Smithsonian Internship 5

Half way through my internship, I have been amazed at the coding experience and how it can run a large dataset. I did not expect I would use coding in my internship except a few functions that embed videos, internet links and maps in websites. I thought I would use ready-made software tools I learned to build some projects. To provide a brief recap: my project is mapping the destroyed cultural heritage sites in Syria and after many different trials, the format of map is an interactive cluster map with numbers in clusters and popup boxes that show the information of individual sites. This can be done by the mapping tools such as but they have only a few customization features. To make the map better suit our needs, the team decides to use Mapbox where a developer can design a map by coding and have total freedom to decide what a map looks like. This is how I come to coding and it is exciting, challenging and rewarding experience.

Forrest Gump says “Life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.” Thanks to my internship, now I know my new chocolate is coding. However, the coding experience itself is like a box of chocolates—you never know what you are gonna get. Sometimes you spend a lot of time figuring out why the codes don’t work or figuring out why the map looks different from your expectation when you think you write the right codes. It’s like an adventure that you are excited to see what happens next after you create a code block and pray it works. Up to now, because of coding, I have experienced JavaScript, Mapbox-styled JavaScript, Spiderifier effect, Github and IT terms such as third-party library and Geojson format. Because of the internship, I have a taste of a web developer’s life: coding to create everything from cluster circles to popup boxes, from a geocoder to the sequence of information that shows up on the map. I enjoy this learning and exploring process and I owe many thanks to my team for their patience and support. Half way through the internship, the codes are successfully made. What I need to do now is to add new data (hundreds of entries) and make sure everything goes well. I hold breath for the final product and I am excited that we move to the next step.

For data security reason, I will create our own pages which store data. This is new experience to me because these pages must have particular web address extension. For example, the page that stores Syria data must end with “. geojson” in its web address so that when the codes run it can recognize the format and extract the information. I created one with Github. Now I look forward to seeing I can do the same under another domain name with wordpress.

My internship exceeds my expectation of internship and it is different from my original expectation. But that’s my life. It never goes as I plan but always turns out be more wonderful.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *