There are always a few students who not only think outside the box, but also go above and beyond their duty as students and strive to better the communities in which they live. Cave City Junior Aaron Green, is no exception, he has recently taken on the massive task of creating a detailed map of over 600 Sharp County residents who have signed up for the proposed Sharp County Natural Gas project that is much the buzz in the area over the last year.
Green, who says he has always had an interest in maps, said his ears perked up when he and others from the Cave City Environmental and Spacial Technology Initiative (EAST) made a presentation to the Sharp County Quorum Court and offered their help with technology based projects. EAST facilitator, Cheryl Bell said she is very proud of him and said he has put in approximately 30 hours in the last few weeks working on this project that's end result could be very vital to the entire region in respect to economic development.
According to the EAST Web site, the purpose of the EAST labs that are very popular in many schools, is to maintain a curriculum designed to allow students to familiarize themselves with technology, granted through partnerships with leading technology firms, while at the same time helping their community and/or school. Major technology groups used in EAST labs include software for geographic information systems, computer animation, computer modeling, and video editing, as well as GPS utilities and CAD.
Through programs such as ArcGIS, Green has cataloged and mapped the entire list of residents who have signed up and said more and more are coming in daily, but the deadline for being included in the map that will be sent by the county to the USDA is March 29. The map is needed for the USDA and engineers with the proposed natural gas project to visually determine a plan regarding where the concentrations of users are located geographically in respect to planning how the system will lay out.
Green said the first step in what is officially called geocoding, is the tedious act of entering all the data from the User Agreements into an Excel spreadsheet, taking extra caution to avoid misspellings. He said he did have some help from fellow student Adam Gann with this step. After all the names are in the sheet, Green then said he saves the file and imports into a program that creates an address locator. He said he received a lot of support from University of Arkansas's CAST (Center for Advanced and Spacial Technologies) particularly Robin Dennis, who helped Green with street maps. He said the organization offers very many educational opportunities as well as resources and works with the EAST program.
Green said a lot of the maps had to be matched by hand and the process was very long, but said he was very thankful for the opportunity. When asked about his planned major, Green said he wasn't sure but mentioned civil engineering or other jobs that would allow him to utilize his interest in maps.
The huge project completed by Green is detrimental to the natural gas project and Brown said he was very fortunate to have Green doing the mapping for the proposed project.