Local High School Students Learn Historical GIS with the Keweenaw Time Traveler Team

TimetravelerCareers that incorporate geospatial technologies are among the fastest-growing nationwide. That’s why Michigan Tech and Eastern Michigan University have teamed up on the NSF-funded GRACE Project to introduce high school students to GIS techniques and tools that can be used to tackle community issues.

This summer, eleven students from CLK and Houghton high schools are working as paid interns with researchers in the Department of Social Sciences and the Great Lakes Research Center to help build the Keweenaw Time Traveler, an NEH-funded project directed by Assistant Professor Don Lafreniere (SS). This innovative online historical atlas will allow users to pinpoint data about changes in the built, social, and natural environments of the Copper Country. The students have joined our team of “Time Travelers,” which includes graduate students in the Industrial Heritage and Archaeology program as well as undergraduates from departments across Michigan Tech. Together, they are learning to use GIS to identify, digitize, and follow changes in thousands of buildings and features from 1888-1950.

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During the six week program, students are exploring the many exciting opportunities provided by mobile geospatial technologies by participating in interactive hands-on field trips, including an afternoon in Lake Linden with Carol MacLennan (SS) exploring the vast milling and processing systems that once studded the western shore of Torch Lake, a related trip on the Agassiz Research Vessel learning about the changing shoreline and water quality, and a day conducting active data collection with mobile tablets and GPS in Calumet to capture the students’ perspectives on how to improve non-motorized transportation in conjunction with the Keweenaw National Historical Park’s Complete Streets initiative. The student interns, who are paid through the GRACE project, will present their work in a final celebration on August 11th in GLRC 2020.  Details forthcoming.  The Keweenaw Time Traveler is co-directed by Sarah Fayen Scarlett (SS) and John Arnold (SS)


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