University of Vermont

University Communications

Spatial Analysis Lab Named "Center of Excellence"

Release Date: 09-16-2009

Author: Jeffrey R. Wakefield
Email: Jeffrey.Wakefield@uvm.edu
Phone: 802/656-2005 Fax: (802) 656-3203

The University of Vermont's Spatial Analysis Laboratory, part of the Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources, has received two prestigious honors in recent months.

The Definiens corporation, founded by Nobel Prize laureate Gerd Binnig, recently designated the lab one of eight international Centers of Excellence, based in part on the Urban Tree Canopy (UTC) assessment work the lab carried out in collaboration with the U.S. Forest Service. The other seven Centers of Excellence organizations are among the most well-respected and well-funded remote sensing labs in the world.

In addition, ESRI, a leading developer of GIS software, last spring named the lab one of the first ESRI Development Centers.

Both honors have benefits for the UVM community. "The Definiens designation allows us to receive software with a commercial value of $80,000 and gives us priority access to technical support and the ability to participate in the beta software releases," said Jarlath O'Neil-Dunne, geospatial analyst at the lab. "Thanks to our ESRI Development Center status, all UVM students, staff, and faculty can now install full versions of ArcGIS on their personal computers," he said. "A convenience in normal times, having access to GIS software at home will be a necessity if UVM is impacted by the H1N1 virus."

"These are both truly impressive honors," said Mary Watzin, dean of the Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources. "They are a testament to the international stature of the Spatial Analysis Laboratory, placing it among a handful of the most well-respected GIS and remote sensing labs in the world. The designations will also bring tangible benefits to UVM students, faculty, and staff."