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HomeNewsArchivesNew GPS Stations at UVI Could Be a Lifesaver

New GPS Stations at UVI Could Be a Lifesaver

Aug. 22, 2006 – Land surveyors and mapmakers recently got a new tool when the U.S. Geodetic Survey, an arm of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), installed Continuously Operating Referencing Stations (CORS) at the St. Thomas and St. Croix campuses of the University of the Virgin Islands.
The CORS serve as reference points for Global Positioning Systems.
"The stations receive signals from GPS satellites," Rich Snay, chief of the Geodetic Survey's Spatial Reference System Division, said from his office in Silver Spring, Md.
According to Snay, the electronic benchmarks provided by the CORS replace brass survey markers previously used by the agency.
Snay said the CORS have an added benefit of helping with emergency preparedness. He said that the stations' ability to measure moisture in the air helps determine how much rainfall can be expected when a hurricane or storm is on the way. He said the amount of rainfall is influenced by the amount of humidity already in the air when the storm arrives.
Snay added that the CORS measure minute amounts of movement in the Earth, which he said was useful in determining if a tsunami will develop.
Pat O'Donnell, capital projects manager at UVI, said the CORS — located on top of the Administration and Finance building on the St. Thomas campus and on top of the Student Activity Center on the St. Croix campus — stand about five feet tall.
Theresa Anduze-Parris, Geographical Information System (GIS) coordinator at the lieutenant governor's office, said the data generated by the system is used in risk management. "We look for anomalies," she said.
Anduze-Parris added that the CORS data is sent to a NOAA facility in Silver Spring for analysis.
The installations cost NOAA $100,000, which includes maintenance and training. UVI is paying for the electricity to run the systems.
Lt. Gov. Vargrave Richards said in a news release that the CORS installation came about as a result of a GIS conference sponsored by his office.
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