Youths, Planning and GIS Partner for Community Mapping Project in the Adirondacks
“There’s nothing to do!” is a familiar refrain by kids in the small rural community of Warrensburg, located in the southern Adirondack Park in upstate New York. Although seemingly thriving from an outsider perspective, response from a survey in May to residents of the town deepens this perception that few opportunities exist for youths.
The town is currently developing a comprehensive plan spearheaded by Laura Moore of the Warren County Planning and Community Development Department. A key component of this plan will examine how to identify and promote opportunities for kids, particularly teenagers. With this goal in mind, a fruitful partnership developed with the Warren County Youth Bureau and the Warrensburg branch of the Cornell Cooperative Extension to implement a Community Mapping Project through the ACT (Assets Coming Together) for Youth program. The Warren County GIS Administrator, Sheri Norton, was approached by the group to provide technical assistance with the project.
A group of eleven local high school students volunteered to participate in the project, learning interviewing skills and how to use Garmin GPS units. Over the course of several days in November (starting on GIS Day!), the students interviewed approximately fifty organizations in the town, recording the locations when possible with the GPS units. The survey results will be entered into a database in the near future, to be joined to the physical locations of opportunities identified by the project.
Seven of the students visited the GIS Administrator at Warren County, and were given a demonstration of how the GPS and address data they collected is converted and used within a GIS system, and a practical accuracy comparison of the two field data location methods. Final maps of each organization interviewed will be prepared by Ms. Norton and used by the students developing a Community Mapping website and hardcopy resource book.