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Released November 3, 2003

SOUTHERN MISS TO HOST ANNUAL GIS DAY EVENTS

HATTIESBURG - The University of Southern Mississippi's GeoSpatial Workforce Development Center (GeoWDC) will be hosting its fourth annual "Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Day" at the Hattiesburg Lake Terrace Convention Center from 9:30-11:30 a.m. Nov. 19. Simultaneously, Southern Miss Gulf Coast and the Mississippi Association of Spatial Technologist (MAST) will host a similar event from 9 a.m.-3:45 p.m. at the Gulf Park campus's Advanced Education Center Auditorium.

These free events are held in conjunction with the Environmental Science Research Institute's (ESRI) International GIS Day and the National Geographic Society's Geography Awareness Week.

GIS Day is a global event that celebrates GIS, the exciting technology that uses geography to change the world. The purpose of the event is to educate and raise awareness of the diverse uses of GIS software and related technologies found in the geospatial industry. If you are curious about GIS, remote sensing, or global positioning systems, you will be able to see real-world applications of these burgeoning technologies at GIS Day 2003.

"GIS is the fastest-growing technological profession there is right now," said Jerry Coleman, a geography instructor at Southern Miss Gulf Coast.

This system is used in business, education, demographic study and the study of natural disasters. It is also found in fields such as law enforcement, agriculture and economic development.

The GeoWDC's GIS Day event in Hattiesburg is sponsored by NASA's John C. Stennis Space Center. Hundreds of high school students will be touring exhibits of organizations such as Northrop Grumman, 3001 Inc., the Hydrographic Science Research Center, NASA's Earth Science Enterprise, MARIS, Mississippi Enterprise for Technology and the Naval Oceanographic Office.

While local high schools and educational representatives have been invited to attend this event, GIS Day is also open to the general public free of charge. Attendees should expect to have fun while touring exhibits to see how organizations and educational entities are using geospatial technologies.

On hand at the Gulf Park GIS Day event will be 10 individuals from Southern Miss, NASA, NOAA and Hancock County Port Authority. All of these representatives are users of the GIS system and will offer real world experience to schools and businesses as well as the public on how GIS operates.

In 2002, more than 1 million children and adults in over 90 countries and all 50 U.S. states participated in the GIS Day celebration.

There are several events planned for the occasion.

At Gulf Park there will be a Geography Bee in which all groups attending are welcome to participate and an Internet interactive program called GIS live.

The speakers for the program will illustrate how GIS systems are used in environmental management, law enforcement, remote sensing, transportation, oceanography, homeland security, economic development and educational resources.

GIS is a computer-based mapping tool that takes information from a database about a place, such as streets, buildings, water features and terrain and turns it into visual layers. Being able to see all of these features on one map gives a better understanding of the location and enables planners and analysts to make informed decisions about their communities.

GIS technology is making important contributions in the fields of science, technology, information, and the humanities. It is a day for GIS professionals in more than 80 countries throughout the world to teach individuals and organizations how to reap the amazing benefits of GIS technology.

For more information, visit www.geowdc.com or www.gisday.com. For more information about the Hattiesburg GIS Day, contact Jane Griffin at 266-5966. For information about the Gulf Park GIS Day, contact Jerry Coleman at (228) 214-3335.

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April 20, 2004 4:09 PM

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