Many students have asked me for ideas on what topic they should choose for their Thesis. I have debated this myself when I was a student. The ideal topic would be the one that allows you to dive into a topic deeply as well as give you some practical skills that will help you landing a job. Here are some pointer that may help you make that decision.
Create a Mashup
A mashup is created by merging 2 or more sources of location data. There are variety of free data available for you to experiment with and create unique applications. Map mashups can be created using free tools such as Google Maps, OpenLayers, GeoCommons Maker!
Develop a plug-in for an open-source GIS
There is always a need to implement new features for open-source GIS software like QGIS or MapWindowGIS. You can implement a cool feature or customize the software for a particular domain. You will not only gain valuable experience developing among the best programmers but also this will be an impressive addition to your resume.
Work with an NGO
Most often students struggle to find good quality free GIS data which can be used in interesting ways. Contact local NGOs to see if you can help them analyze their location-specific data. Most NGOs collect some form of loation data and your GIS skills can come in handy to them. The result of such a project could be a unique GIS project that uses real on-the-ground data.
Build a Campus GIS
If you are at a university, a good project would be to put together a web-accessible campus information system. You could model the campus buildings in 3D, use satellite imagery via an API and overlay data about your campus. Such a system could be attractive to the administrator as well.
Develop a vehicle tracking system
You can buy a cheap GPS receiver and implement a vehicle tracking system. This will get you exposed to GPS/GSM protocols and get you hands-on knowledge that many companies worldwide are looking for. Add your own twist to the traditional tracking system by specializing it for walking directions, bus travel, toursut sightseeing, navigating the blind etc.
Do some 'Green' research
Everyone is turning to green and sustainable technologies. As an intern or a researcher, you could use your analytical skills to further the knowledge in this area. Wind power, solar energy, climate change etc. are great topics for GIS and Remote Sensing research.Analysing wind data to find best locations for wind turbines or using remote sensing images to detect climate change are some examples of projects. If you are a PhD student, you'll find these topics complex and challenging enough for yor dissertation and you'll stand to recieve grants or funds from governments as well.
Do you have more ideas to share? What project are you thinking of? Please leave a comment and help the GIS student community!