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GEO Project Saves Mississippi Money, Effort

November 19, 2012

The Geospatial Education and Outreach Project (GEO Project), an advanced database training project conducted by the Mississippi State University Extension Service is saving the state millions of dollars, improving skills and making jobs easier.

GEO Project began working with local and state government agencies across Mississippi in June 2006. By November 2012, more than 2,600 people from more than 60 counties learned the concepts behind the mapping software in about 260 workshops. It combines geographic information with other features in an area, such as data on utilities, property lines and roads.

Scott Samson, professor with the Extension Service and the Geosystems Research Institute at MSU, developed the GEO Project. Having in-state training saves Mississippi about $5.5 million compared to the cost if workshop participants had to go out of state to take the same training. Samson said the rescue and recovery efforts associated with Hurricane Katrina introduced Mississippi to the widespread use of geographic information systems, or GIS.

The GEO Project leaders offer several workshops statewide each year at various locations. Two portable computer labs permit the delivery of concurrent workshops. Mississippi municipal, county and state employees receive the training at no cost. Samson said ESRI Inc., the largest GIS software vendor in the world, has identified GEO Project as the largest outreach effort of its kind in the United States.

Also see: Mississippi State University News.