Williamson County provides technical training to students
Callison fifth-graders learn about geographic systems in event at Dell Diamond.
By Brad Stutzman Round Rock Leader Contributing Writer
The electronic brains were good, but a human brain did them one better.
Adin Lee was among the Callison Elementary School fifth-graders participating in Williamson County’s Geographic Information Systems Day on Nov. 18 at Dell Diamond.
With some adult assistance, Adin was using a computer to find the street where he lives. But in such a fast-growing area as Williamson County, Adin’s street had not yet been plotted on the map.
So Adin adapted, improvised and overcame.
“I first started by checking where my school was, because my house is close to the school,” he said. “I picked out exactly where my house was.”
Adin impressed the grownups around him, but for this 10-year-old, it was just another day at the office.
“In my family, I’m the computer one,” Adin said.
County Public Safety Technology Director Richard Semple and GIS Manager George Strebel were among those leading the program, which was open to the general public in the afternoon.
Semple explained that GIS takes maps and uses them to form a database, to add information to those maps.
“A good example in public safety would be using 911 for first responders,” he said. “When a call comes in, we can plot that on a map and figure out where the nearest ambulance is.”
Rachel Mackey, a Callison teacher who accompanied the fifth-graders, said getting this kind of hands-on experience with a GIS system complements classroom learning.
Watching a National Weather Service demonstration about how GIS technology aids meteorologists, Mackey noted: “In science, in fifth-grade, they have to understand what a cold front looks like. This field trip covers so much. It puts a real life application to it.”