On Thursday, April 6, Cossatot River EAST [Environmental and Spatial Technology] student Faye Wilkinson visited the Polk County Sheriff’s Office to present a project that she and fellow EAST student Rylee Stevenson have been developing since the beginning of the school year. While deciding what to give their efforts towards, the students chose to do something with mapping. The student’s goal was to help expedite the response time of local emergency services such as Southwest EMS, Vandervoort Volunteer Fire Department, and the Polk County Sheriff’s Department to name a few.
In order to do so, the students created an app that could be used by emergency responders to better care for and treat people. “The app works almost like Google Earth. The EMS or fire department would be able to pull up the address they were given and see what the house looked like, the length of the driveway, and other things that would help,” says Faye.
Faye and Rylee have attended many workshops with Malcolm Williamson and Robyn Lane, professors at the University of Arkansas in the Center for Advanced Spatial Technologies to learn how to use the mapping softwares ArcGIS and ArcMap.
Throughout the process of creating the app, it was a very time consuming process. “When people think about maps or mapping they think about how nice it is to have Google maps for driving, but in order to have those maps, points need to be plotted. It has taken us a lot of time and effort to plot those points,” explains Rylee and Faye. The students were able to use a lot of data from Arkansas.gov to help with their app, such as residences and geographical locations. In a process that has lasted almost the entire school year, the students completed the development of the app in March.
On April 6th, the project was presented to Sheriff Scott Sawyer, County Judge Brandon Ellison, Polk County Emergency Coordinator Management E-911 and Fire Services Coordinator Tommy Stueart, and Deputy Coordinator Kyle Rowland. What originally started as a meeting with Sheriff Sawyer, quickly turned into a bigger audience. “As I was presenting, people would walk in and the Sheriff would tell them to stay and take a look at what we were working on.” One of the products of the meeting is that the EAST program may be entering into a partnership to map and plot the points for fire hydrants in the county and the helipads as well.
EAST teacher at Cossatot River, Emily Huckabee, said she is incredibly proud of her students and the work that they have put into the project. “For those that don’t know, EAST has been designed for student led growth and student led learning. They find something they are interested in and then take the time to learn the software and start working on their projects. It is so cool that they have had the opportunity to create something that can really help,” says Huckabee. Both Faye and Rylee are hoping to continue to develop the app more and get other students involved as well. “We really want to help teach other students about this and help them get involved so it can continue in the future,” says Faye.