• UWA receives $100,000 equipment grant for industrial technology program

    Posted: January 23, 2013

    Author: Betsy Compton

    The University of West Alabama College of Business has received a $100,000 equipment grant that will provide additional learning opportunities to students studying industrial technology. The Department of Computer Information Systems and Technology (CIST) is the recipient of the Esri and PCI Natural Resources Imagery grant.

    UWA was chosen as the recipient, based on the evaluation that its proposed project demonstrates innovative approaches that would allow better usage of GIS, image processing, and remote-sensing technologies to solve natural resources management problems.

    The proposed project, “Multi-Temporal and Multi-Sensor Data Fusion Model for Urban Disaster Management of Tuscaloosa, AL, Using Radarstat-2 and RapidEye Satellite Datasets,” is one that the evaluation team thinks will help other similar organizations improve their use of GIS and imagery. UWA’s grant was one of only 24 awarded nationally, and the only one in the Southeast U.S.

    Esri and PCI Geomatics software will be used in conjunction with data from MDA and RapidEye. Progress will be monitored using a simple monthly report form, and the project is to be completed within six months of implementation.

    “This grant opportunity for equipment, imagery, and training will help to update the lab infrastructure and facilities, increase teaching opportunities for the faculty, and provide hands-on experience for the students using the latest GIS technology,” said Dr. Wayne Bedford, associate dean and chair of the department.

    CIST is already a user and educator of Esri software products as part of the GIS curriculum offered in the bachelor of science in industrial technology and the certification in geospatial information systems program.

    The research project proposed for this grant program will provide real-world application experience to the students and opportunities for scholarly activity and publications by faculty. The COB is also investigating the possibility of offering remote sensing as part of its curriculum. This grant provides an opportunity to acquire currently available state-of-the-art remote sensing software products and equipment as well as updated training offered by vendors such as PCI Geomatica.

    Dr. Balakrishna Gokaraju, the principal investigator of the project, has a strong research background in the disciplines of remote sensing and GIS and has successfully completed various NOAA, NASA, DHS and USGS projects. He is currently supervising projects sponsored by Oakridge Research National Laboratories and the U.S. Department of Labor.

    Dr. Donnie Cobb (co-principal investagator) has been teaching in the COB for twenty-two years and currently offers three GIS courses as part of the Industrial Technology curriculum and two courses in CADD using Micro station software.

    “Drs. Gokaraju and Cobb are an excellent team who will ensure successful administration and completion of this grant. They will also encourage undergraduate research experience for the students with the opportunities provide by this grant,” Bedford said. “The College of Business gladly supports this grant program and will be able to continue the support for using ESRI and PCI software products even after the grant period.”

    Established in 1967, the University of West Alabama’s College of Business offers undergraduate programs in accounting, business administration, management, marketing, technology, computer information systems, industrial technology and industrial maintenance. For more information about the college, visit their website, or contact Dr. Ken Tucker, dean, at (205) 652-3471.
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