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Students Attend GIS Day

On Dec. 11, 2008, 29 ONU students from two sections of the Introduction to GIS (Geographic Information Systems) class attended the 2008 GIS Day at Rhodes State University in Lima, Ohio.

GIS Day is an event held annually in more than 80 countries around the world, with the hope of demonstrating to students and professionals the real-world applications of geographic information systems.

Dr. Harry Wilson, visiting assistant professor of geography and the instructor for the Intro to GIS classes, viewed GIS Day as a way to show students the relevance of geographic information systems to a variety of majors.

"GIS is certainly relevant in most academic disciplines," Wilson said via e-mail, pointing out that the College of Business added the Intro to GIS class to its list of electives last quarter.

The widespread use of GIS was demonstrated at Rhodes State University through interactive workshops and lectures provided by representatives from a variety of organizations that utilize GIS technology.

The keynote speaker for the event was Russ Decker, CEM and Director of the Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management in Allen County. Decker discussed improvements made within the area's emergency management as a result of more efficient use of GIS, such as improved response time by EMS.

Other presentations focused on the economic impact GIS technology can have, such as its potential with agriculture. The Ohio Department of Agriculture, Allen County Sheriff's Department, Allen County Engineers, Wannemacher Enterprises, and GeoSnapper Web site also had presentations.

ONU students from a variety of academic disciplines took part, including: criminal justice, marketing, biology, history, psychology, political science, civil engineering, accounting and environmental studies.

Kenzie Bock, a senior marketing major from Fremont, Ind., said her experiences at GIS Day helped her realize the practical uses of the technology as it relates to her career and others.

"Our understanding of the impact of GIS is limited to textbook exercises," she said."GIS Day offered examples of how GIS is applied to things we do everyday."

"As a marketing major, I could use a geographic information system to identify target markets by location," Bock said. "For example, I could create a map of Ohio that showed regions with a high population of women over 40, which would be useful if I were marketing a product to that specific group of people."

ONU attendees included: Aimee Baehrens, a sophomore in biology from Oak Harbor,Ohio; David Beale, a freshman in business administration from Haines City, Fla.; Kenzie Bock, a senior in marketing from Fremont, Ind.; Ryland Breeding, a senior in history from Versailles, Ohio; Erin Buehler, a senior in criminal justice from Anna, Ohio; Patrick Dochenetz, a sophomore in marketing from Grand Blanc, Mich.; Amanda Dodson, a senior in criminal justice from Amherst, Ohio; Adam Fleming, a senior in marketing from Marysville, Ohio; Joseph Francis, a freshman in general studies from Canal Winchester, Ohio; Patricia Fuller, a senior in criminal justice from West Chester, Ohio; Derek Hunt, a sophomore in criminal justice from Powell, Ohio; Janel Jerraid-Perrey, a junior in marketing from Fort Wayne, Ind.; Jamal Jones, a junior in criminal justice from University Heights, Ohio; Sean Kazmierczak, a junior in criminal justice from Holland, Ohio; Dam Yun Kim, a civil engineering student from Seoul, South Korea; Samantha Licata, a junior in criminal justice from North Royalton, Ohio; Toni Lininger, a junior in criminal justice from Wapakoneta, Ohio; Jesse Longbrake, a senior in political science from New Carlisle, Ohio; JordanMartin, a freshman in general studies from Kenton, Ohio; Brianna Nagy, a freshman in criminal justice from Toledo, Ohio; Marcus Quinones, a sophomore in general studies from Ada, Ohio; Joshua Ryan, a sophomore in accounting from Geneva, Ohio; Jonah Simons, a senior in environmental studies from Columbus, Ohio; Megan Skinner, a senior in forensic biology from Canal Winchester, Ohio; Kenton Sneed, a junior in criminal justice from Fairfield, Ohio; Leeann Sullivan, a junior in political science from Aurora, Ohio; Kimberly Trinkle, a senior in biology from Columbus, Ohio; and Ian Williams, a senior in biology from Wooster, Ohio.

In addition to Wilson, Dr. David R. Smith, associate professor ofgeography, and Dr. Ellen Wilson, associate professor of history and chair of the Department of History, Political Science, and Criminal Justice, also attended.