PlanPhilly among winners for Azavea’s inaugural ‘Summer of Maps’ program

Philadelphia, PA, April 26, 2012 – Azavea, an award winning geospatial analysis (GIS) software development company announces the winners of its first Summer of Maps.  Inspired by the Google Summer of CodeAzavea Summer of Maps is a program that offers $5,000 stipends to two student GIS analysts to perform pro bono geospatial data analysis projects for non-profit organizations over a three-month period in the summer of 2012.  Azavea received applications from students and nonprofits from all over the United States. 

Read Eyes on the Street’s take

They selected Ms. Nse Umoh Esema, Master in City Planning, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Ms. Angela Sakrison, Master of Environmental Studies, University of Pennsylvania, as the first participants.  Ms. Esema will be working with The Campaign for Working Families on targeting programs to assist working people in managing their finances.  She will also be working with PlanPhilly on visualizing the impact of Philadelphia’s Neighborhood Transformation Initiative (NTI) on property vacancy, use, and values.  Concurrently, Ms. Sakrison will be working with the National Parks Conservation Association on assessing the impact of fences on patterns of wildlife migration in Grand Teton National Park; and with Stroud Water Research Center on evaluating the impact of vegetation changes in the riparian buffer on stream geomorphology and the fish community.

While this is the first year, Azavea could not be more thrilled by the success of Summer of Maps.   Both national and regional nonprofit organizations applied with a wide array of potential spatial analysis projects that spanned domains as varied as environment, transportation, arts and culture, public health, food, and education and family services.  The Mural Arts Program, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, National Parks Conservation Association, Morris Arboretum, Immigration Advocates Network, PlanPhilly, Partnership for Working Families, and Philabundance were among the participating organizations.  The majority of the 49 student applications came from students at regional Philadelphia universities like Temple University, the University of Pennsylvania, Community College of Philadelphia and Villanova University, but a significant number were submitted from as far away as UC Berkeley, MIT, SUNY at Buffalo, University of Vermont, and University of Michigan.

“We couldn’t have hoped for a better turn out. The quality of the applications we received from both the non-profit organizations and students was outstanding. Competition was fierce, which made it challenging for us to select winning organizations and students. What this showed us, though, is that a lot of nonprofits are asking very sophisticated spatial data analysis questions in support of their missions.  It is also exciting for us to see so many GIS students being trained by high quality university programs all over the US,” said Robert Cheetham, Azavea CEO and President.

From June to August 2012, the winning non-profit organizations will be able to:

  • Receive pro bono services from a skilled student GIS analyst to geographically analyze and visualize their data
  • Visualize their data in new ways
  • Combine their data with other demographic and geographic data
  • Receive high quality maps that can be used to support new initiatives or make a case to prospective funders

The fellows will:

  • Work on a spatial analysis project that supports the social mission of two non-profit organizations
  • Work with Azavea mentors to improve their GIS skills
  • Receive a monthly stipend
  • Gain work experience implementing a GIS project

Azavea is planning to renew this initiative next year, and encourages nonprofits and GIS students to continue checking the Azavea Summer of Maps webpage for announcements related to the 2013 program:

About Azavea – Azavea is an award-winning geospatial analysis (GIS) software development firm specializing in the creation of location-based web and mobile software as well as geospatial analysis services. Azavea is a certified B Corporation that applies geographic data and technology to promote the emergence of more dynamic, vibrant, and sustainable communities while advancing the state-of-the-art through research. Each of Azavea’s projects, products and pro bono engagements showcases this commitment.  Azavea has offices in Philadelphia, Boston and Minneapolis. Find more at

If you would like more information about Azavea or to schedule an interview with Robert Cheetham, Azavea CEO and President, please contact Amy Trahey at (215) 558 – 6184 or e-mail

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