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Lesson Plan: GIS for Teachers


SYRACUSE, N.Y. - Teachers are invited to a free workshop exploring the uses of geographic information systems in the classroom. The workshop will be 4:15 to 5:30 p.m. Oct. 4 at the Holiday Inn-Turf, 205 Wolf Road, Albany.

Geographic information systems (GIS) are computer-based programs that can map and analyze any information that has ties to a specific location. GIS is widely used in many fields, including environmental management, public safety, health and epidemiology, marketing, engineering, political analysis, geography and planning.

The Albany event aims to demonstrate the potential value of GIS in education and to encourage its more widespread use.

The workshop will include presentations by three speakers. Stephen Brown, who worked with Cornell Cooperative Extension and now is employed at the University of Texas at San Antonio, will examine opportunities for classroom use of GIS and some methods for dealing with obstacles that arise. Frank McDermott, social science district coordinator for the Manhasset public schools, will provide examples of Manhasset class projects involving GIS. Peggy Harper of the Environmental Systems Research Institute, an international GIS company, will demonstrate some GIS applications for education and outline ways for teachers to use the technology.

The workshop is part of the 15th annual New York State Geographic Information Systems Conference scheduled for Oct. 4 and 5 at the same location. Sponsors of the conference are the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry (ESF), the Central New York Region of the American Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing and the New York Statewide GIS Coordination Program.

Information about the conference is available on the World Wide Web at www.esf.edu/outreach/conted/conferences/nysgis99.htm

Workshop events will begin with refreshments at 3:45 p.m. Educators may also attend the conference plenary sessions beginning at 1 p.m. Oct. 4 and they may peruse the exhibit area.

Although there is no fee to attend the workshop, preregistration is required. Those wishing to register or obtain more information should contact Horace Shaw, ESF Office of Continuing Education, by phone at 315-470-6891, by fax at 315-470-6890, or email at ce@esf.edu.