Maine State GIS Champions Crowned at UMM

First-annual event showcased real world student projects

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

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 (GIS) and Global Positioning System (GPS) 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,” said Tora Johnson, Director of UMM’s GIS Service Center. “This event served to highlight and reward these students for their extraordinary work.”

Johnson added, “Geospatial technology is one of the fastest growing industries in the U.S. Even in this economy, people with GIS skills are in demand in the workforce. These remarkable students have a big head start, and they had a great time.”

The Maine State GIS Championships are poster competitions for middle, high school and undergraduate students in Maine learning computer mapping and GPS skills. The events are a fun way to recognize the remarkable computer mapping projects students are doing around the state and to encourage them to delve even more deeply into the field of geospatial technology. 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.

To learn more about the Maine State GIS Championships, click here.

2009 Maine State GIS Championship Finals – Results

High School Individual
1st Place - $400
Cameron Roy (Bangor H.S.)   
“The Answer, My Friend, Is Blowing in the Wind”

2nd Place - $300
Parker Michaels (Bangor H.S.)
“Optimizing School Bus Routes”

Honorable Mention
– Exceptional Technical Merit
Parker Michaels (Bangor H.S.)

High School Group
1st Place (tie) - $250 each
Caroline Hettermann and Hillary Throckmorton (Bangor H.S.)
“Air Quality Monitoring in Penobscot County, Maine”

1st Place (tie) - $250 each
Josh Bishop and Cote Vanidestine (Bangor H.S.)
“Determining Wireless Signal Using Indoor GIS”

2nd Place - $200 each
Zéa Joles and Monique Laplante (Bangor H.S.)
“Access to Health Care in Rural Maine”

3rd Place - $200 each
Sarah McDonald and Marissa Grandchamp (Bangor H.S.)
“Cancer and Poverty in Maine”

Honorable Mention – Exceptional Public Speaking Skills
Caroline Hettermann (Bangor H.S.)
Hillary Throckmorton (Bangor H.S.)

Honorable Mention
– Exceptional Design
Zéa Joles (Bangor H.S.)
Monique Laplante (Bangor H.S.)

Middle/Jr. High Group
1st Place - $80 each
Jesse Stevens, Alexandra Badger, Colton Rier, Amber Renshaw, and Zac Ragot (Washington Academy)
“Snowmobiling in Maine”

2nd Place - $60 each
Klairissa Kern, Haley Smith, Ena Mae Dyer, Jessica Bennett, and Logan Craig (4H)
“Emergency Shelters”

Honorable Mention – Exceptional Teamwork
Klairissa Kern, Haley Smith, Ena Mae Dyer, Jessica Bennett, and Logan Craig (4H)

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