You may be surprised to learn how much geography matters in our everyday lives. The ability to link maps digitally to information enables us to visualize and understand patterns and relationships around us. Geographic information systems, or GIS, provides this link.
GIS describes a wide variety of computer-aided tools and services that capture, store, check, and display information related to positions on Earth’s surface. You probably use GIS every day without realizing it. When you use a smartphone to get directions or to find the closest restaurant to your location, you're tapping into the power of GIS. Here at West Baton Rouge Parish, this technology has been integrated into the day to day operations of the parish to analyze and visualize where there are issues that need to be addressed such as drainage problems, mosquito control and knowing where utility lines are located. The technology is also utilized to be able to send first responders to emergencies when someone calls 9-1-1. Analysts and scientists also use GIS for land use planning, business applications, scientific research, and even as a tool to aid in our nation’s defense.
Each year, we celebrate GIS Day in November as part of Geography Awareness Week. GIS Day started in 1999 as an educational event for GIS users to showcase their projects that have real-world applications. Opening their doors to schools, businesses, and the public, GIS users and vendors demonstrate the benefits of GIS and how it makes a difference in our society. Today, GIS Day is recognized globally with events occurring in dozens of countries.
West Baton Rouge Parish will celebrate GIS Day on Thursday, November 14, 2019, with an open house at the West Baton Rouge Parish Library from 4 to 8 pm. The open house will allow the public the chance to see how parish Governmental entities utilize geographic information system (GIS) mapping technology.