Iowa State University

ITInformation Technology

Iowa State University Hosting Iowa GIS Day Event on November 17

This news item expired November 18, 2010. It may contain out-of-date information.
Iowa State University‘s Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Research and Support Facility and the Iowa Geographic Information Council (IGIC) will host Iowa GIS Day with an open house Wednesday, November 17, 2010 at the Durham Computation Center at ISU. Beginning at 9:00 AM, the event will include speakers on current local and statewide GIS topics and a poster session showcasing GIS projects of students, staff, and faculty at Iowa State University along with projects from across Iowa.

Held each year on the Wednesday of National Geographic Society‘s Geography Awareness Week (November 15–19), GIS Day is a global event that celebrates geographic information systems (GIS), an innovative technology that uses geography to bring countless benefits to the world. Governor Culver has issued a proclamation that November 17, 2010 be declared ’Geographic Information System Day in Iowa“ and that ’the state of Iowa is committed to expanding GIS and Geography to the schools and general public in order to showcase real-world applications with GIS and Geography.“ The Iowa GIS Day open house provides an opportunity for those Iowans curious about GIS to see its applications in action.

This year‘s open house features speakers from local and state organizations using GIS and data development promoted by the Iowa Geographic Information Council. These applications include Iowa‘s natural resources, agriculture, transportation, and educational programs. The speakers will highlight how GIS is being used in the state of Iowa, as well as nationally and internationally to solve many of our most pressing concerns. For those who can‘t attend in person, the presentations will also be webcast live and recorded for future viewing. The Iowa GIS Day event information is postedhere.

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.

Kevin Kane, director of Iowa State University's GIS Facility, adds, "The use of GIS technology has increased dramatically at the local and state levels in the past decade. As a result, GIS has become one of the fastest growing information technology careers for students, more and more of whom are realizing the benefit of having GIS as part of their studies." Iowa State offers a GIS certificate program for students interested in GIS as a career.

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.

Most recently we have seen how GIS technology can be used to aid Homeland Security initiatives, map natural disasters such as floods, fires, and severe weather events, and monitor the spread of disease locally, nationally, and internationally. The applications of GIS technology are endless, limited only by the imagination of its users. From real estate 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. ’This tool has been especially important for Iowans recently as witnessed by the invaluable use of GIS in response to flooding this past summer. GIS technology is utilized in planning efforts to mitigate impacts, utilized during the event in response and also has played a crucial role in cleanup efforts by local, state, and federal organizations this past summer,“ said Brad Cutler, current chairperson of the IGIC.

GIS Day serves to make people aware of GIS technology and the important contributions it is making in the fields of science, technology, information, and the humanities. It is a grassroots event and a reflection of the enthusiasm and commitment of individual GIS users everywhere.

This year marks GIS Day‘s twelfth year, so be sure to join the celebration and become a part of this annual tradition. More details on the ISU GIS Day event are available here. Information about GIS Day worldwide can be found here.


The ISU GIS Research and Support Facility is a public computing facility established to support the use of geographic information system (GIS) technology at Iowa State University. The mission of the facility is to provide high level GIS research and teaching laboratories for students, faculty, and staff as well as to provide GIS education and outreach to the Iowa State University community and the state of Iowa.

Iowa Geographic Information Council (IGIC) fosters an efficient state-wide GIS environment through cooperation and coordination with public and private entities that access, collect, provide, and share data, metadata, applications and educational opportunities throughout Iowa.

GIS Day is principally sponsored by the National Geographic Society, the Association of American Geographers, the University Consortium for Geographic Information Science, the United States Geological Survey, the Library of Congress, Sun Microsystems, Hewlett–Packard, and ESRI.

GIS Day and are trademarks, registered trademarks, or service marks of ESRI in the United States, the European Community, or certain other jurisdictions. Other companies and products mentioned herein are trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective trademark owners.