Knowledge-Sharing on a Global Scale

Last week Skip Notte blogged about his work as an Advisory Board member of Virginia Tech’s Land Development Design Initiative—one of the many ways in which Dewberry supports education and knowledge-sharing within our profession. I recently had a similar opportunity to share advances in our profession with students, educators, and professional colleagues, but it was a little farther from home. The event took place approximately 5,000 miles away at Gediz University in Izmir, Turkey.

As a co-founder and vice president of the Turkish American Society of Civil and Environmental Engineers (TASCEE), I have been active in exploring opportunities to promote collaboration in engineering, environmental planning, and GIS between the United States and Turkey. When the idea surfaced to host an international conference in Turkey that would focus on GIS/RS applications in environmental protection and planning, I was excited to take part. I served as organizing committee co-chairman for the International Symposium on Environmental Planning and Protection (ISEPP), which was held on June 28-29. I coordinated the involvement of several key speakers from the United States and also had an opportunity to present on a number of interesting topics.

The symposium was sponsored by six organizations: CEVKOR (Environmental Protection) Foundation, TASCEE, the Turkish Environmental Protection Agency for Special Areas (EPASA), Ege University, Dokuz Eylul University, and Gediz University. The event gathered students, faculty, government officials, and environmental/GIS professionals from several countries, including Turkey, Iran, Egypt, and the United States. Topics ranged from the latest in GIS/RS applications, water resources, natural resources and ecology, land use planning, flooding and erosion control, and brownfields redevelopment to sustainable development. The town of Foca, a special environmental protection area managed by EPASA near Izmir, was visited by boat.

My own presentations addressed four topics: “Using GIS for Transportation Alternative Analysis to Minimize Environmental Impacts” (co-authored by Christina Gray, a senior planner at Dewberry); “Structure Inventory Using GIS for Flood Assessments: Cases from New York and New Jersey”; “Using GIS for Brownfields Redevelopment in the City of Garfield, New Jersey”; and “Environmental Resources Inventory Using GIS in the City of Englewood, New Jersey” (co-authored by John Robinson, Jr., a senior hydrogeologist at Dewberry). I also presented a poster entitled “Montclair State University Solar Energy Site Selection and Feasibility Analysis Map.”

The conference included great networking opportunities and a tour of Istanbul and an ancient city Ephesus nearby Izmir that provided an opportunity to learn about the culture, history, and landscape of this fascinating country. Overall, it was a great success, and we hope to follow up with similar events in the future.

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