Cadets display class projects on geospatial mapping

Story and photo by Kathy Eastwood Staff Writer

December 13th, 2018 | News, News and Features
 Cadets currently or considering majoring in Geography and Environmental Engineering displayed their projects they had been working on Dec. 11 using geospatial information and using that tool in creative problem solving.

Cadets currently enrolled in the Geospatial Information Systems program displayed and presented their class projects to staff, faculty and community members Dec. 11 and 12 in the Haig Room in Jefferson Hall Library. The projects focused on the use of geospatial analysis and how it can be used to share stories of our interaction with the earth.
Cadets presented projects on a variety of subjects such as detailing the migration of Syrian refugees to European countries, elk migration patterns in Yellowstone National Park, U.S Reliance on Foreign Trading Partners, Countries Spending the Most on Defense Spending and correlation between obesity and suicide rates in the Midwest and Michigan.
“I would have thought that urban counties would have the most suicides, but that proved to be wrong,” Class of 2021 Cadet Steven Hoadley said of his project. “Once I began researching, I found there are 13 people per 100,000 that died by suicide and the rate has been rising. It went to 15.4 suicides in rural counties. On the other hand, you may have to take that with a grain of salt because a lot of counties have small populations.”
Hoadley added that Michigan is divided in three different regions and the southern part has the biggest cities.
“I wanted to see if urban counties had lower suicide rates and they do, which surprised me,” Hoadley said.
“Some of the reasons that rural counties have higher suicide rates may be due to the fact that there are less resources available to them for mental health and fewer mental health centers. There is also the stigma in rural counties about getting help.”
Hoadley added that he also saw an upward trend in suicide with the amount of failed farms during the economic down turn in the 1980s. This study has fueled Hoadley’s interest in the subject and has led him to do further study on more populated cities such as Chicago and Springfield, Illinois and St. Louis, Missouri.
Class of 2020 Cadet Austin Gutierrez used his project to answer a question more close to home, helping to narrow his choices for post selection and his girlfriend’s options for medical school.
The mapping helped to define the areas where both an Army post and the schools would provide a reasonable proximity as they plan their future together.
“The most important factors that will help us choose our relative distance between Army posts and medical schools,” Gutierrez said. “We also wanted areas with a high population so there would be more things to do, and so that it will be easier to see each other often. So, we are looking at schools that are about an hour away from and Army base. However, my girlfriend wants to go to Baylor Medical School in San Antonio and if she gets in, I am looking at Fort Hood because the branch I want to choose is armor. It wouldn’t be so far away or we could meet in the middle. It is about two and half hours away.
The Cartography Project Exhibits focused on not only the use of Geographic Information Systems, but how this framework can be used across the curriculum to determine patterns and relationships as it relates to how we interact with the Earth.