U.S. Secretary of Interior Names Hunter Professor to Geospatial Committee

Sean Ahearn, professor of geography and director of Hunter’s CARSI (Center for Advanced Research of Spatial Information) Lab, has been named by U.S. Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne to the newly formed National Geospatial Advisory Committee. Ahearn is one of only two academics named to the committee, which will give advice and recommendations on federal geospatial policy and provide a forum to convey views of members of the geospatial community.

“This appointment,” said Ahearn, “will give me an opportunity to advise the U.S. government on the critical geospatial data and processes necessary for emergency response based on my work following 9/11.”

Ahearn’s work following the attacks on the World Trade Center included helping to select the remote sensing instruments that were used for evaluation and monitoring of ground zero, analyzing data to create 3-D visualizations of ground zero for the Fire Department, creating an application for cataloging the location of items found at ground zero, and creating an application for generating status maps showing which streets could safely be opened.

Stressing the importance of the new committee, Secretary Kempthorne noted that “Geospatial information and technology help many programs ranging from wildlife conservation to weather prediction to national security. This committee will help provide advice and perspectives as we continue to develop new ways to utilize geospatial information for the benefit of the public.”

The CARSI Lab directed by Ahearn is a state-of-the art teaching and research facility and one of the best-equipped laboratories in the U.S. for geographical analysis. In addition to its many other projects, CARSI has been working with the City of New York to develop its geospatial information infrastructure for over 12 years.