GIS/Remote Sensing Program
OLC’s GIS/Remote Sensing lab was built and established in 2003 as part of a grant by the National Science Foundation (NSF). The main advantage of the lab is its seemingly endless applications. The GIS program at Oglala Lakota College (OLC) has supported ranchers, firefighters, tribal offices, forest service, human services, health service, water resources, and assisted in areas of Lakota studies, tourism, and environmental science. Maps can help identify animal/plant relationships, map hotspots of diabetes, or help preserve and protect historical sites.
OLC’s GIS program plays a role in:
Preserving historical, cultural and recreational areas
Promoting the traditional Lakota way of life
Improving health conditions that are pressing in current Lakota society, such as diabetes
Involving middle and high school students in mapping Lakota traditional areas
Researching ecological issues on the reservation
OLC’s GIS/Remote Sensing lab reaches out to OLC affiliates, community, K-12 schools, and tribal entities. Often, education, research and community outreach go hand in hand, for example, we work with local school children, as part of a grant to use GIS as a tool for promoting and preserving Lakota history. In the past, professionals from the Pine Ridge Reservation participated in our GIS classes or workshops to advance their work skills. Our GIS program also benefits from this outreach through an increased pool of local data and knowledge.
There is a strong desire in the Pine Ridge community to apply geoscience tools, resulting in nontraditional students signing up for GIS classes. Employees from the OST land office, water resources, BIA and community members participated in GIS classes to expand their work expertise. GIS is not only used at a professional level but also to preserve the local environment, promote business or claim ownership of land.