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Summer 2002
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GIS Day 2002--You Don't Have to Wait Until November!

Celebrate Your World with GIS

GIS Day logoIf you are curious about GIS technology, you'll be able to see it in action during the many events planned during the fourth annual GIS Day, Wednesday, November 20, 2002. If you are reading this article and getting excited about the upcoming GIS Day events but thinking November is far away, some of your local communities, thanks to many dedicated GIS enthusiasts, are doing something sooner.

Held as part of the National Geographic Society's Geography Awareness Week, GIS Day is a global event during which some of the more than two million GIS users around the world open their doors to schools, Businesses, and the public to help spread a better awareness of this important technology. Last year more than 80 countries held GIS Day events, and there were events in all 50 of the United States.

Through the combined efforts of GIS Day volunteers, sponsors, and participants, millions of children and adults have been educated about geography and GIS during the many events of GIS Day 1999-2001. Just because GIS Day 2002 is scheduled for Wednesday, November 20, 2002, doesn't mean you have to wait until then to celebrate.

Children's Museum "Exhibiting" GIS

  students at North County
Students explore geography at the North County via Satellite exhibit, part of the Escondido Children's Museum science and culture displays.

Recently opened in September 2001, the Escondido, California, Children's Museum (ECM), in North San Diego County, was conceived with a mission to build creative minds in children through innovative and interactive exhibits and programs that celebrate family, a diverse society, and the natural world. Of the six hands-on exhibit areas that encourage children from toddlers through fifth graders to explore science and culture, two meet these goals and more by allowing visitors to explore geographic topics through the use of a large world map mural and an infrared satellite image.

The satellite image exhibit, the collaborated work of ECM and the City of Escondido (who provided the images), displays a large satellite image of the regional area served by the museum along with nine other larger-scale images allowing visitors to find their homes, schools, or other landmarks. Simple hand lenses and rulers enable visitors to zoom into areas of interest to calculate scale. Being able to touch, use, and manipulate these tools just like an actual geographer gives the students a definite "feel" for geography.

Please visit for more information about the Escondido Children's Museum or to find a children's museum near you.

GIS Day Event Comes "Sooner" in Oklahoma

Known as the "Sooner state," Oklahoma celebrated its eighth annual GIS Day on April 23, 2002, by hosting an open house at the Capitol in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Hosted by the Oklahoma Conservation Commission, the event showcased more than 30 exhibitors representing federal, state, county, and municipal agencies; universities; and private firms who displayed information about a wide variety of GIS projects taking place throughout the State of Oklahoma. Even the public was invited to visit the Capitol rotunda to see why GIS is important to Oklahoma. From the Conservation Commission's use of GIS to track pollution complaints to the Department of Transportation's use of GIS for accident analysis and road condition inventory, GIS is helping to make important decisions in Oklahoma every day.

RPM Consulting "Opens Its Doors" Monthly

Retail Profit Management (RPM), an Esri developer, reseller, and ArcData publisher working primarily in the health care, insurance, and banking industries and located in Northridge, California, found it had so much fun hosting its first GIS Day Open House on November 15, 1999, that it decided to hold a GIS Day Open House every month starting the following year in 2000. It has been at it ever since, inviting local schools, Businesses, and people of all ages to visit its facilities on the 15th of every month or the Friday closest to the 15th if it falls on a Saturday or Sunday. RPM's community outreach does not stop at its open house events. It sometimes takes its show on the road to California State College-Northridge where Elio Spinello, a senior partner at RPM, teaches a computer science course for health majors.

Spinello explains, "It is natural to hold GIS Day in the college setting to provide a more convenient, on-campus location for the students to get their hands on our technology."

You are personally invited to become a GIS enthusiast and be a part of this worldwide education mission. Please visit the GIS Day Web site at to register an event; read stories about other successful GIS Day events; find information, support, and ideas; or locate a GIS Day 2002 event near you.

GIS Day is principally sponsored by the National Geographic Society, the Association of American Geographers, the University Consortium for Geographic Information Science, the United States Geological Survey, the Library of Congress, Sun Microsystems, and Esri.

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