Alabama, US: Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle announced the formation of GEO Huntsville, an economic development and jobs collaborative among area businesses, academic institutions, and governments utilising geospatial technologies. More than 50 private companies, 25 government entities and three universities are among a growing number of organisations engaged in geospatial applications in Huntsville and North Alabama.
“Geospatial technology affects almost every avenue of life, from determining where to place buildings on slope developments to finding the lair of Osama bin Laden,” said Mayor Battle. “The technology is much more than mapping. It takes into account cause and effect based on spatial relationships.”
Geospatial technologies have been called some of the world’s “most essential core tools.” They are used in visualization, measurement, and analysis of the Earth’s features, typically involving such systems as GPS, GIS, and RS (remote sensing), according to the National Science Foundation.
“Huntsville may be familiar with geospatial technologies through Intergraph, which has been a pioneer and a global leader in this field for decades,” said Mayor Battle. “Yet, we also use these technologies extensively in City Hall. Our GIS Department has a full-time GPS crew that uses this technology to collect and analyze data on everything from storm water features to traffic signage. We use it in our planning department to determine land use, flood plain mapping and environmental protection, and we are even using it to help historic groups map the original Trail of Tears.”
Geospatial technology is in such demand that the US Department of Labor’s Educational Training Administration estimates that more than 180,000 new jobs will be needed in the field over the next 10 years.