IESA program earns national recognition

IESA becomes Georgia’s only National Center of Academic Excellence in Geospatial Sciences.

The Lewis F. Rogers Institute for Environmental and Spatial Analysis (IESA) has been selected as a Center of Academic Excellence (CAE) in Geospatial Sciences, making UNG the only university in the state with that designation and one of only 25 in the nation.

Geospatial technology is the range of tools used to analyze, measure and visualize the earth’s features, through global navigation satellite systems, GIS, remote sensing, surveying and internet mapping technologies. It is used in countless applications, from planning shopping centers and assessing economic markets to managing hurricane relief efforts. The U.S. Labor Department considers the field primed for growth, from about 850,000 employed in the industry today, to more than 1.2 million by 2019.

UNG received the honor from the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). The two agencies created the designation in an effort to build long-term partnerships with academic institutions to advance leading-edge research in geospatial sciences.

“IESA’s designation as a CAE for Geospatial Sciences affirms UNG’s commitment to meeting our nation’s need for students with a background in creating information from location-specific data,” said Dr. Andy Novobilski, chief research officer.

“This skillset, with its application to security and business development, provides students and faculty with new opportunities for professional growth.”

The designation benefits UNG students by providing additional workforce options and internships, and it enhances IESA’s position toward securing future grants and research opportunities.Dr. Jeff Turk, IESA director, said the validation is important for potential employers of UNG graduates as well as students.

“The designation validates quality in the courses and programs that may provide an edge toward our students as they seek employment,” he said.

Turk also believes the designation will attract potential students currently considering other programs.

“Students considering other institutions may more readily identify the recognized quality and reaffirm the value of our programs and choose a degree from UNG and IESA,” Turk said.

IESA currently offers a bachelor’s degree in environmental spatial analysis as well as several associate degree pathways, minors and undergraduate certificates in related disciplines.