Virginia Geospatial Extension Program  

A Workshop for Small/ Rural Business Owners

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  Spring, Summer & Fall, 2012 
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Small, rural businesses (e.g.  tourism & agritourism operators, artisans, craftspeople, “mom and pop” restaurants) face many challenges, especially when it comes to marketing and advertising their products and services. Business owners may be preoccupied with ‘traditional’ forms of advertising, which include signage, yellow page advertising (‘the book’), and the dissemination of information through other print media, including magazines and newsletters.  These approaches can be expensive and do not always target intended audiences.  Furthermore, some areas of the Virginia, including regions along the Blue Ridge Parkway, do not permit some forms of traditional advertising (roadside signage).

Advertising with GPS

Advances in technology are resulting in a revolution in advertising.  Location and place-based services, made possible through the use of global positioning system (GPS) devices (including portable, in-dash car navigation systems, and smartphone devices) can be used to geographically connect potential consumers with nearby businesses.  When integrated with the Internet via Smartphone devices, GPS applications provide a technical bridge, linking potential (and often mobile) customers with nearby businesses and specific products.  Likewise, business owners  are also able to target and “reach out” to potential customers through the use of virtual coupons and other marketing techniques.

A Workshop for Local Business Owners

This workshop, provided by the Virginia Geospatial Extension Program at Virginia Tech, walks business owners through the process of registering their businesses on ten national business databases. These databases are then consumed by a  variety of location-based service (GPS) applications (TomTom, Garmin, iPhone/Blackberry/Droid and other GPS supported applications).  Through the workshop, participants will also learn how to leverage free, online tools to support Internet marketing efforts. 

This is a hands-on workshop, and is conducted in a state of the art computer lab. At the conclusion of the workshop, business owners will have registered their businesses with national business databases, and will learn simple techniques to enhance existing business listings. Several of these databases are used to populate GPS (car navigation) devices and smartphone applications as well as other location-based services.

Workshop Details and Registration

Local communities and organizations who are interested in providing this program should contact the Virginia Geospatial Extension Program (phone or email) . This workshop has the following requirements:

1. Computer lab with high speed Internet
2. Updated installation of Java plug-in and Flash plug-in
3. Computer projector / screen

The cost of the workshop is $40 / participant. Virginia Tech can handle online registration (Master card, VISA and checks) if needed. The geospatial Extension program also works with local communities who want to sponsor the program and handle registration. There are other models for sposoring the program as well.


For additional information about this or other programs, please contact the Virginia Geospatial Extension Program:

John McGee, Ph.D.
 Virginia Geospatial Extension Program
307 C Cheatham Hall (mailcode 0324)
Blacksburg, VA 24061
Phone: (540) 231-2428
Fax: (540) 231-3698

Payment for registration payment should be payable to: The Treasurer of Virginia Tech.

Acknowledgements:  Adeel Ahmed with the University of Minnesota Cooperative Extension Service
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