ISU Headlines

2007 GIS Day to be celebrated Nov. 14

Posted November 8, 2007

Idaho State University will celebrate GIS Day somewhat differently than in the past with an open house from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Wednesday, Nov. 14 in the Pond Student Union Building Wood River and Little Wood River Rooms.

GIS Day is a global event aimed at teaching millions of people how they can use geography in their everyday lives. GIS (geographic information systems) represents computer software, data, and solutions that are used by hundreds of thousands of people worldwide in government, education, and business.

“The difference is that we’ve combined two conferences, GIS Day with the Geospatial Range Sciences Conference,” says Keith T. Weber, M.S., ISU Geographic Information Systems Training and Research Center (GIS TReC) director. “The range conference is more research-oriented while the GIS Day event is more technology-oriented.”

Keynote speaker Allan Savory will discuss holistic management and global climate change and its effect on global rangeland. In holistic management, relationships between land, grazing animals, and water are managed to mimic nature.

“Allan Savory is considered the father of holistic management today,” says Weber. “While he is considered by some to be controversial, he always raises some very good questions and makes people rethink some of their traditional practices.”

Weber says some researchers claim grazing animals, as Savory suggests, will lead to overgrazing, but very little scientific research has been done and frequently arguments on both sides are anecdotal.

Weber also points out that the GIS TReC has long researched rangelands and grazing practices. “We will give an update of what we’re doing today, which falls under the NASA temporal land cover change study we’ve been working on for more than seven years,” he says.

While research will be showcased, technology will not be ignored. Ryan Pierson from Electronic Data Solutions will again demonstrate the latest global positioning system (GPS) technology.

Afternoon presentations will include “Geospatial Innovations at the National Weather Service,” by Matt Williamson, National Weather Service; “Juniper Encroachment,” by Syed Ahmed, GIS TReC research assistant; “Global Positioning System Virtual Reference Network,” by Maher Wissa, assistant professor of geomatics technology, ISU College of Technology; “Very Large Scale Aerial Imagery Applications in Range Management,” by Corey Moffett, United States Sheep Experiment Station, Agricultural Research Service; and “Bare-ground Modeling with Satellite Imagery,” by Jacob Tibbits, GIS TReC research assistant.

The traditional NR URISA (Northern Rockies Urban Regional Information Systems Association) chili cook-off will spice up the GIS Day lunch. Entries will be judged in four categories: most appetizing, popular vote, hottest (while still tasting like chili), and judges’ choice. Winners will receive Lodge cast-iron cookware. To enter a pot, contact Weber at webekeit@isu.edu.

GIS Day is sponsored principally by the National Geographic Society, ESRI, U.S. Geological Survey, Library of Congress, Association of American Geographers, Sun Microsystems, Hewlett Packard and University Consortium for Geographic Information Science, and locally by the GIS TreC, NR URISA and MapWindow free and open-source GIS software.

All GIS Day activities are open to the public and no registration is required. For more information, chili cook-off rules and a schedule of events, visit http://giscenter.isu.edu/gisday.

2007 GIS Day Schedule of Events

(Activities in Wood River Room, Little Wood River Room or both)

9 a.m. – Doors open

9:15 a.m. – Open House, GIS demonstrations and exhibits; “New GPS Technologies,” Ryan Pierson, Electronic Data Solutions

10 a.m. – “Mapping Campus,” Richard Neves, Shoshone-Bannock High School

10:15 a.m. – “Rangeland Research at the GIS Center,” Keith T. Weber, ISU GIS TReC

10:45 a.m. – “Holistic Management and Global Climate Change,” Allan Savory, Holistic Management International

12:30 p.m. – Annual Chili Cook-Off

1:45 p.m. – Southeast Idaho GIS Users’ Meeting and Northern Rockies Chapter of the Urban and Regional Information Systems Association (URISA) members’ forum; “Geospatial Innovations at the National Weather Service,” Matt Williamson, National Weather Service

2:15pm – Juniper Encroachment, Syed Ahmed, ISU GIS TReC research assistant

2:30 p.m. – “Global Positioning System Virtual Reference Network,” Maher Wissa, assistant professor of geomatics technology, ISU College of Technology

2:45 p.m. – “Very Large Scale Aerial Imagery Applications in Range Management,” Corey Moffett, United States Sheep Experiment Station, Agricultural Research     Service

3:00 p.m. – Meet ISU’s new GIS faculty, Sarah Hinman, Ph.D., ISU GIS TReC staff scientist and assistant history professor

3:15 p.m. – “Bare-ground Modeling with Satellite Imagery,” Jacob Tibbits, ISU GIS TReC research assistant

3:45 p.m. – Upcoming workshop sneak peek.

4:00 p.m. – Wrap-up and closing

To participate in the Chili cook-off, contact Keith T. Weber before 4 p.m. Nov. 13. All activities are free and open to the public. No preregistration is required except to enter the chili cook-off.