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GIS Day is on Wednesday, November 17, 2021

gis day 2020

Are you excited about GIS day?

Every year, people from around the world celebrate GIS Day.

This year, it’s scheduled for Wednesday, November 17, 2021.

But what exactly is GIS day? What are some ideas for GIS Day?

Let’s adventure into the one day of the year dedicated to the emerging technology of Geographic Information Systems.

What is GIS Day?

The first-ever GIS Day was held on November 19, 1999, during Geography Awareness Week from November 14-20, 1999.

GIS day is a worldwide event that celebrates the technology of Geographic Information Systems (GIS). Ralph Nader inspired GIS Day as a day for geography awareness.

But it was actually the National Geographic Society, Association of American Geographers (AAG) and Esri, who really put the day into action on November 19, 1999.

More specifically, it was the National Geographic Society who organized Geography Awareness Week each November in 1987. Since then within that week of geo-literacy, GIS Day typically occurs.

Year Date
2016 Wednesday, November 16
2017 Wednesday, November 15
2018 Wednesday, November 14
2019 Wednesday, November 13
2020 Wednesday, November 18
2021 Wednesday, November 17

Geo-inspiration for GIS Day 2021

greenland globe

In short, GIS is the technology that best understands ‘where’. In other words, GIS can capture, display, and analyze location data to help make powerful decisions.

For example, GIS helps understand where best to build a wind farm, predict areas of flooding, or plan the most efficient bus route.

Whether it’s in the classroom educating real-world GIS applications or in the field capturing GPS points, there are hundreds of fun activities that you can do on GIS Day in 2021:

GEOCACHING – Pull out your GPS or phone because it’s time to go geocaching. This is a fun activity that you can include anyone where you track down treasures.

OPENSTREETMAP – The OpenStreetMap movement has the power to move mountains (literally). Join the OpenStreetMap team, and map out your part of the world. Who knows, you could even learn something new about it.

SATELLITE VIEWING – Silently, satellites orbit our Earth for a range of remote sensing applications & uses. If you don’t have a telescope, then you can use your phone as a satellite augmented reality app. Point it to the sky and discover new satellites.

GOOGLE EARTH – Who doesn’t like to spin the globe in Google Earth? Now, the location-based application built by Google lets you tour the world without physically being there.

ESRI STORY MAP – Whatever it is that you decide to do on GIS Day, tweet it for the world to see. Of course, Esri will add it to their GIS Day story map to see where and how many are involved in the celebration. Alternatively, find the closest GIS Day event from you.

READ MORE: Best of GISGeography.com 

How will you celebrate GIS day?

Whether it’s in the classroom or out in the field…

GIS Day is when you remember how powerful the idea of “where” truly is.

What are some ways that you can celebrate?

Let me know with a comment below.


  1. Thanks for the post!
    Just in case anyone interested in hosting GIS Day in near future, here is how we celebrated at the University of Notre Dame, IN, USA on November 13, 2019.
    1. Offer GIS workshops
    2. Luncheon and networking
    3. Campus spotlight talk
    4. Award to outstanding student and faculty project that uses GIS technologies
    5. Lightning talks
    6. Reception with GIS themed cake!
    7. Demo

    Also, one can register GIS day with ESRI to receive some give away swags!

  2. Looking to host GIS day with my undergraduate class. Any ideas of what we could do to celebrate this?

  3. I would like to see if and how to host the upcoming GIS Day for 2019 on our campus. What are the steps and applications to complete?

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