A combined NOVA-George Mason University team won the fourth annual American Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing (ASPRS) SAC GeoLeague Challenge held in Louisville, Ky. Four teams entered this year’s competition, representing the University of South Carolina, Murray State University, Virginia Tech and NOVA-George Mason. Teams used remote sensing, GIS and other tools to address this year’s challenge: Mapping Ecosystem Services in Coastal Belize based on Landsat Data. The results of the analyses will assist planners in Belize in dealing with challenges including balancing tourism, habitat, a fragile fishery and rising sea level.
Geospatial Studies Program Head, Michael Krimmer (LO), advised and supported the team. “This year’s challenge really stretched the research skills and technical knowledge of all teams. The unbounded nature of the problem really encouraged students to reach out to past professors and subject matter experts. It was a great taste of what students will face in the real world,” he said.
The combined undergrad and graduate student teams worked through a grueling two-step process. The first step required submitting a scientific paper following the guidelines used by the ASPRS refereed journal. In the paper, teams described their solution, including background on the project, methods (algorithm development and mapping techniques) and graphic illustrations. The second step of the challenge was a 10-minute presentation followed by a question and answer session with the judges and the audience.
The prize included $250 for the NOVA-George Mason student ASPRS chapters. The team is now busy revising their paper, and after final peer review, the paper will be published in an upcoming issue of the ASPRS scientific journal “Photogrammetric Engineering & Remote Sensing.”
NOVA-George Mason team members are all current or former NOVA GIS students, including Matt O’Donnell, Charles Moser, Jessica Fayne, Melanie Feliciano, Helen Plattner and Sunil Bharuchi. NOVA’s GIS program is located at the Loudoun Campus.