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BC Celebrates Innovative Technology on GIS Day

November 21, 2013   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Alison Hermansen
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Students around the province are celebrating Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Day 2013 as teachers demonstrate the power of location using digital mapping, geographical data and applications and other innovative technologies in use by British Columbians.

The government of B.C. is supporting and promoting the use of GIS by updating and expanding on a series of eight lesson plans created to increase young people’s geographic literacy and familiarity with GIS technology. This year’s lesson plans are a collaborative effort among DataBC, the Ministry of Education and Esri Canada.

Powerful computer mapping tools like 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. The government of B.C. and many organizations around the world rely on GIS to make important decisions in everyday work.

This year, post-secondary institutions have been matched with local K-12 schools. Undergraduate GIS students from the University of Victoria, University of Northern British Columbia, British Columbia Institute of Technology and Simon Fraser University will visit and teach elementary, middle and high school students the lesson plans.

As part of the lessons, students will be able to map their school on iPhones or iPads, learn about the spread of the Mountain Pine Beetle and locate their address and B.C. landmarks in a variety of tools. Students will also learn how to find data in the DataBC Catalogue and access it for decision making.

B.C. is a world leader with respect to geographic information, having developed a shared and central repository of geographic data and services that enable public servants, businesses and citizens to discover, map, visualize, analyze and download a wealth of B.C. data.


Minister of Technology, Innovation and Citizens’ Services, Andrew Wilkinson —

"GIS is an important technology and these lesson plans are creating exciting learning opportunities for B.C. students. GIS literacy is a key skill used today in a variety of fields, and will be important in helping grow B.C.’s economy for future generations to come.”

Suzanne Ector, instructor, Selkirk School of Environment and Geomatics; and researcher, Selkirk Geospatial Research Centre —

"We look forward to celebrating GIS Day, hosting students from a number of high schools in the Kootenay area for a day of workshops, exhibits, and opportunities for interaction with local businesses. The Selkirk School of Environment and Geomatics has events planned to demonstrate real-world applications of GIS technology, with public access to data resources provided by our local and provincial government.”

"There will be workshops to give students the opportunity to use these resources to create maps, learn about biodiversity, and plan a hiking route. Local GIS professionals will be attending to provide high school students the opportunity to learn about GIS as a possible career path.”

Learn More:


For more information about B.C.’s geographic data and services, please

For more information, and to access the K-12 lesson plans,

Quick Facts:

  • GIS Day is a part of International Geography Awareness Week.
  • The first formal GIS Day took place in 1999.
  • In 2012, more than 60 organization throughout Canada hosted GIS Day events.
  • Thousands of organizations worldwide participated in this grassroots effort by hosting open houses, lectures, map galleries, games and other activities for people to learn about geography and the uses of GIS.

For more information :

British Columbia Government