Florida Unveils New Geomatics Engineering Program; GeoEye Prepares for Next-generation Earth Imaging Satellite; Illinois Teachers Promote Surveying; and HP Commemorates its First Handheld Calculator.

Florida Unveils New Geomatics Engineering Program

Florida Atlantic University’s (FAU) College of Engineering and Computer Science in Boca Raton announced a new four-year geomatics engineering degree program.

According to Dr. Donald Leone, the school’s interim director and visiting professor of geomatics engineering, a demand for the creation of a new program stemmed from the need for trained licensed professionals. “In recent years, there’s been a great demand for qualified surveyors and mappers with all of the development going on in Florida,” Leone says. Prior to FAU’s new program, the University of Florida in Gainesville was the only school to offer a four-year degree program in surveying. Members of the surveying and engineering community recognized the need for another four-year degree program in the southern part of the state.

In 2005, changes were made to Florida statutes mandating that only a graduate of a four-year bachelor’s degree program could receive licensure as a professional land surveyor. Soon after the law was passed, many members of the surveying community approached FAU’s president and stressed the need to establish a four-year degree program. Once FAU decided to take on the challenge, faculty looked to existing ABET-accredited surveying and engineering programs around the country; Leone says FAU’s program is organized to meet ABET program criteria. FAU specifically used the Surveying Engineering Program from Michigan’s Ferris State University (FSU) as a model because it encompasses both surveying and engineering in its four-year program. “We looked at [FSU’s] program in detail and tried to emulate parts of it,” Leone says. “We laid out FAU’s curriculum with a basis of engineering and an emphasis of surveying and mapping on top of that.”

The program is also organized so working students with two-year degrees can upgrade their professional skills. Because these students cannot attend classes during normal working hours, upper-level courses are offered to best fit the requirements of each course and the needs of students.

The undergraduate program in geomatics engineering at FAU begins this fall; graduates will receive a 120-credit, four-year bachelor of science degree in geomatics engineering (BSGE). “We’re ready to get started,” Leone says. “The response from local surveyors and engineers has been overwhelming. We’ve been visiting the local chapters of the [Florida Surveying and Mapping Society] and have been doing our best to get the word out about the new program.”

For additional information on FAU’s geomatics engineering program, visitwww.ge.fau.edu.

Artist’s rendition of GeoEye-1. Image courtesy of GeoEye.

GeoEye Prepares for Next-generation Earth Imaging Satellite

Dulles, Va.-based GeoEye is preparing to launch the world's highest resolution commercial Earth-imaging satellite, GeoEye-1. Contracted by GeoEye and designed and built by General Dynamics Advanced Information Systems of Gilbert, Ariz., GeoEye-1 will simultaneously collect both panchromatic and multi-spectral imagery and be able to link imagery to ground stations around the world. The satellite is anticipated to have a ground resolution of .41 m (about 16 in) and will be the most advanced commercial imaging satellite in the world.

"GeoEye-1 will have the most advanced technology ever used in a commercial remote sensing system," says GeoEye's Vice President of Corporate Communications Mark Brender. "It will be able to map an object's location to within nine feet of its true location on the Earth. For example, the home plate of a baseball field can be mapped from space within nine feet. This degree of accuracy has never been achieved by any commercial imaging system."

Because GeoEye-1 will be able to collect up to 700,000 square kilometers of panchromatic imagery per day, it is ideal for large-scale mapping projects, Brender says. Customers will have a choice of ordering BASIC, GEO, ORTHO and STEREO imagery, as well as imagery-derived products, including DEMs (digital elevation models) and DSMs (digital surface models), large area mosaics and feature maps. The satellite will be capable of collecting 350,000 square kilometers per day in the multispectral mode.

According to Brender, GeoEye-1 is set to launch later this year from Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif., and is anticipated to be fully operational in early 2008. At press time, GeoEye was waiting for notification from United Launch Alliance, the new Boeing and Lockheed Martin joint venture, for GeoEye-1's exact launch date.
Click play to view a video rendition of GeoEye-1 in orbit.

IPLSA Executive Director Bob Church instructs 30 Illinois teachers how to teach the foundation of surveying in their classrooms.

Illinois Teachers Promote Surveying

Thirty Illinois elementary school teachers from across the state met on July 10 at Lincoln’s New Salem State Historic Site in Petersburg to receive lessons on land surveying for their fourth-, fifth- and sixth-grade students. Illinois Professional Land Surveyors Association (IPLSA) Executive Director Bob Church and Alabama surveyor Milton Denny, PLS, instructed the teachers how to use surveying as a tool to teach math and science.

A group of teachers first approached Church while he was lecturing at a local library on Abraham Lincoln as an Illinois deputy county surveyor. Church gladly took on the challenge to instruct the teachers, recognizing the importance of promoting surveying in schools. “It’s important that we start to teach surveying at the fourth-, fifth- and sixth-grade levels,” he says.

As the backdrop for the lesson, Church chose Lincoln’s New Salem State Historic Site to show the teachers where Lincoln worked as a surveyor before beginning his political career. The historic location houses a statue of Lincoln as a surveyor, as well as his original surveying equipment, which was referenced during the lesson.

Teachers learned about modern-day surveying from Denny’s PowerPoint presentation on the use of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and GPS satellites. The group was also shown how to construct handmade compasses and survey chains out of common household supplies. During a hands-on portion of the lesson, Church introduced the teachers to land descriptions by describing the rectangular land system. “I then laid out a course with laths for the Pacing and Angle Turning Contest,” Church says. “I had each teacher pace the course and estimate the distance between each lath. I also had them turn an angle to see the distance from one point to another.” Prizes for the three teachers who came closest to the correct distance and angle included the book A. Lincoln: Deputy County Surveyor, a Lincoln surveying coin and a Mason-Dixon coin.

The group of teachers left the lesson well equipped to begin teaching the foundation of surveying in their classrooms. Each teacher is outfitted with a number of tools: the guidelines to construct compasses and survey chains, materials from the National Society of Professional Surveyors’ (NSPS) recruitment Speaker’s Kit “Measuring the World Around Us, A High-Tech Career in Professional Surveying” and a book on Lincoln as a surveyor. Church and Denny are also working on supplying each teacher with one handheld GPS unit for use in the classroom. “Each student can take the GPS unit home one evening, record the coordinates and location of their house, and then plot it on a map in the classroom,” Church says.

Church and Denny are putting together a comprehenseive kit with teaching materials that they hope will be used by teachers in classrooms across the nation. “We hope these 30 teachers will act as a pilot program,” Church says. “We’d like to create a program that every elementary teacher in the United States can use.”

For additional information on how to promote surveying in schools, visitwww.nspsmo.org/education/education.shtml.

HP Commemorates its First Handheld Calculator

In commemoration of the world’s first handheld scientific calculator, the HP-35, Hewlett Packard unveiled the retro HP 35s Scientific Calculator. As part of its year-long 35th anniversary celebration of the company’s entry in the handheld calculator business, HP also named the winners of its nationwide calculator video contest, the HP Calculator Casting Call.

The commemorative HP 35s features a design similar to the original HP-35, including protective raised edges so the calculator rests in the palm of one’s hand. Winners of the HP Calculator Casting Call were announced at the HP Golden Calculator Awards, an event held at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel in Los Angeles in July. Contestants were invited to share their personal HP calculator experiences, and entries were judged based on the categories of Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Screenplay and Best Technical Film. The winning movies include titles such as “Confessions of a Rocket Scientist,” “Calculator Man,” “Success Breeds Success” and “20 Questions with your HP 12c.”

For more on the winning videos and HP’s first handheld scientific calculator, visitwww.hp.com/go/35celebration.