Geographic Mapping Day at ISU is Nov. 20

November 14th, 2002

AMES, Iowa — The use of geographic information systems (GIS) is growing by leaps and bounds. GIS systems have become essential tools to solve problems concerning the environment, health care, land use, business efficiency, education and public safety.

To help people understand the growing importance of GIS, Iowa State University will hold a local "GIS Day," 9 a.m., Wednesday, Nov. 20, in the Durham Center. The event, "Are You Spatial?" will include demonstrations, a map gallery, an open house and presentations focused on GIS applications in natural resources, engineering, planning and weather forecasting.

Held each year during the National Geographic Society's Geography Awareness Week, GIS Day is a global event that celebrates GIS technology and geography.

A keynote presentation at 11 a.m. in 171 Durham will be given by Daryl Herzmann, Iowa Environmental Mesonet (ISU); Andy Kula, National Weather Service; and John McLaughlin, KCCI-TV, Des Moines.

"The use of GIS technology is increasing dramatically around the world," said Kevin Kane, director of Iowa State's GIS facility. "GIS is also one of the fastest growing high-tech careers for students, more and more of whom are realizing the benefit of having GIS as part of their studies."

A geographic information system is a computer-based mapping tool that takes information from a database — such as streets, buildings, water features and terrain — and turns it into visual layers. Being able to see all of these features on one map gives a better understanding of a specific location and enables planners and analysts to make informed decisions about their communities.

For example, GIS helps businesses place ATMs and restaurants at convenient locations, allows people to download maps off the Internet, helps farmers grow more crops with less chemicals, and aids fire and police in patrolling neighborhoods.

For the full schedule of ISU's GIS Day, go to Iowa State's GIS Facility and ISU's Academic Information Technologies are sponsoring the event.


Kevin Kane, Academic Information Technologies, (515) 294-0526
Skip Derra, News Service, (515) 294-4917