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5 Inspiring GIS Day Stories

12-15-2017 06:09 AM
Esri Notable Contributor
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The inspiring stories about what people did for the most recent GIS Day and the positive difference their efforts are making in our world continue to flow in.  For example, see the essay I wrote recently highlighting some of these.  Did you host an event in 2017?  If so, feel free to add it to the "How did you celebrate GIS Day" story map.  

Did you miss out?  It is not too early to start planning for the next GIS Day, 14 November 2018.

Professor Vanya Stamenova at the Department of Remote Sensing and GIS organized an event held in conjunction with the Space Research and Technology Institute at the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences. Since 1976, this department has accomplished more than 60 research projects using Earth observation technologies, GIS, and ground-based methods, including the validation of satellite data, development of aerospace test sties, geo-ecological study of hazardous materials and risk assessment, tourism, cultural and historical heritage, crop assessment, minerals, freshwater, and in other areas. This year marked their first GIS Day for Education on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the National High School of Mathematics and Sciences (NHSMS) in Sofia, Bulgaria, and held at the school organized under the Space School Educational Initiative.  I filmed a welcome video for the event, which was followed by presentations from Esri Bulgaria, DigitalGlobe, the European Association of Remote Sensing Laboratories, faculty, and students. 

Collage of Bulgaria GIS Day event.

Some scenes from the GIS Day event organized by the Space Research and Technology Institute at the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences and held at the National High School of Mathematics and Sciences (NHSMS) in Sofia, Bulgaria.

The City and County of Denver, Colorado, USA, has been hosting GIS Day events since GIS Day began, in 1999.  This year, more than 250 people attended their event, held on 6 December and organized by GIS analyst Doug Genzer.  It featured exhibits showing what planning, community resources, schools, police, and other departments in the city are doing with GIS, speeches by Denver Mayor Hancock and members of his GIS staff, and representatives from universities, the US Census Bureau, and other organizations.  I gave the keynote (available here) focused on key forces and trends in GIS, with recommendations on the most important skills for GIS professionals. 

Collage of Denver GIS Day photographs.

GIS Day has been celebrated at the City and County of Denver, Colorado, USA, since 1999.  Here are some highlights of this year's event. 

Chris Highfield, Amy Mathie, and their colleagues at the US Forest Service in Oregon organized an event that even attracted attendees from the Bureau of Land Management, US Forest Service, Portland State University, and elsewhere, for lightning talks on publication mapping, aerial photography, Python and ArcPy scripting, climate change, mobile GIS, and the geospatial platform direction, plus a raffle drawing, cake, and even an appearance by Smoky the Bear!

Oregon USFS GIS Day collage of photographs.

Some scenes - including an appearance by Smoky the Bear - at the GIS Day event organized by the US Forest Service.

Lucie Kendall and her scientists at Halifax Water in Canada hosted an event at Halifax Water's facility.  Lucie wrote, "In honor of Geography Week and International GIS Day, GIS staff at Halifax Water hosted students from the Centre of Geographic Sciences (COGS) for a morning of presentations, breakout sessions, and cake (of course).  Students learned about the various GIS roles at Halifax Water; including Engineering Information Technicians and GIS Analysts, divided into Technical, Updating, and Product delivery teams.  Students walked through the GIS updating process using engineering record information.  Staff also presented hard copy mapping products and demonstrated custom built form and view/query applications, recent ventures into Cityworks, and some of the Utility’s latest ArcGIS Online solutions.  Additional Halifax Water GIS consumers joined in on the fun as the event was topped off with a GIS Day cake and GIS swag giveaways, generously sponsored by Esri’s GIS Day team.  Yet another great GIS Day at Halifax Water!" 

Halifax Water GIS Day collage of photographs.

Some highlights of Halifax Water's GIS Day event in Canada.

Professor of Urban Geography Nashwan S.H. Abdullah from the University of Duhok in Iraq sent these photographs in of their GIS Day event.  Their workshop featured theoretical foundations of GIS, elements of GIS, application areas of GIS, the potential of the GIS program, and projects that students have completed during their 2017 studies.  

Collage of Duhok Iraq University GIS Day event.

Some photographs from the University of Duhok in Iraq's GIS Day event.  I especially like their GIS shirts!

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About the Author
I believe that spatial thinking can transform education and society through the application of Geographic Information Systems for instruction, research, administration, and policy. I hold 3 degrees in Geography, have served at NOAA, the US Census Bureau, and USGS as a cartographer and geographer, and teach a variety of F2F (Face to Face) (including T3G) and online courses. I have authored a variety of books and textbooks about the environment, STEM, GIS, and education. These include "Interpreting Our World", "Essentials of the Environment", "Tribal GIS", "The GIS Guide to Public Domain Data", "International Perspectives on Teaching and Learning with GIS In Secondary Education", "Spatial Mathematics" and others. I write for 2 blogs, 2 monthly podcasts, and a variety of journals, and have created over 5,000 videos on the Our Earth YouTube channel. Yet, as time passes, the more I realize my own limitations and that this is a lifelong learning endeavor and thus I actively seek mentors and collaborators.