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5/16/2007 - Jackson, Miss.

The Geospatial Council of the Institutions of Higher Learning (IHL) and the Enterprise for Innovative Geospatial Solutions (EIGS) are pleased to announce the results of Mississippi Area Remapping Strategies (MARS), the geospatial high school adoption program with schools from Water Valley, Batesville, Cleveland, Enterprise, and Claiborne County.  The participating high schools worked with university and community college partners to design and complete a community-based geospatial information science and technology (GIS&T) project. The results from the projects were presented on May 4, 2007, at the Mississippi Public Broadcasting Auditorium in Jackson.


Water Valley’s presentation was selected as the winner of the poster contest, earning the school a $2,300 GPS system.  “This is not the end of the MARS project for Water Valley,” said Liz Reynolds, Water Valley High School teacher.  “This is just the kick-start.  We hope to be involved with numerous city and county projects, possibly plotting water mains or manholes.”


 “When we started the process of establishing this program, we had no idea how great the results would be,” stated Lisa Stone, acting director for EIGS.  “We knew we had the resources and manpower to jumpstart activities at the secondary school level, but it was really the response and enthusiasm we got from the participating high schools that has made this endeavor such a success.”


As part of the program, all participating high schools received computer hardware and software, technical support and training, GPS units, and resource books to support the projects.  “This has been a great program for getting GIS more integrated in secondary education,” said Chad Garick of the Forestry Department of Jones County Junior College. “This has been such a good opportunity for all these high school students.”


Below are summaries of the projects completed under the MARS program:


§         South Panola High School worked with Northwest Mississippi Community College and NVision Solutions, Inc., to use GIS technology to track school buses in order to determine more efficient routing. The tracking devices, provided by EIGS member company NVision Solutions, provide 5-minute updates over the Internet to identify the shortest and most efficient routes in order to eliminate redundancy in routes. The overall goal of the project is to reduce fuel costs and pollution.


§         Water Valley High School partnered with The University of Mississippi to use GIS and global positioning system (GPS) technology to map the fire hydrants in the city of Water Valley. Working with the Water Valley Water and Waste Department and the Mayor’s Office, the students reviewed outdated maps to find and plot every fire hydrant in the city to help better prepare Water Valley for an emergency. They also compiled statistics on every hydrant, such as manufacture date, company, and part types.


§         Students in the forestry program at Enterprise High School worked with Jones County Junior College on a project to help the Mississippi Forestry Commission re-map Section 16 land in Clark County.  In just under a two-week period, the students mapped 640 acres. 

§         The Delta State University Center for Interdisciplinary Geospatial Information Technologies worked with Cleveland High School students and the Cleveland/Bolivar County Chamber of Commerce to use geospatial technologies and digital recordings to create enhanced audio and video content for an Internet-based interactive experience focused on local sites of interest for tourism and recreation in the city of Cleveland and Bolivar County. 


§         Claiborne County Vocational and Technical Complex worked with Alcorn State University and the Claiborne County Water and Fire Departments to GIS Code fire hydrants in Port Gibson.  Using GPS units provided by Alcorn State University, the students recorded latitude and longitude addresses of all fire hydrants within the city limits of Port Gibson.  They were able to convert the information into several maps and used data from ArcView software to see how many rental homes and households had fire hydrants near them.  They also identified fire hydrants close to schools and gas stations for safety purposes.


The MARS program was funded through EIGS in cooperation with the IHL Geospatial Council.  EIGS is the program that coordinates the activities of a cluster of high-tech, Mississippi companies in the geospatial technology industry to support geospatial business development and research with the primary mission of growing the research-based, world-class geospatial technology industry in Mississippi.  For more information, visit www.eigs.olemiss.edu.  The Geospatial Council of IHL was established in 1999 by the Mississippi Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning to organize, coordinate, and promote educational activities in geospatial technologies in Mississippi.  The Council includes faculty and staff from all Mississippi’s public universities and community colleges as well as several state agencies. Mississippi Automated Resource Information System (MARIS), part of the University Research Center that operates under the auspices of IHL, provides oversight and maintenance of the statewide geospatial software site license program on behalf of the Geospatial Council.  For more information, visit www.remotesensingms.org.


Under the leadership of the Board of Trustees, IHL governs the public universities in Mississippi, including Alcorn State University; Delta State University; Jackson State University; Mississippi State University including the Mississippi State University Division of Agriculture, Forestry and Veterinary Medicine; Mississippi University for Women; Mississippi Valley State University; the University of Mississippi including the University of Mississippi Medical Center; and the University of Southern Mississippi.



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