The School of Technology is undergoing a transformation. Established in 1972, at the outset it offered training certificates; then two-year associate’s degrees; then bachelor’s degrees; and now comes its first graduate program–a master’s in integrated geospatial technology.
Dean Jim Frendewey says of the program, which was approved by the State Thursday, “It fits in with what we are about and what we do.” He adds that this blend of theory, technology, and application is “a natural evolution.”
Simply put, geospatial means information linked to location. Global sustainable development depends on the availability and reliability of data about natural and built features and locations–rivers and towns, mountains and pipelines. This information can be used to plan the built environment or to respond to natural disasters; for instance, locating a cell phone tower, or, after an earthquake, comparing damage information and population information to help deliver emergency services and pinpoint zones of refuge.
“More and more people want to know where things are located,” Frendewey says. That includes industry, government, military, and the scientific community–the latter ranging from geologists to environmentalists to social scientists. Meeting those needs, he says, constitutes “a valuable undertaking.”
The program, which has an intensive online component, hinges on interdisciplinary collaborations among faculty on and off campus. The faculty lineup includes Research Scientist Colin Brooks and Codirector Robert Shuchman (MTRI); Assistant Professor Michael Falkowski, Professor Ann Maclean and Professor Andrew Storer (all of SFRES); Assistant Professors Eugene Levin and Yushin Ahn of the School of Technology; industry leaders from the US and Russia; and scholars at the University of Maine, Ohio State University, the Technical University of Israel and Moscow State University.
The acquisition and processing of geospatial data about the land make for an applied science. The technology includes surveying, geodetic science, photogrammerty, cartography, and mapping–all enriched with new, sophisticated technology in satellite systems, remote sensing capabilities, precision surveying instruments, computing, data networks, laser systems, radar, and sonar.
The master’s program will begin in the fall and is comprised of 25 classes.
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