Borough President James P. Molinaro today announced the allocation of $128,000 in capital funding to the College of Staten Island (CSI) for the purchase of the Geographic Information Systems (GIS) technology for traffic and development research.
The funding will create a computer laboratory to make possible research and teaching in GIS. The laboratory will consist of high-end computers and a large, high-resolution plotter, scanners, special purpose software, statistical analysis, database, and visualization computational systems.
“Population growth and the traffic problems that accompany it are the two greatest issues facing Staten Island today,” said Molinaro at a press conference at CSI. “I am very proud to provide this state-of-the-art technology to CSI, and expect great things to develop from this important research tool. I look forward to working with CSI to continue providing not only community resources, but educational resources as well.”
Marlene Springer, President of CSI, said, “This new technology will provide us with opportunities for collaboration among researchers at CSI, New York City and State agencies, and elected officials. GIS models of New York, the tri-state area, and Staten Island will be developed to help understand cause-and-effect relationships, such as traffic flow, school redistricting, social services, economic development, and environmental conditions. I would like to thank Borough President Molinaro for his ongoing support of CSI and in particular for his support of this project.”
GIS is a computer program that permits the user to collect and analyze information spatially. The system presents layers of information in a visual representation across geographic locations. Users may compare distributions from place to place or pile layers of different kinds of information and see how they interact with each other — and GIS presents all the information visually.
“But this powerful technology will do more than just display data,” said Deborah Popper, CSI geography professor. “With transportation and development issues, for example, GIS will not only display infrastructure data, such as sewage and water pipes, electrical and utility lines and transportation information in synergy with census data, but it may also project infrastructure stresses and overloads should a single-family residence community have a high density, multiple-family housing unit constructed.”
GIS models are one of the most powerful analytical tools for understanding demographics and population dynamics. The availability of GIS models will enhance the scientific and geographic research of CSI faculty in Economics, Geography, Political Science and Sociology. The lab will also allow them to incorporate hands-on GIS modeling in their classes, which will enable students to learn to develop GIS models for use in their future careers.