GIS Day

Texas A&M University’s Department of Geosciences is hosting its 14th annual award-winning Geographic Information Systems Day event from Nov. 11 to Nov. 13 in the Memorial Student Center.

According to its website, A&M’s GIS Day is the largest geographic information systems set of events in Texas, and it is expected to have over 500 participants this year. The event will host 50 speakers in total, including a keynote address by Brett Blanker, the City of College Station’s GIS Coordinator. There will be 30 different sessions throughout the week, including hands-on workshops, former student discussion panels and a career fair. All students are invited to attend but students interested in GIS-related careers, will particularly benefit, said Daniel Goldberg, chair of GIS Day and associate professor of geography.

“The events include a combination of industry guests, folks from local government and Texas A&M faculty, students and staff,” Goldberg said. “All of the workshops are on the skills companies are seeking the most in students. They can get some experience and get familiar with the tools, data and techniques to build their resumes and be competitive when they start applying for jobs.”

GIS Day will also include a couple of competitions for students, faculty and staff. All campus members are invited to participate in the Volunteered Geographic Information data collection competition, which encourages people to walk around campus and take photographs of permanent signage. The data collected will be used by the Office of the University Architect and Transportation Services to determine new branding and accessibility strategies, said Goldberg. The top three participants with the most submissions will win prizes given by the Office of Mapping & Space Information, the Division of IT and the Office of the University Architect. These prizes include two Apple iPads and a Dji Spark Drone.

Current students from any discipline that incorporates mapping are also welcome to participate in the Poster and Presentation Competitions. These students can submit either a poster or an abstract to a talk, which will then be judged by some of the former students at GIS companies who are participating in the event’s workshops.

ConocoPhillips and Esri, the largest mapping companies in the world, are two of the main sponsors of the GIS Day event. There will be a number of former students from both companies in attendance during the week, and they will be offering their academic and professional advice on getting into the GIS industry. The networking offered at this annual event has a huge impact on all GIS current students, said Debbie Thomas, dean of the College of Geosciences.

“[The] GIS Day event is an amazing opportunity for our current students to network with potential employers and prospective internship coordinators to get a sense of the professional landscape in which they’re training to enter,” Thomas said. “It is a true honor and privilege for the College of Geosciences to partner with Texas A&M University and the GIS educators and professionals that participate. It’s a really unique experience and a kind of ‘best-in-kind’ showcase of the power of GIS.”

More information about specific workshops, panels, and competitions occurring throughout the event is available at https://gisday.tamu.edu/.

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