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I-GUIDE Summer School 2023: My Experience and Contributions

- Debayan Mandal

 

Introduction


I-GUIDE (Institute for Geospatial Understanding through an Integrative Discovery Environment) is an NSF-funded inter-institutional research organization dedicated to fostering development and innovation in geospatial convergence science. Beginning in 2023, I-GUIDE has hosted the I-GUIDE Summer School which brings together graduate students and early career scholars from across the United States for a week-long intensive team project-based training and personal development course focused on engaging and empowering the next generation of leaders in geospatial data science and convergent problem-solving.


Acceptance into the summer school is a highly competitive and selective process. This year, I participated in the I-GUIDE Summer School, Convergence Science in Action, which took place in August 2023 at the UCAR (University Consortium for Atmospheric Research) campus in Boulder, Colorado.


I-GUIDE Summer School - Convergence Science in Action


Team Project and Focus


I had the privilege of being a team member among seven dedicated graduate students and early career scholars, working on a specialized project about Characterizing the spatiotemporal changes of the wildland-urban interface in the United States. Our team was expertly guided by Eric Jensen, who is a Research Scientist from Desert Research Institute. This collaborative environment offered a unique space to explore pressing challenges in the realm of geospatial science.

I-GUIDE Team 1 (left to right): Debayan Mandal (Texas A&M University), Jiwon Baik (University of California, Santa Barbara), Amanda Charette (SUNY Environmental Science and Forestry), Eric Jensen (Desert Research Institute), Carla Cruz Medina (CSU Sacramento), Parin Bhaduri (Cornell University), Denise Chavez (Kansas State University)


My Contributions and Learning Experience


In this collaborative endeavor, my role consisted of the creation and comparison of WUI maps across the United States in a fine spatial resolution across the temporal range of a decade. Although demanding, it provided me with invaluable experience, particularly in Python, JavaScript, GIS analytics, and Google Earth Engine usage. Additionally, I engaged in comparing spatial correlations amongst various risk indicators in relation to the WUI areas, which honed my skills in spatial analytics. The process was both instructional and enriching, contributing to my overall professional growth.

Team 1 at work during the week


Final Output

Our team produced a Jupyter Notebook, which encapsulates the WUI characterization to its comparisons with risk indicators as the final deliverable. These findings have practical implications and could be useful for academia, industry, and government for realizing WUI intermix areas at such granular scales and its comparisons thus helping in informed policymaking. This notebook is now housed within the I-GUIDE CyberGIS platform for public usage.

A glimpse at one of our results


Team 1 final presentation


Conclusion

The I-GUIDE Summer School was an intensive learning experience. It provided me the opportunity to work on real-world problems, develop new skills, and network with experts in the field. I look forward to applying these new skills and experiences in my future work. For me, it is more than just a program—it’s a gateway to a wider professional community. The connections made during this week were enriching and eye-opening in a way.

At the Boulder Dushanbe Teahouse


In a nutshell, the 2023 I-GUIDE Summer School was a deeply rewarding experience, laying a firm foundation for my future endeavors.

Adios!

 



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