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Pinpointing Just Where to Celebrate Geographic Information System Day

By Bruce Joffe, Special to the Planet
Thursday November 12, 2009 - 09:27:00 AM

For some people, “where” is a prominent question for getting oriented and staying informed: “where is it?,” “how far?”, “what route to take?”   

These people already know and love geography.   

The rest of us may only be peripherally aware that geography, and geographic information system (GIS) technology are the root of the GPS map device in our cars, the source of GoogleMaps, and the base of those MLS real-estate listings.   

Next week, Nov. 16–20, is the annual celebration of geography, National Geography Week.    

To celebrate, our geographical friends at the Bay Area Automated Mapping Association, the UC Berkeley Geospatial Innovation Facility, and the Northern California Region of the American Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing are hosting the 14th annual GIS Day at UC Berkeley’s Mulford Hall.   

Afternoon activities begin at 3 p.m. with a free MapTogether workshop introducing GIS concepts in a nonprofit/community context. GIS computer workstations will be set up to demonstrate examples of how GIS can be used to visualize data and solve problems. Those who are adventurous and playful can try “geocaching,” a search for clues to hidden treasure using satellite-based GPS. 

From 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. local GIS professionals will be explaining some of the important ways GIS affects our lives and our public policy. Then, at 7:30 p.m. keynote speaker James Fee, geospatial blogger and community organizer, will discuss what people are doing to make geographic data accessible and shareable ( 

The event is free and refreshments will be served. You can find out how to get there and where to park at