CORVALLIS - Oregon State University will celebrate "GIS Day" on Wednesday, Nov. 17, to recognize the latest advancements and projects that are under way with geographic information systems.

The College of Forestry and the Department of Geosciences at OSU will sponsor poster and map galleries, open houses, lectures, displays and live demonstrations of geographic information technology. All events are free and most are open to the public.

There will be a special program for 200 local middle and high school students and their teachers, including a hands-on mapping exercise and global positioning satellite "hike" across campus. OSU graduate students will make presentations in local high schools.

The Corvallis mobile mapping truck will be parked near Wilkinson Hall for viewing and tours.

An afternoon keynote presentation will be given by Dawn Wright, a professor of geosciences, who will discuss "Exploring Creatures of the Deep and Calamities on the Coast with GIS," which will outline some of her work mapping the depths of the ocean and the Oregon coast with GIS systems. Her talk will be at 3 p.m. in the Construction and Engineering Hall of the LaSells Stewart Center.

She recently received a Fulbright fellowship to study in Ireland.

GIS Day is held at OSU each year in coordination with Geography Awareness Week, sponsored by the National Geographic Society. Geographic information systems are computer-based mapping tools that can combine data about such things as streets, buildings, water features and other information into systems that are useful for research, land management, environmental protection, public health and safety, and many other tasks.

Recently, GIS systems have been used in everything from monitoring the spread of diseases to border patrols, land use planning and homeland security.

OSU events open to the general public from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. include a GPS workshop conducted by Richard Ash of Global Mapping Technology at Wilkinson Hall, Room 210; a vendor fair and displays at the Valley Library, Willamette Room, third floor; and a poster gallery at Richardson Hall, Rooms 107 and 115. Wright's lecture will be at 3 p.m. at the LaSells Stewart Center. And from 1:30-2:30 p.m. there will be a Department of Geosciences open house in Wilkinson Hall and tours of the mobile mapping truck.

More information on the events can be obtained on the web at

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Chris Zanger 541-737-8818