- Much the same way that computers revolutionized society
in the latter half of the 20th century, geospatial technologies
could benefit people's lives in the new millennium.
like the personal computer changed the way we do business
and live everyday, it is projected that geospatial technologies
will have more of an impact than the personal computer,"
said Heather Annulis, assistant professor from the Workplace
Learning and Performance Center at The University of Southern
Mississippi. So great is the interest in geospatial technology,
which comprises one of the country's fastest growing high-tech
sectors and offers enormous market potential, that NASA has
funded the National Workforce Development Education and Training
Initiative (NWDETI), a customer-driven effort to meet workforce
demands for the emerging $21 billion geospatial industry.
the past three years, Southern Miss's Workforce Training and Development
(WTD) program has played a key role in NWDETI, which aims
ultimately to develop a well-trained workforce for the geospatial
industry that will help the United States maintain its global
leadership in that field. The WTD program at Southern Miss, under the
School of Engineering Technology, is currently in the third
year of a five-year NWDETI grant from NASA worth $3 million.
technologies, which include global positioning systems, geographic
information systems and remote sensing, are used by consumers
in a variety of ways. OnStar, a satellite-assisted navigational
system for automobiles, allows motorists to find their way
to any destination using a computerized map. Community development
agencies, foresters, farmers, law enforcement agencies and
engineers, to name a few, rely on the technologies to address
uses for geospatial technology are widespread and diverse.
In the event of war with Iraq, the U.S. military will likely
use Navstar, a constellation of GPS satellites that provides
military users with extremely precise information to pinpoint
positions within a few meters. NASA used geospatial technology
to assist its recovery of debris from the space shuttle Columbia,
which broke apart upon reentry to Earth's atmosphere in February.
McCully Hagelston, a graduate student working on her master
of science degree in Workforce Training and Development, was
part of a group of graduate assistants at Southern Miss that
presented grant research to NASA officials on February 26.
Other graduate researchers making the presentation were Rachael
Bergeron, Aquilino Garcia and Chad Luter.
were tasked to do both two-year and four-year curriculum resources
in order to identify all the geographic information systems
and remote sensing courses in the U.S.," said Hagelston,
who last year became the first person in the country to receive
a workforce development internship from NASA, a 10-week summer
research program through Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt,
an online map that the student researchers created, people
seeking information on geospatial technologies can click on
any state and find out where all of the GIS and remote sensing
courses are taught in the United States.
Gaudet, founder of Workforce Training and Development at Southern
Miss, said that the university's involvement with NASA through
NWDETI has put the program in a unique position. "Southern Miss
has been given the opportunity to be an international leader
for geospatial workforce development," she said.
key component of the NWDETI effort is the Geospatial Workforce
Development Center (GeoWDC), which is housed within Southern Miss's
Workplace Learning and Performance Center. GeoWDC's main contribution
to NWDETI has been the development of the Geospatial Technology
Competency Model, which is a way to define the workforce needs
for the geospatial marketplace.