As demand for knowledge of geographic information systems (GIS) continues to grow in the workplace, Brock University is hosting a celebration of the technology next week that will allow the community to enhance its skills.
Brock will join institutions from around the world in marking GIS Days from Monday, Nov. 13 to Thursday, Nov. 16 with a combination of in-person and virtual events.
Coinciding with Geography Awareness Week, the celebration will feature free, in-person sessions, including an introduction to ArcGIS — a leading software that many community partners in Niagara use — a lunch and a virtual conference hosted by Western University Libraries with collaborating partners across Canada that will include presentations, tutorials, demonstrations, social networking and a trivia night.
Representing Brock University virtually, Sharon Janzen, Map Library Associate and Geospatial Data Co-ordinator, will present an “Intro to ArcGIS Online,” on Tuesday, Nov. 14 at 12:30 p.m. and Rebecca Nickerson, Map Library Assistant, will present on “HGIS: Mapping Segregated Healthcare in Canada,” on Thursday, Nov. 16 at 11 a.m.
“GIS days are an important way to raise awareness about how almost everything can have a geospatial component to it,” says Janzen. “Maps and mapping technology are more accessible now than ever before. This week provides opportunities to learn about the benefits of GIS technology, as well as how it is being used at Brock.”
Encouraging those who may be apprehensive to learn a new technology is Brock Master of Sustainability student Erin Isaac, who, in less than one year, went from never using GIS to using it on a weekly basis.
“Before enrolling in Brock’s Landscape Ecology course as part of my master’s, I had zero experience with GIS until Sharon Janzen gave us two in-class workshops,” says Isaac. “After a couple of months working with the technology, I became much more comfortable and even won this year’s Esri GIS Scholarship for my project, ‘Detecting Land Cover Change at Port Weller East,’ which used ArcGIS to analyze land cover data from 2006 to 2020.”
Department of Health Sciences Assistant Professor Samantha Hajna incorporates GIS technology in the classroom. She recognizes the demand for public health professionals with technical skills in geospatial analytics is growing across industry, academia and government.
“Understanding how environments impact health and having the technical skills required to answer health and place-related questions are in increasing demand in today’s job market,” says Hajna.
The third-year Brock course Hajna teaches, “Geospatial Analytics for Public Health,” provides students with the opportunity to learn how environments shape human health and to gain basic geocoding and geoprocessing skills that will help them successfully answer health-place related questions across a broad range of public health settings.
“Esri’s ArcGIS Pro is used as the foundation for teaching in the lab and lectures, but students are also introduced to other GIS platforms and tools,” she says. “These skills give them an edge when applying for public health jobs after they graduate.”
GIS Days event schedule
ArcGIS for Brock faculty and staff
- Wednesday, Nov. 15 from 10 to 11:30 a.m. in the James A. Gibson Library — Classroom A. Learn about ESRI’s ArcGIS technologies, the site license and engage in hands-on learning to leverage the technology in research, teaching and administrative analysis. RSVP on ExperienceBU.
GIS Day Luncheon — hosted by the student-led Tourism and Geography Society
- Wednesday, Nov. 15 from noon to 1 p.m. in the Map, Data and GIS Library (MC-C306). Pizza will be served for a nominal fee (cash or debit) and cake is being provided free.
ArcGIS for the Brock Community
- Wednesday, Nov. 15 from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. in RFP, Room 214. This is an introduction to geospatial technologies and ESRI’s ArcGIS technologies available at Brock. It is recommended participants bring their own device, with tablets or laptops recommended. Participation is feasible using a smartphone, but functionality may be limited on small screens. Register in advance at ExperienceBU.
GIS Days virtual conference
- For more information or to register for virtual sessions, including those presented by Brock University, visit the GIS Days website.
For more information about Geography Awareness Week, visit the Natural Resources Canada website.