East Texas GIS, GPS User Group meeting attracts almost 60 professionals

The use of aerial photography is still flying high. A firm just completed a massive mapping project over 13 East Texas counties. The data is primarily for tax appraisal purposes. (Source: KTRE Staff)
The use of aerial photography is still flying high. A firm just completed a massive mapping project over 13 East Texas counties. The data is primarily for tax appraisal purposes. (Source: KTRE Staff)
The Texas Natural Resources System is a state clearing house of mapping data, but it's also an interesting site for the general public. Most maps, including historic ones, are in the public domain. (Source: KTRE Staff)
The Texas Natural Resources System is a state clearing house of mapping data, but it's also an interesting site for the general public. Most maps, including historic ones, are in the public domain. (Source: KTRE Staff)

NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - We use GPS and GIS to locate a restaurant, help us get home if we're lost, and for many other reasons.

Professionals also use it overhead, collecting data on all sorts of places, as close as your own backyard.

The East Texas GIS and GPS User Group is busy bringing users at any level together.

Close to 60 geospatial professionals and others showed up.

"This is our largest meeting ever," the host said.

Primarily because the science is used everywhere. The state of Texas even maintains a data clearinghouse.

"We basically go out and compile statewide data for base maps," said Felicia Retiz, a deputy geographic information specialist.

The Texas Natural Resources System serves primarily developers, realtors, and environmental assessors to name just a few. However, you can have fun at the site from the comfort of your own home.

"People just come to our site just to have a picture of their land," Retiz said. "We have over a million frames of historic photography over the state of Texas. and people like to see what was on their land before."

Then there are those keeping an eye on your land as it changes. Surdex, an aerial photography firm, is wrapping up a massive project over 13 East Texas counties.

"In some cases, we have flown three to four missions in one day," said Cornell Rowan, a project manager for Surdex.

The photographs record an area of 6 inches by 6 inches.

Your backyard project will easily show up with the image sent to tax appraisers.

"Buildings, swimming pools, and decks," Rowan said.

One year ago, this week SFA's geospatial studies provided the very first GPS and GIS maps for the Columbia recovery.  Now drones are added to the department.

"They are very really cool things," said Dr. Dan Unger, a GIS professor at Stephen F. Austin State University.

A self-called "drone squad" stays busy.

"We're doing a lot of urban tree assessment," Unger said.

GPS and GIS are helping the general public to scientists explore the world around them.

GPS and GIS were the sources of a major state award for two SFA students.

A historic map depicting the location of the first road to Texas from the north is the first-place winner of the Texas GIS forum poster contest. The map was created by Logan Hope and Jamison Brandenburg of SFA's Arthur Temple College of Forestry and Agriculture.

Copyright 2018 KTRE. All rights reserved.