In the Spotlight

Congratulations to Geographic Data Technology on the receipt of the National Employer Leadership Council's School-to-Careers Company of the Year Award. GDT was one of four businesses from all over the United States selected to receive this prestigious award. The award honors businesses involved with exemplary school-to-careers initiatives. Employers are nominated based on a set of criteria that includes: working with students, working with schools and teachers, working with the community, evaluating practices, and demonstrating results. The competitive process is based on peer review and involves members of the NELC Leadership Board.

2000 School to Career - Company of the Year Award Recipients

  • Cisco Systems, Inc. - San Jose, California
  • Geographic Data Technology, Inc. - Lebanon, New Hampshire
  • Intel Corporation - Oregon Site, Santa Clara, California
  • UPS - Louisville, Kentucky Operation, Atlanta, Georgia

Don Cooke, GDT Founder, is currently serving as the Business Co-chair on the UVBEP Board of Directors. Mr. Cooke not only spearheads GDT's interaction with local schools, but he also encourages other employers to do the same.

During Geography Week, November 13-17, dozens of GDT employees visited local schools to share their knowledge about Geographic Information Systems (GIS). GDT also hosted an open house on GIS Day, Wednesday, November 15. The event featured tours and demonstrations to illustrate how geography is a part of people's everyday lives.

GDT is a 21st-century mapping company, in that all its maps are computer databases. Over the past 20 years, GDT has become the premiere digital map supplier for business applications and our USA database is now the most-often-used resource for WWW locator and routing applications.

GDT's subject is Geography, and more specifically Geographic Information Systems (GIS), the intersection of Geography and Information Technology. Our corporate focus fits directly into school curricula at all levels. The many opportunities to work with schools leads to a sense of corporate obligation &emdash; cheerfully borne &emdash; to immerse the entire enterprise in school-to-careers activities.

For many years GDT has hosted tours for school groups at all levels. A particularly popular activity is a "scavenger hunt" where students use professional GPS equipment to find "treasure" (t-shirts) hidden on the company grounds. This is an effective exercise to supplement and reinforce classes on mapping and latitude/longitude coordinates by making the subject "real in the world." At the other end of the spectrum are intensive guest lecture/discussions on technology and ethics of GIS for Dartmouth College geography students.

GDT is involved in various job shadowing and career day programs. GDT hosted nearly 100 students this spring, involving them in engineering, computer technologies, GPS, Geocoding, and new mapping technologies. GDT encourages students to find the fun and excitement in their daily studies by introducing students to the technologies GDT works with on a daily basis (geography, cartography, trigonometry, statistics and computer science).

For the November 19th, 1999 GIS DAY celebration, GDT staff members went into 22 local school and conducted presentations on what GIS is and how it effects the student's lives. The same day, GDT also offered an Open House with tours, visual demonstrations, and a job fair. The company reached over 800 students and had over 200 people at the Open House.

In the winter and spring terms of 2000, GDT staff established three elective courses in mapping with GPS and GIS for 6th and 7th graders in two local schools. One class involved creating an accurate map of a new three-mile recreational trail recently established in town. Sixth graders presented the map to the town Conservation Commission and a computerized GIS representation of the trail to the Town Planner. GDT's "formula" for an effective educational experience is to involve students as peers with adults on real community projects, using professional equipment, procedures and standards.

GDT employees work in collaboration with or serve on the Boards of local schools, the Upper Valley Business and Education Partnership (UVBEP), the New Hampshire Job Bank, New Hampshire Technical College, and the Upper Valley Teacher Institute.

Activities just getting started and on the drawing boards include local teachers training GDT volunteers to be more effective in school programs. GDT has also begun plans for more comprehensive long-term educational programs in our community: GIS course at local community colleges, vocational center courses, and summer internships with college credit. There is no limit to the opportunities for the company to make a difference in education at all levels.

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