GIS Day Gains Momentum

lead-in graphicIn the few months since online registration went live, hundreds of organizations on five continents have signed up to host an event for GIS Day (see invitation below) on November 19, 1999. Some of the countries where events will be held include China, Poland, Turkey, Peru, Australia, and the United States, making the first annual worldwide GIS Day a truly international event.

National Geographic Society logoGIS Day is a worldwide event created to effectively communicate the benefits and significance of GIS to the rest of society. It is sponsored by the National Geographic Society, Association of American Geographers, and Esri and will be held during Geography Awareness Week. Geography Awareness Week was initiated by the National Geographic Society in 1987 to promote geographic literacy in schools, communities, and organizations, with a focus on the education of children.

The Association of American Geographers logoOrganizations that have registered for GIS Day include government agencies, private companies, research organizations, universities, high schools, and middle schools. The following are examples of some of the organizations that have signed up and their plans for this special day.

  • The City of Bemidji, Minnesota, is holding an open house to provide citizens of Bemidji an opportunity to view the city's GIS system in operation. City staff will demonstrate GIS applications as well as provide information on how the public can access the GIS data. Michelle Imberi, GIS coordinator for the City of Bemidji, says, "The City is just starting their GIS program, and not many people in the community know about it. I don't think they understand what's going on, and I think an open house will be a good way to show them what we're doing with GIS." Imberi says she hopes to promote the event by giving a presentation at a televised Council meeting, putting an ad in the paper, or participating in a talk on the local radio station.

  • Also opening their doors to the public is the Lee-Russell Council of Governments in Opelika, Alabama, and the Municipality of Ano Liosia in Greece. Both local governments will invite the public to visit their offices to see demonstrations and examples of maps.

  • Another regional government, the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG), is still in the early planning stages but hopes to open their offices to a local school. The event would include an introductory presentation, tours of SANDAG's GIS resources, a map and poster display, and software demonstrations. SANDAG is also considering a hands-on GIS workshop for member agencies of SANDAG.

  • Not to be outdone by their older colleagues, students at Washington Middle School in Seattle, Washington, will demonstrate how they use GIS to study geography and environmental issues in the Pacific Northwest.

  • Halfway around the globe, the Western Australia Water & Rivers Commission will be demonstrating the use of GIS for water management. This demonstration will take place at the commission's headquarters in Perth.

For more information on GIS Day or to register online, please visit or E-mail Organizations are encouraged to register soon, even if you are still planning your event. Registration ensures that you receive all new information as it becomes available, including the GIS Day Event Kit, which will be mailed in the third quarter of 1999.

GIS Day 1999 logo Dear ARC News Readers-

We are very pleased to share with you the first annual worldwide GIS Day! The National Geographic Society and the Association of American Geographers, together with Esri are supporting and promoting the first annual GIS Day. It will be held November 19, 1999, the Friday of the National Geographic Society's Geography Awareness Week. GIS Day will be a global event where users of GIS technology open their doors to schools, Businesses, and the general public to showcase real-world applications of this exciting technology.

For years we have promoted the idea behind GIS Day--the creation of a single, worldwide event that effectively communicates the benefits and significance of GIS to the rest of society. This event has the power to be a unifying force in bringing science, information, and technology together. The goal is to help make people aware of the substantial contributions that GIS technology is making in their communities. GIS benefits all of us, and it is time for us to help educate those around us.

We encourage all organizations using GIS to host their own GIS Day event. This should start with an attempt to publicize statewide events, declare official "GIS Day" decrees, and host a GIS Day event at your state capitol or other government site. Whether you participate in an open house at your organization, give a lecture at a local school, coordinate a map gallery display in your area, your involvement will help build worldwide awareness of GIS technology!

Participation is open to all GIS users around the globe. Those wishing to participate are invited to register their organization's profile and event plans via the GIS Day Web site at Encourage your GIS colleagues, users, and partners to register their events.

We will help participants publicize their events to the press and their communities and help the public find a nearby GIS Day event through the GIS Day Web site. We will work closely with you to provide support in promoting participation in GIS Day to local schools, newspapers, and other organizations. We will also provide each participating site with the necessary tools to help coordinate the events (i.e., logos, artwork for signs and banners, posters, videos, press templates, CDs, etc.).

We would like to thank you in advance for the enthusiasm!

Best regards,

Gil Grosvenor
National Geographic Society
Ron Abler
Association of American Geographers
Jack Dangermond

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