By: Jessica Wyland
Three students from San Andreas High School in San Bernardino, California took the Esri UC Plenary stage in San Diego Monday to present their impressive GIS work. They shared how, in just one school year, they learned to make story maps and use Survey123 for ArcGIS to collect public works data.
As part of the school’s Career Technology Academy, students work with the nearby City of Highland to record information about street sign reflectivity, graffiti and other blight. Using the Survey123 app, students input data and photos that be shared, mapped, and analyzed by city staff.
It’s a true win-win situation. Students benefit by learning to use GIS technology—possibly the first steps in a career path. And, the City of Highland benefits from all the data collected which can be used to improve traffic safety and neighborhood livability.
“It gives us a sense of responsibility,” said Nick Morales, a recent graduate of San Andreas High School. “We are collecting data for the city so they can make it safer for everyone else.”
San Andreas selected Survey123 for its ability to work even when disconnected from the Internet. San Andreas teacher Alissa Blackburn watched a YouTube video about how to set up surveys, and in one evening was able to get the survey up and running.
“The students are learning lifelong skills that they can literally leave high school and get a job,” Blackburn said. “GIS is everywhere. It’s changing the students. It’s changing who they are. Their confidence increases, and so does their self-esteem.”