James Payne initiated the modern professional-level cartography courses in the department (then named Geography and Regional Planning) from 1958 through the mid-1980s, when he retired. Payne, previously involved with cartography and aerial photography interpretation during World War II, brought his experience to IUP (then Indiana State College) and became the catalyst of a highly regarded cartography program in the department.

The foundation that Payne provided through his development of cartography and map interpretation courses has been crucial to the present form of the department's geographic information systems, remote sensing, and computer cartography curriculum.

Ruth Shirey was a tour-de-force in geography education in Pennsylvania and the United States. Shirey served as the executive director of the National Council for Geographic Education from 1988 to 2002, simultaneously coordinating efforts to develop and implement national geography education standards in cooperation with teaching colleagues from across the education spectrum.

Because of her tireless work, Shirey was very well known and admired among geographers in the United States and internationally, and she was honored with the Association of American Geographers' Ronald F. Abler Distinguished Service Award (2013), the George J. Miller Award for Distinguished Service from the National Council for Geographic Education (1996), and the Pennsylvania Geographical Society's Distinguished Service Award (2001).

At Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Shirey was a faculty member in the department from 1970 to 2007. She provided leadership as department chair of Geography and Regional Planning from 1977 through 1988, and as interim associate dean of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences from 1987 to 1989.

The James E. Payne/Ruth Shirey GIS Lab is located in Room 411 of Leonard Hall on the Indiana University of Pennsylvania main campus. The James Payne/Ruth Shirey Laboratory is the main teaching facility for computer cartography and geospatial techniques courses as well as planning and landscape design classes for the Department of Geography, Geology, Environment, and Planning.

The laboratory is also open to department-affiliated students and faculty for coursework and research activities outside of classroom times. Graduate lab assistants are assigned to the facility, with hours of operation varying by semester.

The James Payne/Ruth Shirey GIS Laboratory allows students to learn advanced environmental data collection and analysis techniques with state-of-the-art equipment, such as GPS, GIS, remote sensing techniques, small unmanned aerial systems (drones), and other devices

Lab Hardware

  • 24 desktop workstations in the main lab
  • One multimedia instructor workstation and digital projection unit

Other hardware housed and utilized within the department includes:

  • Large-format plotters
  • Global positioning systems (GPS) units and a base station
  • Small unmanned aerial systems (sUAS) aircraft
  • Total station survey equipment
  • Weather station
  • Hydrologic and atmospheric monitoring devices

Lab Software

Geographic Information Systems (GIS), image processing, geovisualization, planning design, and computer-aided drafting (CAD) software includes:

  • ArcGIS suite
  • Adobe Creative Suite
  • AutoCAD
  • DroneDeploy UAS
  • ERDAS Imagine
  • Google SketchUp
  • MapInfo
  • Trimble GPS PathFinder Office
  • TerraSync
  • Complete university Microsoft Office Suite software

John Benhart, the lab's supervisor, is continually updating the hardware and software capabilities of the lab. Please direct any questions or concerns about the lab to him.