CORVALLIS - Oregon State University has developed a range of activities to recognize the annual "GIS Day" celebrating important scientific work being done with geographic information systems. The events will be Wednesday, Nov. 15, and are free and open to the public.

"A geographic information system is a computer-based tool for mapping and analyzing objects and events," said Dawn Wright, an associate professor of geosciences and one of the university's leaders in work with these sophisticated systems.

"It combines the power of a database with the visualization capabilities offered by maps," she said. "Businesses, schools, governments, and organizations use GIS for a wide variety of applications, as GIS provides the power to solve complicated problems, experiment with scenarios, and present ideas."

The OSU Department of Geosciences and the OSU College of Forestry are sponsoring several events on GIS Day. They include:

    * Map gallery, open house and demonstrations in Wilkinson Hall, noon to 4 p.m. * Map gallery and poster session in Richardson Hall Room 107, from 9-10 a.m.; tours and demonstrations throughout Richardson Hall and the Forest Sciences Laboratory from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. * Global Positioning System workshop by Richard Ash of Global Mapping Technology, Education Building Room 126, times to be announced. * Presentations at Crescent Valley High School by graduate students.

GIS Day will be held during National Geography Awareness Week, Nov. 13-17, and is sponsored by the National Geographic Society, the American Association of Geographers and the Environmental Systems Research Institute. Hundreds of colleges, universities, K-12 schools, cities, and private industries around the world are expected to participate in GIS Day, Wright said.

"There are currently about one half million GIS users in the world, but most of the public is unaware of this growing technology," Wright said. "It's used to solve problems in such areas as environmental protection, pollution, health care, land use, natural resources, conservation, business efficiency, education, and social inequities. GIS provides a unifying framework for analyzing and understanding the world around us."

For more information about GIS Day, Wright may be contacted in the OSU Department of Geosciences, at 541-737-1229, or; or visit the GIS Day web site.

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Dawn Wright, 541-737-1229