CAST and Leica GeoSystems Form Inaugural Center of Excellence

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — Leica Geosystems GIS & Mapping LLC and the Center for Advanced Spatial Technologies have formed the inaugural Leica Geosystems Center of Excellence in Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing at the University of Arkansas.

 “Leica Geosystems created the Centers of Excellence program to foster collaboration with a small group of outstanding academic institutions, bound together by a commitment to advance the technology and expertise that will foster the development of image-based spatial data,” said Bob Morris, president of Leica Geosystems GIS & Mapping. “As the charter Leica Geosystems Center of Excellence in Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing, CAST will work with us in several important capacities.”

CAST will integrate Leica Geosystems’ photogrammetric and remote-sensing software into an array of graduate and undergraduate courses in environmental dynamics, geosciences and geography. All subsequent centers of excellence will also integrate the company’s geospatial imaging tools into their academic and research programs.

Leica Geosystems will obtain access to the research results from its centers of excellence, which in turn will help refine the development of its technology. These data, as well as case studies using Leica Geosystems products in class settings and research projects, will aid researchers in predicting the data and technology needs of future consumers of geospatial information, such as local governments.

“In northwest Arkansas, for example, Leica Geosystems sensor and software technologies are in use by the private sector and local governments to map everything from flood plains to construction sites and timberland. Our access to these tools will mean that we can help these groups be more effective and provide the citizens of the area with better information,” said Fred Limp director of CAST.

Leica Geosystems technologies are being employed in the Arkansas Land Use/Land Cover Project, funded by the Arkansas legislature. Assistant professor Jason Tullis of geosciences and Bruce Gorham of CAST are using satellite imagery to map all Arkansas forests, agricultural lands and communities. From this information, developers and urban planners can see the results of the rapid development in northwest Arkansas, while tax assessors, agribusinesses and farmers can know exactly what crops are being grown across the state. Tullis will also be using Leica Geosystems software in the remote-sensing classes he offers to undergraduates and graduate students.

In another project using Leica Geosystems technology, CAST researchers working with Professor Fred Stephens in entomology have employed satellite sensors to look at the distribution of the red oak borer, which has been devastating Arkansas forests for several years. Timber industry officials and environmentalists predict the borers may have cost the state as much as $1.2 billion in lost tourism and timber dollars.

In a UA project, geosciences professor Jack Cothren and facility-use planner Kevin Santos used a Leica ADS40 airborne digital sensor in April to acquire high resolution imagery of the UA campus and surrounding area.

“These very high resolution images will provide important information for many campus planning activities,” said Cothren. “It will also be invaluable as a teaching tool for students. Using these data, students can literally walk outside the classroom and 'ground truth’ their work. There are not many universities that have this type of local data available to their students.”

An important research initiative of the center will be to use Leica Geosystems software together with database technologies from the Oracle Corp. to integrate imagery and high- density survey data.

“The close coupling of Oracle’s database and the powerful imagery and high-density survey capabilities of the Leica Geosystems sensors and software will dramatically improve the use and value of important geospatial data,” said Cothren.

About CAST

Established at the University of Arkansas in September 1991, the Center for Advanced Spatial Technologies is dedicated to research and applications in geospatial analysis and modeling, enterprise spatial databases, remote sensing, digital photogrammetry, high density survey and geospatial interoperability. CAST focuses on research, technology transfer, undergraduate and graduate education, service to communities and local governments, and professional training in a variety of geospatial and related technologies. Cooperative programs developed by CAST are designed to bring together the benefits of academic research and development with the resources of state and federal agencies and the private sector to provide the state and region with effective spatial technologies, trained practitioners, and low-cost digital data. CAST is a founding member and continues to be active in the Open Geospatial Consortium, and its team works extensively with multiple agencies and companies in geospatial interoperability research and demonstrations. For more information about the Center for Advanced Spatial Technologies, visit

About Leica Geosystems GIS & Mapping

Building image-based maps requires reliable measurements and solutions for the entire workflow. Leica Geosystems GIS & Mapping helps customers collect, analyze and present spatial information. Leica Geosystems is powering geospatial imaging by putting precise imaging to work. Its broad array of airborne sensors, photogrammetry and remote sensing software capture data efficiently, reference imagery accurately, measure and analyze easily and present spatial information, even three dimensionally. The company offers geospatial imaging solutions with precision, integration and service. For more information about Leica Geosystems GIS & Mapping or its products and services, call +1 404 248 9000, toll free +1 877 463 7327, or visit

About Leica Geosystems

With close to 200 years of pioneering solutions to measure the world, Leica Geosystems products and services are designed to capture, analyze, and present spatial information. Leica Geosystems is best known for its broad array of products that capture accurately, model quickly, analyze easily, and visualize and present spatial information three dimensionally. Based in Heerbrugg, Switzerland, Leica Geosystems is a global company with tens of thousands of customers supported by more than 2,400 employees in 23 countries and hundreds of partners in more than 120 countries around the world. Leica Geosystems is a publicly listed company, registered with the Swiss Stock Exchange (SWX). For more information, go to



Fred Limp, University Professor of anthropology and geosciences and director, Center for Advanced Spatial Technologies, J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences, (479) 575-4804,

Lynn Fisher, communications director, Fulbright College, (479) 575-7272,


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