Mapping, predictive modeling and other decision-support tools help to guide solutions that meet the needs of species and ecosystems. In the GIS lab, we analyze and visualize spatial data to better understand biodiversity threats, as well as the social, political and economic forces at play in the world. The College uses GIS to map estuarine bottoms and to better understand benthic habitats, to put forth plans for sustaining agriculture in Talbot County, to inventory tree canopy as part of its Urban Greening project with the Town of Chestertown, to monitor soil and bird populations, assess native grassland restoration efforts, and guide long-term management decisions and the potential for new research (such as biofuels) at Chino Farms.
One of the most fundamental and practical uses of GIS in our society is to map the infrastructure that we all depend on for our daily existence. GIS is used to map: sewer lines and manholes, water lines and valves, electrical utilities, telecommunication facilities, transportation features, and natural gas lines. By linking the location of these spatial infrastructure features to information, GIS provides the ability to effectively manage this infrastructure and make sure that it is properly maintained.
At Washington College, the GIS Program focuses on the mapping of sewer and water systems for smaller communities with ongoing projects in Maryland and Pennsylvania.