GIS at Dickinson College

GIS News, Events and Student Work blog

Author: lariviej

Historical Barns

Historical Barns: A Study on the Importance of Spatially Analyzing History

Historical Barns

Abstract: I chose to collect location data as part of a case study to show why it is important to analyze history through space as an asset to what is primarily studied in literature, documents, and artifacts. By utilizing place-based learning in history, a whole new dimension to history can be explored, and it is equally important to capture this data before developmental projects take over historical areas. I focused my attention on early American historical barns within Cumberland County, PA, collecting their location data on GPS units as well as attribute data on their foundation material. In this project, GIS is the tool from which spatial data was analyzed, and in ArcGIS I was able to explore one of the many interesting aspects which can be examined through the study of history in a spatial context – barn foundation material in relation to the area’s underlying geology. To conclude, I suggest other areas which can be used in conjunction with spatial data for further research and discuss why studying history in a spatial context is important.

 

 

 

Dickinson College’s Lit Walkways in Relation to Public Safety Concerns

Project Link:

http://dickinsongis.maps.arcgis.com/apps/StorytellingTextLegend/index.html?appid=29638faea0e14e2aaeecb93f2f611af1

Introduction:

Public safety concerns at Dickinson College are dynamic; this is especially true with lit walkways on campus. Areas that are initially classified as ‘safe’ to walk through can within a short amount a time be classified as ‘dangerous,’ and vice versa; the areas that were ‘red-flagged’ by students five years ago are no longer issues today. The Department of Public Safety recognizes these concerns and is open to suggestions made by students in an effort to make the campus feel safe.  In this project, I wanted to explore the current concerns of students by mapping the Dickinson owned lamp posts and highlight areas that should be focused on for the addition of new light fixtures in the near future.

Methodology:

I began my study by renting out a recreational grade Garmin 62S from the Bosler Media Center and mapping out all Dickinson owned lamp posts on the main part of campus as waypoints.  Originally, I also wanted to collect waypoints for all the Carlisle Borough street lamps and Dickinson parking lot lights within the main campus, but the task was too complex for this current project.  In total, I mapped 271 lamp posts which I located while doing a walkthrough of the campus.  After data collection, I uploaded the waypoints as a shapefile on ArcMap and added other data layers that detailed parts of campus, including buildings, streets, walkways, as well as a satellite image of the area.

After creating this map, I met with Lt. Fasio of the Department of Public Safety who has data from the past year of areas which students have alerted him as being ‘unsafe’ as well as areas that he realizes need attention in the near future.  Taking this list, and visually analyzing the map I created, I found 6 areas that could be considered problem areas which the school should focus on for the addition of new light fixtures in the near future.  This includes the area surrounding the recently acquired Allison Hall, the walkways leading to South College, the railroad tracks in front of Kaufman Hall, the area around Dana Hall, the routes to reach the Factory Apartments, and the area around the Kline Center once its construction is completed in the summer of 2014.  I made another shapefile that outlines these areas on campus in ArcMap, and following this, I uploaded all my files to ArcGis Online into a webmap application.  Along with working with the presentation of the web map I created, I also added interactive descriptions for the problem areas.

Conclusions:

Although I always hear my fellow students complaining about the lack of lighting on campus, and even though I did find some problem areas, overall this campus is very well lit.  It must not be forgotten that this campus is incorporated within the town it is located in; Carlisle residents live adjacent to on-campus housing and the center of town is just down the street from campus.  Therefore, students cannot expect that the campus will be lit up to the degree that a football field or theme park would. Also, considering that I did not include Carlisle Borough street lights or Dickinson parking lot lights, this map shows a very safety-forward campus as long as students stay on Dickinson walkways and stay aware of their surroundings.  I hope other students will also understand this conclusion from my map and see what areas they may want to be extra cautious around until there are additional lighting fixtures in place.

Images:

The images below show data layers used in this project; the first being the lamp posts collected, the second being the problem areas in relation to these lamp posts, and the third being a description box created in the ArcGis Online Application.

 

Lamp posts

Problem Areas

 

Description Box

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