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Spring 2007
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GIS Day 2007—Build GIS Understanding in Your Community

GIS Day logoWe live in a changing world that is becoming increasingly complex, challenging, and crowded. We need more understanding and more collaboration.

Close your eyes and imagine a world where natural places are preserved, resources are managed wisely, and nature and industry are in balance. Can you picture a world where people are thriving, businesses are profitable, crime is low, and global health is improving each day? Have you heard about organizations that put strategies and tools in place to help them see "the big picture" and make better decisions?

If you can imagine these things, then you are probably thinking about a world that has successfully deployed GIS technology. If you are lucky enough to know about GIS and can envision this world, then we invite you to share your vision by celebrating GIS Day with us this November.

What Is GIS Day?

Held as part of the National Geographic Society's Geography Awareness Week and Geography Action! initiative, GIS Day is an international grassroots event to encourage geographic literacy and help build better understanding and collaboration in our communities, schools, and organizations.

How Can I Participate?

Last year, people from more than 80 countries participated in events ranging from corporate open houses to hands-on workshops, community expos, schoolwide assemblies, mapping projects, geography games, GPS scavenger hunts, and more. Although the official celebration date occurs each year during the third week in November, it is possible to celebrate GIS Day on any day that works for you and your organization.

Mark Your Calendar Today

Wednesday, November 14, 2007, will mark the ninth annual GIS Day celebration. GIS Day provides an opportunity for you to share your knowledge with your colleagues and associates, business partners and customers, elected officials and leaders, and local schools and universities. Please join us in this global effort to build understanding in your community one GIS Day at a time.

More Information

For more information or to register your GIS Day 2007 events, visit www.gisday.com.

Read on to see how Forsyth County, Georgia's GIS professionals brought their community together on GIS Day.

Forsyth County's GIS Day

  group photo
Forsyth County's GIS Day team gets ready to open the doors to celebrate GIS Day 2006 with numerous events geared both to internal colleagues and staff members, as well as to community members of all ages and levels of GIS knowledge.

Forsyth County, Georgia, celebrated GIS Day 2006 with a variety of events suited for all ages and attendees. The day started with the Forsyth County Fire Department Honor Guard presentation of colors followed by special geography quizzes, a geocache activity, raffles, and a scrumptious GIS Day cake.

Representatives from Gainesville State College, Sawnee Electric, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and Esri joined Forsyth County staff with presentations and demonstrations throughout the day. County employees were pleased to take part in building the "Where in the World Are Our County Employees From?" map, which was displayed in the GIS Day map gallery, by placing a pin on their hometowns. And they were equally excited to participate in a geocache activity that led them on a search for small camo-Tupperware containers placed (with permission) in the downtown area. Staffers put on their walking shoes in search of the containers filled with coupons for free GIS Day T-shirts and goodies.

In the months leading up to GIS Day, event coordinators stashed these caches with GIS Day invitations as they wanted to be sure to publicize their event in as many ways as possible, including placing posters at local libraries, post offices, churches, and clubs. "I religiously used the GIS Day resources and templates on the GIS Day Web site," says GIS Day event coordinator Mary Jo Black Enderby. "They were a great start for me to use creatively in inviting local groups to participate in our events."

GIS technician Jodey Fulcher created a GeoTrail leading trailblazers on a journey through 16 county parks. GeoTrail participants were awarded certificates of completion and other prizes.

While local middle school students joined county commissioners and staff at the GIS Day proclamation-reading ceremony earlier in the month, GIS Day afternoon brought another unique group of visitors. Interested seniors from the Forsyth County Senior Center brought their curiosity on a short shuttle ride over to the GIS Day event. "What a wonderful group to have celebrating the day with us," remarks Enderby. "They were full of questions and enthusiasm to learn more." The busy day ended with popcorn and a viewing of the movie The World in a Box.

"November 15, 2006, was our best GIS Day yet," says Enderby. "It really had something for everybody. I know that the Engineering Department works with roads, and they kind of know that I work with maps, but when we get together like this and participate in hands-on activities, it sort of clicks it all into place; it helps us really understand what our colleagues do each day. That's really the best part about GIS Day!"

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