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Geographic Information Systems Day – November 20, 2024

Geographic Information Systems (G.I.S.) Day is observed every third Wednesday in November. This year, G.I.S. Day will be celebrated on November 20. G.I.S. Day is a day dedicated to promoting Geographic Information Systems, a type of technology that deals with geography or map-based data. The observance was initiated by the Environmental Systems Research Institute in 1999. The goal of this holiday observance is to make it easier for people to use geographic systems to better understand and manage challenges like climate change, transportation planning, and population and demographic statistics. Ralph Nader, was the individual who inspired G.I.S. Day.

History of Geographic Information Systems Day

On November 19, 1999, the National Geographic Society, the Association of American Geographers (A.A.G.), and Esri initiated the Geographic Information Systems Day observation. The National Geographic Society, in particular, was responsible for establishing Geography Awareness Week in November 1987. It was during this week of geo-literacy that G.I.S. Day started. Geographic Information Systems is simply the technology that comprehends the concept of ‘where.’ This simply means that G.I.S. is focused on collecting, displaying, and analyzing location data to assist in making informed decisions. In addition, G.I.S. is used to determine the optimum location for a wind farm, predict flood zones, and plan the most efficient bus route.

G.I.S. has progressed from an idea to science over five decades. As computers and early conceptions of quantitative and computational geography arose in the 1960s, the area of geographic information systems (G.I.S.) was born. Academic research formed the basis of early G.I.S. work. G.I.S. has evolved into a platform vital to practically every human endeavor. It can be seen as the planet’s nervous system, as it has moved to the web and cloud computing and is integrated with real-time information via the Internet of Things.

The Harvard Laboratory for Computer Graphics developed some of the first computer map-making software. A bright group of geographers, planners, computer scientists, and others from various professions invented many of the early concepts for G.I.S. and its applications in the Lab. Numerous interesting activities can be done on G.I.S. Day this year whether it’s in the classroom teaching real-world G.I.S. applications or out in the field recording G.P.S. points.

Geographic Information Systems Day timeline

World’s First Computerized G.I.S.

Roger Tomlinson’s work implementing the Canadian G.I.S. is the world’s first computerized G.I.S.

First Computer Mapping Software Package

Howard Fisher develops SYMAP at Northwestern University.

Harvard Computer Graphics Laboratory

Howard Fisher establishes the Harvard Laboratory for Computer Graphics.

Establishment of Esri

Jack Dangermond and his wife Laura start Esri at Harvard.

The First Esri Commercial G.I.S. Product

Esri starts ARC/INFO, the first commercial G.I.S. technology.

Geographic Information Systems Day FAQs

Is Google Maps a Geographic Information System?

Yes. The G.I.S. platform Google Maps is perhaps the most extensively used technology.

Who started G.I.S. Day?

Ralph Nader, according to Esri president and co-founder Jack Dangermond, was the individual who prompted the formation of G.I.S. Day.

How is G.I.S. used?

A geographic information system (G.I.S.) is a computer program that captures, stores, checks, and displays data about locations on the Earth’s surface.

How to Observe Geographic Information Systems Day

  1. Go satellite watching

    You can join in the celebration by satellite watching. Satellites circle our planet quietly for a variety of remote sensing applications and functions. You can use your phone as a satellite augmented reality app if you don’t have a telescope.

  2. Thank a geography instructor

    There’s no better way to celebrate G.I.S. Day than by appreciating professionals in the sector for their work. Thank the instructors for the message today.

  3. Join the Esri community

    Get a better understanding and appreciation of G.I.S. by joining the Esri online network. You will be able to exchange ideas, collaborate, and find solutions to G.I.S. challenges.

5 Interesting Facts About Geographic Information Systems

  1. First aerial photographs

    Hot air balloons, kites, and even pigeons were used to obtain the first aerial photographs.

  2. The first airplane shot aerial pictures

    Wilbur Wright took the first aerial pictures from an airplane.

  3. Largest G.I.S. day

    The 2013 G.I.S. Day was one of the largest, with over 1,000 hosts and 105,000 attendees.

  4. G.I.S. studies beyond Earth

    G.I.S. is used to study other planets; its systems were critical to the exploration of Mars.

  5. G.I.S. manages situations

    G.I.S. is useful not just for forecasting occurrences but also for managing them.

Why Geographic Information Systems Day is Important

  1. G.I.S. has multiple beneficial uses

    G.I.S. technology is utilized in a variety of commercial applications. G.I.S. technology is to track natural disasters, determine how climate change will affect our globe, and locate communities in need of assistance following disasters.

  2. It spreads awareness

    G.I.S. Day brings together users of geographic information systems to showcase real-life applications that are making a difference in our society. It spreads awareness of how G.I.S. benefits mankind.

  3. It is a global movement

    G.I.S. Day is a global movement that brings together universities, government organizations, schools, non-profits, and G.I.S. professionals. The holiday observation aims to promote G.I.S. awareness and understanding of the world.

Geographic Information Systems Day dates

2022November 16Wednesday
2023November 15Wednesday
2024November 20Wednesday
2025November 19Wednesday
2026November 18Wednesday

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