Our world faces complex challenges that are global in nature but also are increasingly affecting our everyday lives. These challenges occur at multiple scales, locations, time periods, and cross national boundaries. To grapple with these challenges requires robust tools and data sets, and people who can effectively use them. Every day, people are using Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to make decisions that help people live healthier, safer lives on a more sustainable planet. How can someone learn about these tools and data sets, and the people who use them? One way is through GIS Day.
GIS Day (www.gisday.com) provides an international forum for users of GIS technology to demonstrate real-world applications that are making these positive differences in our society. This year, GIS Day falls on Wednesday, 16 November 2016. GIS Day is a fun and engaging way to celebrate the benefits that GIS provides, to learn more about GIS, to showcase the uses of GIS, and to connect with those in your community who are using GIS.
The first formal GIS Day took place in 1999. Esri president and co-founder Jack Dangermond credits Ralph Nader with being the person who inspired the creation of GIS Day. He considered GIS Day a good initiative for people to learn about geography and the uses of GIS. He wanted GIS Day to be a grassroots effort and open to everyone to participate.
What can you do on GIS Day? You can register and host an open house to demonstrate what your organization is doing with GIS. You can attend an event in your community to find out what others are doing with GIS. You could teach others about specific tasks that you can accomplish with a GIS or a problem you can solve in a webinar or a face-to-face presentation. You could visit a local school to help a teacher use GIS to teach about biomes, population change, or natural hazards. You could lead a field trip where you collect data and then map and analyze it. You could talk with your local university to find out what GIS courses they offer.
To find out what is happening on GIS Day, visit the live web map on www.gisday.com. For activities and other resources to help you with hosting your own event, see the resources section on the GIS Day website. These resources include activities with paper maps and with ArcGIS Online, engaging maps and story maps, videos, and much more.