How USF Research Prevents Forest Fires

Geospatial mapping lab’s influence felt around the world

By ED CARPENTER, USF NEWS Posted Mon, 03/06/2017 - 09:40

Where’s the greatest risk of forest fires in California? Where should Thailand build cities along the Mekong River to avoid flooding? How much carbon are the world’s forests removing from the atmosphere? These are just some of the questions being asked by students, faculty, and alumni in research coming out of USF’s Geospatial Analysis Lab (GsAL). 

The lab is a training ground for USFers who want to learn geospatial technology, the technology behind tools like GPS and Google Maps. Students learn the latest programs and techniques, including ArcGIS, Google Earth Engine, web mapping, and remote sensing to create detailed 3D digital maps based on aerial laser scans from airplanes and satellites, says David Saah, GsAL director. 

Geospatial technology is used in a variety of industries — from federal, state, and local government planning and environmental agencies to the environmental sciences and public health. In fact, it’s one of the fastest growing sectors in the economy, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

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