The Callowhill-based mapping company just wrapped up its fifth edition of the yearly fellowship program that links student GIS analysts with nonprofit organizations who could use a little geospatial TLC.
In 2016, the three-month fellowship program featured Carlos Bonilla (from Temple University), Annaka Scheeres, (from Calvin College) and Parker Ziegler (from Middlebury College). Overseen by a trio of Azavea employees as mentors, the students worked with six nonprofits to put together some impressive projects.
— Azavea (@azavea) August 29, 2016
“This year it got to a new level with regards to interactive web mapping,” said Azavea Community Ambassador Dan Ford.
Ford said the fellows go through the full cycle of the process themselves — from start to finish — with guidance from mentors and the organizations themselves.
“They’re given a very difficult task that’s comparable to real-world work and all the fellows this year really met and even exceded expectations,” said Ford.
Carlos Bonilla put together an impressive wrap up, along with the Bicycle Coalition of Philadelphia, of all the crashes in the streets of Philly with the hopes of determining if there was an area with a higher incidence. The data revealed that a North Philly neighborhood has both the highest overall crash density and higher than average values for poverty and carless households. Curbed took a deeper look at this.
Bonilla’s second project focused on measuring the impact of The Food Trust’s programming across Philly. The data was for internal use and not released to the public.
In partnership with the American Red Cross, Annaka Scheeres took on the task of offering a deeper look at the social vulnerability of border communities in West Africa, specifically in Liberia. “This application aims to inform the Red Cross’s decisions about identifying high-priority communities in Liberia, based on different aspects of vulnerability,” reads the project’s description.
Along with the Chemical Heritage Foundation, Scheeres took a look at air pollution through time, from 1990 to 2015, in a cool visualization that looks more like a video game than wonky data floating through a screen. Really cool stuff.
This map, built by Parker Ziegler in partnership with a nonprofit called Transportation Alternatives sought to understand the relationship between traffic crashes in New York and poverty rates. “The analysis showed that areas of New York with lower median incomes, higher individual and family poverty rates, higher population densities, and denser built environments were associated with a higher concentration of injurious traffic crashes,” the study said.
Ziegler’s second project partnered with Ecotrust, a Portland-based nonprofit, to understand and graph the changes to Portland’s urban forest, and find links to socioeconomic changes.
Rachel Cheetham-Richard, VP of Azavea, said the company would like to expand the program to more fellows and more mentors, but Azavea funds this thing itself.
“We are paying each fellow a salary of $5,000 and most of the funding, if not all, came from Azavea,” she said.
The company is currently toying with the idea of starting a nonprofit entity of Azavea to fund an expansion of the program.
“But we’re not there yet,” Cheetham-Richard said.