by Jordan Head

Doing what you love pays off, and Dr. Jeong C. “J.C.” Seong, professor of geospatial technologies at the University of West Georgia, is proof of this.

An Atlas for All: UWG Professor Works with South Korea to Produce National AtlasDr. Seong recently received a grant for $10,000 from the Korean Geographical Society to continue his work as a Guest English Version Reviewer on the South Korean National Atlas. This grant is the second he has received to assist in reviewing the atlas.

“The first volume is completed,” Dr. Seong said, “and I’ve received a grant to review it as well. Both Dr. Shea Rose, associate professor of geosciences at UWG, and I have been assisting the Korean government toward publishing the Atlas in English. As a result, our names are in the editorial section of the atlas.”

Being a reviewer for the South Korean National Atlas is not a simple task. The position requires one to be fluent in both English and Korean, while also being detail oriented.

“Our job is to review the Korean to English translation and revise it,” Dr. Seong said. “That’s a significant task because the first translation is done mostly by Korean faculty members in South Korea. Overall, it’s a one-year project, and I gradually complete work.”

Dr. Seong’s upbringing played a considerable role in his decision to go into geographic information system (GIS) and mapping. Some might be surprised to know that the video game Tetris had a role in promoting his interest in the field.

I loved playing with computers while young,” shared Dr. Seong. “For instance, I was addicted to the video game Tetris a long time ago. I loved taking pictures, so photography was another fascination of mine. I also found interest in computer programming. I’ve always liked logic and math, so computer programming was natural to me. Putting all of those things together, I ended up pursuing a GIS career path, and I found it to be fantastic/ I tell my students if they love playing games and like pictures more than writing, think about going into this field.”

Working as a reviewer for the South Korean National Atlas has motivated Dr. Seong to take his work even further—he plans to make an atlas for the state of Georgia.

The atlas project gave me a lot of insight,” Dr. Seong said. “The project has inspired me to create a statewide atlas for Georgia. I would like to create a readable application that illustrates the state of Georgia’s GIS and society. I believe maps are a form of media that people can easily read, analyze a pattern, and think about why things happen in a particular area.”

The South Korean National Atlas will publish five volumes in total. Because it takes one year to edit a volume of the South Korean National Atlas, Dr. Seong expects that the project will continue for at least three more years. Ultimately, he feels that his work helps bridge communication between two countries.

“I envision the project allowing me to publish my own map book series,” said Dr. Seong. “Overall, we are making a contribution by creating a stepping stone between Korean translators and English reviewers.”

Posted on July 22, 2016