Vicksburg, Miss. – During her recent graduation from the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center’s University program, Little Rock District’s executive assistant, Kathleen Payne, shared her motivation in applying for the six-month program where she would be paired with mentors in her areas of interest.
“I wanted to gain more experience working with Geographic Information Systems technology, known as GIS, and to learn about new and innovative ideas that are being implemented at ERDC and in other Corps divisions, ideas that could potentially benefit the District,” Payne said.
GIS is a system designed to capture, store, manipulate, analyze, manage and present spatial or geographic data. These tools allow users to create interactive queries, analyze spatial information, edit data in maps and present the results of all these operations.
“While at the Geospatial Research Laboratory in Alexandria, Virginia, I worked with two different project teams. With the first team, Captur3D, I provided support for research on LIDAR scanning of building interiors to generate building interior models for military training purposes.
“With the second team, New & Enhanced Tools for Civil Military Operations, I modeled the ideal habitat distribution for a disease species known as the blacklegged tick and the distribution of its associated pathogens that pose disease risk to humans. Public health agencies concerned about tick-borne diseases, such as Lyme disease, can use these models to identify areas of potential disease expansion to prepare military personnel or civilians who visit those areas,” Payne said.
Payne shared that while at GRL she worked with two geospatial research experts, Robin Lopez and Susan Lyon, who were her mentors.
“I was able to learn a lot from them and from the Captur3D and NET-CMO project team members. My mentors also provided me with opportunities to attend Department of Defense Lab Day, which is an exhibition of state-of-the-art defense research held at the Pentagon, and to attend a meeting of the Board on Geographic Names, Domestic Names Committee, which establishes the names of domestic geographic features that are official for federal use.
“I feel that this developmental opportunity allowed me to learn new GIS and research skills. I highly recommend the ERDC University program to anyone in the Little Rock District who wants to gain new experience and learn more about the capabilities that are accessible within the Corps of Engineers,” Payne said.