June 21, 2018
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Students compete at tech-geography crossroad

MACHIAS, Maine — More than 20 students from middle and high schools throughout the state participated in the first Maine State Geographic Information Systems Championship Finals at the University of Maine at Machias on Saturday, June 13.

The students, who were regional champions from preliminary events held earlier in the spring, convened on the UMM campus to demonstrate their geographic information systems and global positioning system skills, while competing for more than $3,000 in scholarship awards.

GIS and GPS projects presented by the students included mapping snowmobile trails, potential wind power resources, pollution near schools, public utilities, cancer rates and more.

“These students demonstrated how to use computer mapping to identify and address real-world problems,” Tora Johnson, director of UMM’s GIS Service Center, said in a press release. “This event served to highlight and reward these students for their extraordinary work.”

The Maine State GIS Championships are poster competitions for middle, high school and undergraduate students in Maine learning computer mapping and GPS skills.

To enter the competition, student teams or individuals develop posters on a project they have done using computer mapping software and hardware. Posters are judged by a team of geospatial technology professionals, based on a point system, and winners are selected in each category.

The program is funded, in part, by the National Science Foundation as a component of a three-year project led by the University of Maine at Machias designed to improve and promote geospatial technology education in Maine. Additional support comes from the Maine GIS User Group, Maine Community College System, University of Maine System, Maine Geographic Alliance, Maine 4-H, Maine Learning Technology Initiative, and the Center for Community GIS.

2009 Maine State GIS Championship Finals Results

High School Individual: first place, Cameron Roy, Bangor High School, “The Answer, My Friend, Is Blowing in the Wind,” $400; second place, Parker Michaels, Bangor High School, “Optimizing School Bus Routes,” $300.

High School Group: first place (tie), Caroline Hettermann and Hillary Throckmorton, Bangor High School, “Air Quality Monitoring in Penobscot County, Maine” $250 each, and Josh Bishop and Cote Vanidestine, Bangor High School, “Determining Wireless Signal Using Indoor GIS” $250 each; second place, Zia Joles and Monique Laplante, Bangor High School, “Access to Health Care in Rural Maine,” $200 each; third place, Sarah McDonald and Marissa Grandchamp, Bangor High School, “Cancer and Poverty in Maine,” $200 each.

Middle-Junior High Group: first place, Jesse Stevens, Alexandra Badger, Colton Rier, Amber Renshaw and Zac Ragot, Washington Academy, “Snowmobiling in Maine,” $80 each; second place, Klairissa Kern, Haley Smith, Ena Mae Dyer, Jessica Bennett and Logan Craig, 4-H, “Emergency Shelters,” $60 each.

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