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Boston – A network broadcast story about a Boston University geologist’s breakthrough effort to use satellite and radar imagery to find underground water sources in war-torn Darfur has sparked an unsolicited donation to the university of digital mapping software for use by researchers and students.
The donation of 15 licenses from The Carbon Project, Inc., came after company CEO Jeff Harrison saw an ABC “World News” program about the water crisis in Darfur spotlighting the work of Prof. Farouk El-Baz, director of Boston University’s Center for Remote Sensing.
El-Baz’ research revealed a vast underground lake in the Darfur region of Sudan and gained international support for his initiative calling for the drilling of 1,000 groundwater wells in that region of Africa.
“It is our pleasure to be able to help this important effort,” noted Harrison whose company is headquartered in Alexandria, Virginia, with offices in Burlington, Massachusetts.
El-Baz has been at the forefront of helping Sudan find new sources of water in the Darfur region, which has suffered extended droughts over the past two decades. Water shortages are believed to be the root cause of the violence, according to the United Nations.
“This type of software allows the overlay of images and maps that enable researchers to evaluate and compare the data for better scientific analysis,” said El-Baz. “It is a welcome addition that will allow our students to utilize an advanced tool of Geographic Information Systems (GIS).
In expressing his gratitude for the software donation that will be used by BU researchers and students, El-Baz said the offer is particularly appreciated because it was not solicited.
“This offer is very American for someone to hear of a worthy cause and take an initiative to help achieve it,” said El-Baz. “We hope that there are many people like Jeff Harrison out there.”