GIS showcases mapping technology

Seven local businessmen spoke to students in the Great Hall for Pierce College’s first annual Geographical Information System (GIS) Day Tuesday, Nov. 15.

 

GIS is a system that combines handheld devices and computer software to store, analyze and track geographically referenced data.

 

“GIS can be used in many fields like crime mapping, social sciences, physical science or planning,” said Daniel Waktola, adjunct instructor of Geographical Sciences. “People are interested in visuals and don’t want to have to read too many things so this displays it all on one screen.”

 

When city developers plan new projects, much of the decision-making process includes the use of GIS to map any natural hazards in order to build on safe land.

 

Although it may sound complicated, this system is designed to be as user-friendly as using a cell phone.

 

“You can use it to aggregate a ton of information,” said Chris Kemp of Fugro World Wide.

 

Some of the topics covered during the presentations included: how GIS is used in County Government, how GIS applications can be used for Earthquake Hazards.

 

Kemp touched on the subject of Los Angeles County’s possibility of building a high-speed rail. He said that much of the decision would be based on the cost of land, and the location of the San Andreas Fault.

 

Many students attended the event to receive extra credit for their geography classes like Brian Brillantes, whose birthday fell on the same day as GIS Day.

 

“I came in to see my professor, Jason Finley, do a presentation,” said Brillantes, 21. “I happened to learn new things and that it’s kind of like Google Maps and MapQuest.”

 

When asked about the turn out of the event, Professor of Geographical Sciences Adrian Youhanna smiled and said, “It’s been really positive, the presentations have been really informative and we’re hoping the students are getting a sense of what GIS is for.

 

“I’m grateful for the staff, faculty and students that stopped by, and a big thanks to the financial support of the ASO (Associated Students Organization).”