The 2006 West Virginia Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Forum and Workshops will be held May 15-19 at West Virginia University , featuring hands-on training, presentations and notable guest speakers.

The conference will provide a forum for users of geographic information systems in West Virginia and Appalachia . This year marks the 10th anniversary of the establishment of the West Virginia State GIS Coordinator’s Office, a division of the West Virginia Geologic and Economic Survey.

Past conferences have featured presentations and keynote addresses on topics such as resource and environmental management, internet mapping and other emerging spatial science applications.

This forum is a chance for GIS users of all levels and backgrounds to convene and learn about emerging technology, the activities and efforts of their peers, and of course, establish new contacts and institute collaborations,said Craig Neidig, GIS coordinator for West Virginia .

Several training seminars will be held throughout downtown Morgantown May 15-16 and May 19, including a half-day course on how to better utilize GPS technology, as well as an introductory remote sensing seminar.

On Wednesday, May 17,West Virginia GIS Activities Day,presentations and posters from a variety of public agencies that use GIS daily will be featured. A catered social will be held at the Clarion Hotel Morgan .

Thursday, May 18, isGIS in the Appalachians Day,with prominence given to researchers throughout Appalachia doing cutting-edge GIS work. Both days will feature lunchtime keynote speakers and refreshments.

All presentations will be held in WVU ’s Mountainlair, and several exhibitors and sponsors from the private sector will demonstrate their products and services.

The conference is organized by the West Virginia GIS Technical Center, which is in charge of the development, maintenance and dissemination of geographic information, the West Virginia State GIS Coordinator’s Office, which works to organize and enhance GIS within and among state agencies, and the Department of Geology and Geography in WVU ’s Eberly College of Arts and Sciences, which leads the way in education, research and development of spatial technologies.

For more information, to register as an exhibitor or sponsor, or to register to attend, visit contact the West Virginia GIS Technical Center via phone, at (304) 293-5603, ext. 4338.