Geography, Technology & Development

Institute ID: 
2015 Module: 
I Latin American Series
Panama City
May 18, 2015 to June 6, 2015

Geographic Information Systems (GIS), smartphones, and open-source software are technologies supporting development projects throughout the world. Whether you are working in Public Health, Community Development, Environmental Sciences, Law, Urban Planning or Disaster Management, it would be hard to find a program that does not call for some data collection and analysis, some convenient tools for monitoring and evaluating impact or some effective way to display your findings (such as a powerful map!)

However, work and research conditions in the developing world are such that international development professionals often need to adapt the technology they are using . . . this course proposes to teach you how to develop these skills in an applied, real-life setting. This is a great way to take GIS out of the laboratory and into the field.

Geography, Technology and Development will introduce you to open-source mapping (Quantum GIS, Google Earth) and cellphone-based data collection software (OpenDataKit), and to the survey, analysis and data display skills you will need to produce accurate and powerful information about any issue that interests you.

Nestled among verdant coffee plantations at the foot of an ancient volcano chain, you will learn how to use technologies supporting study design all the way to final map production. The town of Boquete, Panama, located about six hours from Panama City, is a favorite retirement destination for U.S. citizens and boasts many services and cultural amenities. You will conduct research projects in the surrounding communities. 


After the three week class, you will have the opportunity to apply your newly acquired skills through an internship with one of our local and international partners in Panama. The regional office of the UNDP, the Smithsonian Institute, Cathalac as well as many other local organizations are on that list.


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