This year we celebrate GIS Day on November 20, as part of Geography Awareness Week. You may be surprised to learn how much geography matters in our everyday lives. The ability to link maps digitally to information enables us to visualize and understand patterns and relationships around us. Geographic information systems, or GIS, provides this link.
GIS is a computer system that captures, stores, checks, and displays information related to positions on Earth’s surface. It helps analysts and scientists study climate change, land use planning, business, and even our nation’s defense. You might use it to find the closest restaurant or book store using your phone’s GPS. Here at NOAA, GIS is used to map oil spill trajectories, historic hurricane tracks, view and analyze nautical charts, and understand trends in areas such as sea level change and coastal socioeconomics.
GIS Day started in 1999 as an educational event for GIS users to showcase their projects that have real-world applications. Opening their doors to schools, businesses, and the public, GIS users and vendors demonstrate the benefits of GIS and how it makes a difference in our society. Today, GIS Day is a recognized globally with events occurring in dozens of countries.
In celebration of GIS Day, explore some of the GIS-related products and services NOAA provides to: