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Vietnam CISR Trip, 2016

As an undergraduate I did GIS work for the Center for International Stabilization and Recovery (CISR) at James Madison University. I spent the majority of my time working on a "JMU CISR Survey Tool", funded by the State Department. The Survey Tool was designed to increase the efficiency and accuracy of surveys for explosive remnants of war (ERW's). The Vietnam trip was a professional visit with the intent of both sharing our GIS tool and improving it to work better for the teams on the ground. In March of 2016 I went to Vietnam with Geographic Science professor Paul Rittenhouse and CISR associate director Suzanne Fiederlein in order to achieve these goals.

We beta tested our tool with a Norwegian People's Aid (NPA) team in Dong Ha, a city located in the Quang Tri Province. This province was in particular need because it lies directly on the old north-south border, meaning it was ground zero for a lot of fighting and explosive ordnances. We met with the team and learned more about their survey techniques, then worked our GIS magic to cater our tool to their needs. We were able to test the tool in the field, as well as leave them with a beta version of the tool to continue using and testing. The trip was incredible; it was particularly special for me because it was my first real experience using my skills to make the world a better place.

For more about this trip, see this Norwegian People's Aid Post.