Thursday, November 10, 2011

GIS Day 2011 Date is November 16 in Canada

Celebrate GIS Day on November 16, 2011. Many of the questions we have about the world requires answering the question “where.” Knowing where something is leads to a better understanding of how its location influences its characteristics and relationships with other objects or beings in the environment. This type of analysis, known as geographic analysis, is enabled by geographic information system or GIS technology. GIS allows people to integrate numerous information and analyze it spatially on digital maps, helping them uncover new patterns and valuable insights for effectively addressing the world's economic, social, political and environmental problems. On Wednesday, November 16, 2011, participate in numerous events being held across Canada in celebration of GIS Day.

The University of Waterloo in Ontario is one of the first Canadian universities to use GIS throughout its organization. The University uses ESRI's GIS solution in teaching geography and geomatics, as well as other programs that focus on developing highly in-demand technology skills. It also uses GIS to improve school administration and student recruiting. It is one of only three Canadian universities that have been recognized as an ESRI Development Centre for providing exemplary programs that educate students in designing and developing applications using GIS. The University has developed an application called RPyGeo that integrates ESRI geoprocessing tools with the free R statistical computing software, allowing users to leverage geographic data in statistical analysis without the need for programming.

“GIS allows us to intersect various data and apply new perspectives to problems,” says Scott MacFarlane, GIS Specialist, University of Waterloo. “It's a valuable technology for improving learning and promoting innovation among our students. Using GIS, they're able to create applications that have real-world impact. It provides them with important skills that they can apply to a wide spectrum of challenges and contribute to a more sustainable society.”

Students at the University leverage GIS to develop innovative prototype applications for planning, environmental management and other concerns. They also use the technology to support research on a broad range of issues including how to make municipal transit more efficient; how to use GIS for business development; determine the health effects of living near wind turbines; monitor the spread and impact of invasive insect species; monitor the effects of marine oil spills; and tracking climate change.

This year, the University will hold a GIS Day open house to showcase its various GIS applications, including a new mobile campus map application that helps students and visitors to easily navigate the university and obtain better access to information and services.

In addition to the University of Waterloo, many other organizations across Canada are hosting GIS Day events. To find an event near you, visit


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