News and Events
April 10, 2015
Two CMU Geographic Information Science students are on their way to this year’s annual IMAGIN conference.

Each year, IMAGIN (Improving Michigan’s Access to Geographic Information Networks), recognizes outstanding utilization of GIS in Michigan with several awards.  The awards are given to GIS users specialists and/or organizations that demonstrate how GIS can be used to make processes more efficient, increase awareness of spatial conditions, or improve services for those of us who live in Michigan.

This year John Gross and Ryan Meier, both CMU GIS students studying with Dr. Benjamin Heumann, received honors in the IMAGIN Student ​Paper Competition.

Gross was awarded 1st place for his paper titled “A Comparison of Orthomosaic Software for Use with Ultra High-Resolution Imagery of a Wetland Environment,” making this the 2nd year in a row that a CMU student has won 1st place.

Meier took 2nd place for his paper titled “The Use of Affinity Propagation to Cluster Socioeconomic Census Data."​

Upon winning these honors, Gross and Meier earned invitations to present at this year’s IMAGIN conference this June in Traverse City. 

Read more about this year’s annual IMAGIN conference and the poster and paper competition HERE at the IMAGINE website.


GIS graduate student's work with Facilities Management earns praise at this year's MiAPPA Conference

April 6, 2015 - CMU Center for Geographic Information Science graduate student, Emmett Mercier, has been working with Facilities Management at CMU on issues with the domestic water system on campus.

It was this project that earned him recognition and congratulations at this year's Michigan Association of Physical Plant Administrators (MiAPPA) conference.

It started roughly a year ago when a water main outside of Moore Hall burst.  With no accurate record of the water system in that area, it took longer than expected to isolate the problem and cut off the flow of water to that section of pipe.

That's when Facilities Management turned to the Center for Geographic Information Science at CMU for solutions.

Emmett's idea was to create a Geographic Information Science system that would update all of the water system features and create an interactive flow model that could be used both in an office and in the field.

When fully operational, Emmett's project will give managers, directors, and crews in the field online access to an updated, interactive mapping system that will better model, analyze, and troubleshoot the water network throughout campus.

The system will:

  • Allow a quick trace operation to be run once a water system issue is reported.  Facilities Management can then quickly notify workers of the accurate location of the nearest values/infrastructure in order to more quickly address the issue, along with releasing a notification to the university and the city of temporary shutdowns on campus.
  • Allow users to choose a point in the water network and show how to isolate and/or shut off the flow of water to that area.
  • Allow for points to be placed on the network simulating new valves, allowing FM to see how changes to the network would affect the current setup.
  • Make maps available that will allow workers and management to quickly view not only the spatial location of features throughout the system, but also view all associated attributes (e.g. date of last service, installation date, size of pipe) related to those features with a simple click.
  • Assure that maps are kept in a constant up-to-date state, removing the need to reprint large map books as changes are made.

Emmett's program will, "increase our confidence and assist in communicating the impact during utility showdowns; and will speed up our ability to respond to unplanned events," said Linda Slater, Director of Plant Engineering and Planning at CMU. "It will serve as a model for projects that can be done in the future on other CMU utilities."


​Feig receives Outstanding Paper award from Journal of Geoscience Education

August 5, 2014 - Assistant professor of geography Anthony Feig recently received the Outstanding Paper award from the Journal of Geoscience Education.

His paper – "The Allochthon of Misfit Toys" – was unanimously chosen to win this year's award. 

Feig's paper is the first to speak to challenges in geo-ed research and to identify GED as an actual discipline in the geosciences.  Dr. Kristen St. John, Editor-In-Chief of the Journal of Geoscience Education calls the paper "an outstanding example of the quality and scholarly rigor possible in qualitative work."  She goes on to say that "Anthony in this paper clearly explains and justifies his methodological stance and approach, allows the lived experiences of his participants to come though, and provides a call to action for the community based on his findings. All hallmarks of this type of research."

The Outstanding Paper award celebrates exceptional scholarly contributions to the Journal of Geoscience Education. To be considered, a paper must show innovative augmentation of student learning, it must advance the discipline of geoscience education, and it must showcase the significance of geoscience education. 

Feig will receive a plaque, a $200 check, and will be publicly recognized at the National Association of Geoscience Teachers luncheon, and in the November 2014 issue of the Journal of Geoscience Education.​

CMU advances Great Lakes research with unmanned helicopter, hyperspectral camera

January 30, 2014 - Central Michigan Benjamin Heumann with his unmanned aerial vehicleUniversity has acquired the only unmanned aerial vehicle in Michigan that is equipped with a hyperspectral camera - a six-foot long helicopter - that will significantly advance research imaging of Great Lakes wetlands.

The camera takes extremely high-resolution images in 334 colors compared to typical cameras that capture just three.

Researchers will use the semi-autonomous helicopter, controlled via computer or by radio waves, to capture images of vegetation in wetlands throughout the Great Lakes basin. Their work will continue the fight against invasive species, protect rare plants and ultimately help to preserve and protect the world's largest supply of fresh water.

"This allows us to determine where and when we collect the data instead of relying on archives from the federal government or commercial vendors," said Benjamin Heumann, director of CMU's Center for Geographic Information Science. The center conducts research locally, regionally and internationally on social and environmental issues that require spatial analysis.

"We now have the technology to do more than anyone else in the state in geomapping and analysis of wetland ecosystems," Heumann said. "Using the hyperspectral camera, we have the capability to collect aerial imagery with far greater precision than manned aircraft and satellite."

Now, instead of capturing an image that shows a tree, for example, the hyperspectral camera will show individual plant leaves throughout a wetland.

The helicopter flies at about 10 miles an hour and to the height of a 40-story building. It is flown under Federal Aviation Administration guidelines.

Unmanned aerial vehicles historically have been used in law enforcement and the military, although there are many civilian applications as well.

The technology also has applications in agriculture. Heumann recently spoke at the Michigan Advanced Aerial System Consortium about the potential use of UAVs for mapping disease, detecting weeds and monitoring fertilization and drought in the state's $5.72 billion field crops industry.

"We can help farmers better forecast crop yields," Heumann said. "By mapping disease, we can pinpoint more precisely where to target the spraying of pesticides, reducing costs to farmers and health hazards to humans and the environment."

Heumann and a team of graduate students will use the helicopter for the first time this spring to determine the biodiversity of a wetland area in Washtenaw County.

The unmanned aerial vehicle and the hyperspectral camera were purchased by the College of Science and Technology at a cost of $140,000.

Undergraduate wins best student presentation award at Geological Society of America meeting

June 3, 2013 - CMU senior Leah Cooperrider, an Earth Sciences major and geography education minor, was recently recognized with a Best Paper award for her oral presentation that she delivered at the 47th annual meeting of The Geological Society of America's North-Central Section in Kalamazoo, Mich. on May 2-3. Her talk was titled, "Reflections from an undergraduate preservice Earth science teacher."

According to CMU assistant professor of geography, Anthony Feig, Leah did an excellent job sparking a lively and lengthy discussion with conference attendees about the state of Earth science teacher education in Michigan.

Established in 1888, The Geological Society of America (GSA) is a global, professional society with a growing membership of more than 25,000 people in 107 countries - uniting earth scientists from every corner of the globe in a common purpose to study the mysteries of our planet and share scientific findings. The society aims to advance geoscience research and discovery, service to society, stewardship of the Earth and the geosciences profession.