Welcome to the Northern Illinois University Department of Geography blog pages! Refer to these pages to stay abreast of past, present and planned activities within our Department. For more detailed information concerning our history, degree programs and faculty, please visit the NIU Department of Geography website.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

GIS Night at NIU

On Wednesday, November 19, the NIU Department of Geography hosted GIS Night as part of the global GIS Day event. Geographic information systems (GIS) Day--which began in 1987 as part of Geographic Awareness Week--provides a forum for showcasing spatial technologies and applied GIS projects that are making a difference in the world. NIU's GIS Night was one of several events that took place across more than 80 countries.

NIU's GIS Night encouraged participants to engage in a range of interactive exercises using cutting edge geographic technologies. The event also provided an opportunity for spatial scientists at NIU to exchange knowledge with the broader community. Some of the featured activities included:
  • Exploring and analyzing the valley networks on Mars through a WebGIS
  • Finding your home and property information using DeKalb County's WebGIS
  • Locating and viewing farmlands that are being encroached upon by urban sprawl
  • Navigating your way on NIU campus through the Virtual Campus Map
  • Exploring the NIU campus in 3D
  • Experiencing the 3D Virtual Reality Lab
  • Viewing faculty and student projects and demonstrations
  • Talking to NIU students, faculty and GIS professionals

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Geography Staff Members Recognized for Service

Geography office staff members, Dawn Sibley (right) and Barb Voga (center) are shown receiving their MyNIU service recognition awards from the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences. As many of our students know, MyNIU is a student records database system integrating all aspects of students' progress through NIU from the time of application through to graduation. Students utilize MyNIU to register for courses, select a major (or minor or certificate), pay Bursar's bills, manage their student aid, and verify completion of requirements for the degree. NIU's conversion to this single integrated database systems was a massive undertaking, filled with all sorts of challenges. Since most of those "challenges" could only be experienced by users of the new system, not the system's developers, the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences specifically sought to identify those exceptional office staff and advisors who patiently identified bottlenecks and problems in the new system and assisted developers by documenting the problem and by testing and retesting system fixes.

Barb was recognized for her work with the new course scheduling system, from the challenge of linking multiple lab sections of a course with a single lecture section to scheduling labs and classes into rooms not listed in the database as "class rooms." Dawn was recognized for her work in verifying the department's majors, minors, and certificate students in MyNIU (more than 250), for manually entering all 200+ student names into advisement lists in MyNIU so that department advisors could access student records, and for providing advisors with paper copies of incoming transfer student records and assisting those new students with course registration through the summer 2008 transition period.

Barb, Dawn and numerous other MyNIU "heroes" were honored by the College at a September 26th reception held in the Clara Sperling Sky Room.