Natural History Museum to host GIS Day activities

GIS Day graphic

JOHNSON CITY (Nov. 19, 2013) – GIS (Geographic Information System) Day will be celebrated at the East Tennessee State University and General Shale Natural History Museum and Visitors Center at the Gray Fossil Site on Saturday, Nov. 23.

“GIS is such an amazing tool, and we want people to know about all of its benefits and how it’s useful in helping people interpret geographical data quickly and recognize patterns and trends,” said Dr. Blaine Schubert, museum director.  “It’s another way of looking at and learning about the world around us.”

The museum will offer a wide range of activities for all ages, including a map-coloring challenge, a “make your own globe” station, and using maps to help animals.  

In addition to a GeoCaching game using GPS, an interactive demonstration led by Dr. Andrew Joyner, assistant professor of Geosciences, will show participants how to use GIS.  Guests may guess their location based on Google Street View clues in a game called “Geoguesser” and test their geography knowledge with “GeoSense.”

Free presentations will be featured throughout the day beginning at 10 a.m. with “What is GIS?” with Dr. Ingrid Luffman, a lecturer in ETSU’s Department of Geosciences.  Other talks include “The World from Above” by Dr. Eileen Ernenwein, ETSU assistant professor of Geosciences, at noon and presentations on a variety of related topics by ETSU graduate students at 2 p.m.  Screenings of the Pennsylvania State University video “Geospacial Revolution” will take place at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.

The ETSU and General Shale Natural History Museum and Visitor Center showcases the Gray Fossil Site and its unique ecosystem.  In addition to the permanent and temporary traveling exhibits, many special events are held at the museum, including a monthly speaker series and “Fossil and Artifact ID Nights” every other month, as well as ongoing youth programs.

The museum is located 1.8 miles off Exit 13 on Interstate 26.  Hours are Tuesday-Saturday from 9 a.m. -5 p.m.  For more information, or for special assistance, call (866) 202-6223 or visit the museum at   For disability accommodations, call the ETSU Office of Disability Services at (423) 439-8346.

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