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Clarion hosts 10th annual GIS conference

September 22, 2015

Clarion University will host the 10th anniversary Northwest Pennsylvania Geographic Information Systems conference Oct. 15 and 16.

Among other things, GIS supports new business markets, assists in 911 operations and natural disaster emergency management and handles data analysis for oil and gas exploration.

Anyone may now use digital maps on mobile devices to acquire information almost instantaneously.

"GIS is even more than that," Ayad said. "It is used to identify environmental problems and help calculate and specify different solution scenarios."

The field of GIS has existed for nearly 30 years, according to Yasser Ayad, Ph.D., professor of geology and coordinator of the conference. Nonetheless, it is still considered an emerging field.

The first conference was held in 2005, following years of GIS Days. These events used hands-on exercises in the GIS laboratory, open forums and formal talks to educate the community on the system and its uses.

The conference grew to include concurrent sessions, exhibitions and poster presentations including county representatives, private businesses and renowned companies. This conference, in particular, will host professionals in different fields who use GIS in daily operations.

"It used to attract less than 100 people. Now we exceed 250 and some years, we even hit the 300 attendance mark," Ayad said. "There is always a place for novices as well as experts in this conference," Ayad noted.

This year's presenters include representatives from: county governments from across western Pennsylvania, United States Forest Department, Allegheny College and Edinboro, Robert Morris and Lock Haven universities, and several private businesses.

Register and view the agenda at Walk-ins are accepted, although registration is preferred. Clarion University students and employees can attend the conference for free. There is a $40 fee for community members attending the full conference, and a $30 fee for a one-day session.

Businesses can sponsor or exhibit products at the event. For information visit

Contact Ayad at 814-393-2990 with any questions.

Last Updated 1/11/21