Freshman creates map of Saratoga downtown for Eagle Service Project

May 27, 2023 — by Derek Liang
Photo by Derek Liang
Freshman Larry O’Brien’s Eagle Service Project of creating a new map for Saratoga downtown is displayed on a kiosk on the front corner of downtown.
Larry O’Brien reached the highest ranking level in boy scouts after creating an updated map of the Saratoga Downtown.

Since the day Larry O’Brien joined Boy Scouts in 2019, he envisioned himself one day becoming an Eagle Scout, the highest rank in Boy Scouts of America (BSA). 

Four years later, the freshman achieved his dream. The Eagle Service Project is an opportunity for scouts to demonstrate leadership abilities while also benefiting the community outside of the BSA, in a non business or commercial sense.

For O’Brien’s Eagle Service Project, he decided to create a new map for downtown Saratoga. The previous map of downtown was severely outdated, partly due to COVID-19 shutting down many businesses.

O’Brien recruited help for the project by reaching out via email to 21 of his fellow scouts in Troop 566 to work on the project with him. Together, they collected various types of data on businesses in Saratoga downtown. This information would come to form his map — and included the location of buildings, roads and parking, as well as the names of the businesses and the services that they provide.

After the data collection was complete, O’Brien began making the map in Adobe Illustrator, which in itself was a novel process since he had previously never made a map or used the software extensively. The project took roughly a year to complete.

“There were definitely some struggles figuring out the tools on the software at first, but with the help of outside resources, the process went relatively smoothly,” O’Brien said.

After completing the map, O’Brien sent his final product to the city council in 2022. The map was quickly approved and the city proceeded to display the map in kiosks downtown, where people are now able to reference them to help find stores and attractions around downtown. 

For O’Brien, earning his Eagle rank after years of Boy Scout service has been immensely rewarding.

“Being a Boy Scout has taught me a lot of lessons that I can implement into my life,” O’Brien said. “I think my favorite part of being a Boy Scout has been becoming a leader in my troop, hanging out at campouts and earning awards, such as my Eagle rank.”

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