Nicholls State, corps team up on geomatics

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Nicholls State University will work together on research and application of geomatics, the surveying and mapping of land.

The agreement, signed this past week by Col. Rick Hansen and Nicholls President Stephen Hulbert, comes months after the corps expressed interest in the university’s use of unmanned drone aircraft to map the shorelines of barrier islands and monitor coastal restoration.

Nicholls is the only university in the University of Louisiana system that has a geomatics program, Hansen said.

It’s also the only state affiliate with a permit to operate drones, Federal Aviation Administration records show.

The partnership, Hansen said, will focus on the advancement of geospatial engineering and science and education through the sharing of technology and knowledge, personnel development and student mentoring.

Nicholls students will benefit from access to the corps’ data resources for their studies and projects, he said, and the corps will tap into the university’s expert knowledge, innovative ideas and professional assistance in surveying and mapping.

Nicholls’ geomatics program, which is now a decade old, is the state’s flagship program.

Blanchard said the partnership will prove especially helpful in the monitoring of the Army Corps’ Hurricane and Storm Damage Risk Reduction System, a complex structure made of levees, T-walls, flood gates, locks and closure structures.