Stout and Sensibility: Program Chair Uses GIS to Map Consumption

Just as remote sensors are used to detect climate change, taste buds serve to sense delectable libations. So what happens when the twain shall meet? American Sentinel University’s Dr. Stephen McElroy, GIS program chair, participated in Mountain Sun’s Stout Month to find out.

”I developed an interpolated map using GIS technology to show the participating Colorado breweries from which I tasted a stout (or 60) during Stout Month,” McElroy says.

“The map depicts the Denver metropolitan area and shows an IDW interpolation of predicted stout consumption based on the actual stouts that I consumed during Stout Month at Vine Street Pub in Denver.”

McElroy, who oversees American Sentinel’s online GIS graduate programs, believes beer and geospatial technologies have something powerful in common: innovation. “Stout brewing is quite a scientific endeavor. The participating brewers broke many rules in their brewing efforts,” he adds. Forgoing the hum-drum barley-boiling, innovative brewers created hybrid styles and unconventional flavor profiles, including Girl Scout  Chocolate Mint Stout, coffee- and chai-flavored brews, and of course, this being Colorado, a Rocky Mountain Oyster Stout.

“Colorado is known for its geospatial corridor and its beer. My experiment in combining the two has taught me that Tobler’s First Law of Geography is a reality!”

 

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