Geographic Information Systems Day Highlights Local Projects and a Heroic Dog

GIS Day 2009 logo.
Photo Submitted

GIS Day 2009 logo.

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Whether it’s plotting the threat of floodwaters to wildlife from the air or using a GPS-equipped dog for search and rescue, geographic information systems are making an impact in Arkansas. Each year the University Libraries and the Center for Advanced Spatial Technologies host a local celebration of Geographic Information Systems Day to give the public the opportunity to view real-world applications of GIS technology demonstrated by specialists from around the region. This year, in addition to the open house held on the second floor atrium area of the J.B. Hunt Transport Services Center for Academic Excellence, outdoor presentations will highlight the use of GIS technology in the field.

The first outdoor event, weather permitting, will be a Geocache Treasure Hunt for K-12 students at 1:30 p.m. Teams of three students will be given a list of waypoints to insert into their school global-positioning-system units for a dash to the treasure finish. The team of students that finishes first will be awarded official GIS Day gear. All participants will receive a GIS Day certificate and commemorative items.

The second outdoor event at 2 p.m. will feature David Shaver of the Mid Continent Geographic Science Center in Rolla, Mo., a divisionof the US Geological Survey, who will demonstrate how dogs fitted with GPS tracking devices can enhance search and rescue missions. The demonstration will be made with the assistance of Ronnie, a mine detection dog who has served two tours of duty in Afghanistan.

The final outdoor event at 4 p.m. will be a land survey demonstration by Rod Williams and other staff of the civil engineering department on campus, who will use survey equipment and 2- and 3-point triangulation to plot the landscape near the J.B. Hunt building.

Meanwhile, from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., presenters in the EAST lab (JBHT 263/265) will discuss techniques for generating and manipulating GIS data in numerous applications, including wildfire hazard assessment in Benton County, earth observation data from the Landsat satellite data archive, ecosystem mapping from central and South America, and the U.S. Department of Energy’s Low-Impact Natural Gas and Oil program. At 1:45 p.m., Bruce Gorham of CAST will present an overview of a precedent-setting emergency project conducted with the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission in 2008 utilizing the TerraHawk aerial imaging system to document and measure the extent of flooding within eight Wildlife Management Areas located in the Mississippi River Valley.

Also from 1 to 5 p.m., presenters from the University Libraries’ Maps and GIS Program will demonstrate online historical maps and interactive state maps of Arkansas, available through the Internet. Presenters from the Center for Advanced Spatial Technologies will demonstrate the use of global positioning systems, laser scanners, aerial cameras and other specialized geomatics equipment used for projects, such as the TerraHawk emergency assessment project. Information will be available about GIS resources and services of the University Libraries and the Center for Advanced Spatial Technologies, which is based in the J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences.

A gallery of poster presentations in the atrium will provide examples of numerous GIS projects from the region, including the city of Fayetteville Master Street Plan, Master Trail Plan, City Plan 2025, existing land use, police data, water and sewer system maps, school districts and bus routes, and forest growth in the Ozark National Forest.

GIS Day is an international event that promotes the importance of geography in research and decision-making around the world. GIS technology transforms how people view information by linking the geography or location with multiple layers of descriptive data of a place.

Parking for the event will be in the adjacent Harmon Avenue parking facility. Light refreshments will be served. View the complete schedule online or contact Robin Gregory for more information at rgregory@uark.edu.

Contacts

Robin Gregory, research assistant
Center for Advance Spatial Technologies
479-575-2192, rgregory@uark.edu

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