Today the Province of B.C. celebrates GIS Day, a world-wide event to learn about the power of geographic information systems (GIS) - the technology powering many of the digital map applications online and on your Smartphone.
Powerful computer mapping tools, GIS allow users to create custom digital maps by adding the geographic data of their choosing, such as the locations of roads and rivers or the boundaries of municipalities or provincial parks. Many organizations around the world rely on GIS to make decisions, including the B.C. government.
For over a decade, B.C. has been a leader in digital information, developing a shared warehouse of geographic data and services that allow public servants and citizens to discover, map, visualize, download and geolocate data. This work was recently centralized under the DataBC program in 2011.
For GIS Day, the Province of B.C. is promoting the use of GIS by developing a series of lesson plans to increase British Columbians' geographic literacy and familiarity with GIS technology. Tailored for B.C. students and educators, these lesson plans are a collaborative effort among DataBC, the Ministry of Education, GeoBC, Esri Canada and Micromine.
Students following the lesson plans can view recent earthquake activity in B.C., see a visualisation of the spread of the Mountain Pine Beetle and complete a treasure hunt to match air photos with B.C. landmarks. They will also learn how to find data in the DataBC Data Catalogue and upload the data into GIS.
Part of international Geography Awareness Week, GIS Day is about more than an understanding of how to use GIS. Learning about GIS will help improve geographic literacy - the ability to analyse maps and understand the relationships between diverse geographic information - a key skill today and in the future.
For more information and to access the lesson plans, please see: http://blog.data.gov.bc.ca/opportunities/
Minister of Citizens' Services and Open Government, Ben Stewart -
"GIS Day gives us a way to introduce students to the powerful tools digital maps have become. It teaches them about how physical geography, digital data and the world around them are becoming more and more integrated every day. This kind of technology has applications across hundreds of fields, like managing natural resources or identifying investment locations or performing research into populations and public health."
Learn more about DataBC here: http://www.data.gov.bc.ca/dbc/index.page
Ministry of Citizens' Services and Open Government