Over Janplan, I interned at the Center for Community GIS in Farmington, Maine. CCGIS is a small nonprofit organization with a staff of three that work to increase local institutions’ utilization of digital mapping technologies through involving the community mapping projects and processes. CCGIS provides technical assistance, training, and educational outreach to organizations engaged in community-based planning and decision-making. Through collaboration with partners, CCGIS creates products for communities and organizations that include tourism maps, trail maps, and maps of conservation easements and boundaries.
CCGIS is a program of the Quebec Labrador Foundation. QLF is a larger nonprofit, with locations in both the US and Canada. QLF aims to develop leadership within individuals and communities by supporting community-based conservation initiatives, developing models of stewardship of natural and cultural resources, and aiding in community service, economic development, and heritage preservation in rural regions.
In June, 2010, CCGIS launched a unique online mapping project. Maine Trail Finder is an interactive mapping site designed to be a resource for Maine residents and visitors seeking non-motorized trails. Trails can be searched by use (hiking, biking, snowshoeing, or cross-country skiing), location, or difficulty. Trail pages contain detailed trail descriptions, essential trail information, trailhead directions, and photos.
I spent most of my internship working on Maine Trail Finder. Some days were spent hiking various trails gathering GPS coordinates, taking photos, and writing trail descriptions, while others were spent in the office cleaning and editing the GPS data using ArcMap and Google Earth. After everything was finalized, I uploaded trail postings to the central Maine Trail Finder website. During the month, I contributed to 40 trail postings, including the Colby Arboretum trail network.
My goals for the internship were to further develop my understanding of ArcGIS, as well as see how GIS can be used in a real world setting, both of which I was able to accomplish over the month of January. I used ArcMap to edit the trails, and learned the importance of data management. I also gained experience using GPS units, and with the process of editing GPS data, both of which I had very little previous experience with. Additionally, this internship also demonstrated the challenges of working with a variety of clients and stakeholders in order to create a final map project, as well as the difficulties of running a nonprofit organization.