LEARNING GIS THROUGH FACULTY-GUIDED RESEARCH PROJECTS
At Tungurahua in Baños, Ecuador, students mapped lahar hazards, provided field support by taking field notes, collected location data, took digital photos and created a basemap of the project area. Students also helped prepare for the expedition by performing a literature review and utilizing EndNote to share resources. Students learned the unpredictability of fieldwork; in Ecuador, the Tungurahua was erupting and students were not able to get too close. To map lahar hazards, students used heads-up digitizing. They placed additional lines and points on the map using data collected by the volcano observation center, which was collected by the volcanologists from the Instituto Geofísico, Escuela Politécnica Nacional, in Quito Ecuador. Both projects required a basemap, digital data collection, and a data management plan.
Students also learned to work collaboratively with students and faculty outside NSU through creation of work groups in the new ArcGIS.com application and exchanging documents and data through file sharing applications. In summary, through these guided research projects, students expanded their GIS knowledge, learned techniques for field studies, and implemented best practices for managing data. Collaboration with faculty and students from outside NSU was an added benefit.