Another successful GIS Day occurred on Nov. 16. GIS (or Geographic Information Systems) Day, has grown into an essential UNT event ever since our GIS team reignited it in 2019. GIS Day itself is recognized internationally as a way for the GIS community to connect with each other and highlight innovation within the field. The day also creates an opportunity for community engagement and outreach raising awareness to how prevalent this technology is while drawing interest to GIS as a career path. The event started as a way to bring in industry professionals to engage with our students as both a networking opportunity and a platform for them to share their work.
This is still the case; however, this event has prospered even more in recent years. GIS Specialist Megan Smith has taken the lead in coordinating this event for the past four years and has paved the way for GIS Day to evolve into what it is today. “We wanted to ensure students would have the opportunity to collaborate with faculty & staff, industry professionals, and community members to show them examples of real-world applications of GIS,” says Smith. This year, the event included lighting talks from professionals and students, a virtual platform, and vendors from both outside organizations and the university. She partnered with the geography department, predominantly Professor Murray Rice, to expand this event to even more UNT students and GIS professionals. “Our event is a great connecting point for all things geographic. This includes governments, nonprofits, and for-profit businesses that leverage the power of location. Students who attend gain an understanding of the size and vitality of our local geography and GIS community,” says Professor Rice.
The student workers on our GIS team are a major part of making this event successful. They prepare for months working on various projects to share with the community. For example, student GIS Technical Assistant Edgar Ferretiz created a time lapse of the new Frisco campus using GIS data to show the progress of mapping the entire campus up to completion.
The team also gave a lightning talk discussing their roles and how their positions have affected their career paths. This encourages other students to consider GIS in the future both professionally and academically.
“This event has taught me so much about what is possible with GIS and how it is used in so many ways. I loved being able to discuss this field with professionals who with this technology every day, “says graduate student and student GIS Technical Assistant, Savannah Thomas.
This event is an amazing way to expose people to this incredible field that is so essential to UNT.