Let’s Map It Out
In this edition, I’m going to make a confession or two. But this stays between us. As you may or may not know, I am a dual Masters student studying library science and public administration. Most people’s first reaction is “that’s an interesting mix, how do they fit together?”
Confession #1: I’m still not 100% sure.
BUT, this internship is helping me figure that out. This past week, I got to work alongside the GIS specialist at the Town of Carrboro to learn to use ArcMap. One of my projects is to do a GIS analysis on possible properties that may qualify for low income housing tax credits. This work intersects the field of library science and public administration in ways I hadn’t completely experienced yet. GIS is a growing field within the library and information science field. It is rich with file formats , metadata, and other LIS buzzwords. GIS is also used extensively to help in all sorts of capacities for local, state, and federal government. From the local planning department to NCDOT to the U.S. military, everyone uses GIS to make more strategic geographically-based decisions.
So now you’re thinking, you’ve only made one confession, we want more. Well here you go:
Confession #2: GIS is extremely frustrating and tremendously fun. And I like it.
Now, granted I am very new to using the tools available, and it will take me years to master it. But, GIS is like a puzzle, trying to put all the pieces together (and sometimes taking a few pieces away). I enjoy the challenge of learning something new. Also, on a more metaphysical level, GIS has also helped me realize that my two fields of study don’t always fit perfectly with one another, but there are these intersection points where both schools will add value to my career.
I feel like this post isn’t complete without a shout out to the excellent GIS resources at UNC. As a student, I can take online ESRI courses to learn more about how to use their products. So if you’re a student looking to learn more about GIS, check out the GIS librarian’s webpage here: http://www.lib.unc.edu/reference/gis/