Daniel Yelito of NEPA Alliance explains Geographic Information System (GIS) mapping to students in Chris Sedon’s computer class at Meyers High School Monday morning. Meyers is the first school in the area to take advantage of a new program allowing schools free access to the Arc/GIS online system. Annette Ginocchetti explains how maps are needed for video gaming and many other uses during a presentation to Meyers High School Students Monday. Daniel Yelito of NEPA Alliance explains GIS to students in Chris Sedon’s computer class at Meyers High School. Aimee Dilger|Times Leader WILKES-BARRE — Meyers High School continues to map out new options for students, literally, adding the opportunity to work with a sophisticated, online Geographical Information System program. Students in Chris Sedon’s computer programming class got a glimpse of the possibilities Monday morning. “What’s geography?” asked Daniel Yelito, sporting the fluorescent vest he wears in the field while hunting for uncharted bridges that have fallen off the radar of the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation. “It’s the world, and everything in it.” OK, maybe a bit grandiose for juniors and seniors at 10 a.m. on a Monday morning, they certainly didn’t react much. “This is our first school presentation, ever,” Yelito conceded. But by the end of the presentation by Yelito and Annette Ginocchetti, both from the Northeastern Pennsylvania Alliance, the students were animated as they tried to find their high school on different types of paper maps. And their interest perked at the wide range of options a career in digital mapping can offer. GIS software allows creation of maps that show almost any data you can collect in a vast array of formats, said Ginocchetti, a transportation service manager for the Alliance’s regional office based in Pittston. And now, thanks to a push by President Barack Obama’s administration and help from mapping software giant Esri, schools nationwide can get free access to Esri’s ArcGIS online system. Ginocchetti demonstrated one small task GIS can do by, appropriately, showing a map of schools participating in the program so far, zooming in from a view that took in the entire U.S. to one that showed only Wyoming Valley, with one dot on the map. As part of the offer, Esri is working with the Association of American Geographers to develop a network of GIS GeoMentors, roles filled regionally by Ginocchetti and Yelito — a fact Ginocchetti again demonstrated with a national map of all GeoMentors, zooming in to show two dots in this area, one for Yelito and one for her. The NEPA Alliance is a community and economic development agency serving seven counties: Luzerne, Schuylkill, Carbon, Lackawanna, Monroe, Pike and Wayne. The two can help schools enroll in the program and help teachers figure out the best way to use it in the classroom. Sedon said he expects to have students do real-world applications, mapping physical things near the school, as well as other projects. Yelito told the students the possibilities “are endless,” and he and Ginocchetti rattled off the growing ways mapping and GIS software are used, from video games to government planning to road maintenance, education and beyond. They also pointed out the many jobs within the field, from coding programs to designing the look and color of maps to the new practice of using drones. The field is growing so fast that there is now an international GIS Day — Nov. 16 this year — that can include themed cakes as part of the festivities. “I didn’t get one last year,” Yelito said, moments before Ginocchetti projected a picture on the large white board that showed him nearby as a cake was cut. Source.