Skip to main content

Courtesy of the Coast

Jacqueline Akins, a graduate student in the Department of Geography, researches the relationship between effective lake coastal management and property values in Wisconsin. Akins will conduct her study using geographic information systems (GIS) with the goal of helping Great Lakes coastal managers and community members better understand how housing development impacts the land.

With the Great Lakes supplying more than 21% of the world's freshwater, the topic of coastal development and coastal management remains a timely point of discussion for the states that border the lakes. Coastal development is the human-induced change of landscape while coastal management is the effort to protect shoreline land from erosion. To see how these developments affect the housing market, Akins focuses her attention on Wisconsin, a state with 15 counties bordering the Great Lakes.

Using ArcGIS Pro, a mapping system that gathers data such as property type, size, and monetary value, Akins will analyze the relationship between effective lake coastal management and property values in Wisconsin. Through her research, Akins hopes to highlight the beneficial capabilities of GIS, noting, “GIS is the perfect tool to display how we (humans and other living beings) connect with the Earth.”

Since she could remember, Akins has been fascinated with all aspects of Earth and space. Her mother and grandmother continue to inspire her to pursue higher education through hard work and perseverance. Upon starting at CMU as a meteorology major, Akins soon found her passion for GIS and switched academic directions, sharing, “I love Earth and I love helping people. I knew GIS was the best way to go and a perfect career.”

Post-graduation, Akins hopes to use her passion for GIS to work in coastal management or severe weather events. Beyond Earth, she dreams of using GIS for space exploration at NASA.

At CMU We Do Research, We Do Real World

Story by ORGS intern Hailey Nelson

May 2021