GEORGIA COUNTY INTERNSHIP SPOTLIGHT
Tanner Adams, a rising senior at Georgia College, currently works as a geographic information systems (GIS) intern in Baldwin County. Stationed in the GIS department, Adams has been working on projects related to Baldwin’s county road database. At Georgia College, Adams studies geography and GIS and has had the unique opportunity to apply concepts learned in the classroom to his work in the local community.
Upon learning of the internship opportunity with the county, Adams was eager to apply. He already knew previous interns with Baldwin County who had positive experiences, so Adams looked forward to an enriching work environment. Further, Adams knew he wanted to acquire real-world GIS knowledge before graduating, so the internship with Baldwin County was an ideal opportunity. It was also a win-win for the county. Cindy Bush, Adams' supervisor and the IT Manager, said that GIS majors are rare, but so too are the opportunities for GIS majors to gain real-world experience.
So far this summer, Adams has been reviewing and updating the county road database. More specifically, he has been updating county right-of-way (ROW) information. Each day, Adams sorts through and inspects historic road files to document ROW information and input them into the database. Adams' work supports an ongoing long-term county project to review the entire road database called "Road Collector." The database catalogs relevant information including road signs, cross drains, and road types across the county.
The most surprising aspect of Adams’ work so far has been the relevance and applicability of GIS in the “real world.” Adams has been surprised by the importance of the data he’s been working with, noting that the information is necessary on a daily basis. "Everything ties together," he said, remarking that he is now more appreciative of GIS work because he has a deeper understanding of how things affect each other.
Adams' work is also crucial for county services and day-to-day government operations. Information on roads and database items such as correct addresses and storm drain locations are essential for public works and emergency services. With the correct and thorough information that Adams inputs into the database, these services can do their jobs more quickly, efficiently, and safely.
Bush says that, so far, the relationship between interns and the county has been great. Adams is pleased with his work and is grateful for the experience and perspective gained in his chosen field. Adams' post-graduate plans are still in the works, but he said his internship experience so far has further solidified his career interests. He feels called to public service and could see himself working for local governments in the future. Adams will continue his road database internship through the summer, and the county is already planning to invite him to return in the spring semester to gain college credit for his work.
To learn more about the GCIP, please visit our website at https://www.accg.org/caf_index.php.