On Wednesday, Nov. 19, Montgomery County will unveil the county's new comprehensive plan during a joint celebration of the fifth anniversary of Geographic Information Systems Day and the 30th anniversary of World Town Planning Day. The event will feature programs by the Virginia Tech Center for Geospatial Information Technology (CGIT) and Virginia's Geospatial Extension Program (GEP).

Geographic Information Systems (GIS) have become key tools for local planning, transportation, environmental management and wireless communications. Capabilities include storage, retrieval, mapping and analysis of geographic data. The Montgomery County GIS-World Town Planning Day event brings together the GIS and planning communities to provide presentations and workshops for the public on the latest tools and techniques in these areas.

Festivities begin at 9 a.m. at the County Government Center (755 Roanoke St., Christiansburg). Presentations will focus on local planning and GIS, including demonstrations with Global Positioning System (GPS) equipment. Workshops will provide hands-on experience with traditional compass navigation, GPS, and introductory exercises using GIS software. Door prizes will be awarded throughout the day, culminating with the give-away of a new GPS unit at 4:30 p.m.

Virginia Tech presenters include Shane Parson, Senior Project Associate with CGIT; John McGee, Geospatial Extension Specialist in Forestry, and Paige Baldassaro, GIS Programmer, both with GEP; Gene Yagow, research scientist, and Rachel Wagner, graduate student, with the department of biological systems engineering; and Jesse Richardson, assistant professor of urban affairs and planning.

CGIT and GEP worked with Montgomery County, the Towns of Blacksburg and Christiansburg, Radford University, Anderson & Associates, Draper Aden and Associates, Timmons Group, the Southwest Chapters of the Virginia American Planners Association, and the Virginia Association of Zoning Officials in planning the event.

For more information, including a detailed agenda and directions, visit www.cnr.vt.edu/gep/mcgisday.html or contact Shane Parson at (540) 231-7147. The Virginia Tech Center for Geospatial Information Technology (CGIT) is an interdisciplinary university research center. Learn more at www.cgit.vt.edu. Learn about Virginia's Geospatial Extension Program (GEP) at www.cnr.vt.edu/gep/.