GIS Day Events Happening Across Canada

November 19, 2014 Angela Alexander

As part of Geography Awareness Week, Wednesday November 19, 2014, marks GIS Day. This event plays an important role to build geographic awareness throughout the world as celebrations are held to educate millions of children and adults about the benefits of geography and geographic information systems (GIS). Find out what people are doing in Canada to celebrate this important day.

GIS Day is finally here! Many events have been planned across Canada to highlight the importance of geographic awareness. Let’s see what’s happening - starting from the west coast.

In British Columbia, Esri Canada is a Gold Sponsor of Selkirk College’s GIS Day. The event usually attracts 70-100 attendees made up of professionals, interested members of the public and future students. This year, attendees can participate in hands-on exercises, exhibits and demonstrations. As well, through the newly inaugurated SFU Esri Canada Centre of Excellence, the Faculty of Environment and the SFU Library Research Commons at Simon Fraser University will feature a guest lecture on 3D GIS, GIS-themed “Lightening Talks” from SFU researchers and ArcGIS workshops for beginners and advanced users alike.

The Alberta Geomatics Group will be hosting an evening event with activities for the whole family at the TELUS Spark Science Centre in Calgary. The evening will consist of the Geomatics Expo tradeshow with booths showcasing innovation and promoting career opportunities, door prizes, TELUS Spark access and a giant Canadian Geographic "Canada from Space" floor map composed of images taken by Canada’s RADARSAT-2. There will be a map and image contest running throughout the evening for industry, students and government.

In Manitoba, University of Winnipeg professors and students will visit Dakota Collegiate to present introductory GIS information to grade 10 geography classes; an event coordinated through the Manitoba GIS Users Group (MGUG) and the Manitoba government. Two demonstrations will also be provided: 1) LiDAR, digital model creation and elevation analysis techniques in ArcGIS; and 2) Flow path and watershed modelling in the experimental lakes.

In Ontario, the University of Waterloo Mapping, Analysis and Design Department will be hosting activities and presentations, giving those interested in GIS a great opportunity to explore innovative geospatial applications. A selection of presentation topics includes: Open Data at the University of Waterloo; GIS-based analysis of the future development of Tim Hortons in Buffalo using Web GIS visualization; and assessing environmental risk of the Energy East Pipeline expansion.

McMaster University will be running its 16th annual GIS Day a little later on Thursday, December 4, 2014. Hosted by the School of Geography & Earth Sciences and the Centre for Spatial Analysis, the event helps to raise the visibility of Geomatics field among high school students and their teachers. K-12 associates from the Education and Research Group at Esri Canada will be hosting various hands-on workshops for high school students.

In Quebec, the Université de Sherbrooke will host various speakers to present how they use GIS in their field (ecology, history, engineering, etc.), including Masters and PhD students who will speak about their current projects.

In Nova Scotia, the Geomatics Association of Nova Scotia (GANS) is hosting a series of presentations at the Nova Scotia Museum of Natural History. Students from the Nova Scotia Community College (NSCC) Centre of Geographic Sciences (COGS) will be visiting local high schools to provide an introduction to ArcGIS technology with exercises and demonstrations. As well, students will celebrate with GIS trivia for swag prize draws and a cake to build awareness within NSCC.

Finally, there will be over 1,600 attendees participating in K-12 related events across Canada. View this map to find a GIS Day event near you and Happy GIS Day. Don’t forget to share your GIS Day photos and activities on Twitter at #GISDaySelfie and #GISDay respectively to map you selfie on the GIS Day Selfie Story Map.

Esri Canada's 2014 GIS Day Participants story map. Close to 100 schools and organizations across Canada registered with us as GIS Day participants.

If you would like to tell us about your GIS Day event, contact us at or share your comment below.

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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