD.

Hailey Thomas, a junior from Alvin ISD’s Shadow Creek High School, was looking for summer camps that involved computers and engineering, and her and her mother came across HCDE’s GIS camp. Her mother works with GIS as a pipeline designer and engineer.

“I didn’t know anything about GIS and my mom makes it seem really fun, so I wanted to see what it’s like,” she said.

Not knowing anything about GIS, Thomas learned how some jobs are tied into GIS along with how to layer maps, how they can be designed and how maps are key to GIS.

“It’s cool to see how the different types of maps that GIS brings into the job such as where to build a fire station or where we should be able to track a hurricane and evacuate people in a safe manner,” she said. “To be able to do all of that on a piece of paper is really cool.”

Her StoryMap was about the evolution in history of recreation of hip hop. It illustrated how hip hop spread across the country, the origin, how it was started, what it is like, how it has changed and the types.

“I’ve been interested in learning about it for so long, but never took the time out until now and this camp gave me the opportunity,” Thomas said.

This camp was put on in collaboration with the Education Foundation of Harris County and HCDE Teaching and Learning Center after receiving a combined total of $12,500 from the Dudley T. Dougherty Foundation, Kinder Morgan Foundation and the Susan Vaughan Foundation.

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