November 13, 2012

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By Kathryn Kopchik

LEWISBURG, Pa. — Bucknell University's Office of Library and Information Technology will host the conference, "GIS and Spatial Thinking in the Undergraduate Curriculum," Nov. 16 through 18. The conference will focus on utilizing GIS — Geographic Information Systems — in an academic, undergraduate setting.

"We haven't found anything like this out there," said Carrie Rampp, director of library services and instructional technology at Bucknell. "There are other GIS conferences, but we really wanted to focus on that undergraduate curriculum, on engagement within the liberal arts across the disciplines. We believe that is unique."

GIS utilizes hardware, software and data for managing geographically referenced information. It allows people to visualize data in way that reveal patterns and trends in the form of maps, reports and charts.

"We believe that GIS is an excellent way to think in a different way about student engagement, and how to visualize things differently than you did before. Both of those are of huge value to every discipline, not just the sciences," said Rampp.

Posters will be on display in the Terrace Room of the Elaine Langone Center during the conference. Poster presenters include Bucknell faculty and students as well as researchers from around the country.

Local posters of interest include transport of hydraulic fracturing water and wastes in the Susquehanna River basin, mapping Marcellus Shale flowback water chemistry, the Miller Run restoration project and the Sullivan expedition against the Iroquois Indians 1779.

Jeremy Crampton, an associate professor of geography at the University of Kentucky, will give the keynote address Friday at 6 p.m. in the Terrace Room of the Elaine Langone Center. Crampton is the author of Mapping: A Critical Introduction to Cartography and GIS, The Political Mapping of Cyberspace, and Space, Knowledge and Power: Foucault and Geography. He also runs the Open Geography blog.

According to organizer Janine Glathar, the conference will include three work-group sessions exploring several the themes of qualitative GIS, pedagogy, and community outreach.

Anne Knowles, associate professor of geography at Middlebury College, and Diana Sinton, director of Spatial Curriculum and Research at the University of Redlands, will give the keynote address at lunch on Saturday.

A historical geographer, Knowles has specialized in American immigration and industrialization. She is principal investigator with Alberto Giordano, Texas State at San Marcos, on the Holocaust Historical GIS project.

Sinton leads LENS (LearNing Spatially), a campus-wide initiative to integrate mapping and spatial perspectives into diverse academic disciplines.

Meghan Cope, professor of geography at University of Vermont and co-editor of Qualitative GIS: A Mixed Methods Approach, will speak with Bucknell faculty about her work in qualitative and mixed-methods research. She also will be presenting in the Mapping Human Activity - Qualitative Analysis session on Saturday.

Registration is free for Bucknell faculty, staff and students. For more information, contact Janine Glathar.

Contact: Division of Communications


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