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Press Release

U.S. Department of the Interior
U.S. Geological Survey
National Wetlands Research Center
700 Cajundome Blvd.
Lafayette, LA 70506

Contact: Gabrielle Boudreaux Bodin
Phone: 337-266-8655
Fax: 337-266-8541
For Release: November 9, 2000

USGS and C. H. Fenstermaker Celebrate GIS Day

The U.S. Geological Survey's National Wetlands Research Center and C.H. Fenstermaker and Associates are sponsoring "Discovering Acadiana Through GIS: Environment, Business, Public Service" on GIS Day 2000, Nov. 15 from 5 to 7 p.m. at the center, 700 Cajundome Blvd. This celebration will showcase the many uses of geographic information systems and how this computer technology is being used in Acadiana.

The community is invited to come learn the ways GIS is already enhancing their lives. Participants will also receive refreshments, door prizes and free materials such as the CD-ROM "Louisiana GIS CD: A Digital Map of the State" and the map "Louisiana Scenic Byways."

Dr. Robert E. Stewart, center director, said, "GIS Day 2000 is a global event that celebrates geographic information systems, the exciting technology that uses geography to change the world. It is being held during Geography Awareness Week (Nov.12 - 18). Its principal sponsors are the National Geographic Society, Association of American Geographers, University Consortium for Geographic Information Science, U.S. Geological Survey, Library of Congress and Environmental Systems Research Institute. Additionally, Gov. Mike Foster has declared Nov. 15 as Louisiana GIS Day 2000."

GIS is a computer-based tool for mapping and analyzing objects and events. It combines the power of a database with the visualization of maps. GIS technology is used throughout the world to solve problems in such areas an environmental protection, health care, land use, business efficiency, education, social inequities and much more.

According to Bill Fenstermaker of C. H. Fenstermaker and Associates, "Most people are unaware of it, but they are probably benefiting from GIS technology when they use an automated teller machine, pull a map off the Internet, receive an overnight delivery or stop at a fast food restaurant."

Stewart added, "The local GIS celebration will offer Acadiana citizens a chance to stroll through exhibits, map and poster displays, and the USGS mapping and remote sensing labs. They will hear short presentations on where Louisiana citizens can find maps and aerial photographs of interest to them."

Of special interest to outdoor enthusiasts and sportsmen will be a demonstration on how to find data and create a map of a favorite "recreational spot" by using their home computer and printer.

Visitors to the open house will also learn how GIS technology is being used in the areas of business, public service and the environment.

Co-sponsor C. H. Fenstermaker and Associates will display maps and aerial photos with layers of information about the city of Lafayette. Citizens will have a "bird's eye view" of their neighborhoods, schools, favorite restaurants and more.

The Lafayette Economic Development Authority will have examples of how GIS applies to the business community in Lafayette Parish. Maps and demographic information can be customized to help potential businesses select the optimal site for their business location.

The Lafayette Consolidated Government will show how it uses GIS technology to provide information on public utilities so that new homebuilders, businesses and industries can determine the best locations for new construction. Maps and aerial photos showing several new city road construction projects such as one on Camellia Boulevard will also be displayed.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will show how they use GIS to study the impacts of land management activities on Louisiana's fish and wildlife and how this technology can be applied to planning recovery efforts for the black bear, a threatened species.

GIS technology is even being used to study the impact of a species biologists would like to see less of--the nutria. This South American rodent "invaded" Louisiana marshes years ago and continues to destroy wetland areas with its voracious appetite for marsh grasses. Visitors will have a chance to sample some nutria sausage thanks to the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries.

Last year, nearly 2,000 organizations in 91 different countries sponsored GIS Day events, and 34 U.S. governors, as well as public officials in Canada and the Czech Republic, made GIS Day proclamations for their jurisdictions. The original goal of educating a million people was far surpassed, as 2.4 million children and adults were taught about GIS technology and its extensive applications and benefits.

For directions or more information about the GIS Day celebration at the National Wetlands Research Center, call Susan Horton at 337-266-8655.

* * * USGS * * *

As the nation's largest water, earth and biological science and civilian mapping agency, the USGS works in cooperation with more than 2000 organizations across the country to provide reliable, impartial scientific information to resource managers, planners and other customers. This information is gathered in every state by USGS scientists to minimize the loss of life and property from natural disasters, to contribute to the sound conservation, economic and physical development of the nations natural resources and to enhance the quality of life by monitoring water, biological, energy and mineral resources.

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