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UMPI to host GPS workshop, dedication of new GIS lab

The University of Maine at Presque Isle will dedicate its new GIS laboratory, the Geospatial Information Technology Center this November, and host a GPS workshop in the same day.

Both the GPS workshop and the lab dedication will take place on Wednesday, Nov. 18 in Room 201 of Folsom Hall. The GPS workshop will take place from 9-11:30 a.m. and the lab dedication will take place immediately following the workshop. November 18th is World GIS Day, which is sponsored by the National Geographic Society, the Association of American Geographers, the University Consortium for Geographic Information Science, the United States Geological Survey, the Library of Congress, Sun Microsystems, Hewlett-Packard, and ESRI.

“It’s going to be a very special GIS Day this year because we will be dedicating our brand new GIS laboratory and we will be conducting our first geospatial information technology workshop in the new laboratory,” said Dr. Chunzeng Wang, Assistant Professor of Geoscience and GIS. “This is especially exciting because the GPS workshop will mark the debut of research and development activities in the laboratory.”

The GPS Workshop is free and open to all who are interested in GPS and GIS technologies and their applications. The Workshop is funded by a grant awarded by the Strategic Investment Fund through the University of Maine System Chancellor’s Office to Dr. Wang with the purpose of fostering UMPI’s community GIS partnership and promoting geospatial information technologies in northern Maine.

The workshop is co-sponsored by the Maine Department of Transportation, which recently installed a CORS base station on the UMPI campus. The CORS base station at UMPI is one of the eight base stations that make up the new MDOT CORS network and is the only one north of Bangor. It will benefit GPS users in not only route and control surveying, but also farming, utility and municipal infrastructure mapping, and other GPS applications in northern Maine. The workshop will focus on the CORS system and high-end GPS applications in route and control surveying, utility and infrastructure management, and farming. Guest speakers include GPS and GIS experts from the MDOT, USGS, USM, and experienced GPS users.

At the end of the workshop, participants are invited to join UMPI officials, community GIS partners, and Aroostook legislators for a brief dedication ceremony for the University’s new Geospatial Information Technology Center [GITeC], one of the best-equipped laboratories of its kind in the State of Maine. Betsy Biemann, President of the Maine Technology Institute; Dan Walters, USGS (United States Geological Survey) Geospatial Liaison for Maine and Maine GIS Users Group President; and Matthew Bampton, Professor of Geography and GIS at the University of Southern Maine and Coordinator for the Maine GIS Consortium will be in attendance.

Earlier this summer, the University received a $96,800 Maine Technology Asset Fund grant from the Maine Technology Institute to fund the purchase of cutting edge equipment to establish a state-of-the-art GIS and GPS laboratory to be used for classroom instruction and community training and services. The grant was one of only 16 awarded on a competitive basis from 49 applications from companies, universities and nonprofit research institutions across Maine. GIS [Geographic Information Systems] is an information system that captures, stores, analyzes, and displays geographic information. It can be used for natural resource management, community and urban management, environmental management, wildlife management, tourism and recreation management, marketing, criminal data mapping, public health and social services, forestry, agriculture, and land use planning. GPS, which stands for Global Positioning System, is a satellite-based navigation system that can be used to calculate a precise location anywhere in the world.

Under the direction of Dr. Wang, the Geospatial Information Technology Center will collaborate with its community partners consisting of major cities, towns, native tribes, and non-profit organizations in central and southern Aroostook County to develop GIS databases that allow communities to do a wide range of activities, including inventorying and marketing their assets, maximizing planning and development of natural resources, attracting and retaining businesses, and managing infrastructure for municipal growth. The center will continue the work Dr. Wang has led in the last three years to partner with communities in developing specialized GIS projects. The center will also provide community training and technical service to its community partners.

For more information about the GIS lab dedication, call 768-9452. To register for the GPS workshop, contact Dr. Chunzeng Wang at or call 768-9412.