CReSIS graduate student receives REU Mentoring Award


By Vicky Diaz-Camacho
Winter 2014

Kyle Purdon

LAWRENCE – Kyle Purdon, a Center for Remote Sensing of Ice Sheets graduate student received the REU Mentoring Award March 6.

Purdon is a master’s student in the Department of Geography and a graduate research assistant for CReSIS. Purdon helped create and directed two sets of lectures and tutorials, which helped students create and write programs.

This March, he was recognized for mentoring and running weeklong tutorials for MATLAB and Arc-Geographic Information Systems (Arc-GIS), which is the most common commercial software for GIS. As a mentor, he worked with two to three undergraduate students from different schools.

“It’s always nice to gain recognition,” Purdon said about receiving the award. “We put in a lot of work and time for [the tutorials].”

The tutorials consisted of daily lectures and interactive labs to help students gain understanding of the systems used at CReSIS. He also taught them how to work and apply tools within the programming and geographic sphere.

The CReSIS researcher is not only gaining recognition as a mentor but also for the success of his thesis project. This year, he completed the OpenPolarServer for the CReSIS GeoPortal website, which went live in January 2014. He said the work he does is more application and web development.

“My primary project at CReSIS, which is also my thesis project at KU, involves the creation of an SDI that stores radar sounding data collected in Greenland and Antarctica measuring ice thickness by identifying the surface and bedrock reflectors in radio echograms,” reads his research overview.

He said his program will help the websites, SQL and data distribution to be more efficient. Purdon’s live program can generate

He added JavaScript and constructed a simple web interface. The new web interface gives users “easy access to data products in a way that was never available before,” he said.

The primary goal of the server is for users to retrieve and download data. Purdon said the OpenPolarServer was made possible by his team members, emphasizing their part in the project.

“We’re really proud of this interface. I’m not the only one doing this obviously. One person couldn’t do all this.”

The OpenPolarServer was first tested July 2013 and was subsequently released as a demo at the International Glaciological Society September 2013 meeting at CReSIS. It went public January 2014 and is now live for users.

“Hopefully [the OpenPolarServer] provides access to a lot more people to do a lot of interesting things with our data,” he said.