University Libraries to Celebrate GIS Day Nov. 17

Marketing and Communications | November 04, 2010

Contrary to popular belief, GIS (geographic information system) technology is not just for making maps. The Texas A&M University Libraries’ Map and GIS Collections and Services aims to bust myths like this and others, while raising levels of awareness through GIS Day, Nov. 17.

GIS Day, a national event, was introduced locally to the Texas A&M community in 2007. The day-long schedule of activities will offer demonstrations at Sterling C. Evans Library and West Campus Library. Other events include speakers, a student poster exhibit, 3D demos at the Immersive Visualization Center, and Paul Dye, a flight director at NASA Johnson Space Center, will deliver a keynote lecture sharing his experience with satellite mapping.

The city departments of Bryan and College Station and a number of campus groups will be presenting demos of GIS applications used by their departments. The City of Bryan will showcase a police patrol car and a mobile command vehicle that use GIS technologies. The City of College Station will offer a geocaching “treasure hunt,” which uses navigational technologies to find objects placed or hidden by other participants.

GIS technology typically captures, manages, analyzes and presents data linked to location. Examples include crime analysis, census data, natural resources management, transportation planning, business analysis and hazard recovery, according to Miriam Olivares, GIS specialist in Map and GIS Collections and Services.

“GIS is not just a mapping tool, as many people think,” Olivares said. “Maps are just one visual representation or outcome of the technology. The scope is actually much larger and application possibilities are unlimited.”

The technology touches our daily lives through things like GPS in smart phones, data gathered by stores for marketing analysis, and targeted political advertisements, according to Kathy Weimer, associate professor and coordinator of Map and GIS Collections and Services. She added that staff on the second floor of Evans Library can assist all campus users with GIS data and technologies for class projects and faculty research needs.

GIS Day is co-sponsored by the University Libraries, the Immersive Visualization Center, Hazard Reduction and Recovery Center and NASA. The campus community and general public are invited to all events. View a detailed schedule or for more information, contact Miriam Olivares or Kathy Weimer.