How-to session aims to teach tools of ITS

The Daily Mississippian By Kim Breaux
April 14, 2004

The University of Mississippi Intelligent Transportation Systems Project along with the Geoinformatics Center will host a how-to session on Monday, April 19 at 6:30 p.m. in the Old Chemistry Building.

The meeting, originally scheduled for Thursday, is open to the public and is being held because of numerous phone calls received from the public about zoning changes and how to use the ITS Web site.

Director of the University of Mississippi Geoinformatics Center Greg Easson said that instead of going to the courthouse, those interested in seeing the city zoning changes can view those changes on the Web site, oumits.olemiss.edu.

However, many people, he said, are unfamiliar with the Web site, and the how-to session will explain what the data on the Web site is and how to use it.

"We hope to explain to people what the layers mean," Easson said.

The ITS Project is working in conjunction with the Mississippi Department of Transportation to instate what will be one of the first rural intelligent transportation systems in the state.

The intelligent transportation system's most basic goal, Easson said, is to give people information.

Funded by NASA, the University of Mississippi Geoinformatics Center, according to their mission statement, is dedicated "to improving the understanding, usage and access to geo-spatial information. This geo-spatial information is any data about the earth or earth processes that can be obtained directly or using a form of remote sensing. The data is then analyzed and/or enhanced using computer programs and results are displayed in a meaningful manner."

There will be traffic cameras installed in various places around Oxford, one place being the top of the Turner Center.

Easson said that this will be especially beneficial to college students because it will enable them to access a Web site before leaving and look at commuter parking to determine the fastest way to go and the best place to park.

MDOT Deputy Director for External Affairs Amy Hornback said that similar programs have been in the works since 2001.

She said that Jackson's MS Traffic was the pilot program, and since then because of the success of the Jackson program, intelligent transportation systems have been installed in Harrison, Hancock and Jackson Counties along the Gulf Coast, as well as in Desoto County.

Hornback said that intelligent transportation systems will eventually become statewide, and before the end of the year, the systems already in place will be accessible through Jackson's www.goMDOT.com.

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