CORVALLIS, Ore. - Oregon State University will celebrate "GIS Day" on Wednesday and Thursday, Nov. 15-16, offering area students and residents a chance to learn about the newest computerized mapping with geographic information systems.

The OSU program will join more than 2,000 other schools and organizations that will host GIS Day events in 90 countries around the world.

Activities will begin on Wednesday with an afternoon keynote address in Richardson Hall, Room 313, at 3 p.m., by Tim Holt of the OSU Department of Forest Science. He will discuss how OSU researchers are developing ways to piggy-back on the multi-billion dollar video game industry to create sophisticated "serious mapping games" that could be of considerable use in scientific research, outreach communication or student education.

On Thursday, a special activity will be held for 440 middle school students from Corvallis, plus 40 high school students and their teachers from Beaverton and Portland. It will include live presentations, videos, a global positioning satellite "hike" across campus, and a "kid's keynote" address by George Taylor, state climatologist at OSU, on weather and climate mapping and prediction.

Also that day, a mobile mapping truck operated by the city of Corvallis will be parked in the Memorial Union Quad for viewing and touring of its wireless mapping technologies.

In addition, there will be poster and map galleries and open houses in Richardson Hall and Wilkinson Hall, and a vendor fair with live demonstrations in LaSells Stewart Center. All of these events will be open to the campus and the public, with most demonstrations from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

"GIS Day is a global, annual event that celebrates the technology used in geography to solve problems related to the environment, health care, land use, business efficiency, education, and public safety," said Dawn Wright, a professor of geosciences and organizer of the event.

"Recently, these systems were used to aid in recovery from Hurricane Katrina, to make redistricting maps prior to the November election, to monitor the spread of the West Nile virus, and to assist with homeland security initiatives," Wright said. "Geographic information systems are also increasingly used to map and monitor the oceans, from the sea surface to the seafloor, help designate marine protected areas, and track oil spills."

More information on activities, locations, and event schedules can be obtained on the web at The site also includes a variety of maps and demonstrations of GIS technology.

These presentations are hosted by the OSU Department of Geosciences, the OSU Department of Forest Science, the Forest Science Laboratory of the USDA Forest Service Forest, and the Valley Library. The events will provide many opportunities to meet with OSU faculty and students working in this field.

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Dawn Wright,