Discovering the World through GIS
Published: Wednesday, November 21, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, November 21, 2012 10:11
Thursday November 15, was Brock University’s annual national GIS Day in celebration of Geography Awareness Week. The event was hosted by the Map Library, the Department of Geography, the Environmental Sustainability Research Centre (ESRC) and the Library’s Data Research Service.
ArcGIS is a complete Geographic Information System offering a variety of levels of functionality to the new user and the advanced GIS analyst. Using ArcGIS, data with a spatial reference can be visualized, processed and queried to better understand patterns and relationships in a geographic context. It is an important system to make use of in geographical studies, therefore a prominent concept to highlight when trying to raise awareness about different aspects concerning Geography.
The goal behind the event was to introduce GIS to the students, faculty and staff who may not be aware of what it is or how it functions on many different levels. In hopes to accomplish this, the day featured three different sessions for individuals to attend.
The first was an information session called, “Mapping with FRED and Evelyn,” which educated individuals on the various functions and benefits surrounding Social Science data and mapping. The second session was titled “Intro to GIS in 30 Minutes,” which offered individuals a chance to learn about the ins and outs of GIS while at the same time gain hands-on experience using ArcGIS. The third and final session was called “Let’s Play… GIS Jeopardy!” a game which incorporated the ArcGIS system when participants wished to answer questions or solve clues within the game.
GIS Day also featured a “Find Your House Contest” which allowed attendees to follow simple instructions on how to find their house using the Niagara Navigator system. This allowed for participants to become further introduced to another form of GIS, recognizing how it can be used for many different uses. Those who decided to participate were eligible for a prize at the end of the day, as an initiative to get involved and play along.
During the lunch hour from 12:00 to 1:30 p.m. the Library put on an ESRI GIS Scholarship Competition. Students who were interested in partaking in the competition were asked to give a five to 10 minute presentation on their intended project which they would carry out using ArcGIS. The winner of this competition was eligible to be the recipient of $1,000 cash and given a permanent copy of the ArcGIS Software, which included a few bonus perks that were to be kept anonymous. The Brock member who was the winner of the scholarship last year was in attendance to present the project he had completed.
Many students made use of social media in promoting and sharing their opinions on the event, as the hash tag #GIS was frequently used last week. Tweets generally touched on the interesting and informative discussion sessions that took place, allowing for students to learn quite a bit about GIS in today’s society.
All in all, the day was a success in attracting students to come out and have fun while learning about the perks of GIS here at Brock. The day was busy but worthwhile, and the students appeared to foster an over-all appreciation for being given the chance to attend such an event.