Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Geography Awareness Week: GIS Day

Today is GIS Day. GIS Day celebrates the achievements that have been possible for geographers to do with the computer programs that allow for the creation of overlayable spatial databases. ESRI, the company with a practical monopoly on GIS, has made available thirty Best Practices books free online that document a wide variety of ways GIS has aided research, education, business, wildlife management and more.

For all those people who do not have access to either ArcGIS or another GIS platform, fear not. One can enjoy the first few levels of GIS via Google Earth. Use the program as more than something to see one's house with. Explore the world, turn various layers on and off and see what spatial patterns form, then go explore the Google Earth Community board and search for downloadable layers to add to one's exploration of the world.

GIS is a great tool for geography and geographers. Those in the geographic field should have at least working knowledge of it. They must also stress in importance of knowing spatial science (a branch of geography) to those non-geographers who utilize GIS. Without geography GIS is just another computer software program but with geography it becomes a powerful aide in research. Happy GIS Day!

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