FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Geospatial Day features speakers, panel discussion
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – Dr. Samuel J. Purkis, a professor at Nova Southeastern University in Dania, Fla., and a member of the National Coral Reef Institute, will be the keynote speaker on Geospatial Day Wednesday, Nov. 15 at Marshall University. He will speak on “Geospatial Patterns in Coral Reef Landscapes” at 10:30 a.m. in the Memorial Student Center’s Don Morris Room.
Event coordinator Randy Jones, information technology coordinator with the Marshall Community and Technical College, said 300 to 400 students (high school and college) and professionals are expected to attend Geospatial Day, which runs from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the Don Morris Room.
Geospatial is a collection of computer-based tools (software and hardware) that can be used for spatial mapping, analysis and modeling. “The symposium is designed to inform and promote fields of study and occupations incorporating global positioning systems (GPS), geographic information systems (GIS), and remote sensing systems,” Jones said. “These fields of knowledge are major growth areas now and into the future.”
The event is sponsored by the Marshall Community and Technical College, Marshall University’s College of Information Technology and Engineering, College of Liberal Art and College of Science, and the Nick J. Rahall, II Appalachian Transportation Institute.
Jones said those attending Geospatial Day will learn of the opportunities available at Marshall to gain expertise in the field of geospatial technology, and its value as a career. “These are lucrative, well-paying positions,” Jones said.
He cited an example of the implementation of GIS and geospatial technologies in dealing with real problems and issues: “When repaving, it is important to know if anything else in the ground needs to be replaced first in order to avoid duplication of efforts,” Jones said. “This is an example of spatial communication within public works.”
Purkis, a native of London, joined the National Coral Reef Institute in 2004 and now is an assistant professor. He works on the development of techniques to monitor large-scale processes in reef environments using remote sensing.
The National Coral Reef Institute was established by Congressional mandate in 1998. Its primary objective is the assessment, monitoring, and restoration of coral reefs through basic and applied research and through training and education.
Wednesday’s program begins at 9 a.m. with vendor and map displays. Beginning at 10:10 a.m., opening remarks will be delivered by MU Provost Dr. Sarah Denman, Sue Richardson, chair, Marshall Community and Technical College board of advisors, and Robert Plymale, director of the Nick J. Rahall, II Appalachian Transportation Institute.
A panel discussion titled “To Boldly Go Where Few Have Gone Before” starts at 11 a.m. Participants include Rick Lawson with Environmental Systems Research Institute; John Ferguson with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers; Larry Evans with the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection; Craig Neidig with West Virginia Geological and Economic Survey; Joe Mazgaj with West Virginia Homeland Security/Emergency Services, and Jeff Stephens with West Virginia Society of Professional Surveyors.
Guest speakers in the afternoon include Hugh Bloemer, associate professor emeritus of geography, Ohio University Cartographic Center, at 12:30 p.m.; Jason Wang, senior transportation specialist at the Appalachian Regional Commission, 1 p.m., and Jeff Stephens, West Virginia Society of Professional Surveyors, at 1:30 p.m.
For more information, call (304) 696-5431.