Mission with JAXA – Japan/2011
The GISCorps mission was to analyze satellite imagery to help guide the emergency response efforts for the coastal communities that were either directly impacted by the March, 2011 tsunami inundation or, at the time, had not reported their condition. After I was selected to participate, I received geographic coordinates for three cities located on the northern coast of Japan and access to public and restricted areas on the USGS EROS Hazards Data Distribution System. Our specific assignment was to search for pre- and post disaster coverage of the three areas of interest, Miyagi-Kamaishi, Iwate-Miyako, and Iwate-Miyakoshi. Original data were processed and enhanced in ENVI 4.8. Final maps were produced in ArcMap 10.0., by creating multiple data frames for small scale pre-disaster and post-disaster scenes as well as large scale insets to illustrate highly impacted zones in the area of interest.
Our finished maps were uploaded to the USGS server for distribution. Involvement in this project provided an invaluable opportunity for students enrolled in our GIS program to gain real-world experience in a disaster situation where GIS project design, development, and operations require deployment of high-quality output in an extraordinarily short period of time.
I became interested in GIS as a graduate student at Louisiana State University. Today, I use GIS in my research and teach undergraduate and graduate courses in GIS at Auburn University at Montgomery. There is nothing more gratifying than to use the expertise I have in remote sensing and GIS to help others in times of need. The GISCorps provides a way to hopefully improve quality of life on a global basis.