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Winter 2003/2004
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GIS Day 2003

  Daisy Harsa and Jane Williams
Daisy Harsa (left) and Jane Williams, Denton Municipal Electric, Denton, Texas, with their giant brownie GIS Day cake!

GIS was displayed, demonstrated, and honored at more than 1,000 GIS Day events in nearly 100 countries all over the world. Organizations representing dozens of industries as well as private businesses, universities, nonprofits, government agencies, teachers, and students worked diligently to plan original, educational, and sometimes even elaborate events within their local communities to help celebrate the fifth annual global GIS Day. Here are a few examples.

U.S. Federal Agencies

Mapping and GIS technology were the main focus of 32 federal agencies from nine government departments at the Geography Awareness Week and GIS Day 2003 celebration November 19-20, 2003, in Washington, D.C. The event drew more than 300 participants that included teachers, students, federal employees, GIS users, and others interested in learning about the importance of geography throughout the world. The centerpiece of the event was an exhibit that demonstrated how geospatial technologies support multiple agencies working together. The theme of the event was "Peering Into the Past and Envisioning the Future." State, local, and federal agencies and the public participated in individual information sessions involving Geospatial One-Stop, The National Map, the Environmental Protection Agency's watershed assessment tracking and environmental results effort, the Federal Enterprise Architecture, and other current issues.

SiouxLand Users Group

Getting involved with GIS Day was not a problem for the SiouxLand Users Group (SLUG) in October 2003 when it hosted SLUGfest 2003. SLUGfest 2003, the first event of its kind in "SiouxLand," ended up setting the bar for similar events in the tristate region of Iowa, Nebraska, and South Dakota. The goal of SLUGfest 2003 was to celebrate the accomplishments and progress of more than 70 SiouxLand GIS users while touting the opportunities and advancements of GIS technology. Almost 300 people came together to enjoy the event. Nineteen users representing 15 city, county, and state departments as well as businesses in SiouxLand presented examples of how the use of GIS has improved users' abilities to perform certain daily tasks. Presentations on GIS in Assessment and GIS in Crime Analysis were given to standing room only audiences.

Chile Celebrates GIS Day

INCOM S.A., Esri's distributor in Chile, celebrated GIS Day for the second consecutive year. Students from secondary schools throughout the city of Santiago were invited to participate in the celebration. INCOM and the Military Geographic Institute worked together to organize a workshop at Bernardo O'Higgins University so students could experience firsthand why GIS and geography have such a vital role in serving our world. The workshop, titled "How to Build a Digital Map," included step-by-step exercises that allowed the students to create their own digital maps to contemplate real-life situations and problems.

Esri BIS Employees Are GIS Day Teachers

Esri Business Information Solutions (Esri BIS) employees got involved with GIS Day for the first time this year by hosting GIS Day events at their children's schools. Employees from Esri BIS conducted events in Virginia, California, Pennsylvania, and Maryland for students ranging in age from preschoolers to fourth graders.

Remember to submit your GIS Day 2003 photos and success stories to the GIS Day Web site ( GIS Day 2004 is scheduled for Wednesday, November 17—be sure to mark it on your calendar today!

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