GIS Day 2017 at UM

The continuing evolution of geographic information systems (GIS) technology and its increasing prominence in today’s world will be on display at GIS Day 2017 on November 15.

University of Miami students, researchers, and professionals from the private and public sector will gather at the Donna E. Shalala Student Center (SC) on Wednesday, November 15 to learn and share knowledge about the power of geographic information systems (GIS) technology at GIS Day 2017, an all-day event co-organized by the Department of Geography and UM Libraries.

GIS technology combines geographic coordinates and features with data that allow users to visualize and understand the spatial dimensions of complex relationships. It’s valuable to a strikingly wide range of scholarly and practical topics, from climate models and population demographics to business analytics and decision support.

“It is difficult for me to think of an industry or profession that couldn’t in some way use geospatial technology to reveal additional information about issues at hand, or that couldn’t use the technology to optimize and streamline processes,” said Diana Ter-Ghazaryan, a lecturer in the Department of Geography and the director of the Geospatial Technology Program. “This is why GIS and geospatial technology is appealing to most disciplines and majors across campus, and I think GIS Day has something to offer everyone at UM.”

This year’s GIS Day will highlight a particularly relevant post-Hurricane Irma topic. “GIS Day 2017 will focus on how geospatial technology was used in preparation for this year’s hurricanes and in dealing with their aftermath,” Ter-Ghazaryan said, adding, “it is going to be very exciting to hear from leading researchers and GIS experts about their implementation of this technology in real life.”

In addition to the keynote speaker, Lauren James, a cartographer for National Geographic,  speakers include Ben Kirtman, professor of atmospheric science at the Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science and director of the Center for Computational Science Climate and Environmental Hazards Program; Robert Garcia and Arlena Moses from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration; Matthew Shpiner, director of UM’s Office of Emergency Management; expert professors in GIS technology from the College of Arts and Sciences Department of Geography; and other GIS experts from local government entities and municipalities.

James, whose background is in studio art, community development, and geography, is a graphics editor who focuses on the science of drawing maps and works with a team dedicated to compelling storytelling across print and digital platforms.

At GIS Day, UM students can participate in a poster competition and the competitive Game of Maps, a scavenger hunt played with a smartphone app that is also open to faculty and staff. A meeting at the Richter Library Information Literacy Lab will be held on Friday, November 10 at 3 p.m. to introduce the rules and techniques for playing the Game of Maps. GIS Day also will include networking opportunities for students, educators, and practitioners interested in GIS technology.  

The Department of Geography offers a graduate certificate in geospatial technology, among other graduate and undergraduate programs in geography. The certificate is unique in that it is a stand-alone program at the graduate level (although many students combine the certificate with other advanced degree programs). The department also offers a minor in Geospatial Technology with courses that include Digital Earth, Geographic Information Systems and Remote Sensing of the Environment.

For more information about GIS Day 2017 and to register for the event, visit www.miami.edu/gisday. GIS Day 2017 will be held at the Grand Ballroom East at the SC on November 15, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

October 31, 2017