Island University Research Lab Recognized for Free Online Curriculum

Published: February 02, 2017

Island University Research Lab Recognized for Free Online Curriculum

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – To sustain free technology, education and information, Dr. Richard Smith, Assistant Professor of Geographic Information Science & Geospatial Surveying Engineering at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi has continued the development, maintenance and accessibility of the free online GeoAcademy Curriculum. Smith along with students of the Spatial {Query} Lab are working to spearhead the continued development of the curriculum’s labs and lectures by keeping them updated with the latest information in modern GIS education.

The curriculum, available exclusively through Texas A&M-Corpus Christi’s Spatial {Query} Lab, was funded by a Department of Labor grant. It currently consists of five base level courses allowing participants to pursue subjects including Introduction to Geospatial Technology and Introduction to Remote Sensing.

“We like to think of geospatial technology as the merging of geography, mathematics, and computer science,” said Smith. “It’s about looking at space, patterns, processes and collecting data to answer spatial questions, construct maps and mapping websites. Everything from the navigation system in your car to looking for a good restaurant on Yelp! is an example of a Geographic Information System (GIS).”  

Declared the “GeoForAll” lab of the month this January by the Open Source Geospatial Foundation, the Spatial {Query} Lab has not only constructed an online curriculum accessible to the public but has now partnered with the United Nations (UN). As part of the UN Open Geographic Information System Initiative, the free forum is utilized as a base curriculum while UN officials work towards increasing their GIS technology capacity.

“The people we’re training in our partnership with the UN have seen and worked with GIS technology. They know its uses and benefits and how producing this technology will help them with their own missions, telling their story and being able to gather data and answer questions,” said Smith. “It’s all about making knowledge accessible to those who otherwise might not have these opportunities.”

Students who worked closely on the project often dedicated time outside of their regular scheduled class hours to work on the curriculum. When talking with Smith, he accredits much of the success of the programs to those students and says the victory is a shared one.

“This curriculum is a true labor of love for all that have contributed to it,” said Smith. “When we have the opportunity to do something great like this on an international stage, we do it. We can hold our heads high as Islanders and know that we are truly helping people.”

For more information on the Spatial {Query} Lab, or to access the free online curriculum, visit