Beach erosion and education

Hawaiian High School Students Use GPS-Photo Link Software
to Study Beach Erosion

THORNTON, Colorado, USA, 6 September 2006 – Students at Kealakehe High School in Hawaii will be hitting the beaches this year with GPS-Photo Link software from GeoSpatial Experts of Thornton, Colo., to study the extent and possible causes of shoreline erosion. The study is funded through a Bay Watershed Education and Training (B-WET) grant sponsored by the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

“We have incorporated GPS and GIS into our Career and Training Education curriculum which focuses on teaching skills that students can use to get jobs,” said Larry Rice, a Career and Training instructor at Kealakehe High School on the island of Hawaii.

As part of the B-WET Program, the students will select several beaches on the island for mapping and study. Using standard Ricoh digital cameras equipped with GPS cards, the students will document beach conditions throughout the school year. They will then use GPS-Photo Link software to integrate the GPS-located photos into a geographic information system (GIS) to determine if, and to what extent, the beaches are eroding as a result of sea level rise and island subsidence.

Mapping with digital photography is a technology made possible by GeoSpatial Experts’ GPS-Photo Link software. This digital image mapping software automatically links digital photographic images with GPS location data and maps the photographs on a GIS layer. In addition, GPS-Photo Link creates web pages in which the watermarked photographs are integrated with satellite imagery, street maps, or other GIS-based mapping layer. New functionality added in the most recent software version enables users to display their photo locations as icons in a Google Earth map layer and add an arrow indicating the direction in which the photo was taken.

“From past course work, we have already built several GIS layers for the island, and the GPS-Photo Link software will allow us to add the visual information as another information layer,” said Rice. “Mapping with a digital camera and GPS is simple with the GeoSpatial Experts’ software.”

Rice expects up to 400 students in ninth through twelfth grades to participate in the B-WET project this school year. B-WET was established in 2002 to improve the understanding of environmental stewardship through education for both teachers and students, according to a NOAA web site. There are currently B-WET programs active in Hawaii, the Chesapeake Bay and Monterey Bay areas.

“Students love to use GPS-Photo Link software because it’s so easy to use, and they can see the results of their field work presented visually on the GIS map screen within minutes after they return to the classroom,” said Rick Bobbitt, President of GeoSpatial Experts.

For more information on GPS-Photo Link, visit

For more information on Kealakehe High School and the NOAA B-WET program visit and

Linda Bobbitt
GeoSpatial Experts
Phone: 303.255.2908