Our Maine Street's Aroostook Issue 12 : Spring 2012 - Page 77

# University students focus on community service & learning T he University of Maine at Presque Isle has been abuzz with community service/learning activities during the - academic year, with students doing everything from helping to develop GIS maps so local municipalities can create planning and development efficiencies, to conducting a study for local police on theft from motor vehicles. UMPI’s GIS Laboratory has just completed work on a major GIS mapping project for  central Aroostook County cities and towns. The project, funded by a $, grant from the Maine Office of Geographic Information Systems, provides the municipalities with free, high-tech tools for managing their land parcels. Using GIS [geographic information systems] technology, the project coordinator, UMPI professor Dr. Chunzeng Wang, and UMPI students converted each municipality’s paper tax maps and tax assessor’s data into a GIS database. Each database includes an accurate digital parcel map for a given township with detailed data on each parcel, including location and boundaries, owner information, assessed land values, and tax information. The municipalities involved included: Presque Isle, Easton, Washburn, Limestone, Westfield, Perham, Wade, New Sweden, Mars Hill, Mapleton, Castle Hill, Chapman, Woodland, Caribou, and Fort Fairfield. A total of , parcels were digitized and converted to GIS data. Two students, Thomas Pinette and Zicong Zhou, worked full-time on the project in Summer . Two full-time interns, Chelsey Ellis and Gary Parent, also worked on the project because of its connections to UMPI’s EPSCoR program [Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research], funded by the National Science Foundation through the Maine EPSCoR Program. “The GIS parcel project was an invaluable experience for me,” Pinette said. “I was able to get real-world practice with GIS work rather than only have classroom labs to draw my experience from. Not only that, but I have the satisfaction of knowing the project is helping local towns as well.” UMPI Criminal Justice Students also had the opportunity to positively impact their local community, conducting a study for the Presque Isle Police Department on theft from motor vehicles – typical targets include cell phones, prescription medication, and cash – and providing some potential solutions to the problem. UMPI professor Dr. Charles Johnson and nine Criminal Justice students worked on the -page document. “This project gave our students the opportunity to recognize a current crime pro