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GIS Day 2015 – A round up of events across Canada

GIS Day is an opportunity to share the importance of geographic information systems (GIS) and geography with your colleagues and students. Find out how teachers and professionals across Canada celebrated this year!

After months of preparation and connecting GIS Ambassadors with keen teachers, our K-12 group is thrilled by the number of amazing GIS Day events that occurred across the country! Esri Canada employees, associates and GIS Ambassadors joined in the celebration on November 18th as they visited local K-12 schools to spread the word about the importance of geography and GIS.

Most of the events coordinated by the K-12 group included a GIS Day presentation, outlining what GIS is, why it’s important and how it’s used in the real world. Some of the events were followed by a hands-on ArcGIS Online activity created by our K-12 group, which is part of the Esri Canada Education and Research group.

Even though GIS Day is identified to be celebrated on the Wednesday of Geography Awareness Week in November, some schools choose to celebrate it before or after that date. By the end of the year, approximately 4,500 students from grade 1 to grade 12 will have participated in a GIS Day event. Check out the GIS Day Web map to view all the registered events in Canada.

An interactive map showing the 2015 GIS Day events across Canada

If you’re a teacher who’s inspired to celebrate before the next official GIS Day, contact us to find out how we can help you run a successful event in your class, school or community.

Here are highlights from some of the GIS Day events coordinated by teachers, GIS Associates and our K-12 group:


Calgary Zoo, Calgary
Brad Ashley, MMM Group
Verda Kocabas, Southern Alberta Institute of Technology
Hayleigh Conway from the Education and Research group helped Brad Ashley and Dr. Verda Kocabas to set up an activity for students from Calgary-area schools. As they walked around the zoo, the kids  used Explore for ArcGIS to map observations and pictures of the animals they encountered.

British Columbia

Kitsilano High School, Vancouver
Craig Brumwell, grade 12 geography teacher
GIS Ambassadors Shannon Cox (Desktop Support Analyst) and Agatha Kung (Esri Canada Associate) talked to the students about GIS and showed them some real-world applications.


Steinbach City Hall, Steinbach
Jason Wiebe, geography teacher - Steinbach Regional Secondary School
Mitchell Eastley, GIS Ambassador and GIS Developer/Technician at City of Steinbach
Jason brought his geography class to Steinbach City Hall on GIS Day to see a presentation highlighting how they use GIS on daily basis at the City of Steinbach.

Newfoundland and Labrador

Holy Heart High School, St. John’s
Amy Slaney-Howell, geography teacher
Zoe Goodyear, a GIS Ambassador and recent graduate of the GISciences Diploma Program at Memorial University
In October, Zoe presented to two of Amy’s geography classes, using the GIS Day presentation and demonstrating real-world GIS applications.

Nova Scotia

Charles P. Allen High School, Bedford
Jeff Hunter, geography teacher
Julie Roebotham a GIS Ambassador and an application specialist at Esri Canada’s Halifax office
Julie presented “what is GIS” to two of Jeff's grade 10 geography classes and students had an opportunity to work on the Ashcloud Apocalypse activity.

The Ashcloud Apocalypse disaster risk mapping activity was used at many GIS Day events Canada and around the world.

Herring Cove Junior High, Herring Cove
Anne Grant, geography teacher
Tyler Wilson, a GIS Ambassador and a GIS consultant at Esri Canada’s Halifax office
Tyler introduced GIS to Anne’s grade 9 social studies class and the students worked activities from the GIS Day Canada Gallery, such as the Ashcloud Apocalypse and the Exploring Canada’s Geography activities.

Bridgetown High School, Bridgetown
Suzanne Handley, geography teacher
Hari Shankar Reddy, GIS Ambassador and Dave MacLean, GIS Faculty at Centre of Geographic Sciences (COGS)
Hari and Dave presented to Suzanne’s grade 9 and 12 students on the importance of GIS Day and introduced them to story maps and the Snap2Map application. Check out the story map created by two Bridgetown High School students at the event using Snap2Map.


Inuksuk High School, Iqaluit
Craig MacGregor, geography teacher
Tat Ma, GIS Specialist for Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada
Tat presented ArcGIS for Desktop and basic GIS analysis to Craig’s students.


Port Credit Secondary School, Mississauga
Miriam Castellanos, geography teacher
Angela Alexander, Hayleigh Conway and Jean Tong from the K-12 group presented  “what is GIS” and worked with 150 grade 9 geography students on the Where do Canadians like to visit activity and the Exploring Canada’s Geography activity.

Hayleigh, Miriam and Jean before the start of a great GIS Day at Port Credit Secondary School.

St Andrew’s College, Aurora
David Joiner, Geography Department Head
David’s geography classes worked on the  Ashcloud Apocalypse activity on GIS Day. Check out their promotional video for the activity.

Central Peel Secondary School, Brampton
Nancy Cartmell and Grant Wardlaw, grade 9 geography teachers
Mehrdad Zarei,GIS Ambassador and  GIS Analyst at Arcadis
Mehrdad presented to two separate grade 9 geography classes on the importance of GIS and how it is used in the real world.

Iroquois Ridge High School, Oakville
Richelle McDonald, grade 9 geography teacher
Wendel Chan, GIS Ambassador and Masters student in Earth and Space Science at York University
Wendel introduced four separate grade 9 geography classes to GIS and the students worked on some GIS Day Canada activities.

Garth Webb Secondary School, Oakville
Laura Field, grade 9 geography teacher
Esri Canada Associates Christina Xing and Jing Yan presented “what is GIS” and worked with four separate classes on the Exploring Canada’s Geography activity.

Christina and Jing, Esri Canada Associates join in the GIS Day fun by presenting to geography classes at Garth Webb Secondary School, Oakville.

Arnprior District High School
Brian Reid, GIS Ambassador, technology coach and teacher
Brian presented to a group of 16 Grade 9 Academic Geography students. They explored an inquiry question related to diversity and immigration in Canada as part of their Changing Populations unit.

Images capturing Brian Reid’s successful GIS Day event at Arnprior District High School in Ontario.


Holy Family Catholic School, Saskatoon
Grade 4 teacher Melanie Lavallee-Usselman
Melanie used some of the GIS Day Canada activities with her students.
Shane Long, Senior Consultant from Esri Canada, was in attendance to support the teacher and brought cupcakes for the students.

Jack Mackenzie School, Regina
Kelley Reoch, grade 7 & 8 teacher
Naiomi Lynn, GIS Ambassador and Marketing Manager at Geomatics at Information Services Corporation, introduced GIS to four classes of grade 7 and 8 students and showed them some of our activities.

About the Author

Angela Alexander is a K-12 Education Resource Developer on the Esri Canada Education and Research team. She has over six years of experience working with educators across Canada. Angela is responsible for producing geographic information system (GIS) and curriculum specific resources, conducting and creating custom workshops for educators and judging and developing the question for the annual GIS Skills Ontario competition in Waterloo, Ontario. Angela has a Bachelor’s degree in Geography and Sociology from the University of Western Ontario and completed the Applied Digital Geography and GIS certificate program at Ryerson University.

Profile Photo of Angela Alexander