GIS Day: An opportunity to connect with a GIS Ambassador in your community

September 14, 2016 Angela Alexander

Are you planning a GIS Day event at your school this year? If so, invite a GIS Ambassador to speak to your students about the importance of mapping and GIS. Find out how you can connect with a GIS Ambassador in your community to support your GIS Day event.

Every year, GIS Day falls on the Wednesday of Geography Awareness Week. This year, GIS Day will be celebrated worldwide on November 16. It’s a great opportunity to invite a GIS Ambassador to your classroom to promote the importance of geography and GIS to your students and staff.  A GIS Ambassador can be a valuable guest who will open students’ and educator’s eyes to the power of GIS, as it can be used to inquire into and solve complex real-world issues. Here are 5 reasons educators should connect with a GIS Ambassador:

  1. They provide insights to you and your students about the importance of GIS, its applications in the real world and career options that are available.
  2. They can assist you and your students with getting started with ArcGIS Online.
  3. They can help your students develop spatial and critical-thinking skills through the use of spatial technology, while supporting curriculum outcomes.
  4. They can help you with a school project and even provide you with leads for data sources for your community.
  5. They are volunteers composed of GIS professionals, educators and higher education students, who can provide you and your students a connection to your community.

Miriam Castellanos, a teacher from Port Credit High School in Ontario who invited GIS Ambassadors to present at her school last year, says: “The GIS Ambassadors created great excitement among our students by showing numerous possibilities and applications for ArcGIS Online that apply both to school courses and personal interests. The students couldn't wait to get to the lab to make their own story maps, measure how far their home is from school or figure out how to make such cool maps. Their enthusiasm was contagious and made GIS learning fun.”

From far left: GIS Ambassador Hayleigh Conway from Esri Canada, Miriam Castellanos and GIS Ambassador Jean Tong from Esri Canada at the GIS Day event at Port Credit High School on November 18, 2015.

In addition to the support you will receive from a GIS Ambassador, the Esri Canada K-12 group is also available to assist you. We can also facilitate training workshops, find relevant resources and provide technical support.

GIS Day events are a great way to showcase how GIS can be used to support curriculum in various subjects beyond geography. There are many GIS applications in history, science and even English that can be promoted on this day. You can use the following resources at your event:

Jasmine Sohal, GIS Ambassador from Esri Canada, shared her knowledge on GIS careers to a class of middle school students in April 2016.

Explore some of last year’s events to get ideas of how you can join in the GIS Day celebration this year. Register to connect with a GIS Ambassador in your community. If you have any questions, contact k12@esri.ca.

About the Author

Angela Alexander

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.

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