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Summer 2005
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Wednesday, November 16, 2005

GIS Day "Super" Heroes

GIS Day "Super" Heroes may be coming to your area this fall. These GIS Day participants are known for dedicating countless hours and innumerable resources to planning presentations and demonstrations that allow everyday people to experience the extraordinary power of GIS technology.

  Dan Rose giving a presentation
Erie High School graduate Dan Rose shares his love of GIS with students at his alma mater.

We hope the stories featured below will inspire you and your organization to become involved in this global educational mission and encourage you to join us Wednesday, November 16, 2005.

No Stranger to GIS Day

Oklahoma Conservation Commission GIS Specialist Shellie Willoughby is no stranger to GIS Day. She has been involved in GIS events at the Capitol in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, for nine of the past 11 years. Participating in the first two events as an Oklahoma State University graduate student, Willoughby began taking on more responsibility each year and has been organizing GIS Day since 2002. Her coordination tasks are endless, including choosing and setting up displays, contacting exhibitors, and inviting dignitaries.

Sponsored by the State Geographic Information Council, the event is held on the fourth floor of the state capitol rotunda in Oklahoma City and features more than 30 exhibits representing state agencies, cities, county assessors' offices, health departments, and federal agencies. GIS Compatibility: Coordination Through Cooperation served as the 2004 theme with GIS demonstrations highlighting a variety of disciplines.

GIS Day Faces Off in Ontario, Canada

The first-ever GIS Day celebration in Greater Sudbury—the GeoSmart project, part of SmartSudbury, an initiative of the city's Growth and Development Department—hosted 500 ninth grade students from local schools on GIS Day 2004. Deputy Mayor Ron Dupuis kicked off the November 17 event by welcoming students and teachers and announcing the city's official GIS Day Proclamation.

City staff conducted educational sessions in French and English throughout the day, introducing students to the basics of GIS and its use in city government functions. A map gallery was set up in the City Hall foyer, and students were asked to fill out surveys at the end of the day. The survey found that 49 percent of the students were currently using GIS in school and that 92 percent would like GIS to be part of their geography courses. Ninety-five percent of the students recommended that GIS Day be offered to ninth graders next year.

Back to School

Last November Dan Rose spent more than 100 hours preparing for and conducting five GIS Day seminars at three schools in the district he graduated from in southeast Kansas. More than 150 students, including second grade, middle school, and high school, attended Rose's GIS and GPS technology lessons. The 1993 graduate of Erie High School now works as a computer-aided drafting and GIS specialist for the Engineering Division of the city of Topeka, Kansas, Public Works Department and spends his free time volunteering for the United States Geological Survey National Map Corps project. His work was covered by several local newspapers and was greatly appreciated.

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

Visit for more information and to register your events. To submit your nominations for the next GIS Day Heroes story, contact Maria Jordan (e-mail:

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