May 22, 2006
We're bombarded by information, but sometimes it's just hard to see the forest for the trees. That's particularly true when you combine geographic information with other data like customer purchases. You know there's a pattern there, but seeing it is another thing.

That's where HACC's new Geographic Information System (GIS) Resource Center can help. The new facility at HACC can combine geographic information - such as a map of your business locations - with other data such as customer buying patterns.

"When you put the two together in graphic form, sometimes solutions pop right off the screen," said Nicole Ernst, instructor and coordinator of Geospatial Technology at HACC.

Later this week, you can get a chance to see the whole process in action at an open house of the GIS Resource Center at HACC, Central Pennsylvania's Community College.

The staff and students from the new HACC center will be on hand from 5 to 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, May 25, to discuss how GIS can help with everything from finding new business locations to modeling urban sprawl. The GIS Resource Center is located at Three Penn Center, Room 249, 349 Wiconisco Street, Harrisburg.

"In addition to our existing clients, we're hoping to attract people to the event who are currently working with GIS. We want them to know what we are up to and what services we offer," Ernst said. "We're also hoping to reach out to teachers so they can understand GIS and begin to teach it in their schools."

HACC's GIS Resource Center offers GIS training, cartographic mapping and a referral service to the business community. Students in the college's Geospatial Technology program work with the staff on client projects.

Visitors to the open house will have the opportunity view student projects on display and view a pilot project the GIS Resource Center completed for the Central PA Food Bank.

"We helped the food bank determine if their member agencies were serving the right areas, and we even mapped donors and sponsors to see what areas they were reaching with their message," she added.

No RSVP is necessary for the open house. For more information, call 717-221-1345 or send email to the GIS Resource Center at the email address below.

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