When urban planning students work on a project, they’re using real data from real places—and they have the latest technology at their fingertips, thanks to an award of $4.2 million worth of engineering and geospatial software from Intergraph Corp.

“The value of this award for our students is just as good as money in the bank for their futures,” says David Schoen, retired professor of urban planning.

The 500 copies of GeoMedia Professional will give students a vital resource to learning a technology that is becoming increasingly prevalent in the industry and is helping to place Ball State’s Department of Urban Planning on the forefront of education.

GeoMedia Pro is designed for the collection and maintenance of geographic information systems (GIS) data. Thus, it allows students to look at the slope, shading, and other important features to help landscape development and urban planning. It also provides a means to incorporate demographic information, such as how communities are growing or aging, so planners can know how better to provide for the residents in these areas.

When students first use the program, they learn GeoMedia creating theoretical projects. Upper division students are able to use the program with actual data to work on real projects.

The grant of GeoMedia Pro follows a previous contribution from Intergraph of a grant valued at $4.7 million in 2003 for GIS software.

The programs help students stand out in the work force after they graduate, providing them with required skills and know-how well in hand.