CDs offer link to area's resources

BU group aids atlas

Press & Sun-Bulletin

Broome County has 31 farm markets, 43 hotels and eight walk-in medical facilities within its borders.

Only two other states - California and Wisconsin - host a city named Binghamton

Until recently, you'd have to go to an encyclopedia or the Web to find that information. But now, it's on a free CD.

Binghamton University's geography department and Carriage House Photography compiled "The Pictorial Atlas of Broome County" - a disc that includes random factoids, pictures and maps "to bring out all of the secrets of Broome County that people should know about," said Ed Aswad, owner of Carriage House and project photographer.

The project began in 2003 when John Frazier, the university's geography department chairman, and Kevin Heard, Geographic Information Systems assistant director, wanted to find a way to showcase Broome by highlighting some of its better attractions, Heard said.

"I'm hoping people sort of learn more about the community and use it as an educational tool - find out information, where businesses may be and exact locations," Heard said.

The group decided to burn 3,000 copies and distribute them to certain businesses, including various local dental offices and Tuthill's Photo on the Vestal Parkway in Vestal. BU distributed some of the discs this week. The group plans to burn more discs if demand keeps up, and update the CD about every other year since it also lists election results for 2000 and 2004.

Orthodontist Peter T. Bronsky, who is sponsoring the project, said he likes the health-care section since it depicts exactly where facilities are located and lists addresses and telephone numbers.

"People usually drive where they are used to driving and may not have known that a health care facility is near their home," said Bronsky, who has a stack of the discs in his office.

The discs will be particularly useful, he said, for those who move to the county, which is expected to grow with Lockheed Martin Corp.'s planned expansion in Owego. The company this year won the contract to build the next fleet of Marine One presidential helicopters, a project expected to create about 750 jobs.

"When you buy a home and you are from Timbuktu, you would like to know about Broome County," Aswad said.

The discs, which were distributed last week, seem to be going fast, said Dave Williams, Tuthill's manager.

"A lot of people are taking them," he said.

Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin