Ben Beattie

 Rebecca in the labName: Ben Beattie 

Hometown: Lancaster, PA 

Anticipated graduation: Fall 2024 

Major(s): BS Geography: Environmental & Spatial Sciences 


  • Resource Management Intern with PA DCNR Bureau of State Parks in Summer 2022 
    • Treated, monitored, surveyed, and identified aquatic vegetation across PA state park lakes, while using ArcGIS heavily to create maps, surveys, dashboards, and calculations. 
    • Hands on skills: trailering, boat operation, sonar, survey devices. 
    • Directly supported projects on the ground in more than 10 state parks, with frequent interaction with the public as a government employee. 
    • Built Survey123 app to collect data/photos with geotag to support an aquatic plant (Eurasian Watermilfoil) genetics project with the University of Montana at various state park lakes in Pennsylvania. Assisted with physical collection and sampling on airboat, while utilizing my ESRI Survey123 app on iPad. 
    • Calculations using geospatial analysis tools for volumetrics of lake sediment depositional load at Canoe Creek State Park and Greenwood Furnace State Park using survey data. Used bathymetry/satellite imagery to estimate Waterlily growth progression at Canoe Creek Lake. 
    • Creation of maps for volunteers to remove invasive Water Chestnut at Nockamixon State Park. Captured primary data using Survey123 App to record Water Chestnut sightingsBen driving an airboat with DCNR around the lake and the path of the airboat. 
    • Built ESRI Dashboard for public viewing of DEP water quality assessments at Pennsylvania state park lakes and streams. Utilized scale-dependent charts, spatial attribute joins, and custom symbology to visualize data. 
  • GIS/Engineering Intern with Lower Paxton Township in Summer 2023 
    • Led and engaged a series of GIS application meetings spanning Township departments, Township management, ESRI Philadelphia, while also delivering comprehensive GIS training to Township employees. 
    • Learned ArcGIS Arcade coding language to practically implement custom expressions into pop-ups, labeling, and dashboard elements within Township products. 
    • Conducted fieldwork using the Arrow Gold RTK GNSS Receiver/ArcGIS Field Maps to survey park and landfill assets and utilized RoadBotics AI Pavement Assessment technology to assess Township roads in the field. 
    • Extensive creation of over a dozen GIS based products using ArcGIS Online (SaaS) applications: Dashboards, Survey123, Instant Apps, Solutions, Experience Builder, Vector Tile Style Editor and StoryMaps in a civil engineering/public works focus. 
    • Utilized ArcGIS Pro for change detection analysis and 3D modeling of landfill LiDAR data, created a ModelBuilder geoprocessing tool to overlay multiple roadway raster parameters, performed georeferencing of project blueprints/historic maps, and conducted queries and calculations on storm sewer project data. 
    • Attended ESRI Philadelphia conference solely to represent the township and network with ESRI employees in Chesterbrook, PA. 
  • GIS Volunteer with Lancaster Conservancy since Spring 2023 
    • Verifying Lancaster Conservancy property boundaries using COGO (Coordinate Geometry) with bearings and distances from property deeds both historic and recent. Highly accurate boundaries are needed for legal enforcement should the boundary be called into question. 
    • Creation of geoprocessing tool using ArcGIS Pro ModelBuilder to assist Lancaster Conservancy in phasing out inaccurate National Hydrologic Dataset (NHD) Streams with high-resolution delineated streamline geometry using local elevation data. The tool will be used for trail route planning and creating public cartographic maps for fishing, trails, and hunting. 
    • I am currently researching and developing a hiking trail difficulty model within ArcGIS Pro ModelBuilder using trail distance, elevation change, % slope grade, etc. 

Inspirations (for major, research, internship): 

My choice of major stemmed from a blend of my passion for the environment and fascination with technology. Being a visual learner, geographic information systems (GIS) naturally captivated me with its visual components and software. It serves as an ideal intersection of art, science, and technology. I appreciate the artistic elements involved in designing maps, coupled with the technological aspects such as coding and data design. What I find most compelling is how GIS information can significantly impact policy and decision-making. When I discovered that Millersville offers a major uniquely focusing on both environmental science and geospatial technology, I eagerly embraced the opportunity to pursue that path. 

Highlights (from courses/internship/research): 

My most notable highlights were across both my internships and classes at Millersville.  

Driving an airboat across lakes was a surreal experience with PA DCNR, as well as traveling all over the state. At Lower Paxton Township, I enjoyed doing a project using LiDAR to determine elevation change on a retired landfill, as well as conducting site surveys with an iPad and F350.  

My favorite highlights at Millersville so far were in the geography department. Dr. Frost’s Field and Research Methods class (GEOG 289) included practical opportunities to go out into the field. Some highlights were collecting litterfall from traps we placed on Millersville’s Biological Preserve, collecting streamflow in the Conestoga River, and measuring other forest canopy metrics.  

Included in these highlights were the opportunities to conduct research projects in these classes. In Dr. Geiger’s GIS Data Management (GEOG 397) and Dr. Kelly’s GIS ll: Raster Analysis (GEOG 296), I worked on research projects concerning the use of geospatial technologies in orchards such as increased fruit yields, better management practices, and more efficient data organization. In Dr. Frost’s Field and Research Methods class (GEOG 289), I’m working on developing a Canopy Height Model using LiDAR for Millersville’s Biological Preserve. 

Takeaway (from courses/internship/research): 

During my time at Millersville, I recognized that the education offered served as a foundation for self-directed exploration and hands-on experiences. Each class served as an introduction to a particular subject, empowering students to expand their knowledge and pursue their interests independently. The diverse introductions in each course contributed to my growth as a well-rounded student, enabling me to pursue internships and deepen my understanding in various areas.

Advice (for incoming freshman in your shoes): 

Don't hesitate to jump into internships and research opportunities right from the start of your college experience! Employers aren't expecting you to have all the answers; they're looking for passion and resourcefulness. Stand out in your major by actively seeking ways to set yourself apart. Be proactive—learn new skills, ask questions beyond the classroom, and watch opportunities unfold. Take control of your academic journey by planning your schedule well in advance. Waiting until the last minute rarely leads to everything aligning perfectly.  

Aspirations (upon graduation): 

Post-graduation, I'm targeting geospatial roles in private engineering/environmental sectors or federal national security intelligence. Planning to work for a few years before pursuing a master's to deepen my expertise. Furthermore, I plan to keep expanding my knowledge of computer languages such as Python, HTML/CSS, and JavaScript.


Scholarships awarded while attending Millersville University 

Miller-Averett Geography Scholarship awardee