What Is GIS Day?

Since 1987, the U.S. National Geographic Society has sponsored Geography Awareness Week each November to promote geographic literacy in schools, communities, and organizations, with a focus on the education of children. This event is intended to promote the understanding of geography in schools around the world. Included in this exciting initiative is World GIS Day, a global event for users of GIS technology to educate the public and demonstrate GIS technology at schools and organizations around the world. Since 1999, more than 10,000 organizations have participated in GIS Day by hosting events such as open houses, hands-on workshops, community expos, career fairs, school-wide assemblies, and mapping projects that share the importance of GIS with others.

GIS Day’s success is due to the hard work and dedication of GIS users across the globe who are passionate about GIS and the remarkable contributions it is making in our world. Last year, more than 80 countries joined the celebration by declaring GIS Day in their country, state, and/or region. With their help and enthusiasm, thousands of people were educated about this extraordinary technology.

GIS Day provides an international forum for users of geographic information systems (GIS) technology to demonstrate real-world applications that are making a difference in our society.

The first formal GIS Day took place in 1999. Esri president and co-founder Jack Dangermond credits Ralph Nader with being the person who inspired the creation of GIS Day. He considered GIS Day a good initiative for people to learn about geography and the uses of GIS. He wanted GIS Day to be a grassroots effort and open to everyone to participate.