• Day, Rick Lane (PI)

Project: Research project

Project Details


Emerging issues such as the economic downturn, global climate change and alternative energy development target rural communities. Geospatial technologies provide powerful capabilities to assist rural communities in addressing these issues but often use and expertise is lacking due to resource limitations. The National Consortium for Rural Geospatial Innovations in America (RGIS) seeks to provide research, tools and education to rural communities in uses of geospatial technologies for a variety of applications. Geospatial technologies provide tools to evaluate impacts of climatic change on issues such as drinking water supplies, drought vulnerability for farmers and more. Increasing energy costs associated with transportation, residential heating and manufacturing also increase pressures on rural communities. Alternative energy development provides significant economic opportunities for rural communities if they are poised to effectively address the economic and environmental issues associated with development of biofuel, wind, solar and natural gas resources. As land is converted from traditional use to use for alternative energy, local communities must have geospatial tools, data, and expertise available to them to insure that environmental impacts are minimized and that the local economy is enhanced. Geospatial information technologies will play a role in the rural economic recovery and migration to alternative energy development. Appropriate development can provide a stimulus to local economies, including investments in sustainable development and conservation intended to mitigate climate change and alternative energy development impacts. Geospatial information can help local communities attract and site new businesses; identify deficiencies in rural infrastructure and guide its development; enhance sustainable land management strategies in resource-dependent areas; evaluate environmental impacts of alternative energy development; and provide "telecommuting" and traditional employment. Geospatial tools also play a critical role in land use planning and disaster planning and mitigation for drought, floods, wildfires, disease outbreaks, other natural disasters, and emergency evacuations. In all these situations, we believe that the benefits of geospatial technologies are best realized when brought closest to those making decisions about the land - local officials, active citizens, interested businesses, public agency staff, and others involved in decision-making. Our research is aimed at determining what technologies and approaches work in various circumstances and for different issues. RGIS has a long-term commitment to stakeholders through involvment in pilot and demonstration projects. RGIS has built a reputation of providing needed and focused direct technical assistance and training programs, and recently, high quality conferences focused particularly on the needs of rural America.

Effective start/end date8/15/0912/31/10


  • National Institute of Food and Agriculture: $1,163,494.00


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