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Geography Awareness Week

12 November 2020

Many NOAA products and services make use of and disseminate spatial data. Emergency managers rely on well-mapped evacuation routes to plan evacuation timelines and use post-event imagery to plan their response. For example, the 2020 California wildfires and accompanying heavy winds forced swift analysis and evacuation orders to escape new fires. This type of reliance on accurately aligned data and imagery will only increase as the world continues to build smart highways and smart cities.

Why am I emphasizing the importance of geospatial data? Next Monday, November 16 marks the beginning of Geography Awareness Week, which was instituted to excite people about geography both as a field of study and as a part of everyday life. And there is more to celebrate! November 18 is GIS Day, when people around the world convene to highlight how Geographic Information System technology is making a difference in our society.

I’m very proud of the work that the National Geodetic Survey (NGS) contributes to this field of data science and analysis. NGS collects emergency response imagery then quickly processes and shares it with the public, which is made possible by the advanced GIS tools available today. This imagery doesn’t just help emergency managers to aid in damage assessment — the general public uses it for this purpose as well.

NGS is also using GIS more frequently to crowdsource and share information with our customers. Our new Mark Recovery Dashboard displays the mark recoveries that have been submitted by users to NGS. To maintain updated records on more than 800,000 survey marks set around the U.S. and its territories, NGS encourages the public to submit current mark recovery information.

Interested in seeing more examples of how geospatial concepts fill our everyday lives? I recommend watching NGS’s popular new COMET video, “Location Science Improves Everyday Life.”

Thank you,

Juliana P. Blackwell
National Geodetic Survey
Juliana P. Blackwell

Juliana P. Blackwell
Director, National Geodetic Survey

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