Northern Illinois University

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News Release

Contact: Tom Parisi, NIU Office of Public Affairs
(815) 753-3635

November 5, 2008

Geographic design

Geography department will stage night of GIS demonstrations

DeKalb, Ill. — The NIU Department of Geography will showcase a wide array of uses for Geographic Information Systems (GIS)—from virtual 3D tours of the university campus to an exploration of Martian valleys—during an evening of upcoming demonstrations.

The demonstrations will be held in open-house format from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 19, in Room 114 of Davis Hall. The free event is open to the public and coincides with Geography Awareness Week and the 10th anniversary of GIS Day.

“NIU’s GIS program has a top reputation in the region, and this event gives us a chance to raise awareness of Geographic Information Systems and their many capabilities,” said NIU Geography Professor Wei Luo. “It’s also an opportunity to showcase our ongoing projects.”

GIS Night demonstrations will allow visitors to:

  • Explore the valley networks on Mars.
  • Find homes and property information through county Web-based GIS.
  • Explore the NIU campus in 3D.
  • Locate and view farmlands that are being encroached by urban sprawl.
  • Track the status of NIU Huskie Buses in real time.
  • Navigate the NIU campus using the Virtual Campus Map.
  • Experience the 3D Virtual Reality Lab.
  • Talk to NIU students, faculty and GIS professionals.

GIS Day is a global event that celebrates the innovative technology. A GIS is a computer-based mapping tool that takes information from a database about a location—such as streets, buildings, water features and terrain—and turns it into visual layers. The ability to see geographic features on a map gives users a better understanding of a particular location, enabling planners, analysts, and others to make informed decisions about their communities.

GIS touches our lives daily. It is used throughout the world to solve problems related to the environment, health care, land use, business efficiency, education and public safety. The power supply directed to homes, the patrol cars and fire trucks that keep neighborhoods safe, and the delivery trucks on the road all function more efficiently because of GIS.

The NIU Department of Geography offers an undergraduate emphasis in GIS and GIS certificate programs at the undergraduate and graduate levels. GIS Night is being held in the department’s Advanced Geospatial Laboratory, which is focused on GIS development.

Davis Hall is located on Normal Road, diagonally across from the NIU Parking Deck. Free parking is available there after 7 p.m.

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