|UND to celebrate Geography Awareness Week, GIS Day with Gov. Hoeven's support|
If you want to know exactly where you're at, consult a geographer--or at least a geotechnology such as the global positioning system (GPS) or a geographic information system (GIS).
Today's geography is about lots more than maps, though that's still the core of the discipline. But not just your grandpa's road guide.
Now, GIS technology (invented by geographers) is used by just about every profession: police track crime patterns; utility companies track usage; traffic engineers figure out how to time street lights; and politicians use the technology to track voting patterns and other demographics.
These are just some of the things that the University of North Dakota College of Arts and Sciences Department of Geography will celebrate next week with Geography Awareness Week, Nov. 16-20. The festivities will include GIS Day Nov. 18.
Geography students will host an information booth in the Memorial Union all Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
The week-long celebration includes an open house in the Geographic Analysis and Remote Sensing Lab on Wednesday, Nov. 18, from 8:30 am to 4:30 p.m. in 116 O’Kelly Hall to celebrate GIS Day.
UND President Robert Kelley and Grand Forks Mayor Mike Brown have been invited to attend a special proclamation signing for GIS Day at noon in Room 116 O’Kelly Hall. North Dakota Governor Hoeven has signed a proclamation that will be presented at the same time. Stop by for refreshments and see GIS projects by UND students and faculty.
GIS stands for “geographic information system,” a now-ubiquitious family of technologies that incorporate geographical features with information about the feature or location, said Gregory Vandeberg, assistant professor, UND Geography. GIS is used to analyze real-world problems across a number of disciplines. For example, GIS can be used to determine potential flooded areas based on river crest height; another of its multiple uses would be to determine the fastest route to an emergency after a 911 call.
Basically, a GIS is software for capturing, analyzing, and displaying data related to positions on the Earth's surface. With GIS, you can explore the spatial element of data, for example to visualize UND parking patterns, to look at food service usage on campus, to analyze green buildings, to the electrical usage by building, and the like. With GIS you can analyze many types of complex problems, Vandeberg said.
The Geography department also will host a “Careers in Geography” panel discussion on Friday, Nov. 20, in the Red River Valley Room in the Memorial Union from noon to 1 p.m.
-- Juan Pedraza, Writer/Editor, University Relations, firstname.lastname@example.org, 777-6571