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About Dan

Dan Meehan has been working in the geospatial industry for almost 20 years, developing, integrating, and applying geospatial technologies in support of local, state, and federal government projects and academic research. He is the Founder and President of Horizon GeoSpatial, a small business that specializes in developing ammunition storage plans for organizations to safely store explosive materials. Since starting his business in 2012, Dan has provided safety planning support to over 100 military installations both domestically and internationally.

Horizon has been partnering with Sand County Studios, a multi-faceted design and planning firm that specializes in applying Geodesign solutions to land use challenges. They have been working to build geospatially based solutions for local government resiliency problems.

Dan is also the Program Manager for online Geodesign Graduate Degree programs at Penn State. He handles recruiting and marketing for the online degree program and assists faculty in course development. More recently, he has been working with local community groups and the University to help solve local land use issues. He also provides geospatial support to residential Landscape Architect instructors and helps to organize University wide GIS efforts as the ArcGIS Online Service Manager.

Presentation abstract

A Geodesign Approach to Sustainable Development on Jekyll Island

Tucked into the southeast corner of Georgia is Jekyll Island, a 5,500-acre barrier island that is also a State Park. The island is rich in history and over the years has been a plantation, a private hunting club (closed because of a world war), and finally sold back to the State of Georgia and established as a State Park. In 1971 a law was established that said only 35% of the island can be developed. That law has since been modified to say that only 1,675 acres can be developed. According to the 2013 Jekyll Island Master Plan, 1,609 acres are currently considered 'developed,' leaving only 66 acres for future use.

The people of Georgia are very proud of their Island and the old-time feelings that it evokes. A 200-acre historical district, sparsely crowded beaches, and abundant natural beauty are the major attractions of the island. "Preserving Island life for the average Georgian" is the mantra often heard by visitors.

After conducting a carrying capacity and infrastructure assessment in 2018, our team looked at developing long-term planning scenarios for the Island. How can Jekyll Island protect their unique way of life while allowing for sustainable development within a limited area? This talk will outline how geospatial tools were used to create scenarios that protect natural resources, manage tourism, preserve the overall quality of the island, prepare for sea level rise, and create economic stability. 

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