Arthur Temple College of Forestry and Agriculture

Dr. David Kulhavy advises David Douglass in the GIS labThe International Journal of Higher Education recently published research conducted by ATCOFA’s spatial science faculty highlighting the applied nature of undergraduate research available through the program.

The publication, “Integrating Hands-on Undergraduate Research in an Applied Spatial Science Level Capstone Course,” focuses on undergraduate research designed by David Douglass, a senior enrolled in Ecological Planning, the capstone course of the spatial science program. For the course project, Douglass compared the accuracy of three separate methods of measurement in determining the height of 30 building features. Results of the project indicate that the Pictometry ® web-based interface was statistically more accurate than LiDAR data and could potentially be used in lieu of time-consuming in-field measurements.

Perhaps more importantly, the work substantiates the applied, hands-on approach utilized by spatial science faculty within the college. Spatial technology has been identified as a target industry sector for job growth by the President’s High Growth Job Training Initiative, and was also identified as a key element during the recent ATCOFA curriculum revision that relied on the input of over 3,000 individuals actively engaged in natural resources and forestry. For this reason, ATCOFA’s spatial science program focuses on rigorous undergraduate training that maximizes personal faculty interaction. In turn, this cultivates student mastery of the theory and application of spatial science.

Though this publication focuses on the results of a senior-level course, spatial science students in all stages of the program benefit from intensive, real-word projects and personal guidance from instructors.

The full text, authored by Drs. David Kulhavy, Daniel Unger and I-Kuai Hung, as well as David Douglass, can be found online.