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People's Choice Award for High-Tech Map Making

by Lauren McGuire, Student Public Relations Writer

Dr. Mark Gathany

Two Cedarville University students earned the People’s Choice Award for their global information system (GIS) map showing Ohio wild animal-vehicle collision sites and hotspots.

Benjamin Dunning, an environmental science major from Beaufort, South Carolina, and Lauren Pride, an environmental science major from Batavia, Ohio, were recognized with the award during the Southwest Ohio GIS Users Group (SWOGIS) meeting.

GIS is a computer-based system that enables users to gather, manage and analyze data, then use that information to create maps and 3D visualizations that provide insight for better decision-making by business and government leaders.

A dozen Cedarville students submitted projects for the competition.

Other map visualizations included remote sensing of harmful algal blooms, watershed protection, potential population impacts of volcanoes, wind energy in Ohio, territorial claims in Antarctica, and a Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) field exercise map.

Nearly 100 individuals registered for the SWOGIS competition. “The event was a place for our students to present their work in an external venue,” said Dr. Mark Gathany, professor of biology at Cedarville. “I was pleased that so many regional professionals saw that we were engaged on the topic and presenting some great examples of what the students have learned in one short semester.”

SWOGIS was founded in 2010 to share data, ideas, and expertise and strengthen GIS relationships across organizations. They now hold regular meetings, provide guest speakers and training opportunities, distribute a newsletter and maintain a website.

To see a complete list of maps and winners, check out the entire list here.

Located in southwest Ohio, Cedarville University is an accredited, Christ-centered, Baptist institution with an enrollment of 4,550 undergraduate, graduate, and online students in more than 150 areas of study. Founded in 1887, Cedarville is recognized nationally for its authentic Christian community, rigorous academic programs, including the Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science and Bachelor of Science in Geology/Geosciences, strong graduation and retention rates, accredited professional and health science offerings, and high student engagement ranking. For more information about the University, visit

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