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Web Portal Developed to Aid Swiftly Expanding Field


John McGee looking at a handheld GPS John McGee (left) shows participants how to use a handheld GPS unit during a workshop for educators presented through the Geospatial Technician Education Through Virginia’s Community Colleges project.

Feb. 17, 2011 – The college’s Virginia Geospatial Extension Program has joined with the Virginia Community College System (VCCS) and the Virginia Space Grant Consortium to develop a geospatial Web portal that will help train future technicians in geospatial technology, which includes geographical information systems (GIS), global positioning systems (GPS), remote sensing, and the collection, analysis, and interpretation of spatial data. This rapidly growing field is in need of trained workers.

The portal, which will encourage efforts to train geospatial technicians to meet industry demands, will include geospatial technology pathway models, curriculum, professional development materials, and resources,
while serving as a gateway for VCCS faculty, students, and interested parties to support a geospatially literate workforce in Virginia. The curriculum and certificate programs developed will be driven by the needs of business and industry in the commonwealth.

“The VCCS Geospatial Portal will help the community col- leges market their geographic information systems courses and work more efficiently together, and will provide stu- dents with immediate access to geospatial courses, certificate programs, and other academic options avail- able,” remarked John McGee, geospatial Extension special- ist and research associate professor in the department of Forest Resources and Environment Conservation.

Blacksburg Electronic Village developed the geospatial portal with the help of Virginia Western, Tidewater, and John Tyler community colleges, the Virginia Geospatial Extension Program, and the Virginia Space Grant Consortium. david Webb, an associate professor at Virginia Western Community College, emphasized, “The geospatial portal will serve as a clearinghouse of infor- mation and will support the dissemination of geospatial education resources among community college faculty.”

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