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USU-Uintah Basin Holds First Earth Observation and GIS Event

Monday, May. 21, 2018

students flying drone

Utah State University-Uintah Basin hosted an Earth Observation and GIS (geographic information system) day for local high school students. Students had the opportunity to learn about the earth through a variety of mediums and sources. The all-day event held Tuesday, May 8 featured three breakout sessions from the Utah Geographic Information Council (UGIC).

“We appreciate the Quinney College of Natural Resources and the Utah Geographic Information Council for supporting youth outreach in our community,” stated James Y. Taylor, USU-Uintah Basin’s executive director. “This was a great opportunity for high school students to start exploring career pathways aligned with their interests that provide value to our local community.” 

Chris McGinty of USU led the Remote Sensing and Earth Observation breakout. Students learned about tools used to observe and study the earth from air and space, such as satellites, aerial photography, and the use of unmanned aerial systems (UAS) for data collection. Students also participated in a UAS flight.

David Henrie of Utah County led the GIS and Online Mapping breakout. Students learned fundamentals about mapmaking and online data display. Students competed for the best online map through hands-on mapping activities.

Phoebe McNeally of the University of Utah led the GPS and Data Collection breakout. Students learned the basics and science behind global positioning systems used for ground-based data collection and navigation. Students worked together to collect relevant GPS data, then uploaded it to a computer to display the data on aerial imagery. 

“My favorite part of the GIS day was flying the drones,” stated Jackson Liesik from Uintah High School. “It was cool to take them as high as they could go and see what it looked like.”  

For more information, or to request that UGIC visit your school in the future, contact Chris McGinty at

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