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Project to Build Capacity in Population Mapping in Africa Expands Staff

Mon Jan 07 00:00:00 EST 2019

The Geo-referenced Infrastructure and Demographic Data for Development (GRID³) project has recently brought on several new staff members at CIESIN. Jolynn Schmidt is a new data and program analyst who is helping to develop methodologies for the production and implementation of GRID3 core data layers and providing technical support to in-country implementing partners. With a background in Linux systems engineering, she has a masters in geographic information systems (GIS) from Pennsylvania State University and a BS in environmental studies from Western Michigan University. Anela Laygun is a senior research staff assistant supporting the quality control processes, data explorations, and data visualization tasks of GRID³ data collected and/or consolidated by in-country implementing partners. She earned a BA in environmental science (Earth Systems Science) and an MS in GIS under Clark University′s Accelerated Degree Program.

New interns include Matthew Heaton, who is full-time, and Eniko Kelly, Marchelle Lundquist, and Haokai Zhao, who are part-time. Heaton has a dual degree in geography and psychology from the State University of New York at Geneseo, with a background in multimedia and community mapping initiatives. Kelly is an MS student in the geoinformatics program at Hunter College, City University of New York, where she completed advanced training in the GIS Certificate Program. She has a combined BS and MS in geological engineering and applied geo-sciences from the University of Bucharest, Romania, and the University of Leoben, Austria. Lundquist is a senior at Columbia College, majoring in sustainable development. Zhao is an MS student at Columbia's Department of Earth and Environmental Engineering. He has a BS in electrical engineering and automation from Tongji University and a minor certificate in law from Fudan University, both located in Shanghai, China. The interns are focused on data collection and cleaning, data quality assessment, and creating and curating maps.

The GRID³ project, funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the United Kingdom's Department for International Development (DFID), aims to increase developing country capability for mapping population distribution as a way of ensuring that everyone, especially the most vulnerable, are counted. Key partners are Flowminder/WorldPop and UNFPA-United Nations Population Fund.