Mississippi’s Statewide GIS Software Site License Program Preparing Workforce for Growing Geospatial Industry

January 13, 2009 -- Jackson, MS – The Enterprise for Innovative Geospatial Solutions (EIGS) and the Geospatial Council of the Institutions of Higher Learning (IHL) are pleased to announce that the state of Mississippi has funded the geospatial statewide software site license program for the 2008-09 academic year.

As one of Mississippi’s most notable and successful activities in the geospatial arena, the geospatial software program provides remote sensing and Geospatial Information System (GIS) software learning packages for use at all Institutions of Higher Learning and Community and Junior Colleges at no cost to the individual institutions.

The total cost for FY09 for the State of Mississippi is $260,000, including software and administrative expenses. The total product value for FY09 is almost $25 million. This value is the amount that would be charged for the software without the site license agreement, representing quite a substantial savings for the state.

“We are so pleased that the Mississippi Legislature recognizes the importance of this program to help ensure that an educated, well-trained workforce is available to address the growing workforce development needs of the geospatial industry,” stated Dr. Greg Easson, EIGS Executive Director. “The wide spread use of this technology, from government agencies to engineers to farmers dictates that we keep pace with the industry’s demand for the high number of workers needing to be trained in this field. The availability of this software to our educational institutions is crucial to the sustained growth of this technology sector in Mississippi.”

As the first of its kind in the U.S., this program was established in 1999 for remote sensing/GIS software with three industry-leading vendors – ESRI, ERDAS, and ITT Visual Information Systems. Other states have since followed Mississippi’s lead in having such a progressive program that serves the entire statewide public higher education community. The program is funded through EIGS and managed by the MS Automated Resource Information System (MARIS) under the direction of the IHL Geospatial Council. The site licenses are designated for educational and research purposes and allow for unlimited copies of the software at all 8 public universities and all 15 community and junior colleges.

Including software extensions and modules, almost 22,000 licenses have been issued since the program began in 1999. With over 1,000 licenses utilized in 1999, the program increased to a peak of over 3,400 in 2006 and has since leveled off during the past two years to approximately 2,500 annually.

“Over the past couple of years, the use of the extension modules have increased by 125 percent showing more complex courses being taught requiring the more specific modules to be licensed,” stated Jim Steil, Director of MARIS and Chair of the IHL Council. “This demonstrates the increase in the number of students tackling advanced topics and tasks utilizing the extensions and also the diversity of new projects that the campuses are involved with.”

“This software program is a resource that is critical to the research, development, and training mission of the participating universities and community colleges as well as the continued growth of the geospatial industry,” said Easson. “The software is being used as part of curricula, supporting research applications by faculty, helping graduate and undergraduate students complete research projects, and training the next generation of employees for Mississippi’s geospatial industry.”


About the Enterprise for Innovative Geospatial Solutions: Since 1998, the State of Mississippi has nurtured the growth of a cluster of high-tech companies in the geospatial technology industry. The Enterprise for Innovative Geospatial Solutions (EIGS) is the program that coordinates the activities of this cluster. EIGS works with private companies as well as university research programs, state agencies, and other related organizations to support geospatial business development and research with the primary mission of growing the research-based, world-class geospatial technology industry in Mississippi. For more information, visit www.eigs.olemiss.edu.

About the IHL Geospatial Council: The Geospatial Council was established in 1999 by Mississippi’s Institutions of Higher Learning to organize, coordinate, and promote educational activities in geospatial technologies in the state of Mississippi. The Council includes faculty and staff from all Mississippi’s public universities and community colleges as well as several state agencies. Additionally, the Council provides oversight and maintenance of the statewide geospatial software site license program.
For more information, contact
Steve Walker at Email Contact

visit www.maris.state.ms.us/HTM/GeospatialCouncilWebsite/index.html.

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