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Celebrate 50 Years of Geographic Information Systems on November 14
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On Wednesday, November 14, 2012, join hundreds of Canadians as they celebrate the transforming power of geographic information system (GIS) technology on GIS Day. This year marks the 50th anniversary of GIS, which was invented by Dr. Roger Tomlinson in Canada in 1962. Dr. Tomlinson conceived the idea of using computers to automate mapping analysis for the Canada Land Inventory (CLI), which led to the creation of the Canada Geographic Information System. The CLI defined land into seven classes used to rate agricultural land capability. Five decades later, the classification continues to be used by many jurisdictions across Canada for land-use planning and legislation, and GIS has become an essential technology for discovering our world. In salute to the many benefits of GIS, numerous organizations in Canada and worldwide are hosting GIS Day events.

“GIS touches every aspect of life,” commented Alex Miller, president, Esri Canada. “The application of geographic knowledge to economic, social and environmental concerns significantly improves our understanding of our world and supports enhanced decision-making. We invite everyone to join GIS Day events in their community or host their own event and raise greater awareness for this essential technology.”

One organization raising awareness for GIS is the Province of British Columbia, which will hold a province-wide GIS Day celebration on November 14. The Province uses GIS to share information across government and with the public as open data. It has created a robust spatial data infrastructure that supports effective government service delivery, land-use planning, environmental stewardship, emergency response and public safety, economic development, community health, education, transportation and infrastructure management.

The Province's geomatics organizations, DataBC and GeoBC, and the Ministry of Education are collaborating to create educational materials that use the Province's geospatial data and tools. Developed for elementary and high-school students, these free materials allow the public to explore BC's geographic data online and learn about the value of GIS.

On GIS Day, Killarney Secondary School in Vancouver and Selkirk College in Castlegar will host showcase events. Open to the public, the Selkirk College event will include hands-on exercises, exhibits, demonstrations and talks about GIS. The day's events can also be followed on Twitter by searching for the hashtag #bcgis.

“This is the first year that we've held a province-wide GIS Day,” remarks Elaine Dawson, director, DataBC, Ministry of Citizens' Services and Open Government. “We're excited to work with our government colleagues, teachers, provincial librarians and industry sponsors to raise awareness of the role of geographic location in everyday decisions – everything happens somewhere. Participants will become more data literate, learn about geospatial technology and some students may be inspired to pursue further technical education in GIS, geography or information sciences.”

In addition to British Columbia, more than 60 organizations across Canada will also host GIS Day events. View this map to find a GIS Day event near you. Planning to host your own event? Get tips, ideas and resources from this Web site.

About GIS Day

GIS Day provides an international forum for users of GIS technology to demonstrate real-world applications that are making a difference in our society. It is held in the third week of November each year. Thousands of organizations worldwide participate 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, visit:

About Esri Canada

Founded in 1984, Esri Canada provides enterprise geographic information system (GIS) solutions that empower businesses, governments and educational institutions to make timely, informed and mission-critical decisions by leveraging the power of geography.  The company distributes the world's leading GIS software from Esri, Telvent, Cityworks – Azteca Systems and other technology partners.  Headquartered in Toronto, the company serves over 10,000 customers from 16 regional offices across Canada and has been named as one of the Top 250 Canadian IT Companies and Top 25 IT Professional Services Providers in Canada by the Branham Group, as well as one of Computer Dealer News' Top 100 IT Solution Providers in Canada.  Information about Esri Canada can be found at

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