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Charlotte Amalie
Thursday, April 18, 2024


Professionals at the University of the Virgin Islands are busy creating multi-purpose geographic data bases that can save time and money for private and public projects and offer concrete information for public utilities and emergency services.
For example, the Water and Power Authority's lines are mapped on special files, as are the V.I. Telephone Corp.'s telephone poles.
One project that could be initiated is a "City Map" which would name all the streets and roads in the territory with a numerical overlay, according to Stevie Henry, data manager for the Conservation Data Center at UVI.
This is something the Police Department, Fire Service and Rescue Squad have long hoped for to allow a quicker response time in emergencies.
"UVI, WAPA, Board of Elections, local engineers, land surveyors, and banks are currently using the Geographic Information System," Henry said.
The Geographic Information System (GIS) is a database, which lends itself to mapping any type of natural or man-made phenomenon. The Conservation Data Center is the organization within which the Virgin Islands GIS is maintained. The University of the Virgin Islands is the host for the CDC.
This hierarchy was developed to promote the development and utilization of a database beneficial to both public and private enterprise within and outside the territory.
The center is a combination of technologies made available primarily by the United States Geological Survey (USGS) and the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Agency (NOAA). It was funded in 1995 by the Department of the Interior. The Nature Conservancy and the University of the Virgin Islands' Eastern Caribbean Center co-wrote the grant applications that permitted the creation and operation of the CDC.
The center is specifically directed to map natural and marine environments found on St. Croix, St. John and St. Thomas. At this time the basic St. Croix maps have been completed and await final appraisal. Development of the St. Thomas maps has been under way since mid 1998. The University of Colorado developed the St. John maps in 1969 for the National Park Service.
The actual operation of the Virgin Islands Conservation Data Center is the responsibility of Henry and Dayle Barry, project coordinator.
Barry is a graduate of the University of the Virgin Islands who has also obtained a Master's Degree in Urban and Regional Planning from the University of Pittsburgh. He spent some 10 years with the Virgin Islands Department of Planning and Natural Resources prior to transferring to the CDC program.
Henry was raised on St. Croix where he graduated from UVI and then went on to obtain a Master's Degree in Community and Regional Planning from the University of New Mexico. After two years working in city planning with the municipality of Albuquerque, he returned to the Virgin Islands and worked with the Division of Comprehensive and Coastal Zone Planning, Department of Planning and Natural Resources.
In addition to the aforementioned full-time professionals, there are over a dozen "reservists" — specialists in the public and private sectors who are available to the project on a contract basis.
According to the CDC information leaflet, the available databases include:
* Digital Photographic Imagery
* 3D Terrain Models
* Hydrography (ponds, etc.)
* Protected Areas (APCs)
* National Parks
* National Wildlife Refuge
* Elevation Contours (2 foot interval)
* Spot elevations
* Coral Reefs and Mangroves
* Census Demographics
* Roads and Road Names
* Slope/Aspect Polygons
* Bathymetry
Editor's note: Further information on this program can be found at the CDC website by clicking here.

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