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Pitt-Johnstown to Showcase How GIS Impacts the Community as Part of National Event

Pitt-Johnstown to Showcase How GIS Impacts the Community as Part of National Event

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     The University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown Geography Department, Cambria County GSI, and ESRI will celebrate the 10th annual worldwide GIS Day on Wednesday, November 19 on the Pitt-Johnstown campus.  GIS Day is a global event in which thousands of users of geographic information system (GIS) technology showcase real-world applications of the mapping technology.  More than a dozen participants will demonstrate their organizations’ uses of GIS during the UPJ event.

     A geographic information system integrates the hardware, software and data used to manage, analyze and display all manner of geographically referenced information—that is, information about places. GIS is widely used in geography, urban and regional planning, environmental management, marketing, epidemiology, law enforcement, emergency response (9-1-1), defense and intelligence operations, real estate, banking, transportation and many other fields.  It is estimated that in an average day, more than two million people around the world use GIS to improve the way their organizations understand and serve their customers (

     Dr. Mary Lavine, associate professor of geography and one of the event’s organizers, offered, “Several geography and environmental studies alumni and current students, along with GIS users from the Johnstown area, will demonstrate how they use GIS in their daily work. This creates a wonderful opportunity for our students to experience a broad range of GIS applications and learn about career opportunities in GIS. It is also an opportunity for the community to learn more about GIS and some of the ways it is being used in the Johnstown area.”

     The event will include sessions throughout the day:

   •  From 9 to 10:50 a.m., ESRI staff members will present three technically-oriented workshops.    These sessions will focus on the tools and technologies used to develop GIS systems and how to build a custom GIS. Topics include:
       o Using the Java Script API with ArcGIS Server
       o Developing Desktop Applications with ArcGIS Engine
       o Extending ArcGIS Desktop Applications
    Location: 138 Blackington

  •  From noon to 12:50, Dr. Tim Dolney will demonstrate the Urban Grown Simulator (UGS) and Vehicle Emissions Relations to Urban Sprawl (VERTUS) models as tools for assessing the impact of urban sprawl.  Dr. Dolney, a 2001 Pitt-Johnstown geography graduate, is assistant professor, environmental sciences/environmental studies at Penn State-Altoona.  Location: 216 Krebs Hall
  •  From 1-1:50, and again from 2-2:50, Pitt-Johnstown geography and environmental studies graduates Tim Dolney (Penn State-Altoona) and Ashlie Hildebrand (Highland Sewer and Water Authority) and current UPJ students Glynn Collis, Anthony Scaletta and Jon Spohn will demonstrate how they are using GIS in their work. They will also discuss internship and employment opportunities in GIS.  Location: 216 Krebs Hall.

  •  From 3 to 5 p.m., representatives from area businesses and agencies will demonstrate how their organizations use GIS on a daily basis (location: 131 Blackington Hall).   Presenters will include:
       o Steve Kocsis (Cambria County GIS Department) will highlight the county’s GIS mapping system.
       o Anne Stich (Southern Alleghenies Planning and Development Commission) will demonstrate the Southern Alleghenies Greenways and Open Space Network Plan, which identifies conservation and preservation corridors in the six-county region.
      o Matt Sernell (CONXX) will highlight the new CONXX network in Cambria County and its impact on GIS. 
      o Tim Spangler (Cambria County 911) will discuss the impact of GIS on providing 9-1-1 services to Cambria County. 
      o Phil Burkhart {National Drug Intelligence Center] will show how NDIC uses GIS to collect, analyze and present data to support its National Drug Threat Survey.
      o John Dubnansky & Paul Sottile (L. Robert Kimball & Associates) will discuss medical GIS mapping, with a focus on the Johnstown area’s diabetic population.
      o Dan Ross & Mike Kane (Concurrent Technologies Corporation) will highlight some CTC projects that use GIS.

     GIS Day 2008 is part of the National Geographic Society’s Geographic Awareness Week, which is being held from November 17-21.  Since its creation, GIS Day has education millions of children and adults in more than 90 countries on the benefits of geography and the role GIS plays in solving problems and answering questions. 

     GIS Day is part of the Pitt-Johnstown Geography Awareness Week being held Monday, November 17 through Friday, November 21.

     For additional information about the Pitt-Johnstown event, contact Dr. Mary Lavine ( at 814-269-2992, Dan Slavick at 814-536-5781, x4443 ( or Steve Kocsis at 814-472-1408 ( ).   Information is also available online at   The event is free and open to the public.

     Founded in 1927, Pitt-Johnstown is the first and largest regional campus of the University of Pittsburgh.  A vital knowledge center and a foremost contributor to the area’s educational, social, cultural, and economic environment, Pitt-Johnstown offers a high quality educational experience that is purposefully designed to prepare students for the real world of the 21st century.


Posted by Shook, Kimberly on 11/12/2008 9:15:00 AM