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Jul 1, 2011

Geospatial technology like GIS and GPS at kids’ summer camp

How much do you know about geospatial technology like GIS and GPS? Well, you can test your knowledge with some young students who participated in the second annual Kids GIS Camp. While the technology is widely used around the world and to a lesser extent in Belize, a few kids got the opportunity to take virtual tours and break down some big figures.

Andrea Polanco, Reporting

The average person uses a road map for directions or Microsoft programs to analyze data, but geospatial technology can do both and a whole lot more. And as Loretta Palacio of Total Business Solutions Limited tells us, seven students found out just that:

Loretta Palacio, Managing Director, TBSL

Loretta Palacio

“Well they are able to appreciate the importance of the location of everything on earth, every piece of information, a house, a river, a stream, and a mountain just spatial knowledge. And they’re able to also do analysis because complex analysis isn’t only mathematics. GIS allows them to use that part of the brain to look at trends, look at problems, and look at data in a very different way. They were able to take the P.S.E grades and the map that you saw, those kids literally created those maps themselves. They had the coordinates, we got the data and they were able to input the data and look at how the different districts did in the various districts did in the P.S.E. So it is not only about finding an address for a house, its analysis, trends okay be able to make decisions.”

Abigail Neal, GIS Instructor, Kids Camp 2011

“They can find out where things are located and much more information about those things. They are realizing that in a technologically base world it’s not beyond them. It’s something they can interact with, it’s something they can learn about and it’s something around them everyday.”

Olajuwon Cadle

Today some of the students showed us some of the things they learned:

Olajuwon Cadle, 9 yrs, Belize Elementary School

“Maps, we learn how to deal with layers and how to do almost everything on a map like a legend, a title, onward arrow and North, South, East and West arrow and a scale.”

Pablo Espat, 11 yrs old Hummingbird Elementary

Pablo Espat

“We did work with the GPS, they taught us about the satellites, the thirty satellites that are orbiting that the GPS uses, which is the Global Positioning System and we use it to we can create maps and we can analyze maps, like what am doing right now.”

Andrea Polanco

“So some of these things that you learn, what can you use it for in your daily life?”

Pablo Espat, 11 yrs old Hummingbird Elementary

“Well we can use it for when we’re going travelling. You can use GIS for directions if you’re going travelling or if you’re going out on business you can us it for the best place to stay.”

Liam Woods

Liam Woods, 8 yrs, Belize Elementary School

“I can click on protected areas and I’ll see all the protected areas or I can click on mountain and it will show you all the mountains in that particular district. Or if like I want to find how much fish a river has in it, I can use GIS to track it down. And no matter what job you have like a fire-fighter or an engineer, whatever you get you’re gonna have to use GIS. Like if I want to travel somewhere I can look at that place where I want to travel and I can see if I really wanna travel there and I could pick I can see all around the world like any tree or anything I can just track down and it’s right there. I can find my house, a friend’s house. I can find where we are right here. I can find a tree; I can find a truck, anything what you have.”

Andrea Polanco

“So this also helps to ensure that you won’t get lost, you know where you’re going?”

Liam Woods

“Yes, so like if you’re lost in the woods long as you got signal for this you’re going to find where you’re going.”

So how does it work?  The team at TBSL breaks it down for us:

Loretta Palacio

“This is one of the devices that the kids used this morning; they were out and about to taking points because what goes into a GIS system is the latitude- longitude, the position. Where you’re standing on this earth right now there is a position. And so if you’re a chatero with two bags of chate leaves in your on your person then an officer can say this is where I found Ms Andrea and there’s a picture you can take a picture with this device and anybody around the world can find exactly where you were.”

Andrea Polanco

“So you use the GPS and that information that you gather you feed it into the GIS?”

Loretta Palacio

Abigail Neal

“Exactly, because this is the device that speaks to the satellites.”

Abigail Neal

“Geographic meaning you learn about the earth, you learn about where things are located on the earth. It doesn’t matter where what it is, it can be a building, it can be a river, it can be a mountain, and it can be basically anything right, soil types. Information, meaning you collect data about that certain thing and then you connect it to the geographic reference. And lastly, the systems part is the software that we use on our computer. You place the geographic reference along with the information and you can analyze, you can query, you can visualize right. It’s much easier than using tables where you have to look for patterns. If you place those things on maps with color-coded symbols the patterns are easily realized.”

Reporting for News Five, I am Andrea Polanco.

Another session of the Kids GIS Camp will start on Monday August fifteenth, so if you’d like more information you can call 223-6807.

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Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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