Geoscience invites campus to GIS Celebration at UH this week

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Geographic information systems (GIS) is technology that you likely access everyday, possibly without realizing it. When you go online to view a map or check the appraised value of property or use a GPS locator in your car, you’re benefiting from GIS.

The University of Houston Department of Geosciences, which offers a certificate program in GIS, invites faculty, staff and students to learn more about this technology during GIS Day 2007 Nov. 15 and 16. Geosciences is partnering with the Geographic Data Committee of the Houston-Galveston Area Council to bring this event to the campus.

Activities kick off at 9 a.m., Thursday, Nov. 15 in M.D. Anderson Library Rockwell Pavilion with a welcome by John Casey, chair of geosciences, and a keynote address by Gordon Wells, principal investigator for the NASA-funded Mid-American Geospatial Information Center at the University of Texas Center for Space Research. Wells’ talk is titled “Geospatial Technologies for Disaster Response: GIS, GPS and Satellite Remote Sensing.”

Presentations on various GIS aspects continue until 4 p.m. with Shuhab Khan, assistant professor of geosciences, moderating a morning series by UH faculty. Presenters from geosciences are William Dupre, associate professor; Katya Casey, lecturer and geoscience applications global lead for BHP Billiton; Daewon Byun, professor and director of the UH Institute for Multidimensional Air Quality Studies, with graduate students Soontae Kim and Fang-Yi Cheng and J. T. Thorleifson, instructor and vice president of Technology Eagle Information Mapping Inc.

Christoph Eick, associate professor of computer science, and Hanadi Rifai, professor of civil and environmental engineering, also will speak.

There is no charge to attend Thursday’s sessions.

Friday, Nov. 16, begins with John Lienhard, M.D. Anderson Professor Emeritus of Mechanical Engineering and History and host of public radio’s “The Engines of Our Ingenuity,” addressing approximately 400 Houston Independent School District students in Hofheinz Pavilion. Later the visiting students, led by student ambassadors from the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, will break into groups for outdoor geocaching activities and GIS exercises in computer labs.

Both days will feature 28 booths in Rockwell Pavilion with exhibitors from higher education, government and industry.

An international event, GIS Day celebrates and recognizes innovative ways in which government agencies and private corporations use the technology to provide increased efficiency and delivery of critical services to citizens. Its myriad applications include homeland security, emergency response, environmental protection, health care, public works, zoning and land use, and business site selection.

For more information about GIS Day, see www.HoustonAreaGISDay.org.

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