The inaugural Geospatial Information Competition has come to a happy conclusion, with student winners Micah Edwards and Elizabeth Peabody of Nowra Christian School from NSW flying down to the Locate Conference at the Melbourne Convention & Exhibition Centre on Tuesday April 9 to accept an award for their winning entry.
While attending the APSEA Gala Dinner, Micah, Elizabeth and their teacher Leah Arthur also got the chance to talk with industry professionals and some of the biggest names in the industry about the impact that spatial information and geospatial science is having in the world.
They also enjoyed the conference presentations throughout the day. Micah said, “We saw lots of very complicated technologies that geospatial scientists use to create maps and survey land areas and collect data about our world.”
The Geospatial Information Competition encourages students from all age levels to utilise spatial technology, information and data to tackle a challenge in their community. Micah and Elizabeth used spatial information to determine the most advantageous locations to place nest boxes for their local sugar glider population. The data they pored over allowed them to give these gliders a better chance out in the wild.
“We actually came to the conclusion that there was a lack of locations in our area,” Elizabeth explains, “so our plan is to plant acacias and then put the sugar gliders boxes up in the eucalyptus trees.”
For their efforts, they received flights to and accommodation in Melbourne for the conference, alongside a generous $1,000 cash prize.
“It was a fantastic way to show the kids the real-world applications of emerging technologies,” Mrs Arthur said of the competition. “I think what I was most proud of was that these guys started with a goal but very little idea of how to get to the goal, and every time a challenge was put in front of them they just rose to the challenge. They didn’t expect the answer to come to them. As a teacher, that’s pretty impressive.”
When asked what they learnt during the competition, Micah explained he learnt how to collect a lot of information then, “Put it into something that is really meaningful and actually has a purpose.”
Elizabeth found inspiration in the Geospatial Information Competition. “We set out doing something just locally and it’s actually got to a national level where we can talk about something we’re passionate about to a whole group of people who are probably more interested than a lot of the people we know.
“I think it’s been really empowering to know that as kids – like, 13 years olds – we have a voice in our local and national environment.”
The runners-up, Bede Taylor and Tom Abbott of Barker College, also in New South Wales, were not left empty-handed; they walked away with a $500 cash prize. Their entry, addressing homelessness, was deemed by the judges to have used geospatial science well to approach their chosen topic.
This year is just the beginning though. The 2019 edition will soon be announced, with students from around the country once again getting the chance to draw on geospatial principals to problem-solve. The Geospatial Information Competition is designed to give students exposure to a field that they might not otherwise even hear of – one that as we all know will have an increasingly important part to play in the world as technology advances.
Keep an eye on the SSSI website and www.geospatialscience.com.au for more information on the 2019 competition to come…