About two years ago some of the Applied Learning and Research & Development (ALRD) team attended virtual GISCorps training in ArcGIS Online and Esri’s Conservation Solutions. Following the training we requested ongoing mentorship and support from GISCorps as we wanted to integrate their tools into our curriculum and everyday workflows at the College.  

In order to achieve this, Shawn Morgan of Canada and Paul Hoeffler of the United States agreed to take on a two-year commitment to serve as mentors and support the College’s use of ArcGIS Online. The College staff have monthly meetings with Shawn and Paul to discuss upcoming GIS projects and challenges. 

There will be a series of projects funded by the National Geographic Society in support of Esri’s Protected Area Management grant programme. The purpose of the projects is to put web GIS and the Conservation Solutions in the hands of rangers and managers in African parks and protected areas. 

“My second trip to the SAWC was to help further the work completed in both Paul’s trip a few months ago and my original one from October 2022. Those two previous trips revised the direction for improved Esri ArcGIS Online adoption at the SAWC, and established policies governing appropriate and safe use of ArcGIS by staff and students.” explained Shawn.  

Three students from Fleming College, where Shawn teaches, accompanied him on his trip in April to help build a basemap and collect facility data for the SAWC community as part of their studies at Fleming.  

Shawn described the purpose of the project as follows, “To create a campus navigator for those visiting, finding their way to accommodations and dining areas, and to help modernize the experience for those new to the campus.”  

Hazel Timm, our Hospitality manager, provided helpful insight into her vision and needs at the College. Based off this information, Shawn and his team want to add a room finder website, printable map, and virtual campus tours which will be created over the next two months.  

“We are going to try and integrate video and 3D immersive views of key areas on campus into the mapping applications created. Using my Google Pixel phone some example 3D views were created and then prototyped some software to work as embedded content in AGOL Storymaps and Experience Builder. While indoor views weren’t as nice, the external campus ones really helped give a feel of the full extent of the campus.” said Shawn. 

We are so grateful to the Esri team and the Fleming students for choosing us to be the beneficiaries of their hard work. They are set to deliver what they have been working on by the end of June, which we are very much looking forward to.