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September 23, 2015
Geospatial Sciences Program Lands on Map as Center for Excellence

September 23, 2015 — The geospatial information sciences (GIS) program in the School of Economic, Political and Policy Sciences (EPPS) has been named a Center for Academic Excellence as part of a new federal initiative to prepare future workers for fields such as homeland and global security and disaster management.

UT Dallas is the only institution in Texas and one of only 17 centers nationwide to be named as a center of excellence by the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency and U.S. Geologic Survey.

“The CAE (Centers of Academic Excellence) Geospatial Sciences Program is a new way of cultivating relationships and partnerships across America's universities,” said Dr. Lenora Peters Gant, National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency senior executive for academic outreach and STEM. “This program is one of the best strategic and systemic approaches to shape the geospatial intelligence workforce of the future.”

EPPS offers bachelor’s, master’s and PhD degrees in geospatial information sciences, and graduate certificates in geospatial intelligence, geographic information systems and remote sensing.

“Under the leadership of Dr. Fang Qiu, the program has really started to take off — it’s still a small program, but it’s been growing rapidly over the last couple of years. With the great students, faculty and support staff we have in place, I think the future of this program is incredibly bright.”

Dr. Denis Dean, dean of the School of Economic, Political and Policy Sciences

The latest honor follows other recent developments and recognition for the University’s growing geospatial information sciences program.

This summer, UT Dallas hosted the 2015 International Conference of GeoComputation, which brought more than 125 scholars from around the world to campus to discuss the latest research in the field.

In addition, the Environmental Sciences Research Institute (ESRI), the world’s leading producer of GIS software, designated the program as a development center. As a development center, the program will contribute to future releases of ESRI’s products.

“Our GIS program really covers all the bases,” said Dr. Denis Dean, dean of EPPS. “We’ve got one of the founding fathers of the discipline on our faculty in the person of Dr. Brian Berry. We’ve got some of today’s best regarded thinkers and researchers in the field with people like Dr. Dan Griffith and Dr. May Yuan. And we have great up-and-coming future stars with people like Dr. Yongwan Chun.

“Under the leadership of Dr. Fang Qiu, the program has really started to take off — it’s still a small program, but it’s been growing rapidly over the last couple of years,” Dean said. “With the great students, faculty and support staff we have in place, I think the future of this program is incredibly bright.”

Other recent honors include:

•Yuan, Ashbel Smith Professor of Geospatial Information Sciences, recently was invited to serve as a member of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Science Advisory Board Environmental Information Services Working Group.

•Griffith, Ashbel Smith Professor of Geospatial Information Sciences, was named a 2015 Fellow of the American Statistical Association for his contributions to the theory and practice of spatial statistical analysis.

•Qiu, professor and head of the program, won an award for the Best Scientific Paper in Remote Sensing from the American Society of Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing.

•UT Dallas students and recent graduates, including Yuhong Zhou, Parmanand Sinha, Vini Indriasari, Caiyun Zhang, Harini Sridharan and Caiyun Zhang, have won awards for their research from the Association of American Geographers, the American Society of Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing, and ESRI.

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