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GIS program receives state award

At the annual Kentucky Geospatial Summit hosted by the Kentucky Association of Mapping Professionals (KAMP) in Frankfort last week, Kevin Cary, GISP, Instructor of GIS and GIS Facilities Manager, accepted the KAMP’s Exemplary System Award for WKU’s Geographic Information Science program.

kampaward09The Geospatial Summit brings together Kentucky professionals in geographic information systems, surveying, remote sensing and other areas using mapping applications for sharing ideas and knowledge in GIS and to keep current with today’s GIS technologies and practices. The keynote speaker at this year’s summit was Sen. Julian M. Carroll who was Kentucky’s governor from 1976 to 1980. Carroll first brought GIS to Kentucky during the late 1970s to help capture coal thieves, which was highly successful at the time.

Christy Powell, GISP, Vice President of KAMP and Senior GIS Specialist for the Northern Kentucky Area Planning Commission, presented the award saying that “Western Kentucky University (WKU) has developed a rich GIS program. WKU has a B.S. in GIS, where students use the campus labs to work on real-world projects using GIS for analysis. Required courses range from a basic introduction to GIS, through GIS modeling and analysis, to Internet GIS. WKU has also integrated GIS into departments outside the Geography and Geology department through a GIS Certificate program for both undergraduate and graduate students. During the spring KAMP meeting, it was noted that this Certificate has been earned by students from many departments, including Business and Engineering. This spring the Civil Engineering Society added a GIS competition to its annual multi-school competition. This inaugural event used data from the Warren County area and was coordinated by Dr. Warren Campbell (WKU Engineering). All the classes and events are possible due to the GIS lab system on the main campus and at the remote campus locations, which use the latest version of ESRI software. For all these reasons, and more, we recognize WKU with the Exemplary System Award.”

Cary accepted the award for the department, noting that he “was really caught off guard about this award. I had no clue! It’s very nice to receive recognition about our program at the state level and I’m very proud to be a part of it. All of our efforts have really paid off and we continue to strive to perfect and enhance our GIS program. It was an absolute honor to accept this award!”

Past recipients of this award include Kentucky Mine Mapping Information System (2008), KCTCS (2007), Boone County GIS (2006), Barren River Information System Technology System or BITS (2005), Kentucky GEONet (2004), and the Louisville/Jefferson County Information Consortium or LOJIC (2003).

“Recognition by the KAMP organization of the value of GIS to the Commonwealth and of WKU’s role in building a strong GIS capability is very gratifying,” said Geography and Geology Department Head David Keeling. “Investment by WKU in GIS facilities eight years ago is paying strong dividends today, and GIS training continues to prepare our students for success in the regional economy.”

For information about GIS, WKU’s GIS Programs, and GIS applications in business and industry, contact Kevin Cary in the Department of Geography & Geology at (270) 745-2981 or email kevin.cary@wku.edu.

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