GIS Day 2017 at the UCR Library
October 4, 2017

The University of California, Riverside Library and campus partners will host several events in celebration of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Day and Geography Awareness Week.

This year, GIS Day will take place on Wednesday, Nov. 15, and Geography Awareness Week is from Nov. 12-18.

GIS Day, first established in 1999, provides an international forum for users of geographic information systems technology to demonstrate real-world applications that are making a difference in our society.

“Technological advances and increased exposure to map products in everyday life have boosted awareness of GIS,” said Janet Reyes, the UCR Library geospatial information librarian who is coordinating GIS Day at UCR. “Both official and crowd-sourced maps of damage in the aftermath of recent natural disasters are just one example of the power these tools can have in improving and understanding our world.”

The diversity of academic departments at UCR that use spatial data is expanding, Reyes explained. “And the use of GIS in the humanities is an exciting recent development. Faculty are discovering that the ability of GIS to display, analyze, and manipulate geographic data makes it a valuable tool for instruction as well as research.”

“The Center for Conservation Biology uses GIS to bring together many types of information that support study in the relationships between organisms and the conditions in which they live,” stated Associate Specialist Robert Johnson. “GIS is one research tool we use to measure and visualize contemporary distributions of species locations and habitat characteristics, how both have changed in the past, and how these may look in the future. Our spatial-based research efforts have advised land management practice at local and regional levels.”

“Application of Geographic Information Systems in Environmental Sciences has increased in recent years due to availability of geospatial data including a variety of remotely sensed products developed by federal and state agencies, and the research community around the world,” commented Hoori Ajami, Assistant Professor of Groundwater Hydrology at UC Riverside. “GIS Day activities at UCR will promote the use of these technologies in research and teaching, and enhance collaboration between the geospatial community at UCR and Southern California.”

GIS Day 2017 at UCR will feature talks by researchers and community members who will share how they use GIS to advance their work, including a presentation by the Center for Spatial Studies founding director Sergio Rey at 11:20 am on Nov. 15 in Orbach Science Library, Room 240.

Other activities include a drone demonstration (conditions permitting), a reception, and a poster display in both Orbach Science Library and Tomás Rivera Library from Nov. 13 through Nov. 17.

A poster contest for students is another new feature of GIS Day this year. (Details on how to enter the poster contest are provided here. Abstracts are due by Nov. 1.)  Contest posters will be exhibited in the atrium of Orbach Science Library throughout the week, and the winners announced on the afternoon of Nov. 15.

While the poster contest is open only to students, the entire UC Riverside community is welcome to provide a poster for the separate displays in Orbach and Rivera. Posters that have been used or will be used at other events are acceptable. The deadline to sign up to display a poster is Friday, Oct. 20. To submit a poster to the display, contact Janet Reyes ( or Margarita Yonezawa ( at the Orbach Science Library’s Map Collection, or call (951) 827-6423.

UCR Library hopes that the 2017 event will showcase a variety of disciplines using GIS, make students aware of the possibilities for using GIS in both academic and community settings, and provide students opportunities for learning and networking.

Other events planned for Geography Awareness Week include map-related activities in the Creat’R Lab and a presentation by Manuel Urrizola on Thursday, Nov. 16 at 1:00 pm in Rivera Library Room 403. Manuel’s talk, Is California an Island?, is sponsored by Special Collections and features antique maps depicting California as being separate from the North American mainland.

Cosponsoring the GIS Day events are the Center for Conservation Biology; the Departments of Earth Sciences, Environmental Sciences, and Psychology; Capital Asset Strategies; and UCR Extension.

More details about the GIS Day event schedule will be posted soon on the UCR Library website.