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  • Brandyn Balch, President SUNY Geneseo GIS Assoc

How do you measure your chapter's progress and impact?

Updated: Jan 4, 2021

Hi folks!

Brandyn here, President of the SUNY Geneseo GIS Association-- AKA YouthMappers Geneseo Chapter!

I am a senior Geography major, with double minors in Environmental Studies and Geology. My studies focus on the relationships between human and natural systems, and the utilization of GIS technology to aid in conservation science. I am also a GIS teaching assistant here at Geneseo, and President of another volunteer organization called Friends of Recreation, Conservation, and Environmental Stewardship.

One thing I have learned from running FORCES is the importance of quantifying the impacts of your organization. This gives you leverage in conversations with school officials and prospective members, justifies your existence, and may increase your access to funding opportunities. A couple weeks ago I put together a database to track our progress, and I want to share it with all of you. I welcome anyone to copy this database and adjust it to your needs! You can view and download it here.

The inputs for this database are based on available OpenStreetMap statistics as provided by Pascal Neis via this link.

For every mapping party we host, we add this hashtag in the comments: "GeneseoMapathon##," where "##" is replaced with a unique ID number. Using this hashtag in Neis' query function, "Filtering OpenStreetMap Changesets by a Specific Comment," we are able to pull up statistics for each individual mapping party. By inputting them into our database each week, we can track our organization's progress and observe our contribution totals at the end of each semester.

I also added "duration of event" to the database, in hours. For each party, "Event Duration (hours)" times the "# of Contributors" equals "Event Contribution (hours)." The sum of all event contributions equals "Total Hours Logged," which is recorded in the upper right corner of the spreadsheet. This is also useful particularly when discussing the monetary value of your work. For example: fifty people volunteering three hours/week for ten weeks is 1,500 hours of labor. 1,500 times $9.00 (minimum wage in New York State) is $13,500. That's money your organization just SAVED the government by volunteering its labor resources to humanitarian efforts!

I hope this information and database is useful to you all. Please feel free to reach out to me if you have any questions, and happy mapping!


Brandyn Balch, President

SUNY Geneseo GIS Association

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