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NEWS | Nov. 30, 2016

GeoBase teaches students about GIS

By Tech. Sgt. Darnell T. Cannady 480th Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Wing Public Affairs

National Geographic Information System Day, is a day in the month of November when many specialists hold events to teach the importance of GIS to local communities such as those at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia.

National Geographic GIS Day was created in 1999 by Ralph Nader as a good initiative to teach about geography and the use of GIS.

Richard Olivieri, Air Combat Command Civil Engineering Air Force Installation and Mission Support Center Detachment 8 Support GeoBase Team Field lead, taught approximately 50 fourth grade students about GIS at Cape Henry Collegiate School in Virginia Beach, Virginia on Nov. 18, 2016.

“I wanted to emphasize the importance of geographic knowledge and how many basic learning concepts are now being applied by industry using information technology,” said Olivieri. “Kids need to learn geography to stay competitive in the high-tech economy.”

A Geographic Information System is a computer system for capturing, storing, checking and displaying data related to positions on Earth's surface. It can show many different kinds of data on one map, enabling people to more easily see, analyze and understand patterns and relationships.

“It was important to have a GIS Day at Cape Henry Collegiate because it informed our students of the various careers related to IT in our ever changing world,” said Jane Saal, Cape Henry Collegiate School head of lower schools. “The presentation benefited the students by making them aware that studying geography and maps today may lead to a life-long career later.”

Olivier feels information technology has enabled basic subjects, such as Geography, to become the high-tech careers of today.

“I was amazed at how many questions they had, and the insight of many of the questions asked,” said Olivieri. “It showed they were engaged, interested and were actually paying attention.”

Olivieri explained the importance of GIS by showing the students how geography ties into his job with the U.S. Air Force.

“It was interesting to see how Langley uses the GIS support,” said Saal. “Mr. Olivieri spoke to the students on their level, and it was so fascinating to the adults, as well, to see how his mapmaking skills help Langley Air Force Base.”