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Get acquainted with mapping technology

November 18, 2013

Inyo County will be celebrating National GIS Day on Wednesday with a gallery of GIS maps that show how local agencies are utilizing the technology share or analyze information. This GIS map shows the distribution of surficial deposits within the Darwin Hills. GIS maps can also show population trends, other geographic features and floodplains. Image courtesy USGS

This Wednesday is National Geographic Information Services Day and Inyo County is inviting the community to learn about real-world applications of GIS and how it is being used locally.
Inyo County will host a GIS Day event from 2-6 p.m. Wednesday in the Board of Supervisors Room in the County Administrative Center.
A GIS system integrates hardware, software and data that allows users to capture, manage and analyze virtually all forms of geographically referenced information. A complete system allows users to visualize data in many ways that reveal relationships, patterns and trends in the form of maps, globes, reports and charts.
According to Inyo County Sheriff’s Department Public Information Officer Carma Roper, a number of Inyo County departments, including the Sheriff’s Department, Water Department and County Clerk-Recorder’s Office, and various local agencies are planning to supply GIS maps for a gallery this Wednesday.
In addition to the county departments, Roper said representatives from Manzanar National Historic Site, Death Valley National Park, the U.S. Forest Service and Great Basin Unified Air Pollution Control District, to name a few, will be on hand to discuss how they utilize GIS technology.
According to Roper, “GIS is being used throughout Inyo County – each respective department or agency has their own individual uses and applications. The applications are so far-reaching, and sometimes the public doesn’t get to see them.”
The gallery will show residents how GIS mapping has improved how community planners can assess the local terrain by singling out geographic, economic or zoning features to highlight specific details while working on or preparing for a project.
In addition to the map gallery, Roper said there will be an interactive GIS display of the “Story Map” application by ESRI, the company that licenses GIS software.
The county will also have mobile GPS units available for demonstrations during the event.
According to ESRI.com, story maps combine “intelligent Web maps with Web applications and templates that incorporate text, multimedia and interactive functions. Story maps inform, educate, entertain, and inspire people about a wide variety of topics.”
The plan for Wednesday, Roper said, is to make GIS available and accessible to the public.
“An overarching goal for a GIS Day forum is to incorporate all of the different uses, in map form, under one roof in order to showcase the various uses of GIS and build and mature the GIS community,” Roper said.
The first formal GIS day took place in 1999 as an initiative to learn about geography. This is the second year the County of Inyo has participated in a GIS Day celebration.

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