ArcWatch: GIS News, Views, and Insights

April 2015


GIS Day Educates Public, Inspires Youth

By Matthew DeMeritt
Esri Writer

GIS Day
When: November 18, 2015
Where: The offices of government agencies, nonprofits, universities, and other organizations.
More information: gisday.com

On one special day each year, GIS professionals get the opportunity to proudly lift the curtain on what technology such as Esri ArcGIS can do.

GIS analyses of issues such as the housing market bubble were showcased at a GIS Day event at the University of Redlands in California.
GIS analyses of issues such as the housing market bubble were showcased at a GIS Day event at the University of Redlands in California.

Hundreds of organizations in North and South America, Europe, Asia, and Australia hosted GIS Day last November, gatherings that served to ignite the imagination of future geospatial innovators who will move the planet forward using GIS.

Here are highlights from several events:

Esri Open House

To steer the geospatially curious onto a promising career path, Esri director for education David DiBiase hosted a GIS Day open house at Esri's Redlands, California, headquarters. Esri staff demonstrated the ArcGIS platform. Local Esri software users gave presentations about how they use GIS. And job seekers visited a mentor center booth, where they received career advice.

"We wanted to excite attendees about the potential for growth in this industry because there's obviously a huge need for more talent," DiBiase said. "We got more interest than we expected. Before the end of the event, we'd already interviewed 10 candidates whom we could easily hire right then and there."

University of Pittsburgh

Students at the University of Pittsburgh Bradford, celebrated GIS Day by demonstrating various applications of GIS. The use of GIS in everyday processes, such as infrastructure maintenance and road management, were illustrated in posters to show how geospatial technology is involved in people's lives in ways they sometimes take for granted.

The role of GIS in supporting unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) technology was discussed during GIS Day at the University of Idaho.
The role of GIS in supporting unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) technology was discussed during GIS Day at the University of Idaho.

"Our event stimulated interest in geospatial technologies among faculty, staff, students, and the general public," said Tami M. Wells, adjunct faculty member at Biological and Health Sciences, Physical and Computational Sciences, University of Pittsburgh, Bradford. "Students also met with administrators of the university to discuss GIS courses and labs they could register for to expand their future career opportunities."

University of Idaho

Attendance was excellent at the University of Idaho's GIS Day event, with students, faculty members, and GIS professionals from across the state participating in the day's events. Participants had the opportunity to attend presentations on everything from GIS assisting hydrological science to GIS complementing unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) technology. Other popular sessions included discussions about GIS career opportunities and geospatial initiatives that have been rolled out across the state to strengthen Idaho's spatial data infrastructure.

"Our goal was to show the audience how we're all geospatially connected," said Bruce Godfrey, GIS librarian at the University of Idaho. "We had 15 different exhibit tables to demonstrate the variety of ways GIS impacts our lives, from coordinating the behind-the-scenes work of the city to helping emergency response agencies communicate and share."

Organizers of the Pakistan Geography and Alumni Association's  GIS Day event hoped to stimulate the public's interest in geospatial technology.
Organizers of the Pakistan Geography and Alumni Association's GIS Day event hoped to stimulate the public's interest in geospatial technology.

Pakistan Geography and Alumni Association

GIS is in demand all over the world but particularly in Eurasia where the demand for efficiency is paramount as the industry steadily grows there. The Pakistan Geography and Alumni Association celebrated GIS Day with a two-day seminar to stimulate public interest in the technology and encourage new technical talent looking for a promising career path. More than 15 organizations and institutes exhibited at the event at Arid Agriculture University in Rawalpindi, Punjab, Pakistan, offering GIS information and showing how the technology touches the lives of Pakistanis and others all over the world.

"GIS relates to so many aspects of our lives that many of us aren't even aware of," said Pir Mehr Ali Shaha from Arid Agriculture University. Said the university's vice chancellor, Rai Niaz Ahmad, "Our GIS event aimed to show how the use of GIS in agriculture sustainability not only informs decision making in Pakistan but can also actually bring prosperity if applied intelligently."

More than 16 years ago, consumer advocate Ralph Nader presented an idea to Esri president Jack Dangermond: dedicate one day to show how geographic intelligence touches everyone. That led to the establishment of GIS Day, which was first held in 1999. The explosion of geospatial technology since then has grown that idea into a global event that showcases how far GIS extends into their lives. With the Department of Labor recently declaring that geospatial technology is a high growth industry with many occupational opportunities, next year's GIS Day promises to be bigger and better.

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