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Susan Smith
Susan Smith
Susan Smith has worked as an editor and writer in the technology industry for over 16 years. As an editor she has been responsible for the launch of a number of technology trade publications, both in print and online. Currently, Susan is the Editor of GISCafe and AECCafe, as well as those sites’ … More »

GIS Day 2017 is for Everyone

November 15th, 2017 by Susan Smith

Dr. Joseph Kerski, Ph.D., GISP, Education Manager for Esri, spoke with GISCafe Voice about GIS Day events and his trip to University of Central Florida (UCF) to participate in GIS Day 2017 there. Coordinating the UCF event is Dr. Timothy Hawthorne, Assistant Professor of Geographic Information Systems, Principal Investigator, NSF Citizen Science GIS REU Site for UCF.

“Our mission is to encourage GIS used in higher education, in business, geography, health – throughout the university,” said Kerski. “Also, 4H, Girl and Boy Scouts, and K-12 worldwide.”

Formerly with the USGS, NOAA, and U.S. Census Bureau, Kerski said they are holding GIS Day, November 15th,  in conjunction with National Geography Awareness Week, an event started by National Geographic.

Typically GIS Day is an opportunity to hold open houses at universities and companies to showcase what GIS does. As GIS is embedded into so many other technologies, sometimes students, educators and professionals are not fully aware of its profound reach and capabilities.

There are currently 800 GIS Day events listed on the online site. To find a GIS Day near you, use this site:

Citizen Science GIS at UCF will feature three free, public events at which Dr. Kerski will be a special guest. The events are as follows: a Geospatial Technologies Career Panel (Tuesday, November 14 from 12-1 p.m.), GIS Lab at UCF Open House, (Tuesday, November 14 from 3:30-5:00 p.m.), GIS Day Keynote Address with Dr. Kerski, (Wednesday November 15 from 4:00-5:30  p.m.)

The Geospatial Technologies Career Panel will feature Kerski and five Central Florida GIS leaders speaking about mapping, GIS, planning and drones. The discussion will include career planning, advice and networking opportunities.

GIS Lab at UCF Open House will provide an informal networking opportunity with time to meet Dr. Kerski from Esri and to learn more about the research, education and outreach offered at UCF GIS.

GIS Day Keynote Address with Dr. Joseph Kerski – Discussion of five converging forces that are catapulting GIS on to the world stage, five trends in geospatial technology and the five key skills important to your career. Live web mapping tools will be demonstrated focusing on tools and skills such as geo-awareness, storytelling and citizen science, curiosity, 3D GIS and other aspects of GIS today.

In addition to the public events listed above nearly 500 youth and teachers will be in attendance at an event on Wednesday, November 15 entitled “Maps, Apps and Drones for Citizen Science,” hosted by Dr. Kerski.  UCF Citizen Science GIS

Maps made with geospatial data in Adobe Illustrator with MAPublisher

Ted Florence, president of Avenza Systems and the International Map Industry Association (IMIA), shared some thoughts on GIS Day and the future of GIS. Florence is a well-regarded contributor to the advancement of technology in how maps are created and distributed digitally, and he currently leads Avenza Systems Inc., the developer of cartographic software such as MAPublisher for Adobe Illustrator, Geographic Imager for Adobe Photoshop, and Avenza Maps, its consumer and enterprise mobile mapping app.

 Have you planned any GIS Day activities? If so what are they?

Avenza will be celebrating GIS day by promoting GIS and map use and increasing awareness of the science. We do not have any particular events of our own planned but will be promoting GIS day and GIS in general via our usual channels.

Do you see any GIS technology that might be replaced by new opportunities outside the traditional GIS space?

I see more increased use of mobile smartphones and tablets in GIS and data collection as users seek to overcome the limitations of desktop and laptop computers for the traditional work and use the very powerful mobile platforms to do work that heretofore has been primarily done on full computing platforms. That being the case, GIS technology that resides only on traditional computers stands to be usurped by newer tech that is mobile based.

What facets of GIS would you advise newcomers to explore in order to acquire the best skills for future employment in GIS?

I would advise newcomers to focus on cartography, 3D mapping and LiDAR skills as well as geospatial databases.

What are some of the biggest advancements in mapping technology within the past 5 years?

In my opinion the 3 biggest advancements in mapping technology have been, in no particular order, LiDAR, drones and mobile mapping.
The use of LiDAR for 3D data collection is a great technology that is revolutionizing the way geospatial information is collected. Drones are everywhere now and every show I attend has drones on display all over the place. Drone use for data collection and observation is in its infancy still and promises to be a fantastic thing going forward. The use of mobile devices for data collection and map use is the future of mapping and GIS as we seek to replace paper and use more and more technology in the field.

Where is GIS headed in the next 5 years? What advancements will we see and what industries will it make an impact on?

The next 5 years will show ever more advancements in LiDAR, drone use and mobile mapping as these newer technologies mature.
These will most certainly impact industries and use cases that depend on more detailed, thorough and time-sensitive data collection and moreover those that are in remote and disconnection theatres such as forestry, mining and exploration, oil and gas and military. As well, I see 3D coming to bear more as we strive to see the planet in a full dimensional space. I feel it will not be long before the traditional flat map we are all used to becomes a fully immersive 3D experience.

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Categories: 3D Cities, 3D designs, 3D PDF, ArcGIS, Big Data, citizen science, climate change, cloud, crowd source, data, disaster relief, drones, emergency response, Esri, field GIS, geocoding, geospatial, GIS, GIS Day, Google, government, indoor location technology, lidar, location intelligence, mapping, mobile, National Geospatial Intelligence Agency, NGA, resilient cities, sensors, survey, UAS, UAV, UAVs

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