HAYS, KS -- Cars that tell you where you are when you get lost . . . sophisticated mapping that shows fast-food companies where to locate their new restaurants . . . computers that help farmers apply the right amount of fertilizer at precise spots in their fields . . .
These are just a few examples of the ways that Geographic Information Systems technology is changing our lives for the better. The second annual GIS Day -- a grassroots, global event that was introduced in 1999 to enhance public awareness of the substantial contributions of GIS technology to all our lives -- will be observed Nov. 15. For the first time, Fort Hays State University will participate in GIS Day with an open house, presentations and workshops.
"GIS is sweeping through all levels of our society, providing a powerful tool for information analysis and management in the 21st century," said Dr. Rich Lisichenko, assistant professor of Geosciences and one of the organizers of the FHSU event.
"Students, faculty and staff at FHSU who know how to use GIS have access to a whole new level of information technology.
The current GIS job market is hot, and our students receive the education and experience needed to be competitive. As a focus of higher education in western Kansas, FHSU is ready to provide the leadership in GIS education."
Lisichenko said area educators and students, especially from community colleges, are encouraged to join FHSU faculty and students at the event in Hays. Also, because applications of GIS technology have become so important to business and industry, Lisichenko and fellow organizer Dr. Tom Schafer, also an assistant professor of geosciences, extend their invitation to members of the business community.
"GIS is one of the most empowering of the new technologies which will transform life in this century," Schafer said. "GIS can make government more responsive, citizens more informed, business more competitive and profitable, and students more knowledgeable. GIS is no longer confined within the ivory tower of academia; it is spreading, and it has the potential to transform the way we see the world."
* The open house for the FHSU Department of Geosciences, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., will take place in the laboratory in room 121 of Tomanek Hall.
* The first session of presentations by current users of GIS applications will take place from 9 to 10:30 a.m. in room 125 of Tomanek Hall.
* The first workshop, an introduction to the ArcView GIS system, will take place from 10:45 to 11:45 a.m. in 125 Tomanek. This workshop will be taught by Drs. Lisichenko and Schafer. Participants will receive a certificate of completion. There will be room for about 40 participants, and they will be accepted on a first come, first served basis.
* Students are welcome to join the presenters for lunch in the Memorial Union from noon to 1 p.m.
* A second session of presentations will take place from 1:30 to 3 p.m. in 125 Tomanek.
* The second workshop, on the Intergraph/Geomedia system, will take place from 3 to 4:30 p.m. in 125 Tomanek. This workshop will be taught by Shane Nicoll of the Geomedia Co. Participants will receive a certificate of completion. There will be room for about 40 participants, and they will be accepted on a first come, first served basis.
No pre-registration is necessary for the open house, the presentations or the workshops. Call the FHSU Department of Geosciences at (785) 628-5389 for more information.
Geographic Information Systems has been a rapidly expanding program in FHSU's Geosciences Department in order to meet the growing needs of Kansas and neighboring states. Lisichenko and Schafer said the GIS program includes a broad-based curriculum that emphasizes both theoretical and practical applications through its professional-level GIS training facilities. FHSU offers a Geography/GIS degree and will offer a GIS certificate in spring 2001.
GIS is a computer-based tool for mapping and analyzing objects and events. It combines the power of a database with the visualization capabilities offered by maps. GIS technology is used throughout the world to solve problems in such areas as environmental protection, health care, land use, business efficiency, education, social inequities and much more.
GIS helps the police make our neighborhoods safer, our energy providers supply us with continuous power, and health officials keep us free from disease. Most people are unaware of it, but they are probably benefiting from GIS technology when they use an automated teller machine, pull a map off the Internet, receive an overnight delivery or stop at a fast-food restaurant.