Mapping for the future

By | February 17, 2021
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GIS students meet regularly via Zoom to discuss the Ford College Community Core project. Pictured, top from left, Gina Boyanowski, Professor Jacob Napieralski and Julia Hozak; bottom, from left, Rebecca Zasadny, Kelsey Young and Abby Jenkins. (U-M Dearborn News)

A group of UM-Dearborn students are creating a plan to help a Metro Detroit community see the future — or, more accurately, get a visual of it. Five students in geology professor Jacob Napieralski’s Geographic Information System (GIS) capstone course are working with Dearborn city government, non-profit organizations, and community groups creating digital maps to assist with the expansion of the city’s tree canopy, evaluate locations for city bike lanes, and more.

Thanks to a $25,000 Ford College Community Challenge grant, Napieralski’s students will keep the mapping momentum going for city-related planning projects. “These students genuinely care and want to leave a footprint on their community before they graduate — it goes beyond a grade,” he says. UM-Dearborn is one of seven universities across the nation selected for the award.