URISA Student Paper and Poster Competition Results Announced

Des Plaines, IL (July 20, 2012) - URISA is pleased to announce the results of the 2012 URISA Student Competition. Students were recognized in both Paper and Poster categories and their submissions are posted online to share with the GIS Community. 

Four students were recognized in the Paper Competition:

  • First Place Paper - Implementing a Utility Geographic Information System for Water, Sewer, and Electric: Case Study of City of Calhoun, Georgia

Submitted by: Davie Crawford and Ming-Chih Hung - Northwest Missouri State University

Abstract: This paper describes the design and implementation of a Geographic Information System (GIS) for the Water, Sewer, and Electric Departments for the City of Calhoun, Georgia. The objective of this paper is to explain how the design and implementation of a GIS for the City of Calhoun was established in order to efficiently manage their utility distribution systems and replace the existing CAD system. It also provides other small municipalities with an understanding of what it takes to design and implement a utility GIS. The design and implementation were divided into a set of phases that were carried out to ensure a successful completed system. The methodology used in the development of the GIS has been acquired through reviewing and evaluating other similar systems that involve utility data. The utility departments have relied on inaccurate CAD data for years. The departments all agreed that a more accurate and up to date system would help manage their assets. The conclusion of this paper demonstrates the improved efficiency after implementing the GIS compared with the previous CAD system.

  • Second Place Paper - Study of the Public Transit System Accessibility Based on the Average Opportunity Accessibility Measure - A Case Study of Fargo, North Dakota

Submitted by: Nimish Dharmadkhari and Zijian Zheng - North Dakota State University     

Abstract: It is important for the college students to have a healthy diet for their wellness. The grocery store (supermarket) is the place where they can buy a range of healthy food products. This research studies the accessibility of the supermarkets with the public transport system with the help of case study of Fargo, North Dakota. Two types of accessibilities are studied in this research 1) accessibility to reach a particular place and 2) accessibility to reach the bus stop to ride the system. These two accessibilities are interdependent and cannot perform without each other. A step wise case study is performed with the development of the average accessibility measure for the transit routes. This research shows that the important supermarkets are accessible to the university students by combined use of walking and bus travel.

  • Third Place Paper - Climate Change and its Impact on Coral Distribution in the Caribbean
    Submitted by: Ron Mahabir - George Mason University
    Abstract: Coral reefs are some one of the most diverse marine ecosystems on Earth. They are renowned hotspots of species biodiversity and provide home to a large array of marine plants and animals. Over the past 100 years in many tropical regions sea surface temperatures have increased by almost 1°C and are currently increasing at about 1–2°C per century. Corals have very specific thermal thresholds beyond which their temperature sensitive symbiot Zooxanthellae becomes affected and causes corals to bleach. Mass bleaching has already caused significant losses to live coral in many parts of the world. This paper looks at the key role that temperature plays in affecting the health and spatial distribution of coral in the Caribbean. The relationship between coral and symbiot is examined and some the evolutionary strategies necessary to ensure the future survival of coral with changing climate are reviewed.
  • Fourth Place Paper - Impact of Distance, Traffic, and Elevation on Active Transportation to School for Children Using GIS

Submitted by: Vu Dang - North Dakota State University

Abstract: In the context of transportation modes to schools for children, there is the matter of distance, traffic, and elevation. Distance is prevalent in considering if the participant would use an active or passive option of transportation. While distance determines the mode, traffic influences the users’ decisions on picking the most efficient route to the final destination. Elevation also determines the exertion of physical activity required of the user. Previous studies and papers have yielded environmental, land use, age, income, race, gender, topography, traffic, and distance factors that have influences over the choice of mode to school. This study focuses on the factors of traffic based on average weekday traffic (AWT), land usage, and distance to determine: (1) the likelihood a child would exercise an active or passive mode of transportation and (2) the most efficient route from the origin to destination. By applying GIS methodologies, built environment characteristics based upon the factors of traffic, land use, and distance were established.

Trevor Perkes from Brigham Young University was awarded First Place in the poster competition with his submission "Swine Flu Data Analysis with Excel & ArcGIS Desktop 10.0". Denise Crittenden, of the University of Alabama, was awarded Second Place for her poster submission, "Impact of Future I-22 on Traffic Patterns & Fatal Accidents on Hwy 78".

Congratulations to all who participated! All of the student submissions recognized in this annual competition are posted online: http://www.urisa.org/Student2012 

Wendy Nelson
Executive Director - URISA
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