Territory joins in worldwide celebration of GIS Day today

The Territory today joins its global counterparts in celebrating Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Day under the focus, ‘Discovering the World through GIS’.
GIS Day is a global event held annually to celebrate GIS technology, the innovative technology which uses geography to bring countless benefits to the world. The local observance is spearheaded by the National GIS Technical Steering Committee.

During a recent GIS Radio Report, Public Relations Officer for this year’s GIS Day, Mr. Earl Forbes highlighted the storage capacity of the GIS technology and the benefits it provides in decision making and efficiency aspects.

“GIS is a tool which consists of software, hardware and most importantly people. They all combine to store information which becomes key. We provide a service to the public and if we can find ways of doing so more efficiently then that is a main benefit of having the GIS. It makes us efficient in delivering services to the public,” Mr. Forbes said.

Fellow Public Relations Officer for GIS Day, Mrs. Rozina Norris Gumbs spoke of the benefits that GIS technology provides to its users and its use within the Conservation and Fisheries Department.

“We use GIS to monitor marine eco-systems, fisheries areas, oil spills, coral reef degradation, mangrove replanting areas and to assist students with environmental projects and many other areas,” she explained.

In observance of GIS Day, the National GIS Steering Committee which comprises of 13 Government departments and statutory bodies will visit fourth and fifth form geography classes to help improve students’ knowledge of GIS technology and its applications.

Students will be given exercises to help broaden their geography skills, such as detecting elevation, measuring contour lines, calculating depth and height and visualising the Territory’s geography.

GIS Day provides an opportunity for curious persons to observe GIS applications in action. GIS is a computer-based mapping tool that takes information from a database such as location, streets, parcel number, buildings, water features, and terrain and turns it into visual layers. This technology provides users with the ability to locate geographic features on a map which allows them to better understand a particular location.  This also enables planners and analysts to make more informed decisions about their communities.

GIS is used throughout the world to solve problems related to the environment, health care, land use, business efficiency, education and public safety. This technology can also help businesses place automated teller machines (ATM’s) and restaurants at more convenient locations, allow people to pull maps off the Internet, and help farmers grow more crops with less chemicals.

GIS Day serves to create more public awareness of GIS technology and the important contributions it has made within the fields of science, technology, information, and the humanities. Within the Territory, the National GIS Steering Committee uses GIS Day as an opportunity to demonstrate the use of GIS technology and how it helps to make a difference in our daily lives.

The National GIS Technical Steering Committee

The National GIS Technical Steering Committee consists of 13 government departments and statutory bodies which are:

          o Town & Country Planning Department
          o Conservation & Fisheries Department
          o Land Registry Department
          o Survey Department
          o Environmental Health
          o Royal Virgin Islands Police Force
          o Fire & Rescue Services Department
          o National Parks Trust
          o Public Works Department
          o Water & Sewerage Department
          o Department of Disaster Management
          o Agriculture Department
          o Department of Information Technology

The committee meets every third Thursday to discuss GIS initiatives, GIS education and training, and career building capacities in GIS.


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