Geography professors host GIS Day

In celebration of Geography Awareness Week two professors hosted their own presentation educating students about the technology, which enables users to create maps and charts.

Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Day was hosted in the Great Hall Tuesday by Assistant Professors Adrian Youhanna and Jason Finley with guest speakers and presentations educating Pierce students on the rapidly growing technology.

(GIS) is a tool that takes raw data and stores it in such a way that enables users to create maps and charts that translate large amounts of data in an efficient manner that is viewer-friendly. If you find that you haven’t yet got your head around what GIS is all about, it may be beneficial to do some research, as there is a lot that you’ll have to understand in order to get a basic understanding. See here for more, as taking your time to find out information in relation to GIS could come in handy sooner than you think.

Steve Graves, a geography teacher at Cal State Northridge, gave the first presentation explaining the practical uses of GIS.

Graves demonstrated the importance of GIS with his study that mapped the relation between payday lending and military bases, explaining that there was a large number of loan businesses located within three miles of a military base.

These maps were used by politicians and may have aided the process of making it illegal to lend to military personnel at a rate higher than 36 percent, said Graves.

Nick Franchino, GIS manager for the Los Angeles County Department of Regional Planning, gave the next presentation demonstrating how GIS is used in city planning.

“We believe in the democratization of data,” said Franchino who explained that GIS is useful for urban planning and assessing threats such as mudslides and road closure.

The third presentation by Nobuko Kojima, a student from Japan who majored in Geography at CSUN, gave a presentation on her work and experiences overseas and how she intends to utilize GIS to help the deaf community.

Kojima, who is deaf herself, signed her speech with an interpreter and translator that aided her in her presentation.

“The possible applications of GIS are boundless,” said Kojima who was followed by Jim Schaefle, a GIS technical specialist for Southern California Edison (SCE).

Schaefle, explained how SCE uses GIS to create reports that aid in the reduction of emissions and preservation of endangered wildlife and plants.

The next two presentations were made by Jeff Hemphill and Christopher Kemp, employees of Fugro Consultants Inc., giving the audience insight on how GIS is used in the private sector to assess geographical risks.

Hemphill focused on the use of remote sensing, which is the ability to acquire information without physical contact, via aircraft or satellite.

Kemp demonstrated how GIS helps manage data regarding fault stress and earthquake hazards.

Finley, who worked with Hemphill and Kemp at Fugro, ended with a presentation showcasing some of his work with Fugro and how he used GIS to asses potential mudslide risks in Ventura County.

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