Over the last ten years, Mississippi has strengthened its capacity in the geospatial arena to effectively address the nation’s most pressing issues and to serve as a national resource for discovery in the arena of geospatial science, research, technology, and product development. EIGS promotes and facilitates geospatial-related research collaborations among industry cluster companies and university researchers in order to continue building the geospatial research capacity in Mississippi. There are currently 12 academic programs across the state of Mississippi in geospatial technology ranging from the community college level to four-year universities.

Following are examples of research projects on-going at EIGS partner institutions:

Student Analyzes Populations at Risk from a Major Earthquake in the New Madrid Seismic Zone

As part of the Introduction to geographic Information Systems class at the University of Mississippi, each student must complete a project that requires analysis of geospatial data to address an issue of the region. Continued interest in the effects of the New Madrid Seismic Zone caused undergraduate Geological Engineering student Maria Brown to analyze population data for the mid-continent area to determine the populations at risk from an earthquake of magnitude similar to those of 1811-1812. By using the intensity of ground movement from the 1811-1812 earthquake and current population data for the region, Maria developed a map that clearly illustrates the populations as risk from a major earthquake in the New Madrid Seismic Zone.
The goal of this project was to renew interest in the New Madrid Seismic Zone by exploring the possible results of the recurrence of an event such as the 1811-1812 earthquakes. To accomplish this mission, it was necessary to: (1) collect data regarding the extent of the historic 1811-1812 New Madrid Earthquakes, (2) map the areas affected by the earthquakes showing current population density and land use, (3) determine what effects such an event may have if it occurred in the present-day, and (4) display this information in maps and tables that may be easily understood by the user.

Using GIS Information to Uncover Culturally Significant Sites

The Civil Technology Program at Northwest Mississippi Community College prepares students for entry-level positions in the civil engineering field. The curriculum includes surveying, road design, construction materials testing and GPS/GIS. The program has recently become more involved in GIS as the Engineering / Surveying industry (with GIS trained personnel) is beginning to use GIS applications in most of their projects. The Civil Technology program is increasing GIS training time in order to give students a competitive edge.

During the spring 2009, the Civil Technology GPS/GIS Surveying and Advance Surveying classes will be working on their first GIS project with an archeologist conducting a topographical survey, GPSing state plane survey controls, and collecting GIS data on an old grave yard. Students plan to integrate their project’s GIS information into the local county’s GIS system in order to make their information available to the public. Interested parties of this project hope to register this graveyard as a historical point of interest. For additional information, contact: Tommy Watson, Northwest Mississippi Community College’s Civil Technology program, 662-562-3364, twatson@northwestms.edu.