Iowa State University

ITInformation Technology

Iowa State’s GIS Day Events, November 16

This news item expired November 16, 2005. It may contain out-of-date information.
An exhibition of mapping and technology celebrates the global GIS Day on November 16, 2005. Beginning at 9 a.m. in 206 Durham Center, the morning's events include posters and presentations focused on applications using GIS in many Iowa State departments. See the online schedule of activities at for details.

GIS Day events offer an opportunity for those curious about GIS to see its applications in action. A GIS is a computer-based mapping tool that takes information from a database about a location--such as streets, buildings, water features, and terrain--and turns it into visual layers. The ability to see geographic features on a map gives users a better understanding of a particular location, enabling planners, analysts, and others to make informed decisions about their communities.

The use of GIS technology is increasing dramatically at Iowa State and other universities and organizations around the country and the world. GIS is also one of the fastest growing high-tech careers for students, more and more of whom are realizing the benefit of having GIS as part of their studies.

Although we may not be aware of it, GIS touches our lives daily. It is used throughout the world to solve problems related to the environment, health care, land use, business efficiency, education, and public safety. The power supply directed to homes, the patrol cars and fire trucks that keep neighborhoods safe, and the delivery trucks on the road all function more efficiently because of GIS. This technology can also help businesses place ATMs and restaurants at more convenient locations, allow people to pull maps off the Internet, and help farmers grow more crops with less chemicals.

GIS technology has been used to aid Homeland Security initiatives, map the debris field following the Space Shuttle Columbia tragedy, and monitor the spread of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). The applications of GIS technology are endless, limited only by the imagination of its users. From border patrol agents to doctors, and from federal agency employees to local city planners, people in nearly every profession all over the world are reaping the benefits of this extraordinary technology.

Held each year on the Wednesday of National Geographic Society‘s Geography Awareness Week (November 13–19 in 2005), GIS Day is a global event that celebrates geographic information system (GIS) technology, the innovative technology that uses geography to bring countless benefits to the world. More information on GIS Day is available at