Frank Romo – Public Safety Data Manager & Geospatial Consultant, Michigan

Photo of Frank RomoPosition: Public Safety Data Manager — 911 & Emergency Services Technician

What was your favorite class in K-12? My favorite classes in school were history and geography. I really enjoyed learning how maps and diagrams were used for reconnaissance during war times to give armies the upper hand on the battlefield.

How did you first learn about and/or use GIS? I first learned GIS while studying at Columbia University. One of my first major projects was using GPS units for data collection and crowdsourcing information immediately after Hurricane Sandy. This was a transformative experience for me because it taught me how GIS can be used during times of crises to solve real-time problems for people in affected regions.

Name one thing you love about GIS and/or geography (I know, just one!): The best thing about GIS is its ability to empower residents and promote social justice in local communities. In the past, I have used GIS to address issues of inequality in cities surrounding topics like pollution, toxic hazards, racial segregation, food insecurity and public safety. GIS can be used for social good and help people fight to improve the health and well-being of their communities.

Why did you want to volunteer as a GeoMentor? I chose to become a GeoMentor because I enjoy teaching people about the power of GIS. I have taught as a GIS instructor for over five years now and find it very rewarding when I can empower students to use GIS. I chose to become a GeoMentor because I want to embrace the opportunity to teach, pass on my knowledge and share my skillset with the next generation of GIS leaders.

If someone asked you why they should learn about GIS and/or geography, how would you respond in one sentence? GIS is a fun and useful tool that can be used to positively impact the world around you!