November 19, 2008 is GIS Day … What is GIS Day?

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This year, GIS Day celebrates its 10th anniversary.  Initially a US-only observance dedicated to educating the public about geographic information systems (GIS) technology and its applications, today this celebration benefits from global participation and an impressive host of sponsors. Included among them are the National Geographic Society, Sun Microsystems, the Library of Congress, ESRI, the Association of American Geographers, the United States Geographic Survey and many others.

Part of Geography Awareness Week

In 1987 President Ronald Regan signed legislation establishing the third week of November as National Geography Awareness Week.  That same year, the National Geographic Society sponsored its first Geography Awareness Week to promote geographic literacy in schools and communities.  GIS Day became part of this yearly event starting in 1998, and is celebrated on the Wednesday that falls during Geography Awareness Week.  This year Geography Awareness Week is this week (Nov. 16-22nd) and the spotlight is on the Americas.

A Worldwide Celebration

This Wednesday November 19, 2008, GIS Day will be observed around the globe with events scheduled in more than 80 countries and 37 US States. Included among these celebrations will be the first ever Emirate-wide GIS Day event in Abu Dhabi, the 2nd GIS Users Conference in the Bahamas, and an ESRI-hosted Bucharest Green Map project to promote environmentalism in Romania.

Want to Participate? GIS Day Resources and Events

If you are looking for a GIS Day event to attend or just want to learn more about what is happening, check out's Find an Event Near You page. This site also includes stories of previous years' events and offers a variety of resources and ideas for starting your own GIS Day event next year. A special section, GIS Heroes, highlights volunteers who have contributed.  And for those who want to keep in touch with others or stay on top of the latest GIS Day news via a discussion forum and newsletter, GIS Day Watch, is also available.