Winners of Student GIS Challenge Competition 2011


SISAT Professor Tom Horan with GIS Challenge winners

SISAT Dean Tom Horan (left) with GIS Challenge 1st place winners Pei Yee Whetsel & Margaret Teevens
and (center) 2nd place winner Venkat Rahul Chandra and Honerable Mention recipient
Christina Wade with Brian Hilton, Advanced GIS Lab Director (right).

Claremont Graduate University (CGU's) Center for Information Systems and Technology (CISAT) has announced the winners of the Student GIS Challenge competition.

Pei Yee Whetsel

Pei Yee Whetsel, of Loma Linda University, and Margaret Teevens, from the University of North Dakota/Casper College, will each receive $1,000 in cash and a scholarship of up to $35,000 to pursue an advance degree in geographic information systems (GIS) at CGU.

The contest, co-sponsored by digital mapping leader Esri, recognizes and rewards the students who best use GIS technology to help address some of society’s most pressing problems. It challenged recent college graduates and undergraduate students who are approaching graduation to develop GIS software applications in one of two areas: public health and humanitarian issues or transportation safety.

Whetsel won the public health and humanitarian category for her creation of "My emergency shelter: A disaster management application that may save your life.”

Teevens won the transportation safety category for her work on "Improving transportation safety through policy, vehicle to infrastructure communication."

More than 90 students from around the world registered for the competition after it was unveiled in September. The winners, chosen by a panel of experts in the GIS field, were announced at the Claremont Colleges on Nov. 16 as part of Claremont Graduate University’s celebration of International GIS Day.

Margaret Teevens

“We launched this competition to inspire innovation among a new generation of students,” said Tom Horan, dean of CGU’s Center for Information Systems and Technology. “We were thrilled by the imagination and promise shown by the entries, and we are excited about the possibility of working with our winners in research and study here at CGU.”

The public-health and humanitarian issues category called for spatial applications and analysis relating to local, regional, or global-health issues, as well as humanitarian efforts to deal with national and international relief efforts. Said winner Whetsel: “I’m very grateful for this chance. I would like to get my master’s degree and do whatever I have to do to continue to make my project a success.

The transportation safety category called for behavioral, policy, and engineering applications and analysis affecting transportation safety for pedestrians, teenagers, motorcycles, or commercial vehicles. Said winner Teevens: “I am honored beyond belief by this. I want to take advantage of the opportunity to continue my education and to contribute to initiatives that will save lives and make a difference in society.”

Other finalists received $100 cash prizes. They included:

Second Place

Bradley Dorn, CSU Fresno, for "A community-based participatory research web application to analyze health professional shortage areas in the United States."

Joseph Saltenberger, Humboldt State/ SDSU, for "Web GIS for older adult service: Participatory sensing and visualization."

Venkat Rahul Chandra, University of Toronto, Sir Sanford Fleming College, for "Simulation of traffic accident changes resultant from major commercial development."

Honorable Mention

Christina Wade, Cal Poly Pomona, for "Tracking disease: Public health and humanitarian Issues."

Kok Suet Yheng, University of Technology, Malaysia, for "Suitability analysis for Dengue Disease Review."

Naveen Kumar, University of Zaragoza, Spain, for "A web prototype for disseminating forest fire data using maps APIs.”

Geographic information systems is a field that merges data collection and mapping in order to analyze and assess real-world problems. Participants were encouraged to use Esri’s tools and software to develop the applications.

GIS Challenge application map
GIS IN ACTION: Inquiries and applicants for the Student GIS Challenge competition came in from around the world.


About the Center for Information Systems and Technology

Based at Claremont Graduate University in Southern California, CISAT is one of the top programs to offer a masters or PhD in information systems, health information management and more.

About Claremont Graduate University

Founded in 1925, Claremont Graduate University is one of the top graduate schools in the United States. Our nine academic schools conduct leading-edge research and award masters and doctoral degrees in 24 disciplines. Because the world’s problems are not simple nor easily defined, diverse faculty and students research and study across the traditional discipline boundaries to create new and practical solutions for the major problems plaguing our world. A Southern California based graduate school devoted entirely to graduate research and study, CGU boasts a low student-to-faculty ratio.

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