I am a data and mapping intern with a nonprofit called Gardening Matters. Ellen Palmquest ’14 and I are mapping food and gardening resources in the Twin Cities and will be continuing our work over the summer.
Because I’m looking at food access in a local, urban setting, this internship has been a great fit with my geography major and urban studies concentration. I use the GIS and general mapping information I learned as a geography major—as well as the statistics skills I gained through coursework—to organize and display the data. As interns, Ellen and I are creating custom interactive maps for the web using the Google Spreadsheet Mapper interface.
It’s amazing how helpful visualizing data in a map format can be for a community organization. The maps we are creating, which will be available to the public, will show the current food and gardening resources available, as well as point out the locations of underserved populations.
We have met with representatives from Ramsey County Public Health as well as with smaller community groups. The hardest part of this work is balancing the wants and needs of the many different stakeholders in the mapping project. It’s been a challenge as well as a great learning experience.