The University of Southern Mississippi (USM) hosted the Mississippi Geospatial Conference (MS GEO CON), now in its 11th year, at Gulf Park Campus Fleming Education Center (FEC) on Oct. 12 and 13. MS GEO CON is the largest gathering geospatial professionals, which includes over 140 professionals and 17 sponsoring organizations that range from software developers to uncrewed autonomous vehicle operators.
Dr. David Holt, Associate Professor of Geology in the School of Coastal Resilience, was seen smiling and excited to talk about his successful work in integrated Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) and Global Position Systems (GPS) in Subterranean Mapping of gravesites across the Gulf Coast region.
His work has sparked much interest from his students and local gravesites to find areas where cemeteries or burial plots were once occupied. Holt described the advancement of geo-technology in finding these sites for families of loved ones who are looking to find relatives in unmarked graves.
Holt has taken many of his students to these burial sites to provide them with a hands-on experience with GPR. Many of his courses at USM involve field work and skills that his class can take with them beyond graduation.
“The reality is that we are sending an electronic signal and that signal speeds up and slows down. It’s very useful is digging up stuff, looking at the data and identify things,” said Holt.
Dr. Shannon Campbell, Senior Associate Vice President of Academic Affairs, opened the conference with a warm welcome from USM. Campbell encouraged attendees to explore all Coastal USM has to offer along with its various successful programs in sustainability and the blue economy.
“Science, Engineering, Technology and Math (STEM) are areas we know are growing exponentially. We have been making new investments in the University toward that and to support that,” said Campbell.
Many of those investments include the offering of two new programs within the last year in the School of Coastal Resilience that focus on Sustainability Studies and Sustainability Sciences (Coastal System Dynamics). Both programs are offered as undergraduate degrees.
The conference continued with topics ranging from ecotourism, mobile mapping and the impacts of the Bonnet Carré Spillway opening. Many areas of discussion were centered on sustainability efforts along the Gulf Coast region.
(Gabriela Shinskie contributed to this report)