New Jersey Institute of Technology Assists in Twin Tower Recovery Effort


NEWARK, Sept. 21-- NJIT is playing a key role in the Twin Tower’s recovery effort, helping the government monitor and map the disaster site.

A civil engineering unit here is helping to position planes hovering above the wreckage. The planes are taking three-dimensional digital aerial images and maps, which recovery crews then use to assess the damage and orchestrate the clean up.

An antenna at NJIT’s Global Positioning System (GPS) Center tracks the satellites and downloads the data into a computer at the university. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) hourly taps into the computers and uses the data to track planes and record precise images.

Joshua Greenfeld, Ph.D., associate professor of civil and environmental engineering at NJIT, who manages the GPS Center, said for the past two years the Center has helped the government monitor the earth’s crust for earthquakes. But after hijackers attacked and destroyed the Twin Towers, the government asked for aerial assistance, which Greenfeld was happy to provide.

The planes are equipped with advanced LIDAR (Light Detection and Ranging System) technology, which must work along with a GPS Center. The GPS Center, founded two years ago at NJIT, is located 10 miles from the World Trade Center site.

“What NJIT is doing is a great help to the recovery workers,” said Richard Snay, a manager at the National Geodetic Survey, a division of NOAA.

Snay lauded NJIT Thursday for increasing the speed with which it records the locations of the planes. Every second, Snay said, NJIT retrieves data on the satellites and sends it on to the government.

“The increased data collection rates,” Snay added, “are critical for accurately positioning the aircraft used to map the disaster sites.”

A private firm has been hired to produce the three-dimensional maps, which are “extremely helpful to recovery teams trying to clean up the rubble and identify unstable structures,” he said.

NOTE: To visit the GPS Center, the equipment and/or interview Greenfeld contact the NJIT Public Relations Department.  



NJIT is a public research university enrolling over 8,800 bachelor's, master's and doctoral students in 80 degree programs through its five colleges: Newark College of Engineering, New Jersey School of Architecture, College of Science and Liberal Arts, the School of Management and the Albert Dorman Honors College. Research initiatives include manufacturing, microelectronics, multimedia, transportation, computer science, solar astrophysics, environmental engineering and science, and architecture and building science. According to Yahoo! Internet Life magazine rankings, NJIT has been America's most wired public university for three consecutive years.

Contact Information:   Sheryl Weinstein
Robert Florida
Public Relations
(973) 596-3433