GIS Technology Produces Award-Winning Conservation Research

Liverpool student’s high-tech mapping project receives plaudits from environmental charity

Lisa Reilly University of Liverpool

Lisa Reilly University of Liverpool

23 January 2014: A ground-breaking and potentially far-reaching project using Geographical Information Systems (GIS) to enhance marine conservation has scooped top prize in the 2013 P1 Marine Foundation National Student Awards for a Liverpool University undergraduate.

22-year-old Lisa Reilly from Maghull spent three months in the Greek islands last year collecting and analysing data from Loggerhead turtle nesting sites mapped by GIS to educate local residents, tourists and environmental agencies on the importance of improving conservation and habitat protection. The Awards, which will be presented at The Royal Institution of Great Britain in central London on 6th February, were launched by P1 Marine Foundation in 2012 to reward students at all levels of higher education who produce outstanding work in the areas of science, technology and engineering to benefit the marine environment.

The islands of Kefalonia and Alonissos, with its national marine park, are at the forefront of Lisa’s ongoing research, with representation of data on GIS enabling simple interpretation. “I believe that education, particularly amongst the younger generation, is vital to develop respect for ocean protection and this gives individuals the opportunity to make a difference to their local ecosystem and feel a sense of pride in conserving biodiversity” explained Lisa. “I also involve tourists in beach clean ups and educational activities so that they can take home and share their experiences to enhance conservation globally.”

Awards entries from students at universities and colleges throughout the country were judged by a panel that included marine scientists and environmental leaders. Lisa will receive a trophy, cheque for £1,000 to support her project and student membership with The Institute of Marine Engineering, Science & Technology. “The judges were impressed by the imaginative use of GIS technology as well as by her clear focus, pragmatic approach and educational content” said Sabrina Taseer, projects and development manager at P1 Marine Foundation. “We are delighted that our National Student Awards are giving prominence to exciting and valuable projects of this nature that go beyond research and analysis to develop solutions to environmental problems.”