“Georgia Tech Involvement and support of Mountain Gorilla Preservation with the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International (DFGFI)”
Presenter: Nick Faust
Principal Research Scientist (retired)
Electro-Optical Systems Laboratory
Georgia Tech Research Institute
Senior Resident Scholar – Georgia Tech Center for GIS
MS Geophysics Georgia Institute of Technology 1975
BS Physics Georgia Institute of Technology 1969
Nick Faust has 50 years research experience in the development and application of Remote Sensing and Geographic Information Systems (GIS) algorithms both at NASA and Georgia Tech. As Principal Research Scientist and Branch head of the Image Analysis and Visualization Branch at GTRI, he directed efforts at pattern recognition of multi-spectral image data and terrain analysis of the earth’s terrain. He was a co-founder of the Earth Resources Data Analysis Systems (ERDAS) company in 1978. He developed tools for the 3 dimensional visualization of geographic data (Georgia Tech
Virtual Geographic System – GTVGIS) and published papers along with the Georgia Tech College of Computing that provided a framework for current tools such as Google Earth and Microsoft’s Virtual Earth.
Mr. Faust currently teaches a graduate class in Remote Sensing in the Geographic Information Systems Technology (GIST) program within the School of City Planning in the Georgia Tech College of Architecture (Now College of Design). He sits on graduate thesis committees and works with students and faculty in the Center for GIS and across campus.
His current interests include the development and use of Remote Sensing and GIS tools for the analysis of habitat for the Critically Endangered Mountain Gorillas in Rwanda, Congo, and Uganda. He is analyzing 1-4 meter resolution multispectral imagery of the Virunga Volcano region on the border of these three countries to better define the location of food groups used by the gorillas and to determine the relationships between the available food and the distribution of the individual gorilla families in the protected regions in the common park. This will be compared to a landcover analysis that his group performed in 2005 using 30 meter resolution Landsat Thematic Mapper data. He was elected to the Board of Trustees of the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International (DFGFI) in 2008 and served as Board Chair for 2013 and 2014. The Center for GIS at Georgia Tech is assisting in the time series visualization of the second longest archive of animal behavior information with a GIS context.
This talk will discuss the background strengths of Georgia Tech in Remote Sensing, GIS, and Visualization and how these strengths led to a 17 year international collaboration between Georgia Tech CGIS and the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International (DFGFI). The last remaining habitat for the critically endangered Mountain Gorilla is 2 small areas within Rwanda, Democratic Republic of Congo, and Uganda. The Virunga volcanos region (approximately 1000 square kilometers) is located on the western Great Rift Valley in central Africa. Dian Fossey initiated the study of behavior patterns of the Mountain Gorilla in 1967. The principal DFGFI focus is: “Helping people. Saving gorillas”. The organization is dedicated to research on the mountain gorilla and studying and assisting in the close inter-relationship between the mountain gorilla and the people who live in proximity to the 3 national parks that comprise the habitat. Georgia Tech’s collaboration is based on assistance and analysis of geospatial data and visualization of the extensive archive of time series behavioral data to help understand and protect the mountain gorilla.
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