Surveying & Civil Engineering students apply GIS to deliver geospatial Solutions on Smart Devices

Surveying & Civil Engineering Technology students presented their final projects earlier this week, demonstrating the unique ways Geographic Information Systems (GIS) can help people make location-based decisions.

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Simply speaking, a GIS is a computer system that allows users to overlay different layers of information on a map to better see patterns and relationships at a given location.

Instructor and Ramsey County GIS System Administrator Jessica Fendos helped develop Dunwoody’s first Geospatial Technology curriculum, which teaches students how to make maps and publish GIS content to the cloud.

Students were able to use this technology in their final projects to compile themed layers from a variety of sources, including U.S. census statistics, CAD drawings, GPS coordinates, satellite images, and multimedia data.

Each group tackled a real-world problem using GIS technologies. Some teams took their projects a step further and also turned their maps into interactive web and mobile GIS applications.

Here are their use case scenarios: 

“Nice Ride Route Analysis”
Brandon Davis, BJ Klenke, Briana Johnson

Photo of Brandon Davis, BJ Klenke, and Briana JohnsonThe Nice Ride application helps visitors and residents using Minneapolis/St Paul’s bike share system, Nice Ride, quickly and easily identify the cities’ 190 different “check-in” spots, which users are required to visit every 30 minutes to avoid surcharges.

Users simply plug in their destination, and the program automatically generates a map showing riders fun destinations (e.g. museums, parks, pubs, bus stops) they can ride to—while also indicating which stations they should check-in at along the way.

“Dinner-Out Application”
Doug Pouliot, Francis Omwoyo, Sean Wadman

Photo of Doug Pouliot, Francis Omwoyo, and Sean Wadman.“A person has to eventually eat.” That’s the reasoning behind the Minneapolis Dinner-Out app, which provides users with a live communication hub where consumers can submit reviews of local restaurants via their mobile devices.

The application also maps out where each restaurant is as well as the various forms of transportation that can get you there.

“Home Sweet Home”
Jake Blue, James Dallman, Patrick Kowal

Photo of Jake Blue, James Dallman, and Patrick Kowal. The “Home Sweet Home” project is designed to help families—specifically those moving cross-country—quickly and easily identify the best places to live in Minneapolis, Minn.

Members from this group began their search by mapping neighborhoods that are suitable based on a number of common house-hunting criteria, including lot size; price range; allowed crime rate; scarcity of nearby condemned properties; location preferences (i.e., proximity to schools, parks, hospitals, etc.); and preferred transportation routes (i.e., bus, light-rail, bike).

The group then identified the top five Minneapolis neighborhoods—using a choropleth map—to showcase areas that could potentially be a good fit for families.

“Do Demographics Influence Elections?”
Stan Silverberg and Chris Johnson

Photo of Stan Silverberg and Chris Johnson.This project aims to identify political trends for the state of Minnesota—with a specific emphasis on the Twin Cities metro area. Using demographics such as race, age, income, and geographic location, users will be able to view a breakdown of voting results by demographics in the rural counties and in the Twin Cities.

 Dunwoody Campus Story Map
Curtis Meriam, Wyatt Spencer, Joseph Irey, Matt Anderson

Photo of Curtis Meriam, Wyatt Spencer, Joseph Irey, and Matt Anderson.The Dunwoody Campus Map application aims to provide prospective students and their families with a better idea of what the Dunwoody campus looks like.

The app incorporates CAD drawings and geo-referenced photos at different on-campus locations to provide a virtual tour of the campus exterior. The app can also evaluate the capacity of parking lots at Dunwoody and show users where each campus entrance and exit is located.

This information is especially helpful for those who are unable to physically tour the Dunwoody campus.

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