On the third Wednesday in November, GIS Day celebrates the technology of Geographic Information Systems. It’s also a day to discover and understand the benefits of GIS.
A Geographic Information System (GIS) connects data to a map and integrates location data with descriptive information. This system of mapping and analysis is used in science and other industries. One example of a world problem that GIS tries to help solve is the opioid epidemic in the United States.
Using GIS, researchers are able to attain a geographic view of opioid prescriptions made throughout the country. This data is used to compare different regions of the country. This allows governments and other officials to see where more resources are needed to combat the problem. One map attained using GIS shows that West Virginia has the highest overdose rate in the country.
Other industries that use GIS include:
- Supply chain management
- Forestry and timber
- Urban planning
- Health and human services
These industries use GIS to uncover patterns, understand trends, monitor changes, perform forecasting, and respond to events. All of this helps public officials and governments to make better decisions, establish priorities. and solve problems.
While GIS sounds fairly modern, it was first established in the 1960s. In 1963, Roger Tomlinson developed the Canada Geographic Information System. This turned into the first computerized GIS in the world.
HOW TO OBSERVE #GISDay
Educators, technology coordinators, cartographers, and other organizations around the world hold events on this day that help people learn more about GIS. These events include meet and greets with GIS professionals, GIS demonstrations, and workshops on digital geographies.
- Find examples of GIS maps online.
- Learn more about GIS and how it benefits various industries.
- Download the GIS Day app to your phone.
- Teach your kids about geography and digital mapmaking.
Share this day on social media with #GISDay.
GIS DAY HISTORY
The first GIS Day was held in 1999. Ralph Nader is credited for inspiring the global event. Nader considers the event a good initiative for people to learn about geography and the many uses of GIS. Several organizations sponsor this day. These organizations include National Geographic Society, United States Geological Survey, Library of Congress, and Environmental Systems Research Institute (Esri).
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