USGIF's YPG GeoHunt Teaches San Antonio Youth GEOINT Fundamentals
October 16, 2011
More than 50 students from local San Antonio elementary schools on Sunday, Oct. 16 had the rare opportunity to learn about geospatial intelligence from experts during an interactive, educational exploration, similar to a scavenger hunt, held downtown.
As a part of the GEOINT 2011 Symposium, the United Sates Geospatial Intelligence Foundation’s (USGIF) Young Professions Group (YPG) hosted its second GeoHunt service project. Young Professional volunteers from various USGIF member organizations taught students from San Antonio’s Austin Academy and Pershing Elementary schools about the fundamental skills of GEOINT.
“With all of the excitement currently surrounding the YPG, I’m proud to have seen this project grow from an idea brought up in a YPG Working Group meeting to an actual program the YPG can take with them across the country,” said Keith Masback, USGIF President. “GeoHunt gives us a chance to give back to communities throughout the country and it’s also very rewarding for our volunteers to see the children’s enthusiasm about what they do on a daily basis.”
Using an Android-based tablet and a digital map of downtown San Antonio, 10 teams of kids, ranging mostly from fifth to sixth grade, paired up with Young Professional volunteers. The teams set off to find different pinpoints on the map that corresponded to well-known locations in the local area. Each pinpoint included a clue that kids worked together, with the help of the volunteers, to find the answers to and point them to their next destination.
After each team completed 10-15 questions, the entire group met back at the GeoHunt home base on Alamo Plaza for lunch and conversation with their YPG team leaders. The elementary students were able to ask about the maps they used during the hunt, the information that goes into them, and the YPG Volunteers got to share their knowledge about the science and technology that goes into turning geography in geospatial intelligence.
The purpose of having GeoHunt during the GEOINT 2011 Symposium was to not only give an overview of maps and geospatial intelligence to kids who may not have learned about this otherwise, but to also leave a GEOINT Symposium host city a little better than before we arrived. Through the GeoHunt service project in San Antonio, kids were exposed to new technologies, basic mapping principles and learned more about the city they live in.
GeoHunt is an educational exploration service project, similar to geocaching, that introduces children to the elements and power of GEOINT in hopes of getting them excited about a future in geospatial intelligence. Developed by the USGIF Young Professionals Group, the experience from this project benefits the GEOINT Community by engaging children in geospatial technologies at a young age. As the YPG further develops this project, the group plans to customize the project for various locations throughout the country.
Developed in 2009, YPG unites GEOINT young professionals within the Defense, Intelligence and Homeland Security Communities, to include government, industry, academia, and other non-profits and trade associations. This group offers events and programs that parallel the Foundation’s mission of advancing the geospatial intelligence tradecraft by utilizing the unique dynamics of our young professional membership.Looking to become apart of the YPG or meet GEOINT Young Professionals? Make sure to look out for us at the USGIF booth every afternoon during the exhibit hall receptions. Learn more about the YPG and what we do.
USGIF is a non-profit educational foundation dedicated to promoting the geospatial intelligence tradecraft and developing a stronger GEOINT Community with government, industry, academia, professional organizations and individuals whose mission is the development and application of geospatial intelligence to address national security challenges. For more information, please visit www.usgif.org.