Commemorating 200 years since Meriwether Lewis and William Clark embarked on their pioneering expedition throughout North America, ESRI, a maker of geographic information systems (GIS) software, has developed a new web site called “Lewis and Clark 200.” The site provides an introduction to modern techniques of exploration, as well as a detailed history of mapmaking–from the tools first used by the famous pair’s Corps of Discovery to more recent cartographic methods such as GIS, a computer-based tool for mapping and analyzing places and events. What’s more, the web site offers many resources for geographic study, including classroom learning guides and links to Lewis and Clark maps and journals. The expedition and its bicentennial commemoration provide an evocative starting-off point for students interested in the study of geography, as well as an opportunity to use technology to understand changing environments. Today, geographic technologies are used to pinpoint the location of people, define landscape features, carefully manage the use of resources, and plan for sustainable development, according to the site.

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