Astronaut Scholarship Foundation

Created By The Mercury 7 Astronauts

Scholar Spotlight: Joel Odom


Astronaut Scholar Joel Odom (GA Tech 1996 – 1997) is mapping out a successful future in software research. The Georgia Tech alumnus is serving his sixth year as a faculty member at his alma mater and simultaneously pursuing a master’s degree in Information Security. His goal: to create a digital model of the world for the U.S. military to use in defense mission planning.

Odom has led several research efforts on FalconView, the computer-based mapping application initially developed by Georgia Tech in 1990 and used today by the U.S. Department of Defense. It analyzes and displays geographical figures which are considered crucial for exchanging data in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Through his work, Odom played a lead role in releasing the software to the public. Many state, city and town governments, utility companies and various others will now benefit from this version, FalconView™ Open Source. Police forces use the application to track specific vehicles and school districts can easily reformat school zones. It will even help companies determine the best location for their business to meet customer demands.

“I’ve always enjoyed software, particularly the challenges that come with trying to create a useable digital model of our world,” Odom said. “Not only do you have to find a way to represent a battlespace to a mission planner in a way that conveys concise, useful information, but you also have to provide the war-fighter with the tools he needs to plan for the contingencies he may face in a hostile situation.”

Odom is just one of many Astronaut Scholar alumni dedicated to helping change the world.