Integrating Spatial Data Analysis and Mapmaking into Drew’s Curriculum and Campus Life

Drew’s Spatial Data Center is committed to teaching GIS and mapmaking technology to Drew students, faculty and staff.  Maps and spatial data analysis are powerful tools that can be used to spark class discussion, enhance critical thinking, and improve the University’s business processes.  Below are some examples of the work the Spatial Data Center has already done to engage faculty, staff, and students in using this exciting technology.

Boat Dock Inventory for the Lake Hopatcong Foundation

Advanced GIS students Max Dolphin and Dan Ratyniak digitized over 2,000 boat docks as part of a community partnership with the Lake Hopatcong Foundation and New Jersey State Parks Department to assess development along the lake shores.  Two web maps products from their work show the lengths of the docks, and the lot and block for the parcel associated with each dock, as well as the tax records associated with each parcel.

Promoting Innovative Tobacco Control Programs

Advanced GIS students Kat O’Neill and Elena McKeown worked with the Global Alliance for Smokefree Policy (GASP) to survey the municipalities in New Jersey have smokefree policies for their public parks.  They also examined municipality policy related to e-cigarettes, and the availability of smokefree multi-unit housing across the state.

EPA-TRI Partnership

Students in the Spring and Fall 2014 semesters of GIS studied the EPA’s Toxics Release Inventory in great detail, to learn about the distribution of environmental hazards in relation to demographic measures, the impact of hurricanes on industrial facilities, and local participation in pollution prevention programs.  Joe Sollod and Theresa Campbell will present their work in an EPA webinar for Dillard University Deep South Center for Environmental Justice.

Great Swamp Watershed Association – Trail Map Updates

With GPS in hand, Kaylie McNeil helped update trail maps for the Great Swamp Watershed Association and for Lord Stirling Park.  She also assessed ecological diversity, land use, LiDAR, and forest characteristics for these parks.

Looking at Drew’s Commuter Habits

Do you drive to Drew? GIS Support Specialist, Krista White, did a speculative analysis of the carbon output of Drew employees who commute by automobile. The analysis uses zip code information to calculate the amount of carbon dioxide that would be produced by employees if they all drove to work each day. The analysis is restricted to a 50 mile radius of Drew, but provides much food for thought. If you drive to get to work on campus, the map and accompanying data may cause you to think more about alternative transportation.

(click on the image to see the full-sized poster)

2011 GIS Summer Faculty Staff Workshops

As the semester begins, the results from this summer’s GIS Faculty/Staff Workshops are rolling in.

Using GIS to Encourage Healthy Habits

Katen Moore of the Drew University’s Morris Health Services Center published a web site that uses GIS to create walking maps on and around the Drew campus.  The goal of the site is to encourage students, faculty, and staff to get out and get more exercise.  She has linked her maps to a number of resources on the benefits to health provided by walking as few as 10 minutes every day.  Visit the Walk Drew web site.

(click on the image to see the full-sized poster)

Mapping Black Methodism

Methodist Librarian Christopher Anderson learned skills in ArcMap 10 to geocode addresses, calculate their latitude and longitude coordinates.  He is entering those coordinates into a Google Map to document the history of Black Churches in the Central Jurisdiction of the Methodist Church.

(click on the image to see the full-sized poster)


GIS for Campus Health and Safety

Mark Ostapczuk, Director for Environmental Health and Safety, worked this summer to create a map of all the hazardous waste storage, hazardous materials bulk storage, and spill response equipment on campus.  “The tracking  of this data is important from an EPA regulatory compliance perspective and to assist in local Madison Fire Department emergency response planning. ”

(click on the image to see the full-sized poster)

GIS and Civic Engagement

The Spatial Data Center at Drew is involved with a number of community partners in civic engagement projects to help them utilize GIS technology to support their missions. We are currently partnered with the Ironbound Community Corporation, helping them to map hazardous air pollutants and other toxins in the Ironbound community of Newark, NJ (for more information, see the GIS Summer Intern project below). We are helping the Communities of Shalom use GIS to create interactive, online maps of their Shalom Zones that promote peace and local community development in the U.S., Africa, and Haiti. The Spatial Data Center is also discussing a partnership with Haitian Artisans for Peace International to help them create online interactive maps and provide spatial data to map resources in the town of Mizak, Haiti.

Summer GIS Intern Helps Fight Medical Waste Incinerator in Newark

Zoe Crum spent 6 weeks working with members of the Ironbound Community Corporation, a social justice organization in Newark, NJ,  to help them map industrial chemical emissions, brown field sites, and Superfund sites in conjunction with demographic analyses for the Ironbound neighborhood. ICC received a CARE grant from the Environmental Protection Agency in March of 2010.

Zoe and GIS Support Specialist, Krista White, created a map utilized by ICC to present information to the City of Newark to help fight the construction of a medical waste incinerator in the Ironbound. The Newark City Zoning Board voted down the construction of the incinerator in October of 2010. The full story of Crum & White’s map can be read in Drew Today.

Click on the Image to the right to view the poster.


Analyzing History Using GIS


Dr. Wyatt Evans, Associate Professor of History, is investigating the use of GIS to explore population statistics in the Ohio River Valley between 1860 and 1870.  The Spatial Data Center supplied Dr. Evans with the map product you see at the right, comparing the population of African-Americans in Indiana counties of the Ohio River Valley.

(Click on the image to view the full map)