Geographic Research and Information Laboratory

The Geographic Research and Information Laboratory (GRIL) incorporates research, spatial analysis and cartographic database development into the education and experiential learning processes for students.  Geographic Information Systems and Science (GIS) are used to solve spatial problems and analyze data in a spatial context. They are applied to answer environmental questions, manage environmental problems, and map patterns and processes on the landscape. GIS, as a tool, is used to enhance decision-making processes and to improve decision outcomes. GIS, as science, has incorporated other spatial technologies such as global positioning systems and remote sensing to enhance spatial thinking. These tools and technologies now permeate every aspect of our lives, from digital maps in vehicle navigation systems to management and maintenance of city infrastructure as well as the effective management of regional agriculture, forestlands and transportation.

Geographic or geospatial information science describes a quickly growing and dynamic field that has revolutionized many traditional disciplines such as geography and brought together scientists and practitioners, crossing many disciplinary boundaries.

GIS is widely used by government agencies and business around the world. According to an excerpt from GIS Careers and Jobs,

 “GIS is still a major growth industry.” The rate of adoption of geospatial technology by new agencies continues to expand.  In addition, a strong consulting segment continues to grow in order to supply supporting GIS to those many agencies.  Adoption by commercial enterprises continues to expand greatly.  As Charles Foundyller, CEO for Daratech states, “Demand for GIS/geospatial products is driven by an increasing global need for geographically correlated information. As more and more websites, such as Google Earth, and consumer navigation systems… bring awareness of the power of linking business and consumer information with their geography, geo-enabled apps will become the norm.”

Both undergraduate and graduate students cooperate in research in association with the geography undergraduate major and the (GIS) Geographic Information Systems Concentration for the Master of Public Administration degrees offered in conjunction with the Political Science department.

Currently, our software use includes the ArcGIS and ARC Pro suite of products from Environmental Systems Research Institute, Inc. (ESRI) and Intergraph’s, ERDAS Imagine remote sensing software. Our licensing includes all the necessary extensions for complete spatial analysis and spatial model building.  Our lab has incorporated the use of Adobe Illustrator for final map and graphic production as well as the, latest versions of the Microsoft Office Suite, graphic production, and spreadsheet, database, presentation, and report generation.

The facilities have State-of-the-Art Hardware. These include a Hewlett-Packard 42” large format map plotter, small format scanners, and a large format Graphtec CS 2000 blueprint and map scanner. We have recently updated our lab with twenty-four Dell OptiPlex 790 64-bit workstations. These are equipped with 16 Gigabytes of Ram and 500 Gigabytes of memory storage. These machines are equipped with Intel CORE i5 – 2400 CPU @ 3.10 GHz of clock speed. These workstations are connected to a local server maintained within the lab.

For photo, document, and aerial photo scanning and printing we have two 12x18 high-resolution flatbed scanners (one Canon 8800 T and one Hewlett Packard Scanjet 4570 C both with 2400 dpi) and a Hewlett Packard LaserJet 3800 Color Printer for project printing and development.

Contact: Dr. Joe Morgan