Participants Discuss the Importance of Geography

The twelfth annual GIS Day celebration was a big success, with more than 600 organizations worldwide hosting events. GIS Day logoMany event organizers invited local press to events and received media coverage that helped spread the word about GIS Day in their communities. Each event provided different activities depending on the age group. Many universities participated this year by having a department open house with speakers; map galleries; and, of course, cake! Counties and cities around the world also opened their doors on GIS Day, allowing citizens the opportunity to learn about how GIS is used by local government. GIS Day events will continue to happen throughout the year, with elementary schools receiving visits from GIS professionals to discuss the importance of geography. Whether your celebration is large or small, it helps create geographic awareness and highlights the important work that you do for your organization. GIS Day 2011 will be held on November 16, during Geography Awareness Week, a geographic literacy initiative sponsored by the National Geographic Society ( Start planning your event early by visiting

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Forsyth County and Sawnee Electric Membership Corporation employees celebrating GIS Day in Cumming, Georgia.

Arkansas River Valley GIS Users Group

The Arkansas River Valley GIS Users Group sponsored GIS Day 2010 with "Mapping the River Valley 1 Point at a Time." The event catered to local schools, with students ranging from third to twelfth grade. In all, 289 students and 75 adults from 12 different schools attended. Tina Thompson, River Valley GIS Users chair, says, "Our goal is to get students excited about GIS and teach them how it is being used right here in their area." The event has given the students a better understanding of the world around them. Student Tesa Harris says, "It's like finding out things you never knew you could find out." The introduction of GIS in local schools has given the students higher expectations for the future; student Courtney Hancock expects that by learning about GIS now, she will have an edge once she leaves school. "I'm glad I know about it now, because in the future there will be more technology to deal with and learn about." With successful events in consecutive years and a 33 percent attendance growth from 2009, the Arkansas River Valley GIS Users Group is already hard at work planning GIS Day 2011.

Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest, Hungary

The Department of Cartography and Geoinformatics at Eötvös Loránd University celebrated GIS Day with the participation of 35 children in grades 5 through 8 from Remetekertvarosi Elementary School in Budapest. The activity was organized in three parts: First was a welcome speech from professor Laszlo Zentai (head of department) discussing the growing presence of GIS in our daily life and the important role that GIS plays in the country's economy. He was followed by Jesus Reyes Nunez, who presented a general introduction to GIS, talking about the connection between geography, cartography, and GIS. Eszter Dombovari-Simonne (from the Technical University of Vienna, Austria) presented map-based Web games that she designed, giving students the opportunity to play the games. The last theme was related to GPS; Bela Kovacs presented some of its theoretical principles. The day concluded with a geocaching activity, where children sought small "treasures" around the buildings of the university.

Memphis Area Geographic Information Council—Memphis, Tennessee

GIS Day cupcakes by Jessica Klug, planner, Town of Midland, Ontario, Canada.

The tenth anniversary of Memphis Area Geographic Information Council (MAGIC) GIS Day at the Great Hall of Germantown is a true testament to all the hard work president Dr. Esra Ozdenerol and the board of directors have put in. All the past presidents were acknowledged for their groundwork at the anniversary celebration. Attendees enjoyed a special GIS Day display with the conference theme "GIS Miracles at the Workplace" and a delicious cake. Guest speaker David Gisclair, Louisiana Oil Spill Coordinator's Office technical assistant program director, addressed the luncheon with a keynote related to GIS data management and lessons learned pertaining to oil spills and other natural disasters. In addition to the luncheon, the event included a series of lightning talks, an exhibit hall of sponsors showcasing their products, a map competition featuring some of the best work by students and government employees from many disciplines, and a panel on GIS career opportunities designed to enhance the collaboration between students at Memphis-area colleges and GIS professionals.

Resources Available

There are many more event examples and success stories available at The success stories are great ways to get ideas for your next GIS Day event, including hands-on GIS workshops, training seminars, special presentations and talks, map galleries, treasure hunts, and field trips. Once an idea is in the works, users are encouraged to access the resources and support provided online, including sample agendas, proposal letters, white papers, how to do a GIS Day proclamation in your area, and how to create a GIS Day cake.

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