Daniel Yelito – Transportation Services Manager, Pennsylvania

Photo of Daniel YelitoWhat was your favorite class in K-12? My favorite class from K-12 was Geography in 1969. I only had geography in the fourth grade. The teacher was explaining what a globe was and I was fascinated by the sphere shape. When I held the globe I said, “Look I have the whole world in my hands.” That was my introduction to the world and everything in it. The subject resonated with me from that very moment.

How did you first learn about and/or use GIS? I first learned about and began using GIS in 2011 when I accepted a Transportation Planning position with the Northeastern Pennsylvania Alliance Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO). I was hired to perform a state wide Transportation Infrastructure Inventory through the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation and Federal Highway Administration. This project includes using Esri’s ArcGIS Mobile Application to locate and authenticate transportation infrastructure such as bridges and roads that have not been previously mapped by PennDOT. This open data collection is to be used to determine municipal, county, state and federal transportation infrastructure needs.

Name one thing you love about Geography? It’s the world and everything in it. Geography touches all disciplines such as the arts, history, science and Math, environmental sciences, business and the economy, engineering and technology, literature, language and the social sciences like civics and politics, and the list goes on. The geospatial applications are endless which I find alluring. It is a discipline that can guide you to a field of your interest. Early in my life I discovered an interest for my surroundings, not realizing that later in life this is what’s referred to as spatial awareness.

Why do you want to volunteer as a Geomentor? First off my colleague, Annette Ginocchetti GISP for NEPA Alliance, introduced me to the Geomentor Program and asked me if I would be interested in mentoring young minds. Teaching young minds is a talent I realized I was good at when I volunteered as a youth sports instructor many years ago. I relished the opportunity to exposed young minds to Geography and told her I would be delighted. Also, it’s important to me to pass on my knowledge to future generations and to inspire others. I enjoy working with younger generations sharing my knowledge and experiences with the expectations of leaving a Geo-Inheritance behind.

If someone asked you why they should learn about GIS and/or geography, how would you respond in one sentence? Like a map, geography will direct you where you want to go for career choices and understanding your surroundings is a fundamental principle that can develop a fascinating direction in life.