CGIT’s first annual “Hot Topics: Project Pitch Event sizzles with new and innovative research directions.


June 20, 2012. On June 8, 2012, CGIT hosted the first ever “Hot Topics Project Pitch Event.  This event gave some students, staff, and faculty an opportunity to propose their latest and greatest ideas for utilizing geospatial technologies with an opportunity to win a small amount of funding to get their research off the ground.

But wait! There was a catch! Each participant had to pitch their idea in three minutes or less. Points were deducted from the entrant’s score if they went over the allotted time. Within that time, the presenter had to present their idea as well as the resources the project would require, including staff, skills, potential funding, etc. The project ideas were judged on innovation, creativity, feasibility, potential academic and commercial benefits, and x-factor by a group of CGIT faculty members. Peer evaluations were also considered.

There was a big turn out with more than twenty entries full of innovation and creativity.  Topics ranged from location-based smart to-do lists (Dan Germroth), to web-based trails data (Matt Layman), to forecast-based routing (Paul Miller), and location-based health monitoring (Erica Adams). There was ‘geo-genealogy’ (Talmage Hansen), 3D modeling in browser, hand innovative ideas for converting paper maps to digital resources (Thomas Dickerson). These great ideas and others proved that there is great value in giving academics an environment to explore ideas.  Many of the idea presented would be great future research endeavors.

Still a couple of projects rose to the top on the scorecards from both judges and peers: Paul Miller, a Masters student in the Geography Department, proposed an idea he called “Hitting the GIS Jackpot.” This idea called for obtaining historical purchasing and results data from the Virginia Lottery and using geospatial methods to try and predict where a winning lottery ticket may be found. Peter Sforza, director of CGIT, proposed an idea for an app that integrates web-cams with location-based services so that users can tweet pictures from registered web-cams. He calls this or

CGIT looks forward to working with the involved students to follow up on these research ideas and possibly some others.