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National Wetlands Research Center Celebrates GIS Day

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Jim Grace and Troy Barrilleaux discuss coastal-wetland restoration projects
(Above) USGS ecologist Jim Grace (on left) and Troy Barrilleaux (Louisiana Department of Natural Resources) discuss coastal-wetland restoration projects.

(Below) USGS geographer Helena Schaefer holds the Sponsor's Choice prize - a quilt that she made depicting the countries of the world - as Cynthia Feirman (of Carey Technology) announces the winner. Helena Schaefer holds up a quilt
On November 20, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)'s National Wetlands Research Center (NWRC) in Lafayette, LA, hosted an open house for the community to celebrate GIS Day and Geography Awareness Week.

GIS Day is a grassroots event in which geographic-information-system (GIS) users and vendors open their doors to schools, businesses, and the general public to showcase real-world applications of this important technology. Exhibits, demonstrations, map displays, tours of the NWRC mapping and remote-sensing labs, and special presentations highlighted the many uses of this computer-based tool for mapping and analyzing objects and events.

Presenters included a local high-school teacher, Vickie Hebert, talking about how she uses GIS in her classroom to enhance her students' knowledge of the geography of Louisiana, and Greg Guirard, writer, photographer, and naturalist, who shared his knowledge of one of the largest riverine swamps in the United States through words and images entitled "A Sense of Place—the Atchafalaya Swamp. . . . a Melding of People and Resources."

Visitors were amazed at the various ways in which GIS technology is being used. GIS maps showed

  • The path of Hurricane Lili and its impacts on the offshore oil industry in the Gulf of Mexico,
  • Vegetation "eatouts" caused by the invasive nutria, a hairy herbivore that is wreaking havoc in Louisiana's coastal wetlands,
  • The impact site in Mexico of the meteor that changed the Earth's climate and is believed to be the leading cause of the demise of the dinosaurs,
  • A new fiber-optic network developed by a local utility system to improve customer service, and
  • How sharks in Louisiana coastal waters are studied.

The finale for GIS Day was the presentation of awards for the "Draw Your World" contest. More than 340 students, from kindergarten through ninth grade, submitted hand-drawn maps of their room, house, classroom, school, neighborhood, town, or parish. The winning maps were displayed in the NWRC lobby, and the student winners were presented with globes and atlases.

photo of jessica reed
Home-schooler Jessica Reed with her winning "Draw Your World" map.
photo of a louisiana-shaped cake
More than 125 visitors enjoyed GIS Day at NWRC and this Louisiana-shaped cake created by USGS geographer Helena Schaefer.

In addition to the USGS, GIS Day sponsors were Fugro Chance, Inc., the University of Louisiana's NASA Regional Applications Center, C.H. Fenstermaker & Associates, Carey Technology, the Lafayette Parish Assessor, Navigation Electronics, Inc., Gulf Engineers and Consultants, the Lafayette Utilities System, the Louisiana Army National Guard, and the Lafayette Economic Development Authority.

Related Web Sites
National Wetlands Research Center
U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), Lafayette, LA
National Geographic / ESRI / AAG

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USS Arizona

Adriatic Sea Sediment-Transport Cruise

Bear Lake Sea-Floor Mapping

Assateague Island Vegetation Mapping

Field-Testing New Portable Drilling System

Research Diamondback Terrapin

Outreach Transoceanic Dust Impacts

Woods Hole Field Center Open House

St. Petersburg Field Center Open House

Great American Teach-In

Fourth-Graders Tour St. Petersburg Field Center

Girl Scouts 90th Anniversary


Meetings Effects of Fishing Activities on Benthic Habitats

Planning Gas-Hydrates Research

Science and Politics in Ecosystem Decisions

Sea-Floor Mapping Techniques

Staff & Center News GHASTLI Lab Visitors

Science Museum Board

Two New Scientists

Louisiana Coastal-Restoration Advisory Board

Air Medical Transport Center Tour

MRIB Programmer

New Webmistress

Publications Dec./Jan. Publications List

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