GIS or Geographic Information System today affect all of our lives with GPS systems and Google Maps that make our lives easier every single day. This amazing science today helps with getting deliveries on time and finding directions to a location we have never visited. But what is GIS?
What is GIS?
GIS is a system that manages, creates, analyses, and maps all types of data. It can connect data to a map and integrate location data with all types of descriptive information. Using this system, users can understand patterns, relationships, and geographic context. The best and simplest example of this is Google Maps.
Basically, GIS stores and processes data from the world around us and then makes it available in a format that can be used by other systems for interpretation.
History of GIS Day
The first GIS day was held on November 19, 1999, during the Geography Awareness Week from November 14-20, 1999. It was started by Esri President and Co-Founder Jack Dangermond after he was inspired by Ralph Nader to celebrate the day. The day is to recognise the importance of the system and remind people of how it has impacted our lives.
GIS and its impact during COVID-19 pandemic
The benefits of GIS are wide-ranging, but the most recent and impactful use was during the COVID-19 pandemic. As the maps using ArcGIS and other platforms were using the GIS system to understand where people were getting affected and give the governments and other organisations crucial information about potential outbreaks. It also helped governments, hospitals, and NGOs understand where there was an immediate requirement for vaccines, testing kits, and in some places, oxygen cylinders. Thanks to GIS technology, all of this data could be clubbed into a single map, which helped organisations respond faster.
GIS for forest fire prevention
For a very long time, we have been discussing forest fires and their impact on our health and the environment. As a measure to counter these fires, governments and organisations have started using GIS technology to predict fire behaviour and respond to it.
GIS provides a way to track the forest fire along with other important data like weather patterns and ecological landscapes. This helps the fire fighters reach the locations faster and better understand how far the fire will spread and what precautionary measures need to be taken. It will also help firefighters predict the fires in advance so that proper precautionary measures can be taken.
The other benefits include map tracking and traffic tracking that help courier and travel companies better plan their routes. It also helps governments understand the flow of rivers, increasing surface water, the impact of floods, and so many other environmental impacts. Companies even use the GIS to choose a property and improve their communications, as you can now use a map to show where you are currently or where your project will be in the future.
How to celebrate GIS day
The most fun way to celebrate GIS day is to go to a place you have never been to before. Take a trip, go for lunch, or just go for a walk to a place that someone has suggested or that you have always wanted to visit. Let your GPS be your guide for a day and see how the day goes.
If a day out sounds boring and you want a little adventure then go geocaching. Geo-coaching basically, is like a treasure hunt where you are looking for secrets that are stored by other geo-coachers. You can take your friends or family out in nature and plan some hunts.