University of Pittsburgh
October 8, 2001

Pitt's Visual Information Systems Center Receives $1.1 Million State Grant

Contact:  412-624-4147

October 9, 2001

PITTSBURGH—The Visual Information Systems Center (VISC) in the University of Pittsburgh's School of Information Sciences has received a

$1.1 million renewal grant from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The grant was awarded to VISC to continue its work on the Pennsylvania Technology Infrastructure Database (PTID) and the Pennsylvania Technology Atlas (PTA).

According to VISC Director Ken Sochats, the PTID is an annual comprehensive survey effort to document and evaluate the state of information technology of more than 29,000 Pennsylvania organizations, including all schools, libraries, hospitals, municipalities, utilities, research organizations, and high tech companies. The information is stored in a database and made available to the public on a Web site,, and PTA is an annual summary and analysis of the data provided on CD with an accompanying magazine.

VISC receives its grant through its Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) with the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. CRADA, an annually renewable grant that has been in existence for five years, funds PTID, PTA, and six other projects.

PTA is produced through a partnership of VISC and research teams at Edinboro University, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Millersville University, The Business Technology Center at West Chester University, and Wilkes University. In the U.S., Minnesota, Maryland, Louisiana, and Iowa have studied it for possible replication, as have the governments of Canada, Singapore, and Australia. Arkansas' MAIN (Mapping Arkansas Information Network) program was designed after studying the atlas. The Australian state of Victoria is proceeding with plans to construct its own atlas based upon its experience with PTA.

VISC has as its mission the investigation of issues related to the design, implementation, and application of computer-based systems where the acquisition, storage, processing, and communication of visual information are of paramount importance.