Keep It Local Teddy Bogdanski, a 16-
year-old student living in Madison, New Jersey, USA,
needed a project to achieve Eagle Scout status—but he
didn’t want to do the same old thing. “Most Eagle Scout
projects involve park benches or mulch,” he says. “I wanted to do something that was fun and out of the ordinary.”
As fate would have it, his neighbor, Mary-Anna Holden,
just happens to be the mayor of Madison. And at the time,
she needed some help with a fledgling IT project.
PHOTO COURTESY OF STACEY MCEVOY/INDEPENDENT PRESS
Ms. Holden had pitched a project to create a digital model of Madison for Google Earth, but the US$40,000 bids were far outside her
budget. Enter the boy wonder. In September 2008, Ms. Holden put Mr. Bogdanski in touch with Bruce Polderman, product manager at
Google Earth, who was intrigued by the project and its leader. “I’d never seen someone that age with that kind of ambition,” he says.
$The price tag for the project came in under
that was for
THE GLUE In the end, Madison gets its spot on Google Earth while Mr. Bogdanski earns his badge—
and picks up a new skill. “I have a lot of respect for project management,” he says. “The technology is
just a component. The checklists, goals and project planning are the glue that holds it all together.”
I learned that good
vital when you are
running a big project,
and that you need to
do proper planning
and set clear goals
and expectations to
be successful. And
when you run into
you just have to deal
To get Google to help, Mr. Bogdanski
says he had to “make drastic readjustments to my project plan”—jumping
from 12 buildings to 65. In exchange,
the company sent Mr. Polderman and
two trainers, free of charge, to help.
Taking on the role of project manager, Mr. Bogdanski first
recruited his team, which included everyone from students to a licensed architect. The city’s IT manager was
also brought in to handle technical support.
All of the 25 volunteers agreed to donate three consecutive nine-hour Saturdays in February 2009 to modeling sessions at the local school’s computer lab, which Mr.
Bogdanski had secured as a project site. And he even
pulled in his parents to pass out refreshments.
“He lined up everything,” marvels Mr. Polderman. “We
walked in and there were sign-up sheets, the town was
broken down by buildings, and each building was already
assigned based on the expertise of the volunteers.”
By the last session,
every building was
finished, though Mr.
Bogdanski put in several
more hours making the
models “more realistic.”
As of July, he was
getting ready to upload
them to Google. If all
goes to plan, the modeled city will soon be
loaded to the site.
But for now, Mr.
Bogdanski is busy with