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Colloquium - Van Sickle

Why Moore and Metcalf Make a Comprehensive Geospatial Curriculum Inevitable
Jan Van Sickle
Pennsylvania State University

GIS, Geomatic Engineering and Remote Sensing are terms that have been in use for decades now. Each of them has several definitions. The variety may be explained by the rate of incredible growth and change in this period. Presentation and display have evolved from computerized maps to a recognizable virtual reality. The scope has become worldwide and the applications ubiquitous. As the technologies , change and ultimately merge into one geospatial entity clients turn more and more to us for advice and solutions. Professionals must become well-versed and capable of not only choosing but also applying the most efficient and cost-effective methods. Further, since information inevitably originates from all of these different sources and the client must, in the end be presented with a unified view of these data. It must be said that being such a purveyor of solutions has never been more of a challenge. The proper application of tools for data collections, data management processing and display such as Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS), Remote Sensing and Geographic Information Systems (GIS) require knowledge in geodesy, photogrammetry, numerical analysis and IT as well as skill in measurement and communication. In fact the growth in the required geospatial knowledge base has become so enormous and the pace of GIS business so fast that it often seems as the Red Queen told Alice that, "It takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place."

We are all in that upward spiral of improvement. We all contribute to it; practitioners, users, developers, technicians, GIS professionals, photogrammetrists, surveyors -- all of us. We have the tools now to go further than ever before. We can push the envelope in all our technologies and then serve it up on the Web in a virtual model of the real Earth. Not just any model, but a model that has the uncanny ability to answer questions about itself. And with each new innovation a new group of users emerges. Who always seem to find applications we hadn't thought of. We do our best to integrate all the new ideas from all disciplines. And around and around it goes a cycle of growth and improvement -- together. Therefore, the silos that separate our disciplines (highly polished from the inside) don't make any kind of sense anymore. Further it is past time for a comprehensive educational program that breaks the outdated boundaries and trains professionals for the geospatial industry as it is now.

Jan Van Sickle has more than forty-five years of experience in GIS, GPS, surveying, mapping and imagery. He has advised Anadarko, IHS Energy, Chesapeake, Microsoft, Intermap, Jeppesen, Geoeye and others in geospatial matters. He began working with GPS in the early 1980s when he supervised control work using the Macrometer, the first commercial GPS receiver. He created and led the GIS department at Qwest Communications for the company's 25,000-mile worldwide fiber optic network. He also led the team that built the GIS for natural gas gathering in the Barnett Shale. He has led nationwide seminars based on his three books, GPS for Land Surveyors, Basic GIS Coordinates and Surveying Solved Problems. The latter book was serialized in the magazine POB. His latest book will be Geomatic Engineering for McGraw Hill. He led the team that collected, processed and reported control positions for more than 120 cities around the world for the ortho-rectification of satellite imagery now utilized in a global web utility. He managed the creation of the worldwide T&E sites for a major earth observation satellite which are used for frequent accuracy assessments. He created an imagery-based system of deriving road centerlines that meet the stringent Advanced Driver Assistance specifications and developed a method of forest inventory to help quantify that depleted resource in Armenia. He assisted the supervision of the first GPS survey of the Grand Canyon for the photogrammetric evaluation of sandbar erosion along the Colorado. He has done 3D mapping with terrestrial photogrammetry and LiDAR as well as Building Information Modeling. He was involved in the creation of a BIM of very prominent buildings in Washington DC. He was a member of the team of authors for the recently created Geospatial Technology Competency Model for the Department of Labor. He has recently conducted training at the NAVCEN in Alexandria for the USCG. He has recently provided technical assistance in the reconstruction of the geodetic network of Nigeria. He has been a featured speaker at many conferences including MAPPS, GITA, the Institute of Navigation (ION) Annual Meeting. He delivered the 2010 keynote at the ESRI UC in Imagery and Remote Sensing. He is a Senior Lecturer at Penn State University. He was formerly on the board of RM-ASPRS and was the vice-chairman of GIS in the Rockies. Jan earned his PhD in geospatial engineering from the University of Colorado. He has been a licensed professional Land Surveyor for thirty-one years and is currently licensed in Colorado, California, Oregon, Texas and North Dakota.

Department of Computer Science
University of Colorado Boulder
Boulder, CO 80309-0430 USA
May 5, 2012 (14:13)