Today marks the official day to celebrate the technology of Geographic Information Systems (GIS), taking time to learn about the newest innovations and recognizing just how far the field has come in so many years. That’s right, today is GIS Day.
What is GIS Day?
GIS Day is an annual event that provides an international forum for users of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) technology to demonstrate real-world applications that make a difference in our society. It is an opportunity to learn more about geography in general and its place in the every-growing world of technology and innovation.
A semi-official day in the GIS community, the first formal GIS Day took place in 1999. Originally championed by Esri’s Jack Dangermond, the event has spread internationally encouraging businesses, educational institutions, and professional organizations alike to host, assist, or simply attend their own events that bring their communities together to showcase GIS practices and technologies relevant to them.
How Will You Celebrate?
Have you considered how you will participate in this year’s event? Will you attend an event nearby? Will you find another way to contribute to the community? Whether you are itching to celebrate in-person or find other constructive ways to show your support for the community, below are a few ideas for getting involved and giving back this GIS Day (and beyond).
1. Attend an event near you.
If you are interested in attending an event in your community, several online resources – like the official www.gisday.com website – highlight events being held around the world. Want to stay local to the Houston, TX area? Check out a condensed look at local events in the GIS Day map available on the Association of Petroleum Surveying and Geomatics’ (APSG) website.
Bonus: Not all events are held on November 14th this year; catch a later event if needed!
2. Volunteer with or donate to your favorite GIS and/or geography-related professional organization.
There are many professional and non-profit organizations built around the notion that the GIS field and all it encompasses is worth advocating. While networking is a key foundation for these groups, many also focus heavily on education. Help them help others by finding a way to volunteer or even donate so that they can continue their respective missions of educating school-aged groups, university students, and working professionals alike.
3. Become a mentor.
The biggest building blocks within GIS Day are education and fostering interest in geography and its real-world applications. One way to do this is by becoming a mentor, helping to guide others in better understanding GIS technology and its place in your industry. Reach out to students, coworkers, or friends to determine if this is a valuable way in which you can give back to the GIS community.
4. Further your own education on Geographic Information System (GIS) applications and technology.
GIS Day is the perfect excuse for learning a new thing or two. This can come about in any number of ways: meeting with a colleague in a different discipline to see how they apply this technology, taking a course on new practices, discovering tutorials that could enhance your own work, or even just reading up on the ways others are applying GIS for their own teams and clients.
No matter how you choose to celebrate GIS Day, it is important to recognize the innovations this technology and its applications have touched not only the mapping industry as whole – but also those industries like Natural Resources, Emergency Response, Public Safety, Healthcare, Retail, and more that we might not necessarily realize have been impacted by such a thing. Learn more about GIS Day and future events at www.gisday.com.