Yale librarian teaches teens interactive mapping at New Haven’s DigiCamp

Librarian Miriam Olivares shared her expertise during the free, three-day coding and computer technology camp for 8th to 12th graders in New Haven.

For the third summer in a row, Yale GIS (geographic information systems) librarian Miriam Olivares shared her expertise with the participants in New Haven’s annual DigiCamp — a free, three-day coding and computer technology camp for 8th to 12th graders hosted every August by the City of New Haven, with additional support this year from Microsoft and The workshop convened Aug. 13-15 at New Haven City Hall.

This summer, DigiCamp’s fifth, the theme was artificial intelligence (AI) with a focus on AI’s use for applications developed with GIS. Olivares joined Alfredo Herrera, GIS analyst and coordinator for the City of New Haven, to teach an introductory workshop on ArcGIS StoryMaps — an interactive mapmaking tool developed by Esri, a major international GIS software manufacturer.

Olivares says she and Herrera selected StoryMaps for the workshop because “it’s an easy, engaging way to break into the world of GIS.” StoryMaps allows users to augment existing digital maps by dropping pins on specific locations, which they can then annotate with photos, text, video, and audio to tell a cohesive, multimedia story about the place. Participants in Olivares and Herrera’s workshop were asked to create StoryMaps that highlighted the “best of” New Haven, with focuses ranging from barbershops to retail stores to — of course — pizza places. On the final day, the StoryMaps were judged by a panel, which included Karen King, director of the Yale University President’s Public Service Fellowship and community affairs associate at the Yale Office of New Haven and State Affairs.

Olivares is featured in a chapter of “Women and GIS: Mapping Their Stories,” published by Esri in winter 2019. According to the Esri press website, “From oceanographers to activists, archaeologists to entrepreneurs, the women in ‘Women and GIS: Mapping Their Stories’ can serve as mentors to motivate readers who are developing their own life stories and inspire their potential in a new way.” Fittingly, the other workshop Olivares taught this year for DigiCamp was about women in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math).

The GIS research support services and GIS coordination for Yale are based at the Center for Science and Social Science Information.

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