We are seeking applicants for the 2011 Geospatial Research and Mapping on Easter Island (GRAM-EI) program. This summer program is a National Science Foundation (NSF) funded Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) site (http://www.nsf.gov/crssprgm/reu/index.jsp).


Geospatial science is an applied discipline that requires a strong field component. Employment in geospatial technology fields often requires prior applied experiences. These field-based experiences have become an increasingly essential component of the educational experience for geographers and related professionals. This REU entails a four-year summer program of training in geospatial mapping techniques, archaeological research, and natural resource management on Easter Island, Chile (also known by its native name, Rapa Nui).

This experience is designed to provide a truly unique research and educational opportunity for undergraduate students through active participation in data collection and analysis in support of ongoing research by scientists at CSULB and the University of Hawaii, and a five-year program of archeological and natural resource mapping in partnership with the Corporacion Nacional Forestal (CONAF) which is responsible for the management of the Rapa Nui National Park (Nacional Parque de Rapa Nui).

Each summer ten students selected from California State University Long Beach and national institutions will participate in a four week summer research experience focused on Easter Island.

GRAM-EI research will be conducted at two scales: local site and broader landscape. Site scale research in specific study areas in the Anakena Beach area identified in the five year MOU with CONAF, and landscape scale mapping designed to provide coverage of the majority of the National Park. The summer research experience will emphasize the use of geospatial techniques to aid hypothesis driven geospatially based natural resource and archaeological research and mapping that will result in improvements in the monitoring and analysis of environmental processes in the National Park. The natural resource-focused research will contribute to improved understanding of long-term changes in vegetation cover dynamics, natural hazards, non-point source pollution and surface water quality. The archaeological research focus will contribute to improved understanding of settlement chronology and resource utilization prior to European contact.

GRAM-EI will provide a framework for geospatial analysis of the landscape that introduces undergraduate students to technology and the culture of research while providing the tools and methods required to map, monitor, and analyze patterns and environmental processes. GRAM-EI will allow undergraduate students to develop research questions and conduct basic and applied research on Rapa Nui using cutting-edge geospatial technologies.

This REU site research focuses on the geospatial sciences and will apply geospatial technologies to address a combination of archaeological, natural resource mapping and applied research questions. Geospatial Science refers to sub-disciplines within Geography (such as spatial analysis, biogeography, and hydrology) that evaluate the earth’s surface through the use of fieldwork and geospatial technologies, and integrate physical, biological and human-built environments, both ancient and contemporary for analysis and assessment. Geospatial technologies include geographic information systems (GIS), remote sensing, thematic mapping, image processing, global positioning systems (GPS), and spatial statistics.  Easter Island provides an unique opportunity for geospatial science applications.