Geographic Information Systems (GIS) is not only important in its ability to help environmentalists better conserve global resources and protect biodiversity, but also in its recent demand among employers. The University’s Office of Library and Information Technology recently hosted a GIS conference from Nov. 16 to 18, which drew an impressive crowd of professors from 50 different liberal arts universities and colleges, in addition to University faculty members from assorted fields of academia.
The gathering was held to discuss GIS, a specialized computer software used for making maps and conducting spatial analysis. This program is being incorporated increasingly across an array of professional disciplines, from a wide range of companies and businesses to various branches of government, in order to help manipulate and analyze data.
As a result of its growing use across these many applications, there is an increase in demand among employers for employees who are proficient in GIS, a statistic identified by the department of labor. This program is being used across campus in various disciplines to give students a different way of understanding the material they are working with and to help put data into perspective.
Beyond the professors in attendance, a large group of students attended the conference, which was compromised mainly of three work-group sessions that focused on a multitude of topics about GIS.
Conversation varied from qualitative analysis of GIS to its application in community outreach and service learning. Each session was divided into presentations followed by group discussion, a format that promoted energy and brainstorming among participants about the theme-based material.
The conference’s enthusiastic reception by the student body comes as no surprise. Many professors from other colleges continually referred to the University’s approach to GIS as the ‘Bucknell Model for GIS,’ a well-deserved compliment to the faculty’s hard work in developing and incorporating GIS into academic life here at the University.
The buzz surrounding the conference even lit up Twitter, where attendees exchanged tweets praising its success. Readers who are interested in learning more about GIS can contact the Office of Library and Information Technology.