Texas A&M University-Kingsville

Geosciences Club Donates Global Positioning System to H.M. King High School

KINGSVILLE - June 26, 2008

Contact: Jill Scoggins
jill.scoggins@tamuk.edu or 361-593-2146

Gift to be used in new geographic information system class

The Texas A&M University-Kingsville Geosciences Club, a student organization, purchased and donated a global positioning system (GPS) unit for H.M. King High School, to aid in a new geosciences class.

The GPS unit can take a location and provide information about its geology, elevation, distance to other fixed points and give an aerial viewpoint. This information can be used for detailed, on-the-spot mapping, and serves as a critical portion of an overall geographic information system (GIS), which uses mapping, specialized geographic software and modeling.

“In this time of economic difficulty, schools always welcome support from the community,” said Shanah Yandell, dean of student success at H.M. King High School. “The GPS units are a large part of the financial outlay for this new class. We are grateful to the Geosciences Club for keeping our new program in their thoughts. Our students are very excited about the course and ready to begin.”

Yandell said the high school students will use the GPS unit to create databases of information similar to those found on Google Earth. “The GPS unit, along with computer graphics technology and information databases, will generate interactive maps and reports on several science issues in the Kingsville area as directed by the teacher of the class.”

According to Geosciences Club president Jonas Ball, the idea for buying the GPS unit came from a desire to help Kingsville students realize all that geosciences has to offer. “We feel as a club that in order to raise the number of students in geosciences, we must first go to the source—the high school—and show them how interesting and exciting geosciences can be.”

The A&M-Kingsville Geosciences Club has used GPS units for a number of different mapping projects, including portions of the Texas Hill Country and parts of the A&M-Kingsville campus.

“The GPS unit is the outdoor field portion of a GIS, where you can recover key points and incorporate them onto a map. We can use GIS for all kinds of things, in many fields of study.

“Take for example a biologist sent out to study a bug destroying a forest. Using GIS and GPS, the biologist can track and pinpoint where the bug is by walking through the forest for a reading. Those points can be uploaded into a GIS, implemented onto a map, and a pattern of movement for the bug can be determined.”

Ball stressed the importance of introducing H.M. King students to a technology he believes can enhance so many different areas. “If high school students enjoy and understand the power of this software, they will have a great advantage when going into fields that use this technique, and will have a great appreciation for technology that can create a bridge between nature and society.”

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