A SERIES of events involving the University of Chester’s Department of Geography and Development Studies (GDS) is designed to familiarise secondary school pupils with their immediate surroundings and the wider world.
More than 200 A-level Geography students from across Cheshire will converge on the university’s Chester campus today (Wednesday) to play their part in celebrating world Geographical Information Systems (GIS) Day.
GDS has proved so inspirational to the university’s students that they awarded it a 100% satisfaction rating - the highest in the country - for the overall quality of their courses, according to the National Student Survey 2008.
GIS Day enables departmental staff to share their enthusiasm for their subject by inviting schools to join the international geographical community on this key date by making them aware of geo-information tools that enable a better understanding of the world around them.
Held each year on the Wednesday of National Geographic Society’s Geography Awareness Week (November 16–20 in 2009), GIS Day is a global event, to enhance knowledge of GIS technology and the important contributions it makes in the fields of science, technology, information, and the humanities.
GIS Day, 2009 at Chester provides an opportunity for A-level Geography students interested in learning about GIS to see its applications in action.
There will be lectures by the Ministry of Defence (MoD) and the Ordnance Survey (OS), an exhibition featuring the OS, the Royal Geographical Society (RGS), GIS software provider ESRI, teaching resource supplier Wildgoose, the Geographical Association (GA) & Rotherham Council, interactive workshops run by the Association for Education and Guardianship of International Students (AEGIS) and a quiz.
A GIS is a computer-based mapping tool that takes information from a database about a location, such as streets, buildings, water features, and terrain, and turns it into visual layers. The ability to see geographic features on a map gives users a better understanding of a particular location, enabling planners, analysts, and others to make informed decisions about their communities.
Dr Servel Miller, the University’s Programme Leader in Natural Hazard Management, said: “Although you may not be aware of it, GIS touches our lives daily. It is used throughout the world to solve problems related to the environment, utilities, health care, urban planning, deployment of emergency vehicle, business efficiency, education and public safety”.
The power supply directed to homes, the patrol cars and fire engines that keep neighbourhoods safe, and the delivery trucks on the road all function more efficiently because of GIS.
“This technology can also help businesses better know and target their customers and to determine the most convenient locations for a new restaurants, allow people to download maps off the Internet, and reduces the impact on the environment by helping farmers to grow more crops with fewer chemicals.”
The GDS Department delivering keynote speeches at two, one day conferences on natural hazards at the Dominion Theatre, London on November 24 and King’s House, Manchester on December 10, which have attracted thousands of Geography pupils from across the UK.
And on November 25, the University again plays host to Cheshire schools as 18 teams of Year 10 pupils participate in the local round of the Geographical Association’s World Wide Quiz.