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Azavea Kicks Off ‘Summer of Maps’, Its Paid Summer Spatial Analysis Fellowship Program


PHILADELPHIA, PAAzavea, an award winning geospatial analysis (GIS) software development company announces the start of its fifth Summer of Maps (http://summerofmaps.com/). Inspired by the Google Summer of Code, Azavea Summer of Maps is a program that offers $5,000 stipends to student GIS analysts to perform pro bono geospatial data analysis projects for non-profit organizations over a three-month period in the summer of 2015. Azavea received applications from hundreds of students and nonprofits from all over the United States. This year, Summer of Maps is made possible through generous sponsorships from Esri and Temple University’s Department of Geography and Urban Studies, and Azavea.

Azavea selected Laura Laderman, studying Physics and Statistics at Swarthmore College; Kevin Frech, studying Geography and Urban Studies at Temple University; and Nathaniel Henry, studying Geographic Information Science and Geography at Ohio State University. The fellows will work on a diverse range of spatial analysis projects for a wide array of non-profit organizations, including the Public Laboratory for Open Technology and Science; the Legal Clinic for the Disabled; The Greening of Detroit; the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society; the African Family Health Organization; and the Sunset Park Health Council dba Lutheran Family Health Centers.

The Pennsylvania Horticultural Society (PHS) will receive pro bono services to analyze the impact of the Philadelphia LandCare program. The LandCare program transforms vacant lots into green spaces as a strategy to support neighborhood redevelopment; studies published in 2011 show that the program has a significant impact on crime and health as well as providing economic benefits. Since 2004, 1,981 LandCare lots have become “inactive”, meaning that the property has a new use. Through Summer of Maps, PHS will receive analysis of lot redevelopment that will be used to improve selection of future LandCare lots and better understand the program results.

The Public Laboratory for Open Technology and Science (Public Labs) in conjunction with the Friends of Penobscot Bay will receive pro bono services to analyze the environmental impact of human development on Maine’s harbors. Though large collections of data exist, the information is inaccessible and scattered. Through Summer of Maps, Public Labs and the Friends of Penobscot Bay will receive data visualization to educate the public and inform federal, state, and local policy makers considering residential and commercial development along the coast.

Other pro bono projects to be completed during the 2015 Summer of Maps include a project to analyze the correlation amongst health status, income status, and geography for low-income individuals in Philadelphia on behalf of the Legal Clinic for the Disabled; a project to analyze tree canopy density in the cities of Detroit, Highland Park and Hamtramck that will prioritize areas in order to increase tree canopy coverage from 22.5% to 40% on behalf of The Greening of Detroit; a project to analyze barriers to healthcare access in Northeast Philadelphia for African and Caribbean immigrants and refugees on behalf of the African Family Health Organization; and a project to analyze the gap between available community services and the needs of English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) students in southwest Brooklyn, NY on behalf of the Sunset Park Health Council dba Lutheran Family Health Centers.

From June to August 2015, the selected non-profit organizations will be able to:

  • Receive pro bono services from a skilled student GIS analyst to geographically analyze their data
  • Visualize their data in new ways
  • Combine their data with other demographic and geographic data
  • Receive high quality maps and visualizations that can be used to support new initiatives or make a case to prospective funders

The fellows will:

  • Work on a spatial analysis project that supports the social mission of two non-profit organizations
  • Work with Azavea mentors to improve their GIS and project management skills
  • Receive a monthly stipend
  • Gain work experience implementing real-world GIS projects

Azavea plans to renew this initiative next year, and encourages nonprofits and GIS students to continue checking the Azavea Summer of Maps webpage for announcements related to the 2016 program: http://summerofmaps.com/.

About Azavea – Azavea is a certified B Corporation that applies geographic data and technology for civic and social impact while advancing the state-of-the-art through research. Find out more at https://www.azavea.com/.

If you would like more information about Azavea or to schedule an interview with Robert Cheetham, Azavea CEO and President, please contact Karissa Justice at (215) 558-6184 or e-mail kjustice@azavea.com.