Geospatial Research & Applications Center (GRAC). MISSION:

To research, develop, teach, and apply new applications of geospatial technologies, data analytics, and information technologies and transfer those results to companies and communities so that they can become more resilient, sustainable, and healthier.

City of Opelika, AL

“Every time there’s a heavy rain, it floods; that’s been going on for as long as I can remember,” Opelika Mayor Gary Fuller said. To solve this problem, the main goal of this project is to collect and analyze storm drains’ depth data to help the city of Opelika build water flow model. However, the city has depth data for only about 20% of the storm drains. Thus, the City of Opelika collaborates with the students from Auburn University to collect the depth data.

Riviera Utilities, Foley, AL

Utilities needed an efficient method to identify and retrieve information about their underground infrastructure facilities.  AU Business and MIS students, and GRAC researchers, conducted experiments that used GPS and RFID technologies to determine their effective use in retrieving information.  This research also helps Riviera locate infrastructure for disaster-recovery purposes in cases of storm-related damage.

Berntsen Intl. Inc

GRAC is working with Berntsen to determine the effectiveness of using RFID systems, combined with GPS and magnetic technology, to identify infrastructure elements.  Experiments are being conducted by Business & MIS students to investigate ease of use of closed- and open-source GIS tools, along with the efficiency of data retrieval in varying soil conditions.

Experiential Learning Activities

We use “flow theory” to design and implement experiential learning activities (ELAs) to teach IT classes and have documented it extensively. This provides an opportunity for other instructors to develop more effective ELAs to achieve specific outcomes and help students to become more engaged in the learning process, potentially leading to better retention rates.