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Outreach

GIS Day '99


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Massachusetts State House Great Hall
Map gallery at the Massachusetts State House Great Hall.
November 19, the last day of Geography Week, was designated as Geographic Information Day. GIS Day is an international effort to educate people about innovative geography tools that are used to visualize complex geographic situations and issues by mapping and analyzing large amounts of geospatial data and related information.

GIS is used in numerous fields ranging from health care to crime, to the environment. It provides tools that are used to evaluate systems in a holistic way rather than focusing on only one aspect of an area such as the geology, biology, or meteorology. The National Geographic Society, the Environmental Systems Research Institute, Inc. (ESRI), and the Association of American Geographers sponsor GIS Day.

Barb Seekins and Paul Nutting
Barb Seekins (WHFC) with Paul Nutting, MassGIS coordinator of GIS Day '99.
Paul Nutting (MassGIS) organized and coordinated the MassGIS in Boston, an effort which included a map gallery at the Massachusetts State House, hands-on computer lab exercises, and demonstrations and talks given by MassGIS personnel and others. Topics covered were digitizing technology, GPS, watersheds, software capabilities, and digital ortho-photos. The map gallery, consisting of maps and GIS studies from various organizations, was set up in the Great Hall of the Massachusetts State House, which is a magnificent space with stained glass, colorful flags, arches, and marble.

As a GIS Day '99 volunteer, Barb Seekins (WHFC) displayed her poster entitled "GIS Applied to Shoreline Change Analysis," which was viewed by students and state house visitors. She also worked with students educating them about Geographic Information Systems and mapping.

Students work with maps
Students gain hands-on experience working with maps in the computer lab.
In the computer lab, the students typed in their home addresses and were able to pull up individualized maps, which demonstrated the usefulness of geocoding. Using MassGIS's software interface (called Data Viewer), the students were able to pull up a digital ortho-photo of their specific neighborhood, with familiar landmarks such as their houses, school, and ball fields. This personalized approach generated comments such as: "This is my house. Look how small it is!" and "This is where we play kick ball."

The school groups were from the New England School for the Deaf in Randolph, Essex Agricultural and Technology High School in Danvers, and Daley Middle School in Lowell. The group from Danvers was the most knowledgeable about GIS. Their school is starting a Marine Science Program and they are engaged in a wetlands mapping project. They were quite interested in hearing about GIS applications in marine and coastal work.


Related Web Sites
GIS Day 1999
National Geographic / ESRI / AAG
MassGIS & Data Viewer
Commonwealth of Massachusetts

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in this issue: Fieldwork cover story:
Hudson Valley Shelf

Research CMG/WRD Co-op

Outreach Marine Facility Hosts Science Journalists

Co-op Research Open House

GIS Day '99

Meetings GD Managers Visit St. Pete

Staff & Center News WHFC Visitors

WHFC Arrivals

Publications January Publications List


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