Gabrielle Ragazzo, 2015, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

The overall goal of the Mapping Africa Project is to obtain more accurate data concerning agricultural distribution for Sub-Saharan Africa by using an Internet mapping initiative on Amazon Mechanical Turk website. In this initiative, online workers are shown a series of aerial images and paid to map the fields. This summer I helped assess the accuracy of the Project, and also created a brief tutorial video explaining how to map fields. For the accuracy assessment, I edited a collection of aerial images for South Africa and Zambia by drawing field boundaries within them using the spatial analysis software program Quantum GIS. Those images were compared to the workers’ to determine the accuracy of their mapping. I learned how to use the software programs on a fairly advanced level, as well as how to create a video. I also gained insight as to what it is like to work as a researcher in an office setting. While it was a great experience to be closely involved with such a worthwhile project, this internship made me realize that I would like to try something more hands-on in the future.